Donald Trump has become a leading candidate, holding onto sizable poll numbers and a massive amount of attention from the electorate and the media in general. It’s an odd decision, from a guy who made no noises or moves to garner support or set up early-voting teams at any point in the past two years, to decide that he should jump in with both feet as quickly as possible.
Maybe it’s more than that.
The one guy on the trail so far who’s been silent on Trump’s decisions and moves and proclamations has been [mc_name name=”Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)” chamber=”senate” mcid=”C001098″ ]. He had sought funding from Trump and spoke with him many times in the run-up to his own public announcement as a candidate, and has kept it happy and calm when dealing with Trump. Perhaps this is just Ted being nice, perhaps he just knows not to poke the bear, or perhaps Trump has no intention of staying in the race past either New Hampshire or South Carolina.
Many people understand that, whether due to their similar views on many issues or whether due to Cruz being incredibly polite and “happy warrior”-ish towards Trump, Cruz stands to gain a share of Trump’s support if/when The Donald drops out of the race.
I posit that Cruz and Trump knew and planned this in advance. Trump loves the spotlight, and allowing him to spend practically nothing to just run around giving speeches about who cares what in Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina gives him that spotlight, with the added bonus of a massive ego boost at being the “man of the people”, the “outsider” candidate who might not have so much support in the polls, but generates a ton of buzz, gets people talking and keeps the other candidates off-balance.
Cruz gets to take a bus tour of the Super Tuesday states, focus on the long game and keep a bare minimum presence in the big three early states. He’ll be able to build up support where otherwise he’d have a harder time keeping everything going in the long term with limited funding. When Trump calls it quits, after however many primaries it takes to convince him he won’t be able to keep it going in the long run, he’ll have a sizable number of delegates, and he’ll have to endorse / pledge those delegates to someone.
Gee… who could it be? It won’t be any of the kids table candidates. It won’t be Huck, or Kasich, or Christie, or Carson. It sure as hell won’t be Paul. It won’t be anyone who took the low-hanging fruit and used it to lift themselves up early.
It’ll be the only guy who’s had the self-control to avoid antagonizing any of the other candidates or their voters. That guy will have also shown himself to be a master strategist, capable of keeping his eye on the ball and dodging all of the distractions to catapult himself two steps closer to the nomination than any other candidate. I’ll say it right now: if he pulls this off, Cruz is looking at nabbing the top prize.