I don’t think I need to convince anybody that American culture and politics are nearing life support at this present time.
On the domestic front, we continue to disintegrate morally as a nation. In foreign policy, the USA is more disappointing to its allies and weak in the eyes of its enemies than possibly any point in our 240 year history.
Which brings us to Election 2016–a turning point for the US and the world.
Don’t assume a wrong idea about the title above. It’s a play on words.
What will bring about the reviving of America?
One of the drawbacks to learning the Spanish language through secular institutions is that they don’t teach you religious words. I took Spanish for five years in junior high and high school. Then, as a Christian missionary, I began traveling to Central and South America and tried to use the language I’d learned.
I did pretty well on the basics. But I’d never been taught important words like Jesus Christ (Jesus Cristo), the Holy Spirit (Espiritu Santo), repentance (arrepentimiento) sin (pecado) and faith (fe). (I should have known “fe” because it’s part of the name of the capital city of New Mexico: Santa Fe =Holy Faith).
There was another important word I didn’t know that we currently associate with a certain candidate for president of the United States.
His name is Ted Cruz. Both he and his surname are Hispanic. You might be able to guess the meaning of his name just by looking at it.
Cruz means “Cross.” It’s a reference to the wooden Cross that Jesus Christ died upon to save us from our sins.
So the current senator from Texas is Ted Cross, or “Ted of the Cross.”
I want to apply that meaning in an unusual way to the presidential election this week.
If you are following the political scene, watching the debates, and reading various media articles, you are undoubtedly aware that businessman Donald Trump is in the driver’s seat for securing the Republican nomination for president.
The Republican field started with seventeen qualified candidates–what many call the “deepest bench” ever of good men and women who could serve as POTUS. Thirteen of that group never gained traction and are sitting on the sidelines.
Only four remain.
During the initial winnowing, Trump soared based on his business/wealth/entertainment stature as an outsider who listened to the anger of the Republican (and American) electorate. He refreshingly decried the political establishment. He rightly railed against open borders, the lobbyist gravy train, declining religious freedom, and the tyranny of political correctness.
His blunt style and powerful personality quickly won over about a third of the Republican primary voters, including many Christians and evangelical leaders.
In the beginning, I, too, was fascinated by him.
But over time it became apparent that 1) Donald Trump knew very little about faith in Christ, 2) His character was extremely childish and offensive, 3) His “conservative principles” were, at the least, suspect, 4) Some of his businesses practices were dubious, and 4) Most people liked him because he was a king-like figure who would channel their frustration with the DC elite.
To read more about Trump’s king-like appeal, I recommend “Christians Demand a King” by Bill Blankshaen.
If Donald Trump gets the Republican nomination or becomes president of the United States, there will be much more to say on this subject.
But back to the four-way race.
Here’s where the Republican delegate count stands today: Trump – 458. Cruz – 359, Rubio – 151, and Kasich – 54. A candidate needs 1237 to win.
So far, Donald Trump has won 14 states, Ted Cruz beat him in six states and Marco Rubio, the senator from Florida, captured one state. If you are into the details, Trump has done the best in states with open primaries or caucuses where independents and dis-enfranchised Democrats can vote on the Republican side. Cruz has prevailed in most of the closed primaries.
Donald Trump seems to have a “high floor” or base of support that comes in at about 35%. In a four way race, this strong nucleus has propelled him to a dozen victories. In those races, the other three candidates have split up the remaining votes with Ted Cruz usually taking second as well as winning the six closed primaries.
Thus, there’s been a consistent 65% vote against Trump. Analysts call this his “low ceiling.” Most people believe in a two-way race, Donald Trump would lose–especially to Ted Cruz–who’s beaten him six times.
Which brings us to the pivotal moment in the race for president.
On Tuesday, voters in Florida (99 delegates) and Ohio (66) and a few other states will cast votes. Ohio and Florida are winner take all. Many people believe that if Donald Trump wins them both (165 delegates) then he will be well on his way to winning the Republican nomination outright or getting the delegates needed to deny him at the Cleveland convention.
