Thanks to the 2016 Republican presidential primary season, people around the country were forced to endure the absolute worst variation of this game that anyone could have imagined:
Now that they’ve met him, pretty much everyone wants to know what he’s going to do next, presumably so they can do the opposite. What are the options?
He’s Down, But Not Out – The Convention Floor Fight
It seems a long shot, but then again, so did Donald Trump. Reports say the Cruz Crew is continuing to work with its delegates, and attempting to recruit those who are committed elsewhere. The party line is that he hopes to impact the platform. Cruz, however, is a rules man and master tactician. I don’t think we should rule out a flat-out floor fight.
Trump Wins, We Get Supreme Court Justice Cruz
Horrible to imagine on so many levels, but it has come up. Would Cruz take a position on the bench, Supreme Court or otherwise? Would the Senate deign to hold hearings if he were nominated? Would Cruz become the 21st century Bork?
Dahlia Lithwick, courts and law reporter for Slate who competed against Cruz on the college debate circuit, wrote a fascinating article on why Cruz is better suited to arguing in front of, than sitting on, the bench. In a nutshell, she says his genius and passion is for trying to change the law to reflect his values, and by joining a court, he’d be much more limited by precedent than he could probably tolerate.
Returns to Senate, Finishes Term, And Leaves, Never to Return
Perhaps, like Marco Rubio, he’ll churlishly finish out his term, bitter and even less conciliatory than before, before a return to the private sector, a place he talks about so much but in which he has very little actual experience. Hard to imagine him yielding to anyone else, but then again, he quit before many thought he would during the primary, so there is precedent.
Returns to Senate, Finishes Term, Runs Again
This is the path of least resistance. After all, Cruz actually did well in Texas, both in the 2012 election to the senate and in the 2016 presidential primary, so he would assume he’d still have the votes. And hey, Dr. Seuss has a pretty substantial catalog, so he’s got at least another few terms of material to work through.
The risk, of course, is a challenge from the right. Lt. Governor and Potty-Parts Inspector-in-Chief Dan Patrick swore on a sack of Whataburger Juniors with cheese that he had no interest in running for the senate, which pretty much tells me he’s licking his chops over the idea of taking his nails-on-a-chalkboard brand of bloviating bombast to the national level.
Gives The Texas GOP a Reason to Finally Get Rid of Paxton
Clearly, Attorney General and regular on the indictment circuit Ken Paxton has become a huge liability to Texas Republicans. What are the odds—and I’m asking, because I’ve not heard inside information or anything—that Abbott would yank Paxton and appoint Ted Cruz to the remainder of his term as Attorney General? His experience as Solicitor General, and his general disdain for the governmental entity he ran to be preside over, qualify him for the job.
This might be his best option. He gets to pursue an ideological agenda while drawing a government paycheck in his home state, where the bar for what it takes to be Attorney General has been set to its lowest just try not to get indicted for anything and you can do whatever the hell you want level yet.
Talk about frying pan to fire for those of us in Texas. Let’s hope this is the last place any of us read about this possibility.
Holding Out for 2020
None of these options preclude a 2020 run for the Republican nomination. Cruz is 45 years old, and ever since his teen years, his aspirations have included world domination. He’s got a few years to work the lecture circuit, write a book, and try to win over all of the people in the early primary states he couldn’t secure the first time around.
Of course, screening that video, and knowing about Ted’s tenacity, there’s one final option.
If you can dream it, you can be it, Felito. Be in a “teen tit film?” Seems like fictionalized sex scenes would be far preferable to whatever next shoe the National Enquirer is waiting around to drop.
Seriously, though. Plenty of people have compared Cruz in ’16 to Ronald Reagan in ’76, so this might be the smartest move of all. Snag a few roles to earn the acting experience that will positively qualify you for service in the nation’s highest office.
He’s already got a Princess Bride sizzle reel, for Pete’s sake.
And if he can’t quite follow in Ronnie’s footsteps, maybe he could convince Dick Wolf to bring back Law & Order to reprise the role played so brilliantly by another former senator and failed Republican presidential candidate, Fred Thompson.
What’s the Timeline?
When it comes to politics, we tend to think in 2- and 4-year cycles, but Heidi Cruz reminded us on a conference call with the Cruz Crew:
“Think that slavery — it took 25 years to defeat slavery. That is a lot longer than four years.”
Twenty five years is a lot longer than four. It may not represent the actual length of time the abolition movement was in effect, but that’s Goldman Sachs math for you.
Whatever the plan, the horizon extends beyond 2020, and it involves a ton of conference calls and long, no doubt productive, meetings.
“We are not only keeping this band together, we have been having meetings five hours a day since the time we dropped out … Every single person in our leadership team in our campaign, Ted and I will probably be working with on a weekly basis in the next four years.”
Is that a promise, Heidi, or a threat?
Turns out, Cruz wants us all to know that if the voters of Nebraska really, really love him, he might just jump back into the presidential race this year. He’s still assuring people he won’t start a floor fight, but taking a politician like Cruz at his word on something like this is like asking your dog to guard the steak while you run to the kitchen for the salad dressing.
Do you have a suggestion?
Would you hazard a guess?
What do you think Ted Cruz should do next?
Share your advice or best guess, and we’ll do our best to see that Cruz hears about it.