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Electability vs. Conviction: The Conservative Dilemma

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I’ll preface this by saying that I would more likely than not vote for whoever the Republican nominee is in the general election. But if it isn’t Rafael Edward Cruz I am going to be more than salty about it.

I spent last weekend surrounded by the best and brightest students in the country at a retreat for conservative students, and many of them were fervent supporters of a certain Florida senator. And as someone that is working on Cruz’s campaign and frankly falls more in love with what he stands for every day, my initial reaction was “ew.”

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But I decided to set aside my bias and try to think fairly and objectively about the cuter Cuban. A Marco Rubio presidency wouldn’t be my first choice, and I’m not even sure it would be my second choice, but it might not be a disaster. Sure, he’s sweaty, and kind of sketchy, but he’s smart. And between him and #Chillary, I wouldn’t hesitate to cast my ballot for him. I would feel dirty after and probably take a nap and a self pity shot, but I would do it, no questions asked.

But one of the things that annoys me most about Narcos for Marco or whatever they call themselves is their obsession with “electability.” I mean, I get it. Electability is important. The objective of this race at the end of the day is to win, and to keep lunatics from Vermont and liars in hideous pantsuits out of the White House. No matter how heated things get on our own side of the aisle, at the end of the day #CruzCrew and #TeamMarco are the same team, and have the same goal.

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But as a Republican from Massachusetts, I have somewhat of an understanding of what happens when you focus too much on electability and not enough on what they’ll be able to do once in office. Charlie Baker is an excellent governor and an outstanding man. He’s pretty dilffy too. But he ran as a moderate, and has to behave like the candidate he ran as. As ecstatic as republicans are to be represented in Massachusetts politics, it can sometimes feel like a false victory.

And let’s not forget that our last two moderate candidates lost the White House to Obama.

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I’m not saying that electability isn’t important, but it can obstruct view of the bigger picture. Electability is something that can be changed. Conviction isn’t. We need someone in the White House who’s going to do what needs to be done, no matter how much heat he gets for it or who he pisses off. As Ann Coulter said (even though, heartbreakingly, she refuses to get off the Trump train), “We don’t want someone who will get 98 percent of the vote; we want someone who will get 51 percent of the vote.”

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