Many conservatives I know aim at the politicians they believe are most pure. They promote their ideals to the nth degree, never waivering from commitment to principle and theory.
Over and over, however, I have always wondered this. In the world of politics, purity may sound pretty - but it doesn't put the sort of laws on the table that you want. If your ideal politician cannot win elections - and instead puts people into office who are not 15% removed from what you'd like, but instead 83% - can that possibly be good?
Goldwater lost in one of the great drubbings in history, lost by more than any Republican but Alfred M. Landon, and carried only his home state and five southern states for all the wrong reasons (opposing -- for a fairly innocent reason -- the Civil Rights Act of 1964.)
No one followed the Cruz playbook more than Goldwater, and no one has managed to lose so conclusively. He offered a choice, not an echo, and nobody took it. But how, if Cruz is so right, could this have happened? It can’t, which is why it is never brought up in this context. In his world, it doesn’t exist.
As the Goldwater debacle has been excised from history, so have the actual reasons why Dole, McCain and Romney all lost. Dole lost because the Bill Clinton he faced in 1996 was not the Clinton of 1993-94, but the Third Way Bill Clinton, who with the help of Dick Morris was triangulating his way between Newt Gingrich and congressional Democrats -- the Bill Clinton who would sign the welfare reform bill and say the era of big government was over and gone.
As for "President" Romney, exit polls showed he carried the electorate on critical measures like values and leadership, and lost because he failed badly on one single measure: "cares about people like you."
This suggests that he lost not because he needed to be more like Cruz, who gives not a clue that he cares about anyone, but more like compassionate conservative George W. Bush, who did very well with the Hispanics and the lower-middle-class white voters whom Romney so drastically lost.