That Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz has his eye on the race for the Presidency of the United States in 2016 is apparently a given. The pros and cons of a Cruz candidacy, however, are not quite as clear. In the grim, horrific world of Presidential politics, many a factor that works in favor of a candidate one day…turns around and bites him (or her) in the rear before America sees the next sunup.
For instance, take Ted’s open affiliation with the Tea Party. I have to love that, being a Tea Party activist myself. It might actually help him in the GOP primary races, depending on how the momentum goes. On the other hand, it’s the number one point of attack for the left wing media, which already revels in pasting the usual labels on the forehead of Cruz’s public image: Right wing whack job fringe looney tunes hater gun nut insane etc. etc. etc.
According to those folks–who do much to shape, or at least attempt to shape, the opinion of America’s LIV (Low Information Voter) population, Senator Cruz is lower than a snake’s belly.
So…is this post even worth writing? Does he have any real kind of chance in 2016?
My forecast: Yes, no, and maybe. That is, I’m not trying to cop out here, but the Winds of Change could believably blow a Cruz candidacy either way, into oblivion or all the way into the White House.
Let’s break it down a little.
In order to become President, a candidate must:
1. Win his party’s nomination during the primary elections held in each state.
2. Win the Electoral College vote nationwide during the general election.
To reach those two major goals, said candidate must also accomplish the following:
3. Avoid having any baggage that can be dug up by a fierce, trouble-sniffing media that hates his bloody guts.
4. Avoid major episodes of foot-in-mouth disease whereby he gives the opposition the precise ammunition to sink his candidacy like a limpet mine taking down a cargo ship.
5. Counter every major attack effectively.
There are many subsets to these five considerations, but that’s plenty for now. We don’t want you getting buried in minutiae.
Now, Ted’s Tea Party compatibility marks him for as much vilification and destruction as the RINO elements in the Republican party can produce (come primary time), never mind the abuse heaped upon his head by progressive Democrats. The question is, with that being his greatest “con”, at least in the general election, does he have enough tools in his media kit to counter the opposition effectively?
And the answer is: Perhaps. There’s no telling until the votes are in, but this man does have a few things going on. He’s not “just” the junior U.S. Senator from Texas with a big mouth (including a 21 hour anti-Obamacare filibuster); he’s got some street cred.
Rafael Edward “Ted” Cruz (born December 22, 1970) is the junior United States Senator for the state of Texas since 2013, and is a member of the Republican Party. He was Solicitor General of Texas from 2003 to May 2008, after being appointed by Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott. He was the first Hispanic Solicitor General in Texas, the youngest Solicitor General in the United States, and the longest-serving Solicitor General in Texas’ history. He was also the first Hispanic, and the first minority to be elected U.S. Senator from Texas.
Between 1999 and 2003, Cruz served as the director of the Office of Policy Planning at the Federal Trade Commission, an Associate Deputy Attorney General at the United States Department of Justice, and as Domestic Policy Advisor to U.S. President George W. Bush on the 2000 Bush-Cheney campaign. In addition, Cruz was an Adjunct Professor of Law at the University of Texas School of Law in Austin, where he taught U.S. Supreme Court litigation, from 2004 to 2009.
Some call Ted a firebrand, which isn’t all bad. The same term applies to our current President, Barack Obama. Obama rails against the rich (a group of which he’s become a member himself) and in favor of everybody getting their “fair share”; Cruz stands for liberty and economic growth.
Other terms, too, could be equally applied to the sitting President and the Texas Senator. They both have Harvard law degrees, for example. There’s a difference, though. Cruz has done serious years of work as an attorney in a variety of settings; Obama has not.
They both carry minority status, Ted being Hispanic–though, being a conservative Hispanic, he catches a whole lot more media flak.
There’s no doubt in my mind that Ted Cruz would be, if elected, one of the great Presidents. I’m clear on that point. But can he, in any imaginable sequence of events, get elected?
Well, let’s think about this. Most voters, sadly enough, don’t pay much (if any) attention to politics. If the nation is lucky, these types might catch part of one or two debates between Presidential candidates during the primary season and possibly one more before Election Day in November–but that’s about it, except for what they see and hear on the TV news shows (or possibly the Internet). Which means that any candidate, in order to have the chance of the proverbial snowball in Hell, must be a superior debate performer.
And guess what? In 1992, while attending Princeton University, Ted Cruz was the North American Debating Championship Top Speaker…and was also selected by the American Parliamentary Debate Association as Speaker of the Year.
In 2012, GOP Presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a very serious campaigning mistake in the final Presidential debate. Nursing what he believed to be a slim lead in the polls, he played “stall ball”, trying not to win the debate but to avoid any mistakes that would destroy his lead and allow Barack Obama to eke out a victory. Then and there, Romney blew it, allowing Hurricane Sandy and an image of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie hugging President Obama to reverse the poll numbers a few days prior to the election.
In my opinion, Senator Cruz would never, ever make that mistake. If he does become the Republican nominee facing Hillary Clinton in the debates, look out. At that point, he’ll blow her completely out of the water as surely as her malfeasance while Secretary of State allowed four Americans to die in Benghazi.
Beyond that, Obamacare qualifies as the greatest pro or the greatest con for a Cruz candidacy. If that socialist medicine power grab makes it to its feet and a high percentage of Americans end up thinking it’s not so bad (which I can’t imagine really happening, but if), then it’s doubtful Ted has any kind of shot at the Presidency, Hillary will be in, and We the People will continue to be in for it.
However, if Obamacare fully implodes during the next couple of years with endless horror stories surfacing about all of the negative aspects of the Affordable Care Act as it becomes more fully implemented–then Ted’s got the tools to succeed (since he’s been in the forefront against the ACA from the beginning) and could in truth become our next President.
This is still early days, too soon to tell how the scales will eventually tip…but Ted Cruz is definitely a potential Presidency 2016 candidate to watch.