Why Ted Cruz’s Big Gamble Failed – Alex Altman, Zeke J Miller, Philip Elliott May 3, 2016

Screen Shot 2016-05-03 at May 3, 2016 11.16

You could tell when Ted Cruz started speaking in the past tense that he had finally come to grips with the inevitable. Standing in front of a bank of flags, surrounded by family who had gathered for a final stand in Indiana, the Texas Senator dropped his bid for the White House on Tuesday night.

“We left it all on the field,” Cruz told supporters with evident sorrow. “But the voters chose another path. And so, with a heavy heart, but with boundless optimism for the long-term future of our nation, we are suspending our campaign.”

The roots of his regret go back to the gamble that has defined his political career. Since running for the Senate in 2012, Cruz has wagered that the way to win the White House was to run as an uncompromising conservative.

Almost every Republican strategist agrees the party’s salvation depends on broadening its appeal—a move so necessary and obvious that the Republican National Committee codified it in a report after the 2012 campaign. That means running as a classic center-right conservative in the primary, then pivoting to the middle for the general election. Cruz ripped up the rulebook, running a base-turnout campaign from the start, counting on evangelical and very conservative voters who allegedly sat out electionscontested by milquetoast candidates.

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GOP elites line up behind Ted Cruz – By ELI STOKOLS 03/23/16 05:26 PM EDT Updated 03/23/16 11:07 PM EDT

Establishment is increasingly prepared to lose with Cruz than hand the party to Trump.



Establishment is increasingly prepared to lose with Cruz than hand the party to Trump.

Republican elders, desperate to stop Donald Trump, are increasingly convinced they would rather forfeit the White House than hand their party to the divisive Manhattan billionaire.

That’s why the party’s establishment is suddenly rallying behind Ted Cruz, a man they’ve long despised and who has little chance, in the view of many GOP veterans, of defeating Hillary Clinton on Election Day.

“People think we’re not going to win in November anymore. All the candidates that had a shot at winning don’t appear to have a shot at winning the nomination. Everyone is resigned to that,” said a high-ranking GOP operative about the thinking among Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio alums as well as Republican party officials and big-money donors.

“People think we lose with Cruz, but we don’t lose everything,” said the operative, who opposes Trump and asked to speak anonymously. “He’s still a real Republican. We don’t lose the House and Senate with Cruz. We don’t lose our soul as a party and we can recover in four years and I’m not sure people think we can recover from Donald Trump.”

Said one high-level operative inside the Koch network: “He’s the devil you know.”

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New Risks for Trump After Iowa Loss – By BETH REINHARD, JANET HOOK and HEATHER HADDON Feb. 2, 2016 8:25 p.m. ET

Ted Cruz has more financial firepower than recent Iowa GOP winners; Marco Rubio also on upswing

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visits a campaign office Tuesday in Manchester, N.H.

Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump visits a campaign office Tuesday in Manchester, N.H. — Photo: Matt Rourke/Associated Press

MILFORD, N. H.—Beaten in Iowa but unbowed, Republican Donald Trumpreturned Tuesday to the state that has served as his campaign home base facing a new set of challenges in what is likely to be a must-win primary.

Iowa winner Ted Cruz arrived in New Hampshire Tuesday with momentum, money and a tested voter-turnout machine—one strong enough to force Mr. Trump into a second-place caucus finish. That is a sharp departure from recent Iowa GOP winners, who lacked the financial resources to build on their victories and win the nomination.

The businessman also has seen his own stature diminished after failing to meet expectations in Iowa, where he led in most polls in the days before Monday’s balloting. And a new threat is emerging with the rise of Marco Rubio in the candidate pack. The Florida senator finished third in Iowa, just one percentage point behind Mr. Trump.

Mr. Trump must now decide whether he is willing to invest more of his own money into his campaign. He is currently airing less than $1 million in television ads this week aimed at New Hampshire ahead of next Tuesday’s primary, according to media trackers. He also must decide whether his campaign has enough time and connections in the state to create a turnout operation that can compete with Mr. Cruz and other challengers who have been building get-out-the-vote machines for months.

“He needs to be more focused in his attacks against Rubio and Cruz,” said Republican consultant Roger Stone, a former campaign adviser to Mr. Trump who is also advocating for more TV ads. “He needs to define Rubio and Cruz as career politicians who just talk a great game, and talk more in a positive way about his economic plan.”

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Ted Cruz’s meteoric rise, explained – Updated by Andrew Prokop on February 2, 2016, 1:24 a.m. ET

Xinhua/Yin Bogu via Getty

Xinhua/Yin Bogu via Getty

Yes, Donald Trump lost the Iowa caucuses. But the GOP establishment shouldn’t cheer yet — because someone they hate just as much emerged triumphant.

Ted Cruz has only held elected office for three years. But in that short time, he’s had quite an impact. He’s helped shut down the federal government. He’s wooed power brokers on the religious right. And he’s made a remarkable amount of enemiesin the capital.

Now, this Canadian-born, Cuban-American senator from Texas — who was unknown nationally as recently as May 2012 — has won the first Republican presidential nomination contest.

