RUSH: Now, I want to go back to this couple of sound bites that we played moments ago with the Trump supporter demanding of Cruz to know (summarized), “How in the world do you get any delegates when there haven’t been any votes?
“How does that work? How do you get delegates when there haven’t been any votes?” And I… (sigh) This is so hard for me. (sigh) Just… It seemed like a hanging curveball of a question. But I think what’s going on here, is Trump has succeeded in convincing people that Cruz is establishment, and I think that’s where this Cruz paralysis — if I can call it that — comes from, because the most surprising thing about all of this is that Cruz never, ever (nobody did) factored/figured on running against Trump. All along Cruz was going to be running against the establishment.
Cruz was the anti-establishment candidate. Cruz was the guy going to the floor of the Senate and calling out the Senate leadership. Cruz was the guy explaining how the Senate operates and nothing happens. All that really is important to most of them is being reelected, that they’re not there to advance a party agenda — or a, let’s say, conservative agenda. And because of that, Cruz was prepared for the entire Republican Party to be arrayed against him. And that’s the way this was gonna fall out.
Had Trump not gotten into this, Cruz would have been the outsider candidate, and the Republican Party — everybody from Jeb to Marco, you name it — would have been aligned against Cruz, and he would have owned that outsider position. He knew that they were gonna use every means at their disposal to beat him. So he knew he had to master the delegate rules in every state in order to have a chance to take these guys on. He was just planning way ahead.
So what happens?
In the midst of all this planning, Trump comes along, co-opts the anti-establishment position almost to exclusive ownership, all of the establishment candidates flop, and the only guy left standing who actually knows how the process works (because he had to know it if he was gonna have any chance to win against the GOP) is Cruz. So Trump paints him as the establishment guy even though Cruz is THE quintessential anti-establishment guy, because he’s the one who knows how their process works and how to beat them at their own game, which is what Cruz has been doing. It is amazing the way this has all fallen out.
RUSH: I want to go back to this Cruz-Trump situation. I want to try to explain some things here to you Trumpists — well, actually to everybody, because there’s a lot of animosity that’s being aimed at Ted Cruz from Trump people, allegations of cheating and all this kind of thing. That’s really not what’s happening here, and I want to go through this again because it’s not relevant per se because it’s not… I’ll talk about what was going to happen if Trump had not gotten in the race, and do so to try to explain to you what Cruz is doing.
What Cruz is doing is not targeting Trump. Cruz’s plan was drawn up long ago before Trump even got in the race. So again — and that’s what makes this so ironic and amazing about the Trump narrative that Cruz cheating and that Cruz is establishment, because Cruz was going to be the anti-establishment candidate, and he was going to be the only one. And if you think back prior to last June when Trump announced, when Trump got in, prior to all that, Cruz was the renegade. He was the Republican in the Senate, but he was running against the Senate.
He was constantly running against the establishment. He had this term for them, “the Washington cartel,” and he knew that he was reviled. He knew. He purposely had created this persona because he wanted to own the anti-establishment position. He correctly identified the anti-establishment mood throughout the electorate. And his purpose, his strategy was to become the champion of everybody in the anti-establishment movement, anti-Democrat establishment, anti-Republican establishment.
Now, at the time Cruz is strategizing and putting together his plans on how he’s going to win — and stop and think of the monumental task here. Here’s a guy in the Senate, and what is the conventional wisdom about Cruz? Everybody hates him, right? Nobody likes him in the Senate. People now used that to say, “Well, how can a guy govern? You’ve gotta like people. People have to like you be able to make deals.” But before all of this, before the current iteration of this campaign occurred, Cruz never, ever figured on running against Donald Trump.
Nor did anybody else, for that matter. But it’s important if you want to understand what Cruz is doing now — and you think it’s aimed at Trump — that it didn’t start that way. Ted Cruz planed on running against the establishment from the get-go, as I say. He hoped to be the champion of every anti-establishment voter in the country, and he knew that the Republican Party and the entire Washington establishment would use every means at their disposal to beat him. He knew it was a stacked deck.
But he thought that there were enough voters supporting anti-establishment candidates that he could create a voting majority and win. But he knew that he had to master the delegate rules in every state in order to have a chance to take these guys on but, remember, now, the Republican Party — call ’em the establishment, whatever, Democrats as well — they run everything: every procedure, every rule, the entire network, the power structure. They own it. Here comes Cruz — the renegade, in his mind — the lone wolf running against them.
