The most likable candidate does NOT always win.
In 1968, the less liked one won. In 2000, the person who argued over an obscure bill by getting in the face of his rival won the popular vote by over 500K. It often seems the more personable person wins, but that is not simplistically the deciding factor, a bunch goes into the final result that involves a kaleidoscope of factors that influence mass psychology to act as a majority.
What matters is the mood of the cycle, and this one sees immigration and worries over border control as a top worry.
Cruz is Trump on that without the loose cannon persona, with more intelligence and top notch debating skills. He has been called the most educated candidate in the field by an education web site that rated the everyone on both sides.
That will matter in a one on one field with HRC having to be cross examined by a person who can debate Lincoln Douglass style or in a Town Hall without memorizing lines, but rather has chops interactively.
Cruz has this in spades.
Don’t believe me?
He is on video persuading (once he gets a chance to argue at length) a farmer on the trail opposing his views, he took down Megyn Kelly in the spin room after she ambushed him over his poison pill claim. He totally disarmed her arguments and even got her to agree with him substantively to the point where she grasped at straws to say it “looked bad” to the ignorant.
He answered the gotcha on sending illegals home devastating families by implication-by citing the duty and the correctness of following the law. If he’d had a few minutes, one can see him turning the question around in some creative way by arguing on his feet, as he did with the farmer and with Megyn. You cannot use canned talking points on these things because you cannot predict the line of argument or all the ways a media plant or other useful idiot will try to ambush you.
Cruz matches up against both Bernie and HRC better than Rubio.
Against Bernie, he will be able to explain all the reasons for our views in detail, with constitutional scholarship, convincingly.
Nobody doubts his sincerity, and in fact his views go back decades and are consistent. He figured into SCOTUS rulings like Heller, drafting the amicus brief in one of the most consequential decisions for gun rights in modern history.
Against HRC, he can argue in detail against her on foreign policy. She’s improved her talking points as a candidate since 2008. We would be kidding ourselves to think otherwise. She sounds convincing, superficially. Her stint as SOS means we will need someone who can take her apart prosecutor style and win in Town Hall formats if it comes to that. We have to have an expert.
Cruz has good retail politics skill. Much more so than Rubio. That matters.
We like to think these elections are all about personality, but they are also about turning out your hard line supporters and others on the ground. We know Cruz has this in spades. A candidate needs money to survive carpet bombing ads in places like SC, where an organization/money-less Santorum could not answer Romney’s 24/7 negative ad blitz. Cruz has lots of money.
It’s important to be able to reach new people, not just the already converted, but this is a unique anger cycle tailor made for Cruz. He possesses most of the advantage of Trump, stands in the wings to pick up most of his supporters upon his exit, but without the baggage and unforced errors. We advance our principles without damaging our reputations with the general public for generations by avoiding the brand destroying nature of a Trump.
Anger and burn it down sentiment also why Bernie is doing so well against HRC.
Rubio’s hope message is less of a fit for the exact times.
In 2012, Romney aced it with Independents. He failed to turn out the base which offset those gains. That’s why you win a general by securing the base first and then branching out in emotional ways not connected to exact positions to get fence sitters who do not base their vote on exact ideology but rather the persons in front of them in a complex cocktail that involves seeing that person as president mentally and in comparison to the other rival.
One cannot point to polls months out from November and say Cruz is weaker or stronger. Those polls will flip once he gets into position because this cycle is bad for the other side due to fatigue (8 year flip principle) and their candidates are either too radical (socialist Bernie) or totally unlikable (HRC) which means any prepared complete candidate on our side should win.
When Cruz had no edge nationally in polls against Rubio, various head to heads showed Rubio with a small lead against HRC. Once he passed Rubio in those, magically he polled better against her by similar margins. That is typical.
Our side is swallowing a self fulfilling prophesy regards Rubio.
You hear his “electability” mentioned over and over and soon it becomes conventional wisdom. But electability means more than likability. It’s a total package. Debate errors or looking green in the horns can make up for a likability gap, as can a better ground game, organizational skills, and debate championship skills.
Being good in various debate arena styles matters potentially, and again Cruz wins that metric.
If one candidate depresses the base, and many are so angry at Rubio over gang of 8, even a small amount of them staying home can help swing what are likely to be narrow margins in OH and FL. We best exploit our enthusiasm gap edge with Cruz, not Rubio.
The base knows Cruz is totally all in for principles, since he risked immediate loss of any chances to compete seriously for the nomination by opposing the Ethanol machine in Iowa which tried to pull out all stops to derail him in the cornfields. Cruz has taken unpopular positions with the Establishment demanding they follow their promises and to stop violating their office legitimacy by procuring only rational budgets and fighting on principle over the debt ceiling. The GOPe stuck a knife into him.
Currently, the Establishment is backing Rubio, with endorsements streaming in, and long knives out for Cruz by figures past and present trying to convince people he’s unlikable, does not get along with people, etc. We know they really mean he represents their attempt to hold onto the good old boy network of perks that he repudiates on principle.
It speaks volumes about the need for Cruz, right here, right now, that the GOPe is actively sabotaging our fall chances by claiming he’s not a team player which the Democrats will use in November with their assistance. We must have a person that will most likely try to force a house cleaning, and that person is Cruz. The Establishment will back anyone, even Trump, over him. They would rather lose with others than win with a true blue conservative. This is a defining moment in our history.
We cannot be so afraid of losing that we fear going all in on a cycle where our chances could only be better if Obama was presiding over another financial crisis type situation. We may not get another chance like this in generations, and the age of SCOTUS replacement candidates is likely to yield up to 4 selections. That means we have to have an ideologue picker of them.
One Cruz supporter decided she was sticking with her original choice, despite being able to vote for Marco if need be, when she really thought about the electability claims of Rubio. It’s about how much gets done once a person wins, as much as them actually getting there. In this case, either man can win, which is a victory for conservatives in that the Establishment feels it must “settle” with Marco since their Bush and other squishes are not likely to pan out. We all must support the eventual winner.
Still, Democrats have an electoral map edge, given the trends in Virginia and the greater ways to reach 270 comparatively.
I like Cruz’s chances since unlike these past 30 second gotcha debate formats, he will merely by getting a 1 on 1 match facilitate his strengths because he’s only dealing with a single foe. Any candidate with more reliance on short prepared talking points will be at a disadvantage in that setting against anyone being able look credible. This is most pronounced against HRC, the most likely eventual nominee due to her super delegate count, etc.
Rubio’s approach is to chain together talking point sequences, filling in the edges, looking handsome and acting inspirational. That’s not enough to go toe to toe with the left in the most important election of our lifetimes. That requires a debate pro.
Up to now, moderators have successfully avoided Cruz by design.
They will not be able to do that in the fall.