Senator Ted Cruz’s 2016 campaign released a video entitled “No Regrets” addressed to his supporters with a closing message that the movement is “to be continued.”
Given that in prior election cycles the runner-up has often been the nominee in the subsequent election cycle (John McCain, Mitt Romney), it would be unsurprising for Cruz to look forward to the 2020 election depending on the outcome of the 2016 general election. This is even more likely given the strength of his grassroots support and the sentiment within the conservative movement that a strong conservative leader is needed to rescue the party and country. This may be the case even with a Trump-led GOP victory in 2016.
Cruz himself explicitly draws a parallel to Ronald Reagan’s unsuccessful 1976 bid for the GOP nomination: “Ronald Reagan in 1976 came up short…I suspect at that convention there were more than a few tears shed…It’s going to be our task to go forward and continue fighting for that movement.”
Interestingly, in the 1976 primary Reagan went against a sitting president in his own party, albeit one that had not been elected to office, since Gerald Ford ascended to the office in the wake of Richard Nixon’s resignation. Obviously, if Hillary Clinton is victorious in 2016 Cruz will have a strong candidacy in 2020 being both the runner-up and being able to argue that the Republican party lost in 2016 by betraying conservative principles in the person of Donald Trump. However, what if Trump prevails but betrays conservative principles? There might be enough #NeverTrump supporters that it could be conceivable that Cruz would consider a primary bid against Trump even as a sitting president depending upon how Trump governs.
See the video here at the Cruz campaign’s youtube channel.