Ted Cruz, the worst possible man, lost the Indiana Republican primary to Donald Trump yesterday. He’d staked it as his last stand in the nominating race, even brokering a cynical armistice with John Kasich to unify anybody-but-Trump voters in the state, and got clobbered anyway, by some 17 percentage points. His campaign is over now, freeing him to pursue his true calling as Leering Occultist Who Is Found After His Mysterious Sudden Death To Have Had Tentacles For Legs In An H.P. Lovecraft Story.
A running fascination of the 2016 GOP primary campaign has been the steady revelation that no one, anywhere, likes or admires Ted Cruz or remembers him fondly or wants him to be president or wants anything to do with him. His colleagues despise him. The party establishment hates his guts. His former schoolmates talk about him the way you recall a memorably revolting cave cricket you once discovered in the bathtub. Carly Fiorina threw herself off a ledge at his approach. His wife is visibly repulsed by him. His children flee from him in terror. Even his own dad seems, well...
... let’s be generous and call it ambivalent. Ted Cruz is Earth’s least-liked person. In this respect, he is also a startlingly pure embodiment of one of the right’s most cherished myths: The Self-Made Man.
Ted Cruz was born into neither wealth nor political nobility; he was not born handsome or brimming with natural charisma; he has all the social grace of a wet fart; literally everyone hates him; and yet, he became a U.S. Senator and won whole entire states in a major-party primary campaign for the presidency. Ted Cruz is out here living the rugged, uncompromising individualism posed by every post-Reagan conservative bard and poet laureate as the foundational American value. After all, what path to individual achievement is more rugged than the one where you seek and attain national elected office despite not just alienating but repulsing and horrifying virtually every human being with whom you come into contact, including those who share your professed beliefs?
What a hungry, self-inventing striver Ted Cruz is! What an American! Quibble over the sincerity or cynicism of his various and pretty much uniformly vile political positions if you want to, but the one pillar of ideological conservatism, the one big, beautiful American ideal Cruz manifestly and undeniably believes in, is animated by, and even embodies is that in this country a man can make himself what he chooses to be, obstacles be damned, so long as he believes he can.
Ted Cruz believes, man. Holy shit does he ever. Enough to bundle all his horror up into more-or-less plausible human form and ooze his way within sight of the most powerful elected office on Earth. He is the truest of believers. And the right stiff-armed him in favor of a big orange inheritance baby. Not a more conventional, middle-of-the-road candidate, but a great big combed-over shit-for-brains whose platform begins and ends with him pointing down at the pile of cash he landed on at birth and bellowing, “I’m a winner.” I’m laughing my ass off. Fuck him.