Call it a public display of political affection: Sen. Ted Cruz has invited Donald Trump to Washington next month for a rally against the Iran nuclear deal. The two Republican rivals are set to appear at an event organized by the Tea Party Patriots, the Center for Security Politics, and the Zionist Organization of America, according to the Cruz campaign.
At an Iowa event a couple of weeks ago, a 9-year-old boy had a question for Donald Trump. “Mr. Trump?” he asked. "Are you Batman?"
“I am Batman,” the Republican answered.
Two weeks later, it seems we know he's auditioning for the role of Robin.
The event is tentatively set for September 9th, which should be shortly before Congress votes on legislation that would, if successful, derail the international nuclear agreement with Iran.
By any modern standard, it's quite unusual for rival candidates, running for the same party nomination at the same time, to team up like this, but in this case, neither Ted Cruz nor Donald Trump has much to lose. The far-right senator, who made the initial invitation to his ostensible foe, obviously wants to woo Trump supporters in the event the GOP frontrunner stumbles, and an event like this will help solidify Cruz's broader goals.
It's also largely the opposite of the strategy Lindsey Graham and Rick Perry tried for a while -- instead of making headlines by getting on Trump's bad side, drawing his ire, Cruz will stay in the spotlight by effectively partnering with the New York developer.
Trump, meanwhile, will get to be in front of the cameras for a big D.C. spectacle. Trump likes being in front of the cameras for big spectacles.
The big winners, however, may be Democratic supporters of the Iran deal.
Remember, the key votes in September will be Democratic -- the right can't kill the agreement on its own; Republicans will need a minimum of 13 Democratic senators and 44 Democratic House members. As of this morning, the GOP is far short of both goals.
And the Cruz/Trump sideshow will almost certainly discourage on-the-fence Dems from siding with the far-right. As the vote nears, wavering Democrats will have to decide whether they want to partner with Ted Cruz and Donald Trump, of all people, to gut American foreign policy and alienate much of the planet. It seems like a stretch.
Cruz almost certainly realizes this, but derailing the policy is secondary to helping his presidential campaign.
In this, everyone wins except GOP leaders and their party at large. Trump wins, because he'll have created a new excuse to get more attention, all while pretending to take foreign policy seriously. Cruz wins, because he'll raise his profile and improve his position with Trump backers. And Democrats win because the circus will likely improve the odds of success on the nuclear deal.