There’s a Cruz underground at the Republican National Convention, one that claims it’s being boxed out and even physically suppressed by an official apparatus determined to throw the party’s weight behind Donald Trump. When you walk the halls, its members will come up to you whispering about the injustice, about being silenced, about the “butthurt.” And just when you notice that they’re not wearing any Trump insignia, just a round white pin with a light gray “C” with a small flame at its heart—that’s when they’ll show you photos documenting the conspiracy against their candidate. There’s the photo of the teleprompter from Monday night before the voice vote that says “THE AYES HAVE IT.” “They were always going to have it that way, we didn’t even have a chance,” says one Louisiana delegate. There’s the photo from Tuesday’s nominating roll call vote of the empty seats of the Virginia delegation, with some man passing out credentials to anyone who would take one. There’re the stories of intimidation and threats to take away the credentials of the rebellious, Cruz-supporting delegation from Washington state.

“Yesterday, before the vote, they had someone come and lead us in prayer,” says Washington state delegate Selena Coppa. “They said, ‘May God put his hand on your mouth when you think of speaking out, and may God put his hand on your shoulder when you think of standing up.’”

“A woman from the Georgia delegation was intimidated in the bathroom. She was pushed up against the wall because she didn’t support Trump,” said Martin Mertz, a Washington delegate. “Intimidation—that’s the Trump way!”

“We sat near them,” said a Utah delegate of the way the Washington state delegation was whipped. He, too, was wearing a C pin. “And the veterans among us said they’d never seen such heavy-handed tactics.”

The Republican Party may have nominated Trump, but the resistance continues. And the party apparatus does appear to be working hard to keep it under control. Strapping young men dressed like Masters of the Universe and wearing fluorescent yellow baseball caps roam the halls and the convention floor. “We’re the whips,” one of them told me. “Now that the [nominating] vote is over, we’re singling out the protesters to make sure things are flowy.”

Steve Scalise, congressman from Louisiana and House Majority Whip, was sent in to pacify a restive, pro-Cruz faction of his state’s delegation, telling them at a breakfast Wednesday that if they don’t vote for Trump, they’re voting for Hillary. The heavily pro-Cruz Utah delegation was promised a visit to their state by Mike Pence, whom conservatives there like and accept.

And yet, the Cruz underground was not giving up. When I asked the Utah delegate if he’d be campaigning for Trump in the general election, he smiled and said, “No, ma’am.” When Cruz began to speak, I talked to Marc Perez, a Washington delegate with a red Cruz Conservative T-shirt peeking out from under his blazer. “We respect the nomination of Donald Trump, but today, we’re honoring Ted Cruz,” he began, gingerly feeling the conversation’s temperature. After a few minutes, though, he said, “Most of us are for Cruz.”

I asked him whether he would vote for Trump in November.

“No,” he said, crisply. Trump, he said, “is a populist; he is not a conservative. I don’t want Hillary to win, but I’m not going to spend my time campaigning for him. I’ll be actively campaigning for down-ballot conservatives.”

As Cruz spoke, most of the Washington state delegation stood. They hugged one another, they stood on their chairs and cheered, they lifted their cowboy hats to him. They wore “Cruz Country” pins and stood listening solemnly. One man wore a T-shirt of Ted Cruz’s face photoshopped onto a tattooed and youthful gangster torso, a cigarette hanging from Cruz’s lip. They were so happy to see their man on this convention stage, in whatever capacity. Then, as it started to dawn on the Trumpers that Cruz’s endorsement was not forthcoming, the scattered boos began coalescing and building to a roar.

“This is torture!” yelled a Trumper from the rafters.

“Have some respect!” Coppa shouted back.

“Oh, come on!” yelled another Washington delegate in a C pin.

A fiery Coppa spun around, her angry, pleading face inches from mine. “Did you see the Trump whips whipping up pro-Trump chants?!” she pointed to the smug young men in fluorescent yellow caps: there, there, there. Agents! “They’re making it very uncomfortable!”

“We won! We lost!” exclaimed a young man with a flowery neck tattoo peeking out of a suit. His face was red and sweaty. “They tried to move me!”

“What?” yelled Coppa in the din.

“THEY TRIED TO REMOVE ME!” he yelled, showing me his badge ("Kalup Venen, Washington State delegate," it read). “I was up front and I was cheering for Cruz and they tried to remove me!”

“I’m so proud of him for not endorsing!” Coppa clapped her hands together. “If he wants to run in 2020, does he need to have made that endorsement? No!” (Coppa, an Iraq veteran, said, “There is nothing they could do to make me vote for Trump.”)