So he conceives this strategy that he thinks is the only way he can beat them at their own game. And that is mastering the delegate-selection process. This has been part of Cruz’s strategy from the very beginning of his campaign. It’s not something that happened when Trump came along; it’s not something that happened because Donald Trump came along; it’s not something that happened because Trump’s campaign evolved the way it did. It was one of the things that Cruz was going to have to do, among some others, if he had a chance of winning.
The delegates are chosen locally and at state levels. And if you go into these state conventions early enough and make yourself friendly with all of these delegates, you can perhaps find people who are not part of the establishment to run as delegates, be chosen as delegates — and then, therefore, be supportive of you against the establishment. And that’s why Cruz was focusing so much on delegate selection and that process at all of these state conventions. It was the only way that he thought — well, not the only. But it was a key element in defeating this giant monolith that is the establishment.
He knew the delegate game well. He knew the rules well. He knows how delegates are chosen. He knows delegate loyalty. He knows pledged delegates, unbound, all of that; he was always figuring on either a first ballot win or prevailing second and third ballot, but doing it with the delegates. So he masters this. So what happened? Trump comes along. In the midst of all this, Trump comes along, and from practically the get-go assumes and occupies (by himself) the position of anti-establishment candidate, the outsider, the genuine outsider.
Here comes Trump. This upsets every plan Cruz had. At the beginning of this, Trump is overwhelmingly popular. If you recall, Cruz is not being critical of Trump. He’s not taking Trump on. He’s not campaigning against Trump. He’s positioning himself for what everybody thought was gonna be the eventual Trump implosion. So he was going out of his way not to irritate people that were excited about Trump because those were the people Cruz was going to need to win. And he, again, was going to be the lone outsider.
Jeb wasn’t gonna be an outsider candidate, Marco wasn’t gonna be, Christie wasn’t gonna be. None of the rest of that field of 16 people on the Republican side — maybe Ben Carson, but not really. The rest of these guys, Huckabee, they all (in their own way) have ties to the establishment. Cruz does, too, but he’s the only guy that had gone against them. Well, Trump coming along; it just upset every plan that Cruz had. But it didn’t change one thing, and that is the way Cruz can win, and that’s with delegates.
So Cruz has stayed loyal to his plan of securing as many delegates as he can at all of these state conventions while nobody else has been playing this game, because Cruz figured it was the key element to his beating the establishment. So Trump comes along, and the establishment candidates — Jeb and Marco and the rest — totally flop. They can’t get supported by anybody. They’re at 1%. They’re at 2%, 3%. They’re just dying out there, and Trump is running away with it.
The only guy left standing after Jeb and all the rest of the guys implode and get out of the race — the only guying left standing who actually knows how the process works — is Cruz. Because, again, he had to know it if he was gonna have any chance of beating the Republican establishment. So Trump comes along and does something very smart. He paints Cruz as the establishment candidate and attempts to own and occupy the outsider position. And he really is outsider. He’s not elected to anything.
He is not in any way, shape, manner, or form an official of any party, not officially tied to any party. Well, it’s much easier for Trump to actually make the claim, particularly to low-information voters and others who are just now starting to get interested, to being the genuine outsider, the genuine anti-establishment. Whereas Cruz, he’s in the establishment, he says he’s anti-establishment, says he’s outsider, but he’s still in the Senate. You know the way the rest of this fell out.
So Trump paints him as the establishment guy even though Cruz is paradigm anti-establishment. Cruz personifies it, folks. Cruz personifies running against the entrenched elites of both parties. He had this grand strategy all played out. He ends up being the only guy left who knows how the process works. And he’s now accused of cheating and gaming the system and so forth, when that’s not at all what’s happening. He just was ahead of the curve on everybody else in understanding this local and state delegate selection process, again, because it was the — well, not the only, but it was a fundamentally important ingredient to Cruz’s path to victory.
So I’m sure for Cruz it’s maddening the way this has played out. It’s maddening for everybody in the establishment candidate ranks who couldn’t get more than one, two, three percent. Everybody’s been discombobulated by this, but at least Cruz is still in and is still implementing and executing a strategy. It’s just now that it appears to be Cruz implementing a strategy against Trump and the Trumpists are taking that personally, thinking that Cruz is cheating, when all Cruz is doing is executing the grand strategy he conceived way back before Trump even got into this as the way he was going to beat the GOP establishment.