It’s not yet clear whether Cruz can duplicate his Iowa success in other states. Other recent GOP candidates who have relied on evangelical support, as Cruz did, have stumbled in other regions of the country. And the party elites who so loathe himwill fight hard to impede his rise.

But Cruz is now unmistakably a top contender in the Republican presidential contest. So it’s worth getting up to speed on his background — and on what his meteoric rise would mean for the party.

Cruz rose from an obscure childhood to top Republican elite circles

Rafael Edward Cruz was born on December 22, 1970 in Calgary, Alberta, to an American mother and a Cuban émigré father (making him, by scholarly consensus, an American citizen by birth). Around his fourth birthday, his parents split up — but they got back together a few months later after his father Rafael converted to Christianity and decided to change his life. His mother Eleanor, too, became born-again, and the family moved to Houston, Texas, where Cruz spent the rest of his youth.

By Cruz’s account in his autobiography A Time for Truth, he was a unpopular child, “too competitive and cocky about academics,” and “lousy at sports.” For his first thirteen years, he went by “Felito” (a shortened diminutive of his first name, Rafael). But, as Cruz tells it, “other young children were quite happy to point out” that his name rhymed “with every major corn chip on the market.” Eventually, he decided to go by “Ted” — a nickname he’s used ever since.

Around tenth grade, Cruz realized he was interested in law and politics — and, as he tells it, he became a staunch free market conservative. He joined a group called the Constitutional Corroborators, where he “spent hundreds of hours” studying the Constitution and other founding American documents, and learned economics from a group now called the Free Enterprise Institute. These experiences, Cruz wrote, “combined with my father’s life experiences fleeing oppression and seeking freedom, helped me realize where my passion lay.”

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Chris Christie Tells Iowans That Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio Are Liars – —By Patrick Caldwell | Sat Jan. 30, 2016 1:12 PM EST

“What else are they not going to tell you the truth about?”

Congressional Quarterly/ZUMA

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s presidential campaign never really caught steam. In Iowa, he’s barely registering in the polls, and in New Hampshire (seemingly friendlier territory) he’s generally in sixth place. So with the first votes fast approaching, he’s settled on a strategy of attacking the non-Trump frontrunners, particularly Sens. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, as dishonest politicians who are lying to voters.

At a town hall at the University of Iowa early Saturday morning, Christie devoted much of his stump speech to lambasting Cruz and Rubio for dissembling when it comes to their stances on immigration reform. “Here’s my only problem with Sen. Rubio and Sen. Cruz: they won’t tell you the truth,” Christie warned the Iowans, noting their equivocation on the immigration issue during Thursday’s GOP debate. “They stood there and tried to tell you that what you saw and what you heard, you didn’t see and you didn’t hear. That they didn’t change their positions at all. Sen. Rubio in particular.”

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Ted Cruz just wants blood: Humanity is a weakness in this Republican Party – RICK SHENKMAN, TOMDISPATCH.COM WEDNESDAY, JAN 13, 2016 12:45 AM PST

The Texas senator pledges to carpet-bomb ISIS, civilian casualties be damned. The result? A bounce in the polls

Ted Cruz just wants blood: Humanity is a weakness in this Republican Party
This piece originally appeared on TomDispatch.

After Senator Ted Cruz suggested that the United States begin carpet bombing Islamic State (IS) forces in Syria, the reaction was swift. Hillary Clinton mockedcandidates who use “bluster and bigotry.” Jeb Bush insisted the idea was “foolish.”  Rich Lowry, the editor of National Reviewtweeted: “You can’t carpet bomb an insurgency out of existence. This is just silly.”

When CNN’s Wolf Blitzer objected that Cruz’s proposal would lead to lots of civilian casualties, the senator retorted somewhat incoherently: “You would carpet bomb where ISIS is — not a city, but the location of the troops. You use air power directed — and you have embedded special forces to direction the air power. But the object isn’t to level a city. The object is to kill the ISIS terrorists.” PolitiFact drily noted that Cruz apparently didn’t understand what the process of carpet (or “saturation”) bombing entails. By definition, it means bombing a wide area regardless of the human cost.

By almost any standard Cruz’s proposal was laughable and his rivals and the media called him on it. What happened next? By all rights after such a mixture of inanity and ruthlessness, not to say bloody-mindedness against civilian populations, his poll numbers should have begun to sag. After all, he’d just flunked the commander-in-chief test and what might have seemed like a test of his humanity as well. In fact, his poll numbers actually crept up. The week before the imbroglio, an ABC opinion poll had registered him at 15% nationally. By the following week, he was up to 18% and one poll even had him at a resounding 24%.

How to explain this?  While many factors can affect a candidate’s polling numbers, one uncomfortable conclusion can’t be overlooked when it comes to reactions to Cruz’s comments: by and large, Americans don’t think or care much about the real-world consequences of the unleashing of American air power or that of our allies. The other day, Human Rights Watch (HRW)reported that, in September and October, a Saudi Arabian coalition backed by the United States “carried out at least six apparently unlawful airstrikes in residential areas of the [Yemeni] capital,” Sana’a.  The attacks resulted in the deaths of 60 civilians. Just about no one in the United States took notice, nor was it given significant media coverage.  More than likely, this is the first time you’ve heard about the HRW findings.

