Rob Crilly

Ted Cruz fails to follow the script as he crashes Trump’s coronation

American political conventions are supposed to be coronations. They are meant to be choreographed and scripted arrangements to ensure that aspiring presidents can be exhibited on prime time TV to their full advantage. Dull. Nothing about this election season has been routine. And this week in Cleveland has been the craziest of the year so far. Not in the streets around the Quicken Loans Arena, where the doom mongers warned of violent clashes between protesters and supporters of Donald Trump. Instead the drama is playing out day after day inside the convention, which has been remade in the image of its divisive candidate.

Last night was supposed to be Mike Pence’s night as he officially accepted the nomination for vice-president. It was meant to be his chance – as a political heavyweight with a conservative background – to help bring some of the anti-Trumpers back into the fold. Instead the night will be remembered for the exact opposite reasons thanks to Ted Cruz, the Texas senator who dropped out of the Republican race in May. He began strongly enough, provoking warm applause as he referenced Britain’s Brexit vote:

‘We’ve seen it with Brexit. Voters are overwhelmingly rejecting the political establishment and rejecting big government. People are fed up with politicians that don’t listen to them.’

Freddy Gray and Scott McConnell discuss the American tragedy with Isabel Hardman:

But he clearly hadn’t read the memo saying it was for the party to unite around its chosen candidate. And not for the first time, Cruz demonstrated why he is so hated by so many of his party colleagues and has a reputation for thinking only of himself. Even at Trump’s own convention he could bring himself to say the candidate’s name only once. And he very pointedly refused to endorse Trump.

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