Ted Cruz: Winning from the Inside, Losing the Outside. What Next?
When Ted Cruz showed up last week for a rally in the Bronx, a city of 1.4 million people, he only attracted 12 voters to come to his event — and two of those were protesters. Cruz is not winning the most votes in the Republican primaries in 2016. Winning the most votes is not even Ted Cruz’s strategy. His strategy is to get delegates representing other candidates to ignore the voters they represent and choose him instead. His message to these delegates is a within-the-halls-of-power pitch, not a message to voters at all. To heck with voters, says Ted Cruz. But even within the halls of power, Cruz isn’t trying to convince elites he’d be a great president. Instead, he’s arguing that he’d be less bad than Donald Trump. A marmoset in a courduroy suit would be less bad than Donald Trump.
And yet, despite all this running from actual voters, despite his strategy of simply being the least-bad candidate, signs are that the Cruz strategy is prevailing. Thanks to back-room deals, every day it looks more likely that Ted Cruz will remain less popular with Republican voters and unpopular with the Republican Party elite — but the eventual nominee nonetheless.
The Republican Party elite is demonstrating right now that up to and including the moment of the presidential nomination, it — and not the voters — are in control. The moment after the nomination, however, power devolves back to the voters. Presented with this slap to the face, what do you think Republican Party rank-and-file voters will do? Will they accept the slap, paste on a smile, and ask for more, more, four more years of this? Or will they walk away from the nominee they didn’t want? If so, who on Earth will they walk toward?