Super Tuesday is nearly upon us.
It’s time to talk about for whom you should vote.
First off, I don’t endorse candidates, because I stand with conservatism, not candidates. My loyalty to governing philosophy means I will shift my support or opposition to a candidate based on how closely they mirror that philosophy. I don’t care about politicians as individuals. I care about how well they will represent my philosophy of limited government and individual freedom and strong national defense. I don’t want a strongman; I want strong values. And I care about candidates' electoral viability. (Note the distinction here between “electability” – the false god of crystal-ball toting Roveian Nostradamus types, who suggest they know who has the best opportunity to win – and electoral viability, which stands for the proposition that someone can win.)
And candidates shift in this regard. That’s why during this process, I’ve been labeled a Trump shill, a Carson stiff, a Rubio plant, and a Cruz supporter. I’ve done my best to call them as I see them: when candidates reflect conservatism, I praise them; when they don’t, I smack them; when they are unfairly targeted by the media, I defend them.
Take, for example, Donald Trump.
Early in this election cycle, Trump said some things that needed to be said about rates of criminality among illegal immigrant populations; he smacked the Republican establishment and the media. They deserved it. But Trump quickly revealed himself as a political haruspex determining his positions by reading chicken entrails, a bloviating egotist who doesn’t care about conservatism, a tyrannical personality willing to do and say anything to gain power, and man willing to use power to glorify himself above any principles about which I care. He has endorsed a bevy of positions no conservative would ever endorse, from talking up Planned Parenthood to refusing to take sides between Israel and the Palestinians. And so I’ve been opposing Trump as the nominee for months, even while I occasionally defend him against unfair media attacks.
Right now, I would vote for Senator Cruz. Cruz best reflects my values. He is a strong advocate for the Constitution, a believer in checks and balances and small government. He would appoint strongly originalist judges. He is in favor of strong national defense but not in favor of superfluous interventionism. And I would vote Cruz as long as he is viable.
At that point, my support would shift to the candidate who best represents my values. That would likely be Rubio, if he’s still in the race. I think Rubio is wholly untrustworthy on immigration, but I also believe that Congress would be able to stifle his plans the same way they did George W. Bush’s. And Rubio is far more conservative than Bush ever was on virtually every other topic.
The question is whether Cruz has become “not viable.” The answer is: he hasn’t yet. Not nearly. Cruz will walk out of Super Tuesday with the second-most delegates, and if Rubio loses his home state of Florida, he becomes non-viable – at which point he ought to get out and throw his support to Cruz in order to stop the impending Trump disaster, given that if Cruz gets out, Trump’s poll numbers likely jump. If Rubio wins Florida, however, and Cruz does poorly on Super Tuesday, Rubio becomes the most viable candidate – he’s been campaigning with joy and verve of late, and it shows.
My state is California, which means I don’t get to vote until June, late in the process. If I lived in a Super Tuesday state, however, I’d vote Cruz.