Less than a week ago, Sen. Lindsey Graham was telling people that, if you murdered Ted Cruz on the floor of the Senate, possibly live on CSPAN, that there wasn’t a jury in the world that would convict you.
Now, I’m not sure that Lindsey’s opinion on the sudden, untimely and violent death of another Senator has changed considerably, but desperate times call for desperate measures – and after last night’s brutal Trump victory, he’s willing to put away his knife for the time being and openly endorse his (and Trump’s) outspoken ideological rival from Texas. The sound you hear is probably the clouds parting to welcome the four horsemen of the Apocalypse.
“Ted Cruz is not my favorite by any means,” Mr. Graham told CBS News late Tuesday, as Mr. Trump was on course to win seven states. But he added, “We may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop Donald Trump.”
For Mr. Graham, the South Carolina Republican who dropped out of the presidential race in December, the comment is a sea change. Mr. Cruz, the Texas senator, is far from beloved among most of his colleagues. Many of them still resent that he called the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, a “liar” in a speech on the Senate floor.
In seriousness, Graham’s defection is bad news for Rubio, who Graham has always seemed to consider as being on the “rational” side of things (he was, after all, a fellow member of the Gang of Eight that was going to solve America’s immigration problem). Rubio won his first state last night, but he’s likely to lose Florida (though they said that about Virginia, and he overcame a 15% deficit in less than a week – and had Dr. Ben Carson pulled out yesterday and not today, things might even have been different). But Cruz took Texas, and he’ll take at least seven other states, giving him the power to send the RNC into gridlock.
Graham and others may see that as the only way out of a Trump nomination, save the Donald’s own resignation. But neither Rubio nor Cruz are out of the race – last night’s margins were, on average, 2 or 3%, not the double-digit blowouts that would lead anyone to believe a Republican insurgency against Trump isn’t possible. After last night, Cruz is only 100 delegates behind Trump. Rubio is further behind, but Florida has 99 delegates and its winner-take-all. And the more I type this story the less I even believe myself, I think.