I gotta take a break here. We’ve got calls coming up, and I’m gonna revisit the audio sound bites of Cruz being confronted by the Trumpist demanding Cruz explain how he’s getting delegates with nobody voting because we got some calls that want to bounce off that.
RUSH: Rachel in Buckeye, Arizona. I’m glad you called. You’re up first. Great to have you with us on the program today. Hello.
CALLER: Good morning, Rush, and thank you for having me. You were talking about Cruz this morning about not the being an insider. And I just called to differ with you on that point. To me, for one — as an American who has voted her whole life — I see him as an insider. He’s been a lawyer/government employee his whole life, and that’s one of the reasons I’m not voting for him. I mean, if he goes to the nominee, I will vote for him, but I voted for Trump, and I just see him as an insider. Unless you’ve talked about for a while now —
RUSH: I know. You don’t know why I don’t see it that way, probably.
CALLER: Right. I don’t. I’ve been really frustrated with you for the last two months because I don’t know. I don’t… I don’t get where you’re coming from, and I value your opinions for things.
RUSH: Let me ask you, what…?
RUSH: Rachel, just a second here. Now, this may be hard to do because you might not have had any opinions here. But what did you think of Cruz before Trump even came along? You know, a year ago, before Trump was even toying with it. Before Trump’s even in the news, possibly.
CALLER: Well, I liked him. I liked him. I liked him.
RUSH: Did you think of him as no different than Mitch McConnell? Did you think of him as no different than John Boehner?
CALLER: No. I thought of him as different. Yes, sir.
RUSH: Right. You thought of him as in opposition to those people.
CALLER: Yes, sir.
RUSH: He was speaking out against them. He was publicly calling them out. It’s on that basis that I refer to Cruz as an outsider, anti-establishment. But, believe me, Rachel, when you throw Trump in the mix, I can see where Trump qualifies on the surface as a genuine outsider. I mean, he’s not elected. He’s not in the Senate. He’s not a lawyer. He hasn’t worked in a regime or any of that. But before all that happens, my only point is, the earlier portions of today’s program was to try to explain what Cruz is doing. Cruz had a strategy. He was running against the Republican establishment. He was the only one in the Republican field running against the establishment.
Everybody else was part of it. Pick any one of those other 15 people. Maybe Ben Carson would qualify as an outsider, but when you’re talking Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Marco Rubio, all of the others, Huckabee, they’re all part of the Republican establishment. Cruz was running against all of them. And he was devising, he did devise a strategy to win that involved delegates because that’s the only way he could. Before Trump gets in, the way to look at Cruz and his campaign was David and Goliath.
Now, you may not want to hear it, and it may not hold up once Trump gets in the race which, you know, is the great irony, but that’s who Cruz was. Cruz never factored Trump. Nobody did. Cruz, when he was putting together his game plan to win the nomination never once factored that Donald Trump or anybody like him would be in the race. He knew he was up against everything the establishment has in their arsenal. They run the convention, they run primaries, they run the state parties, he was the outsider. The only hope he had was to go to these conventions and tie up as many delegates as he could so that he could withstand the onslaught of the establishment should it come to it at a convention.
Now, Trump gets in and all of that gets blown to smithereens, but it doesn’t change who Cruz was. Now, you might want to say Cruz compared to Trump is establishment or insider ’cause, yeah, he’s in the Senate and, yeah, he’s a lawyer, and, yeah, he was in the Texas state government, and, yeah, his wife worked for W, and, yeah, he’s got all these connections. But it’s only in comparison to Trump can you say that Cruz is an insider. But he’s not.
Rachel, you know as well as I do Cruz was despised by these people precisely because he was exposing them, trying to expose them. He was doing everything he could. He called them the Washington cartel. He was running for the presidency from the Senate, from his elected position. Don’t look at this as me choosing sides over who’s the outsider. I see clearly everything happening here. But it simply isn’t true to say that Ted Cruz is establishment. He never has been, he never wanted to be, and if Trump were not in the race, he would be the only guy running against the establishment right now.
And thus you would have no choice but then to conclude — you might not trust it; I don’t know about that. But it that’s the way it was. I’m not ignoring anything. I’m not willfully blind here. I’m simply recounting things as they were. I’m really glad you called.