Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) speaks during a campaign stop in Washington, N.H. (Matt Rourke/Associated Press)

We get it. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) is rattled. He’s afraid of losing Iowa. He doesn’t know how to deal with Donald Trump. But he sure isn’t helping matters with embarrassing arguments. His latest: “Right now, the Washington establishment is abandoning [Sen.] Marco Rubio. They made the assessment that Marco can’t win this race, and the Washington establishment is rushing over to support Donald Trump.” Thunk. Let’s consider the ways in which this is unhelpful.

First, after spending months genuflecting to Trump as a kindred spirit, how can Trump be a closet establishment figure? Maybe Cruz isn’t a good judge of character. Maybe he was duped. In any event, it reminds us how cringe-worthy Cruz’s flattery of Trump was.

Second, no one cares. Voters are supposed to like Cruz more now because people he does not like (“the establishment”) shift from one opponent to another? It defies logic.

Third, if the establishment is abandoning Rubio, maybe anti-establishment voters should like him more. Or something.

Fourth, it sounds desperate, in part because, no one thinks Trump is a Beltway insider. If anything, it makes Trump look powerful insofar as insiders have to come to him.

Fifth, it has nothing to do with the voters. While Cruz is contemplating some odd machinations among establishment donors, voters can rightfully be miffed that he isn’t focusing on them. What is Cruz going to do for them? We don’t know since he spends nearly all his time talking about who is fighting whom and who is with the “in” crowd. It sounds like high school, not a presidential race.

Sixth, he’s insulting his own fan club in talk radio by saying these folks are backing Trump, a stooge of the establishment. Which is it — are talk radio cheerleaders insightful or naive?

Seventh, Rubio and others are landing blows by showing Cruz is a slick, calculating pol with no sincere and deeply held beliefs. And here Cruz is so obviously playing the guilt-by-association game that he makes his opponents’ case: He’s another conniving pol who thinks voters are dumb.

Eighth, it’s an ineffective response to Sarah Palin, who helped Trump steal more news cycles and make the case that anti-establishment, anti-elites, anti-mainstream-media voters have a friend in Trump.

Sarah Palin endorsed the Republican presidential front-runner on Jan. 19, but their friendship was built over years. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

Ninth, is Palin now part of the establishment since she supports Trump? We’re getting a headache trying to keep up.

Tenth, Cruz loves to be the lonely martyr, the man up against the “Washington cartel,” but this also reminds voters how uniformly disliked Cruz is by colleagues and those with whom he would have to work with as president. Trump says of Cruz: “He’s very unpopular in Washington. When you have somebody that can’t get along with anybody, you’re not going to get deals done.” He has a point.