No, Ted Cruz is not restarting his campaign. Stop the speculation. Stop it right now.
It’s true that Senator Cruz, in his first interview after dropping out of the presidential race last week, said that he would not rule out jumping back in “if there is a path to victory.” Cruz told radio and TV host Glenn Beck he would reassess his status if somehow he wins Tuesday’s Republican primary in Nebraska.
But that’s not happening and Cruz knows it. Hot takes to the contrary are nothing but pundits behaving badly.
“I’m not holding my breath,” said a chuckling Cruz of a Nebraska victory. “My assumption is that that will not happen.”
No kidding. Listen to when the subject comes up again at interview’s end – they all laugh. It’s a joke. Mostly.
Nor is Cruz thinking about a third-party run. He was unequivocal about that, for himself or any other anti-Trump Republican.
“I don’t think that’s very likely,” he said of a third-party bid.
That said, in the interview with Mr. Beck – a big Cruz supporter – the Texas senator made it clear that while his presidential bid has ended, he’s still running hard for the post of Mr. Conservative.
He criticized media analyses that depict the rise of Donald Trump as the end of GOP conservatism per se. The conservative moment remains strong, he said. It was just divided in the 2016 race, leaving an opening for the celebrity nativist, Mr. Trump.
Cruz said he intended to go back to the Senate and continue working hard to “get Washington off your back.”
“We’ll accomplish that but it’ll take more time,” he said.
Cruz’s strategy from the moment he walked onto Capitol Hill has been to rally all the strands of Reagan-era conservatism, from the tea party to the religious right, to his banner. On the presidential trail he insisted that millions of evangelical voters stayed home in 2012, and that if they showed up in 2016, the White House would flip to the GOP.
That didn’t work this time. But in this interview at least, Cruz sure sounded like someone who’s already thinking about 2020.