The Corner

Politics & Policy

Why Didn’t Sessions Endorse Cruz?

I was disappointed that Jeff Sessions endorsed Trump while the issue is still in doubt. I’m not betraying any confidences by saying that this wasn’t some long-planned stunt — he had been genuinely undecided not that long ago. Sessions has stood up for Cruz against silly charges that he wasn’t really against the Schumer-Rubio monstrosity, and has co-sponsored a bill with Cruz to rein in the anti-American-worker H-1B program.

This is purely speculation, but I think what probably made up his mind to endorse — and to endorse Trump instead of Cruz — was the imperative to stop Rubio. For some reason, the conventional wisdom has gelled that Cruz can’t stop Trump, whereas Rubio can. I think that’s nuts — unlike Rubio, Cruz is likely to actually win his home state. (I’ll be voting for him tomorrow in Virginia.)

In any case, Rubio is clearly the establishment choice to be the anti-Trump. And a President Rubio combined with a Speaker Ryan is a nightmare scenario for immigration; many people see it as essentially guaranteeing a Chamber of Commerce–approved amnesty/immigration-surge bill, different from the Gang of Eight only in not letting the amnesty recipients vote.

There’s no doubt that’s what many of Rubio’s supporters crave, crave it as the hart panteth after the water brooks. And Rubio’s current promise that “nothing happens” until enforcement is complete is the same falsehood he told Limbaugh and others about the Gang of Eight bill, so you’ll pardon me if I don’t believe him.

But I’m confident that we would succeed — yet again — in stopping a Rubio-Ryan amnesty push in 2017; Sessions apparently is not, and sees Trump as the only way to nip it in the bud. Since he’s the one who’s actually waged and won these fights in Congress, we can’t dismiss his assessment.

Sessions is a gentleman and man of deep integrity; it’s a sobering lesson about the realities of politics that a man of his caliber concluded that it was necessary to endorse someone like Trump for the nomination (as opposed to the general election, where even I would, with only the briefest of hesitations, vote for Trump over Hillary).


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