Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor who dropped out of the Republican presidential race last month, announced this morning that he is endorsing Ted Cruz. It’s an anti-Trump, clothespin endorsement: Bush appealed to Republicans to “overcome the divisiveness and vulgarity Donald Trump has brought into the political arena.” And although Bush praised Cruz as a “consistent, principled conservative,” the two men come from completely different camps of the Republican Party.
The chart above shows our graphical conception of the Republican field — what we call the GOP’s “five-ring circus” — and how far across that field former presidential candidates have gone when choosing who to endorse. (There’s a healthy amount of subjectivity behind each candidate’s placement on that diagram, so take this all with a grain of salt.) Both Bush and Lindsey Graham traveled a ways along the circus floor — across the entire “establishment” ring and beyond — to arrive at their Cruz endorsements. Only Chris Christie’s endorsement of Trump, the GOP front-runner, looks like a bigger stretch, though admittedly, Trump’s placement here is extremely tenuous.
Still, Cruz has been mostly despised by Republican apparatchiks, and the above chart should give you a sense of the lengths some Republican Party “elites” are willing to go to stop Trump.