Mitt Romney endorses Ted Cruz:
Former presidential candidate Mitt Romney will vote for Texas Senator Ted Cruz, saying he is "repulsed" by Republican front-runner Donald Trump.
Mr Romney said in a Facebook post that the only way to nominate a Republican is to have an open convention, in which party officials choose the nominee.
He campaigned with Governor John Kasich in Ohio but said voting for Mr Cruz is the only way to stop "Trumpism".
He joins other Republican leaders coalescing around Mr Cruz.
The former governor of Massachusetts has a remarkable reverse midas touch: Everything he touches turns to fail. He endorsed Marco Rubio and within days the Florida Senator was heading for the showers. He debated Barack Obama and failed to land all but the most glancing of blows. He vowed to solve the health care crisis in Massachusetts and instead provided the template for Obamacare. For a man so successful in his private sector career, Mitt Romney is remarkably tone deaf when it comes to politics. Given so unpromising a track record Ted Cruz might be better off if he declined Romney's endorsement.
Six months ago I was marvelling at the bench strength of the Republican primary candidates. Sure the Donald was there - lurking - but he's been lurking at the edge of American politics for thirty years. Typically his Presidential campaigns were publicity stunts that would last a few weeks and then fade. Then the world's worst coiffed billionaire made some off hand remarks about illegal immigration and jumped into the polling double digits. That was enough to get some serious media attention. Being a genius of media manipulation - as well as the Western world's greatest attention whore - he provided brilliant and irresistible copy. For nearly a year now the media has been gifting one of the richest men in America an untold fortune in free publicity.
There is little point rehashing that Donald Trump is no more a conservative than I am Marie Antionette. There is even less point reminding voters that he is an amoral high grade conman with the instincts and rhetorical skills of a schoolyard bully. His electoral success is one of those head scratching moments of life that defy rational explanation. Since everyone and his uncle has tried to explain Trumpism - in much the same way Russian historians have tried to explain the influence of Rasputin on the royal court - it behooves me as an unpaid and largely ignored pundit to offer my unsolicited opinion.
Whatever Donald Trump is he is most definitely real, real in a way in which his Republican rivals fundamentally are not. His rawness is his power. Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz likely decided upon the Presidency sometime between junior and senior kindergarten. Their public utterances and movements are guided by an incessant internal monologue that repeats: Stay on Message. They both worship the memory of Ronald Reagan, yet they utterly lack the great man's most effective political weapon: A natural and easy charm.
In contrast to senators Rubio and Cruz, New York's most famous - though hardly most powerful - real estate mogul is chasing after the presidency the way most rich men chase after a better golf handicap, a pleasant hobby with little real world consequences. The Donald doesn't seem to really, really care if he loses. If he doesn't win the White House, he'll conjure up one of his impressive bits of self-rationalization and get back to building gaudy casinos and seducing women a third his age.
That sheer insouciance is incredibly energizing to many. Forget the facts for a moment, think of it in emotional terms: Donald Trump doesn't give a damn. Thoreau famously said that the mass of men lead lives of quiet desperation. A man like Trump - utterly free in his thoughts and actions - is like water in the desert to such men. Like a ball capped action hero Donald Trump is doing what they've always dreamed of doing: Turing to the world and uttering a loud and unprintable profanity.
No matter how absurd, no matter how wild and utterly irrational, Donald Trump is selling emotional release. There is no single thing that he is promising release from exactly: Unemployment, despair, relative poverty, the intellectual straight jacket of political correctness or simply the boredom of living in the modern world. Yet there is something strangely intoxicating about a liberating yell. Gestalt therapy for the repressed modern male soul.
You cannot reason with this kind of passion. It's a fever that must run its course and the patient nursed back to health afterwards. How long the fever lasts is unknowable. The mechanics of American politics being what they are Donald Trump is almost certainly the next Republican nominee. Mitt Romney's endorsement - a man who wouldn't know a liberating yell if it blasted out an ear drum - is the kiss of electoral death for Ted Cruz. Marco Rubio would have made - and perhaps will make - a fine President. I would have loved to see Ted Cruz break some furniture in the White House, just as he has in the Senate. These things are not in the cards this cycle.
Get your ear plugs my friends. The next few months are going to be very, very loud.