So my preferred candidate in the GOP presidential race, Rand Paul, just declared the suspension of his candidacy. My understanding is that he has not yet formally withdrawn from the race, meaning that votes cast for him in the primary could still secure him delegates at the convention. But if he does formally withdraw his candidacy, I may have to think about my second choice.
There are arguments to made for several of them. Trump is rude and politically incorrect, but his nationalism is a refreshing change from the internationalist warmongering that sadly seems to define much of the GOP foreign policy consensus. That being said, Trump has made several bloodthirsty remarks on the campaign that shouldn’t be dismissed lightly, such as his support for retaliation against the families of terrorists.
Ted Cruz is the closest to Rand on most of the issues. His style is a bit too conservative and evangelical for many, but he has actually been much more forthright about protecting American civil liberties and adopting a more defensive and nationalist foreign policy than most other candidates, barring Paul and Trump. My main objections involve the evidence of his opportunism on issues ranging from foreign policy to immigration, as well as doubts about his constitutional eligibility for office, given the fact that he was born in Canada.
I know Ben Carson once endorsed Rand Paul, which makes me now want to give him another look, despite the fact that I’ve been very underwhelmed by his debate performances. While Marco Rubio is very conservative on certain issues, he is far too militaristic on the one hand, and too pro-amnesty on the other.