Ted Cruz warned Friday that a brokered convention would spark "a manifest revolt" in the Republican Party, and said the idea is only being promoted by establishment Republicans who fear change.
"Any time you hear someone talking about a brokered convention, it is the Washington establishment in a fevered frenzy," Cruz said during an appearance at CPAC on Friday. "And so they've seized on this master plan: We go to the brokered convention and the D.C. power-brokers will drop someone in who is exactly to the liking of the Washington establishment. If that were to happen, we will have a manifest revolt on our hands all across this country."
Talk of a brokered convention has grown into a mainstream GOP idea in recent weeks, as Republican leaders and conservative activists alike have begun organizing to stop Donald Trump from clinching the party's presidential nomination. And though Fox News' Sean Hannity framed the subject of a convention fight as a means of stopping Cruz and Trump alike, some of that Trump anxiety has inclined establishment Republicans to contemplate backing Cruz.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R.-S.C., who likened a matchup between Cruz and Trump to choosing between being poisoned or shot, begrudgingly allowed he'd pick Cruz. "We may be in a position where we have to rally around Ted Cruz as the only way to stop [GOP front-runner] Donald Trump," Graham said Tuesday.
Mitt Romney, who has reportedly told his political team to explore ways to prevent Trump from reaching the number of delegates needed to win the nomination on the first-ballot at the convention, also expressed a willingness to back Cruz. "Frankly, the only serious policy proposals that deal with the broad range of national challenges we confront, come today from Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio and John Kasich," Romney said Thursday in a speech dedicated to attacking Trump. "One of these men should be our nominee."
Cruz kept some distance from Romney on Friday — "I come from a different place than Mitt does," he said — but embraced his opposition to Trump. "The concern Mitt's expressing is a concern people have all over this country," Cruz said. "If Donald is the nominee, in all likelihood, Hillary wins, we lose the Supreme Court for a generation, the Bill of Rights is lost, we're buried in debt and jihadists continue to rise across the globe."
But he was careful not to hint at a desire for a convention fight. "If you want to beat Donald Trump, here's how you do it: You beat Donald Trump with the voters," he said.