Harsh Reality

Friday, March 18, 2016

Cruz Pulls It Back From The Edge

I've made no secret about the fact that I've liked Ted Cruz since he first crashed the national political scene with a Tea Party victory in his Texas U.S. Senate race. And I liked how he showed enormous cajones in standing up to the establishment on Capitol Hill during his time there.

And it seemed obvious to me that, in the beginning of this presidential campaign, he was the beneficiary of other GOP candidates' attacks on Donald Trump. If you recall, Cruz kept his focus, stayed out of that fight and let the other candidates destroy their candidacies by trying to take out The Donald.

Cruz got some nice perks for that course of action:
1. He got to appear Presidential and above the fray;
2. He got to do what he does best, which is articulate his positions;
3. He steadily climbed in polling, going from long-shot to the #2 heading into Iowa;
4. He picked up supporters whose candidates had flamed out trying to be the one to "take down Donald Trump", and;
5. He won a decisive victory in the Iowa caucuses.
Not too shabby.

So I was surprised and disappointed to see him decide to try to do the same, exact thing that all the wash-out candidates did: Turn his attention to attacking Donald Trump. Instead of giving voters a reason to vote for him, for some reason Cruz decided to spend his valuable time and resources telling voters why they should not vote for the other guy.

This strategy worked out exactly the way it did for Rand Paul, Jeb Bush & Marco Rubio. But instead of going all-in to the point of quitting the campaign, I was excited to see that Cruz seems to have realized his mistake and turned this thing around when I saw these tweets:

I responded with this Tweet:

Cruz seems to have pulled it back from the edge. It's late in the game now, but he's still in the race. Bottom line: Cruz has GOT to stop attacking Trump. And calling Trump's voters stupid was a horrible miscalculation. But this isn't just about winning an election now. Cruz needs to recognize that he and Trump have the vast majority of Republican voters behind them. For the same reason. And they are both hated by the GOP establishment. For the same reason.

Right now, Donald Trump is the focus of a full-scale rebellion of conservative voters. And, by "conservative", I mean many who are disaffected or left out by the cultural and economic lurch to the left in Washington. Including traditional democrat voters like union rank-and-file and others that one doesn't usually count in the "conservative" column.

Ted Cruz has basically all of the rebellion voters that aren't in Trump's camp. This is just my unofficial guesstimate, but I believe 90%+ of Trump's voters would vote for Cruz if it comes down to that. Probably 50-60% of Cruz's voters would vote for Trump if he's the guy. Whomever won't support the other guy won't vote at all or vote 3rd party. But Trump is clearly in the driver's seat at this point.

Trump & Cruz need to understand what they're up against. Not necessarily work together, but they need to jockey for wins while realizing that the establishment hates them both and will do ANYTHING to take them both out. I don't have an answer, but I believe Cruz has seen that he needs to stop attacking Trump. That didn't work for Rand Paul, it didn't work for Jeb Bush and it didn't work for Marco Rubio.

So far, Cruz is the only one to walk to that edge and pull it back without going all-in Trump-hating. He's GOT to get to what got him his wins in Iowa & Texas. When Cruz is positive and articulates what he'll do to beat Hillary and increase freedom, he's saying what people who are part of the rebellion want to hear. It's probably too late in the process for him to be able to win the nomination, but he & Trump need to get their heads together to make sure they don't wreck this thing for all of their voters.

The sides HAVE to realize what the stakes are at the convention. Cruz's pivot back to embracing the outsider role - such as going after common core and other Washington nonsense - is what made Ted Cruz a front-runner and what voters want to hear.

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