IT’S SURE STARTING TO SOUND THAT WAY …
On the surface, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas had a very effective first visit to early-voting South Carolina this week … hot on the heels of his win in Iowa and his better-than-expected third-place finish in New Hampshire.
For starters, he had some fun at the expense of “Republican” establishment candidate Marco Rubio – and the Fox News network, which has been fawning in its praise of Rubio over the course of the 2016 campaign (which is not surprising given their shared love of open borders).
“I’m looking forward to a wall-to-wall coverage of Fox News of the impressive third-place finish, which Marco Rubio got (in Iowa),” Cruz said. “So, I’m sure that’s what we’ll see on every show on Fox today, the shockingly impressive third-place finish of Cruz.”
Credit where credit is due … that’s pretty funny.
It’s what Cruz said next, though, that gave us cause for pause. Specifically, his boast that he is now the only candidate capable of beating national/ “First in the South” GOP frontrunner Donald Trump.
Here’s what he said (via Breitbart) …
Listen part of the reason – number one, we won Iowa. We won Iowa despite all of the predictions and we beat Donald Trump. Number two, listen, everyone said a conservative cannot compete in a more moderate New England state like New Hampshire. Those predictions proved wrong. This is a national campaign and one of the most important conclusions coming out of these first two states is that the only candidate who can beat Donald Trump is me. The other candidates are unable to do so. So if you don’t believe Donald is the right person to be the Republican nominee, if you don’t believe he’s the right person to go head to head with Hillary Clinton or Sen. Bernie Sanders, if you don’t feel he’s the right person to be the commander-in-chief – what we’re seeing is conservatives uniting behind our campaign. I think Iowa and New Hampshire together played a critical role in that and then South Carolina is going to play an even more critical role.
“This is a national campaign?”
Isn’t it a little early in the primary process for Cruz to start making such a pivot? And more to the point: Just how far to the middle can he really run? Especially when he’s running “me too” mail pieces on the issue of illegal immigration in an effort to steal some of Trump’s thunder?
Take a look …
Cruz has occupied the far right fringe of every far right issue there is in the 2016 race … which, let’s be honest, is one of the reasons he is among the top tier of candidates.
We predicted as much a year ago when we met Cruz … also on a trip to Myrtle Beach, S.C., which at the time was hosting a Tea Party convention.
At the time, Cruz spoke with our founding editor Will Folks about his strategy for capturing the GOP nomination.
“It’s all about winning (your) primary,” Cruz said, referring to certain subsets of the “Republican” voting bloc that had to be won over prior to others.
Once a certain subset had been captured – or once a competitor for the subset had been eliminated – the battle for the next subset began. And so on and so forth. Until there was no one else left standing.
It makes sense … until the positions taken in order to win these “primaries within a primary” created unmanageable contortions.
Can Cruz – the hero of the Tea Party – tack to the middle and make an “electability” argument against Trump?
Don’t look now … he’s doing it.
Why else would his campaign be making overtures in search of an endorsement from S.C. governor Nikki Haley – the new queen of the GOP establishment? And the self-anointed anti-Trump voice in the Palmetto State?
We wonder … is the self-styled Messiah of the conservative movement doing business with the money changers in the temple at a time when he ought to be overturning their tables in a fit of righteous anger?
Because that’s not the Ted Cruz we’ve come to know over the course of the last few years …
We get that Cruz wants to win South Carolina. And it’s clear at this point his supporters are a “win at all costs” group of people.
But Cruz should be wary of contorting too far to the middle too fast …
Also the last time we checked, conventional definitions of “electability” weren’t all they were cracked up to be.