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2016

The Bifurcated “Republican” Presidential Campaign

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ARE TED CRUZ AND LINDSEY GRAHAM SEEKING THE SAME NOMINATION? 

|| By FITSNEWS || “I spent most of last week in Washington, D.C. – and it is great to be back in America.,” U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz joked to an overflow crowd of hundreds of conservative activists at the South Carolina Tea Party Coalition’s annual convention in Myrtle Beach, S.C.

The masses got it … and loved it, roaring their approval.

While the 2016 presidential hopeful served up some choice cuts of “red meat” to the Tea Party faithful, the Palmetto State’s senior “Republican” U.S. Senator – liberal Lindsey Graham – was busy charting a much different presidential trajectory hundreds of miles away.

Whereas Cruz – a freshman Senator from Texas – sought to build buzz for his presidential bid by speaking to conservative base voters in Graham’s back yard, the left-leaning GOP lawmaker was making his intentions known in a much safer, more antiseptic environment: Another Washington, D.C. talk show.

Appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in Washington, D.C., Graham said he was actively exploring a 2016 presidential campaign.

In fact while Cruz was bringing over a thousand activists to their feet with his call for the abolition of the Internal Revenue Service, Graham was invoking the agency in a much different connotation.

“We set up a testing-the-waters committee under the IRS code that will allow me to look beyond South Carolina as to whether or not a guy like Lindsey Graham has a viable path,” Graham said. “I don’t know where this will go, but I’m definitely going to look at it.”

Really?

LINDSEY GRAHAM

LINDSEY GRAHAM

First of all, Graham’s statement that he would be looking “beyond South Carolina” implies voters in the Palmetto State are somehow on board with his presidential aspirations.

We think that’s highly unlikely …

A two-term incumbent with the entire GOP apparatus working for him (and no credible opponent), Graham still managed only 56 percent of the vote in a low-turnout GOP primary election last June.  South Carolinians then grudgingly reelected him in November with 54 percent of the vote in a low-turnout general election.

Graham had the lowest vote total – and lowest percentage of the popular vote – of any “Republican” on the ballot in South Carolina.

He won for lack of a better option, in other words …

We’re not saying Graham wouldn’t get votes in his home state were he to run for president … he absolutely would.  But it’s a stretch to say an electorate resigned to his reelection as a U.S. Senator is going to somehow energize around his presidential aspirations.

He’s a creature of Washington now … a bought-and-paid for tool of the nation’s military-industrial complex whose sole purpose on the national stage is to make the case for perpetual war.

And for tax hikes to pay for it …

Accordingly, we don’t see any scenario in which Graham wins South Carolina’s “First in the South” presidential primary.  Nor do we really envision a scenario in which he “queers the deal” (no pun intended) for the rest of the field in this critical early-voting state.

Of course Graham’s maneuverings do highlight the growing chasm between the fiscally liberal (a.k.a. “establishment”) and fiscally conservative (a.k.a. “Tea Party”) factions of the “Republican” Party.  And while the fault lines currently tearing the GOP apart aren’t quite as simplistic as that – a fundamental debate over dollars and cents (over loyalty to Washington or to taxpayers) remains the root fissure.

As the 2016 presidential primary begins to take shape, look for the candidacies of Cruz and Graham to provide some helpful lines of demarcation regarding the GOP’s ideological spectrum.

In fact it’s hard to believe these two U.S. Senators are even campaigning for the same nomination …

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