I believe that Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and John Kasich would all make good presidents who could point America in the right direction. Ted Cruz is my first choice. Rush Limbaugh says that Cruz is “the closest candidate to Ronald Reagan that we’ve seen in our lifetime.”
Rubio is also a young, rising star. He’s a man of faith, good character, and excellent policies. He confessed this week that he shouldn’t have used Trump-like tactics to try and topple the front runner.
Humility is refreshing.
John Kasich has the best resume and experience of them all. He’s also a man of faith, compassion, and competence.
But the problem is that if all three stay in Tuesday’s Ohio and Florida primaries, it’s likely that Trump will win both states. It’s simple divide and conquer. Trump wins with his 35% core.
It’s possible that Kasich will win Ohio. He’s a popular governor there. But to make sure he gets enough votes, Cruz and Rubio should withdraw this week and tell their supporters to go to Kasich.
It’s a little more iffy in Florida–Rubio’s home. Though he is a good closer, it appears that Rubio will lose Florida to Trump due to finishing poorly in last week’s primaries. For him to win, the same strategy should be used. Cruz and Kasich should withdraw and point their voters to Rubio. If they do, then, instead of dividing the non-Trump vote, Rubio will beat Trump and take the 99 delegates.
Cruz, Rubio, and Kasich should meet alone tonight after the debate and commit to that strategy.
But there’s another way.
From Erick Erickson:
“Rubio drops out [in Florida] and Cruz publicly declares Rubio his running mate. They barnstorm the nation with Rubio throwing the punches at Trump and Cruz talking about their vision for the future. They crisscross Florida raising voter awareness that voters need to vote for Cruz. They go to Missouri, North Carolina, etc.”
“Once they get through March 15th barnstorming the country together, they divide up the states with Rubio going as Cruz’s surrogate. Rubio hits New England. Cruz goes elsewhere. They have some joint events together.”
“Doing so shifts the conversation. Doing so forces voters to pay attention to the changed dynamic. And they head to Cleveland with either 1237 delegates for Cruz or at least more than Trump. It gives them a head start on having a general election ticket, which gives them an advantage over the Democrats.”
“In the process they unite the party and they beat Trump. In the process they start making the case against Hillary.”
“It can be done. It is possible. But the Marco Rubio supporters have to dare to believe and be willing to set aside grievances with Cruz to win.”
I’ve felt from the beginning a Ted Cruz-Marco Rubio ticket would be the best choice to lead America forward. The’re both young, articulate, minorities, faith-filled and principled men who would make a powerful Dream Team.
They’d also unite the Republican Party. Cruz is the outsider who will do even more than Trump to change Washington. Rubio would make a wonderful peace-maker in Congress.
But here’s the difficulty. It will take the “way of the Cross” to get there.
What does the cross of Jesus Christ represent? It speaks of sacrifice, humility, laying down your rights, and suffering to achieve the greater good.
Reviving America will require nothing less. In this scenario, Ted Cruz must be humble enough to withdraw in Ohio and pick Rubio as his running mate. Rubio has to humbly realize that his path to the White House has dimmed and be willing to sacrifice the top job for the present (his day may come).
They must both go in the opposite spirit against Donald Trump. All of them, especially Marco Rubio, must make the Jesus-like choice to lay down his dreams for the good of the nation.
Let’s go a step further. I believe if either of them humbly take the second spot then victory can be achieved. Cruz-Rubio or Rubio-Cruz. There are different strengths to both teams.
But in each case, one must take a step of humility.
Up until now, I’ve admired both of them for their faith and perseverance. But reviving America requires more than faith. It demands humility, sacrifice and death to self.
And we shouldn’t just be pointing at them. What can I do today, this week, this month, this year to go the way of the cross in my own life? What do I need to change? Where is humility and sacrifice required in God’s unfolding plans for me and you?
Let’s pray for Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio and practice humility in our own lives. The first condition of 2 Chronicles 7:14 is “If my people will humble themselves…”
That’s the opening key to revival.
It’s the way of the Cross.