I don’t think Jeb Bush’s endorsement of Ted Cruz is as much of a surprise as people might think.
There might not have been much love lost between them, but Cruz never insulted Jeb’s wife the way Donald Trump did.
In all honesty, the moment Trump trashed his spouse, Jeb should have slugged him right then and there on the debate stage. It honestly couldn’t have done him any worse. But Jeb didn’t slug Trump and Jeb is out of the running. Meanwhile, Trump is insulting his way to the presidency or at the very least the GOP nomination.
Yet the last thing Ted Cruz wants is to become the darling of the Republicand establishment and nobody gets more establishment than Jeb Bush. Ted Cruz made his reputation by being openly disdainful of the Republican establishment. Having the Republican establishment (Lindsey Graham, Mitt Romney and now Bush) embracing him will have the likely effect of driving more Republicans into Trump’s arms. In a way, by endorsing him, the Republican establishment is getting a kind of revenge on Cruz. Well, sort of.
The Republican establishment might despise Cruz, but they know what they’ll get from him. They might consider Cruz a jerk, but they know they are also getting someone who is undeniably conservative. Cruz would appoint a constitutional conservative to The Supreme Court. With Trump, you not only have a jerk, but a guy who couldn’t tell the difference between conservatism and Corinthians. Trump could appoint anybody to the Supreme Court up to and including his own attorney. Under the circumstances, the Republican establishment would rather deal with the devil they know.
But the more the Republican establishment embraces Cruz, the more the Republican base will embrace Trump. Although Cruz could still plausibly win the GOP nomination, Jeb Bush’s endorsement might very well prove to be the kiss of death for his White House bid.