Prominently featured in Ted Cruz’s radio ads heard in the run-up to Super Tuesday was the asseveration that “Trust is everything.” That was where he made his big mistake. In the world of postmodern politics, a world in which Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton were then already seemingly on the glide path to winning their parties’ nominations for the presidency, trust was, if not nothing, at best not counting for very much with voters, except maybe in Texas and a few other places. Mr. Cruz was trying to induce his would-be supporters to reach back into an increasingly hazy folk memory of a time when politics was still connected with traditional notions of the “honorable”—a word now surviving only as an honorific before a congressman’s or senator’s name. “Honorific” means “bearing honor,” but...


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