[FoRK] Why Ted Cruz’s plan to win over America’s disgruntled conservatives failed

Stephen D. Williams sdw at lig.net
Wed May 4 14:14:53 PDT 2016


Nicely observed and put.  I fear I will still be cringing from exposure to him when he starts talking again in 3.5 years...

" although the plan was sufficiently sound for Mr Cruz to outlast the other non-Trump contenders, and despite his dogged campaigning 
and superior organisation, in the end the chop and the steepled hands were not enough. The iconoclasm that, as a senator, Mr Cruz 
did as much as anyone to cultivate, found a more obvious outlet in Mr Trump, who, whatever else his drawbacks, had not spent his 
adult lifetime in politics, and moreover had no attachment to Republican shibboleths on trade and protectionism. As for those 
evangelicals: too many of those preferred Mr Trump, too, for reasons that will be the subject of political-science PhDs for decades 
to come."

" where once he revelled in his unpopularity among the Republican colleagues he has spent so long denouncing, he touted their 
endorsements when, belatedly and out of desperation, they began to trickle in. His premature choice of Carly Fiorina as his running 
mate will be remembered as the absurd, flailing stunt it was."

" no genuine conservative will feature in the general election. When the nomination circus starts up again Mr Cruz’s argument will 
be ready, as, no doubt, will his eerily memorised speeches, delivered with that awkward amalgam of lawyerly and preacherly 
mannerisms, and those corny jokes, often accompanied by an excruciating little self-satisfied chuckle. And the karate chop and 
prayerful hands of the senator from Texas will be unleashed on America once more."

http://www.economist.com/blogs/democracyinamerica/2016/05/out-race?fsrc=scn/tw/te/bl/ed/outoftheracewhytedcruzsplantowinoveramericasdisgruntledconservativesfailed

Out of the race
Why Ted Cruz’s plan to win over America’s disgruntled conservatives failed
May 4th 2016, 12:27 by A.M.


HANDS triangled in prayer, then a sideways karate chop. Those two gestures, often performed in quick succession, were the signature 
gesticulations of Ted Cruz’s stump speeches during his now-abandoned bid for the Republican nomination. They also embody the main 
themes of his campaign, namely piety and violence, both real and rhetorical, which he promised to inflict on enemies from the 
corrupt halls of Congress to the glowing sands of the Middle East.

The rationale was that yoking religiosity to anti-establishment ire would tie up the evangelical vote with those of other 
disgruntled conservatives—millions of whom, in the estimation of the Cruz campaign, had stayed away from the polls in recent 
elections because no true believer was on the ballot. The strategy seemed to be vindicated by the Iowa caucuses, the season’s first 
contest, in which Mr Cruz narrowly beat Donald Trump. “Father God, please,” ran his regular sign-off in Iowa, “continue this spirt 
of revival, awaken the body of Christ.”

But although the plan was sufficiently sound for Mr Cruz to outlast the other non-Trump contenders, and despite his dogged 
campaigning and superior organisation, in the end the chop and the steepled hands were not enough. The iconoclasm that, as a 
senator, Mr Cruz did as much as anyone to cultivate, found a more obvious outlet in Mr Trump, who, whatever else his drawbacks, had 
not spent his adult lifetime in politics, and moreover had no attachment to Republican shibboleths on trade and protectionism. As 
for those evangelicals: too many of those preferred Mr Trump, too, for reasons that will be the subject of political-science PhDs 
for decades to come.

Republican voters, in other words, turned out to be less interested in ideological purity than Mr Cruz—who would comfortably have 
been the most right-wing presidential nominee for 50 years—had hoped. To his credit, at least among ultraconservatives, as the word 
“Trump” began to be written on the wall he kept banging on about his staple themes: the moral degeneracy of gay marriage and 
abortion, the evils of gun control and the need to abolish various agencies of government and undo much of Barack Obama’s diplomacy. 
But in other ways his campaign seemed to vindicate the “Lyin’ Ted” sobriquet that Mr Trump saddled him with.

He vowed to focus on substance, yet his aides kept getting caught in underhand tricks. At the beginning, when, like everyone else, 
he thought Mr Trump would fade, Mr Cruz tried to cosy up to him, scheming to inherit his supporters. When, eventually, they went 
after each other, Mr Cruz—like Marco Rubio in the dying days of his own campaign—dived into the gutter. Yesterday, as the Indiana 
primary slipped away from him, he attacked Mr Trump as a “pathological liar” and “utterly immoral”. Likewise, where once he revelled 
in his unpopularity among the Republican colleagues he has spent so long denouncing, he touted their endorsements when, belatedly 
and out of desperation, they began to trickle in. His premature choice of Carly Fiorina as his running mate will be remembered as 
the absurd, flailing stunt it was.

Still, Mr Cruz did sufficiently well for the notion of that sleeping far-right constituency, powerful enough to take the White House 
and remake the country if only it were galvanised, to live on. After all, as he and others will surely point out should Hillary 
Clinton defeat Mr Trump in November, no genuine conservative will feature in the general election. When the nomination circus starts 
up again Mr Cruz’s argument will be ready, as, no doubt, will his eerily memorised speeches, delivered with that awkward amalgam of 
lawyerly and preacherly mannerisms, and those corny jokes, often accompanied by an excruciating little self-satisfied chuckle. And 
the karate chop and prayerful hands of the senator from Texas will be unleashed on America once more.

sdw



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