Donald Trump has done the unthinkable — by lowering the threshold of human decency 2,000 leagues below sea level, he has made Ted Cruz seem likable.
Last night on Jimmy Kimmel Live!, Cruz slipped out of his demagogic persona for a few minutes, to affect some approximation of cosmopolitan wit. He joked about his Star Wars nerd-dom, his wife’s baffling attraction to hot yoga, and that time he went to a Pink Floyd concert and saw a uniformed police officer smoking a doobie. Did his charm seem affected and oily? Sure. Were his jokes the kind a dad embarrasses his children with? Absolutely. Did he seem like he might be the Zodiac Killer? Yes, but in the best way possible.
“Who do you like better: Obama or Trump?” Kimmel asked.
The senator did his best simulation of human laughter, then said, “I dislike Obama’s policies more. But Donald, Donald is a unique individual.”
“I will say, I was watching the early part of the show,” he continued, his face glowing with thoughts of homicide. “And if I were in my car and getting ready to reverse and saw Donald in the backup camera, I’m not confident which pedal I’d push.”
Cruz made it through the entire interview without saying anything misogynistic, praising political violence, or suggesting he might nuke Europe, which is now an impressive feat for a Republican presidential candidate. Cruz isn’t the Zodiac Killer America deserves. But he may be the one we need right now.