“He didn’t endorse Trump, but he endorsed liberty!” Venen yelled.

An Oregon delegate walked by, pointing to the booty in her clear bag: giant stickers that read, “Don’t blame me … I voted for TED CRUZ!”

“Put one on my back! Put one on my back!” Venen yelled, and the woman obliged.

A middle-aged man with a youthful, ruddy face clapped him on his back. “I supported Cruz and I still do,” he managed. He had lost his voice shouting for his candidate so he had to write down his name for me because his throat was at its breaking point: Tyler Mott, a delegate from Arizona. He too wasn’t going to vote for Trump in November. “I wouldn’t support a man who congratulated a Chinese dictator on how he handled the protesters in Tiananmen Square and called them troublemakers. Even Hillary Clinton wouldn’t say that! She wouldn’t even think it!”

Cruz had left the stage, his wife, Heidi, had been escorted out of the arena to shouts of “Goldman Sachs.” The resistance stood around with the Washington delegation fuming in scattered huddles, leaning over chairs and whispering angrily, pointing at the whips, venting their anger. But by then the whips had infiltrated the delegation. Eric Trump was on the stage, floundering as the Jumbotrons went black on him. The young men tucked away their clear earpieces and their unmissable yellow hats; they shot up at key moments and cheered for Eric. “YEAH!” they yelled. “TRUMP!” And looked around at the Washington delegates to join them, but they sat there, arms crossed in defiance.

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I truly have no words for any of this! Insane! 

One pesky fact remains, and that is that Cruz failed to garner enough support to win the nomination. IMO, the honorable thing for him to have done was to decline the invitation to speak at the convention.

I know I'll take criticism here for that opinion, but I'm not backing down on it. I was fine with Ted and his work in the Senate. I had a very negative gut reaction to his candidacy for president, and that's why I've said before that I was a hard sell on him from the beginning. Whether it was him personally, or his campaign, I don't know, but each time I read an email from him it smacked of the quintessential snake oil salesman, and that gut feeling got worse. Had he become the nominee, I'd be just as distant as I am now, but I'd hold my nose and vote for the nominee.

The same gut feeling you have about Cruz, I have about Trump! One day after the convention speech, Trump revives the Cruz father and the JFK Assassination thing! Then he said he may start a Pac and put 20 million dollars in it to fight Cruz for his Senate seat! This is the very thing Obama and the left do! I think he is a loose cannon. I will refrain from how I really feel about him at this point! It's morning and I don't need to raise my BP! :) Shouldn't he be worried about Hillary now?

I agree with that jfk stuff. It had no place the first time around, and certainly has none now.

Cruz did let Trump see the speech he was going to give, and Trump was also aware Cruz would not endorse him ahead of time as well.  Cruz did not say one negative thing in that speech about Trump.  Trump, the next day, is back to attacking Cruz's father. 

Some of the things Cruz did during the campaign bothered me. Having said that, how in the world can you have a negative reaction to how Cruz conducted himself, but vote for Trump?  It's beyond me.  Frankly, at this point, I don't care what people do. 

Here are the pesky facts:  Trump is an unhinged, narcissistic, progressive, liar that donated to hillary, is/was a friend of Soros, and is owned by Soros using Trump's own logic in how he owned politicians. 

If I were a Trump supporter, personally, I would worry more about those pesky facts.  However, Trump supprters can keep doing what Trump is doing, and attacking Cruz, or whomever else disagrees with him rather than attacking his opponent.  See how far that gets him.

The gut feeling was not brought on by how Cruz conducted himself. I have no desire to attack Cruz. I simply don't like him.

Hi JG I respect your opinion, but I think it's a matter of should he have spoken at the convention not could he. Rather he should have or not is debatable, but he had over 500 delegates which gave him a right to speak. I would say the same for anyone who was a presidential candidate. Some chose to do so, some didn't.

I'm not sure it is really fair to judge him by his campaign emails, which he probably didn't even write. I've read the reasons you did not support him before, which is your prerogative, but most of it seems to be for superficial reasons and feelings. Of course none of it matters now, for better or worse Trump is the Republican nominee.

Hi Watchman. I respect your opinion as well, just as I do the others here. I say this with a smile and love - those feelings...the gut ones? It's a long story, but I'm alive today because I followed those feelings.

I started this off all in for Gov. Walker. He was the first one knocked out by Trump. As for the Cruz emails, yes, he is responsible for their content, and the gimmicky bullshit in them, unless he denounced them. I got emails from all of them at the end. You know who had the most professional, most sincere, most understandable message? Bernie Sanders! He's probably the most honest and sincere in the whole election. I just happen to disagree with his politics.





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