Up til now, Ted Cruz hasn’t been able to make a dent in Trump’s poll numbers, with the exceptions of Kansas and Maine. Even in those states Cruz’s victories were clearly more a function of him taking away votes from Rubio than from Trump, who still got his 25-35%.
For the sake of the argument I’m about to make, let’s assume Kasich either drops out or stays in but remains a non-factor.
Cruz will finally get the head to head matchup with Trump he’s wanted all along.
However, in Cruz’s ideal scenario, which he’s been planning for since before he even entered this race no doubt, all of his competition for conservative votes would’ve dropped out before the candidates got to the southern states, which was supposed to be Cruz’s firewall. These were the states Cruz was supposed to do the best in because they have by far the highest evangelical populations and the most conservative voters.
Also, Cruz spent more time organizing in and visiting those states than any other candidate, and he did so a long time ago.
Yet Trump ended up beating him easily in most of those states without even having to do any of the hard work Cruz did.
Now that we’ve moved past the SEC primaries and begin to get to the eastern states, Cruz is no longer in favorable territory. But Rubio’s exit from the race certainly gave him an advantage, because all along the percentage of the GOP voters who are anti-Trump has been much bigger than the pro-Trump percentage.
So even though the average gop primary voter in states like Ohio, California, and Illinois isn’t inclined to vote for a hardcore conservative candidate like Cruz, they also aren’t inclined to vote for a raging narcissist like Trump.
Cruz has to convince these moderate voters that it’s worth their vote to vote for him even if they don’t like him personally, because a vote for Trump would be a vote for Hillary, and would also be a disaster for the GOP both now and in the future.
In other words, Cruz has to consolidate the entire 60-80% of the gop primary electorate who won’t vote for Trump into his corner.
Here’s how I propose he does it:
His primary goal shouldn’t be to convince these voters he’s the nicest or most trustworthy guy ever, or the guy they’d wanna have a beer with.
Due to his style, personality, at times fiery rhetoric, and record of fighting his own party in Congress, a certain percentage of the GOP electorate just won’t ever warm up to Cruz.
That’s why I believe a more effective strategy is to repeat over and over again that if they don’t vote for him and sit this election out, they’ve essentially voted for Trump. They’ll be responsible for Trump being the nominee of the GOP, the consequences of which will be disastrous for the party and for the nation.
Cruz has already tried this strategy in Wisconsin, and with the help of the party there, plus talk radio, it succeeded. If it worked in a moderate state like Wisconsin, it can work in other blue/moderate states like California and Oregon.
Cruz needs to hammer home the point that pretty much every poll shows Trump losing to Hillary in a general election, and this is before the Clinton machine ramps up and starts running negative ads on Trump. And if there ever was a candidate who is a target-rich environment and has loads of dirty laundry that can easily be aired in front of the entire nation, it’s Trump.
Ask these voters, who likely would’ve voted for Jeb Bush, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, or another more moderate candidate, the following question:
Do you really wanna be associated with Donald Trump? Cause you will be if you allow him to win the nomination. For years to come the Republican party will be associated with the xenophobia, racism, vulgarity, and stupidity of Trump and some of his supporters.
You’ll be embarrassed to admit you’re a republican, especially after the avalanche of attack ads the Democrats will run against him in the summer and fall detailing his sexual exploits, his discrimination against blacks, his disgusting comments on women and pows, among other things.
Don’t you want a candidate you can be proud of, one who’s a family man with strong Christian values who hasn’t made any offensive or controversial remarks in his entire career as a politician? That man is Ted Cruz.
On this front I think Cruz should have his wife Heidi on the campaign trail as much as possible, particularly in states like California. She’s more likable than Ted is and smooths over some of his rough edges. She can also relate to women who would prefer a more eloquent or soft-spoken candidate.
But beyond that, the main point of this diary is that Cruz doesn’t have to convince these non-evangelical voters that he’s the best candidate for the job, although he certainly should try to do that as well. He simply has to convince them that Donald Trump is by far the worst candidate for the job.
To that end, the Cruz team should start a marketing campaign not to sell Ted to the masses, but to sell being anti-Trump to the masses.
If the voters in some states don’t particularly like Cruz and aren’t proud to vote for him, they can be proud of themselves for stopping Trump by voting for Cruz. Cruz’s people could sell “I stopped Trump” T-shirts, bumper stickers, and other items. They could hand out posters and put up signs everywhere that read “I was anti-Trump before it was cool”.
Just like Trump gained pretty much all his fame and success from using his name to brand himself, despite his lack of any discernible skill or talent, Cruz’s team should use Trump’s famous name against him, to create a new brand- the #NeverTrump brand.
Just like Obama’s team made it seem cool to vote for Obama, Cruz can make it seem cool to vote against Trump. They can even make it seem like the people who vote against Trump are making history. They’re doing their part to stop the march of a mad man who would govern the country like a third world dictator and would embarrass us on the world stage, in addition to tanking our economy and further dividing us along racial, economic, and cultural lines.
On the campaign trail, Cruz should start talking about how the gop primary voters in the remaining states have a duty and obligation to stop Trump because they all know how destructive his candidacy and potentially his presidency would be. They can view themselves as the people and the generation who stopped an egomaniacal reality tv star from becoming president.
That’s something they can tell their kids and grandkids. They can say, “I was part of the anti-Trump movement who stopped a strongman in his tracks and helped nominated a constitutional conservative who became president and restored the constitutional system of checks and balances, and made us a prosperous and free country again.”
If the Trump zombies want a war, let’s give it to them. The soldiers on our side don’t have to like the general who’s leading them into battle, they just have to know that he’ll do what it takes to defeat the enemy, and they’ll be part of an epic victory that will go down in the history of american politics as a moment when the american people came to their senses and restored our republic to the great country it’s always been.