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How Ted Cruz Became Ted Cruz – By MICHAEL KRUSE January 05, 2016


In just a few years, he turned an obscure Texas legal post into a national platform for red-meat conservative causes.

In 2008, in the high-profile Supreme Court gun-rights case called District of Columbia v. Heller, a brief was filed from the eighth floor of the Daniel Price Sr. State Office Building in Austin, Texas, specifically from the corner office of the man who was then the state’s solicitor general, Ted Cruz.

The brief took a strong stance on the divisive question of whether the Second Amendment establishes an individual right to own guns, or just protects state and local militias. The brief argued forcefully for the first view, writing that “the individual right to keep and bear arms” is a “fundamental right” and that “an individual right that can be altogether abrogated is no right at all.” Thirty attorneys general from other states signed on.

Today, with the White House pushing new gun restrictions and Cruz’s candidacy riding on next month’s Iowa caucuses, it’s no surprise that the Texas Republican would embrace gun rights as a defining issue, holding an event at a firing range and even raffling off an engraved 12-gauge shotgun as a campaign promotion.

In 2008, the situation was very different: he was wading into a case that had no immediate connection to Texas at all. But to see the signature of R. Ted Cruz on the brief would not have surprised the nine Supreme Court justices in the least. By that time, Cruz had been solicitor general for five years, and inserting himself into a case of wide prominence and importance regardless of any direct tie to Texas had become part of his playbook. He clearly saw the Heller case as a watershed in gun rights, writing that it would “determine whether the Second Amendment has any modern relevance.” And he was right. The Supreme Court in a 5-4 decision shot down the Washington, D.C., handgun ban and ruled for the first time in the history of this country that the amendment ensures an individual person’s right to have a gun for self-defense. The National Rifle Association recognized Cruz’s role with a resolution.


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Ted Cruz’s Sophisticated Bigotry – By William Saletan NOV. 24 2015 3:28 PM

This is how you bash Muslims while pretending to be principled.

Sen. Ted Cruz on Oct. 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado. Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz on Oct. 28, 2015 in Boulder, Colorado.
Photo by Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz is going mainstream. As Slate’s Jim Newell and Jamelle Bouie have reported, Cruz now sees a realistic path to the Republican presidential nomination and is repositioning himself, accordingly, as a statesmanlike alternative to Donald Trump. The tricky part is tapping into the same resentments Trump exploits—anti-immigrantanti-Islamanti-black—without doing it quite so crudely.

There’s a fine art to this sort of manipulation. You have to touch the right nerves—fear of a black president, indignation at bilingualism, hunger for retaliation against Muslims—while cloaking your demagoguery in the language of terrorism, sovereignty, and the rule of law. Cruz, a skilled lawyer and wordsmith, is demonstrating this technique in his current campaign against Muslim immigrants.

Eight months ago, when Cruz announced his candidacy, he pledged to defeat “radical Islamic terrorism.” This formulation allowed him to excoriate President Obama for refusing to acknowledge that our enemies were Muslim. At the same time, it insulated Cruz from charges of naked sectarianism. Cruz wasn’t against all Muslims. He just wanted to protect us from radical, terrorist Muslims.

Then came the attacks in Paris. An anti-Muslim backlash swelled on the right. Standing against terrorism wasn’t good enough anymore. To stay on the cutting edge, Cruz needed a broader target. So he coined a new menace: “Syrian Muslim refugees.”

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Cruz girds for McConnell showdown in rare Sunday session – By Alexander Bolton – 07/26/15 06:00 AM EDT

Greg Nash

Sen. Ted Cruz has found a way to seize the spotlight at a time his campaign for president is losing the battle for buzz.

The Texas Republican on Sunday will attempt an unusual procedural move to overturn Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s (R-Ky.) blocking of his amendment on the Iran nuclear deal.

McConnell, seeking to move a federal highway funding bill through the Senate fast, has cut off most amendments to the measure — though he is allowing a vote on reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank.

That decision has infuriated Cruz, who took to the floor on Friday to accuse his leader of lying to him.

On Sunday, Cruz needs a majority of the Senate to back his objection to McConnell — a tall order that is unlikely to be achieved.

Either way, it could be good news for Cruz, who wants to cast himself as a fighter struggling against the Washington establishment.

Republican strategists say the floor battle gives Cruz a vital shot of publicity at a time his campaign is being overshadowed by celebrity business mogul Donald Trump, who has soared to the top of GOP polls as Cruz has lost support.

A recent Washington Post/ABC news poll showed Trump leading the GOP presidential field nationwide with 24 percent support. It showed Cruz in eighth place with 4 percent.

“For someone trying to run for a president as a populist outsider and Trump sucking all the oxygen out of the room, this couldn’t come at a better time,” Ford O’Connell, a GOP strategist who worked on Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) presidential campaign.

“It’s something where Cruz can get air time and reassert himself in the 2016 debate,” he added. “Donald Trump is taking away his supporters. They are both running in the same lane right now. If Trump blows up, Cruz is the most likely to be the biggest beneficiary.”


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