Ted Cruz would make a much better president than Donald Trump, and it shouldn’t be hard to see why.
Ted Cruz spent the CNN debate Thursday drawing policy contrasts between himself and Republican front-runner Donald Trump. On ISIS, trade, and immigration, Cruz said Trump speaks to voters’ concerns but doesn’t have solutions that address the problems America confronts. The personal attacks and shouting that have characterized the previous Republican debates were gone, replaced with somber candidates trying to hit target audiences with messages that have worked in the past. Trump was the politically incorrect straight-talker who wants America to win again. Cruz was the conservative ideologue ready to take on the bipartisan Washington cartel. Marco Rubio was once again the youthful, eloquent voice of a rising generation of conservatives. And John Kasich was the experienced governor who wants to expand the Republican coalition by reviving the tradition of compassionate conservatism.
And this is a ridiculous idea. Cruz would make a much better president than Trump. It shouldn’t be hard to see why. For one thing, Cruz actually knows what he’s talking about. If you listened to Trump during the CNN debate, you heard little in the way of policy detail. His answers begin with a few words describing how angry people are and how China is taking our jobs before ending with a demand that we negotiate better deals. Trump is full of bluster, often funny and impolitic. He’s a great communicator because he reaches people’s deepest emotions. But to call him “articulate” would be an exaggeration, and to call him a “wonk” would be delusional. You might not like Cruz’s policies or the manner in which he communicates them, but there’s no question he has firm convictions, a grasp of detail, and knows how to make an argument.
He’s talking about Trump winning. That’s all that matters to him. The president is not only our head of government. He’s also the head of state. He represents America. And I truly don’t understand how one could think Donald Trump would be a better representative of America than Ted Cruz. Trump is riveting, entertaining, even charismatic. But he curses, he offends, he disturbs, he confronts, he bends and twists and pushes reality until it suits his needs. Having him as president would be like living on a rollercoaster. You wouldn’t know whether you are up or down, and you’d be likely to wake up nauseous.