Ted Cruz is still a young man. He will still be relatively young, as presidential candidates go, in four years. At present he is a man who has something a lot of other would be Republican office holders can only envy– the names and e-mail addresses of about 320,000 people who have been willing to walk precincts, make donations and make phone calls for him. These are the grass roots activists who can make or break a congressional or state legislative campaign.
One of the facts about Cruz’s delegate gathering abilities is that the people who are prone to volunteer for conservative candidates and Republican candidates were far more likely to like Ted Cruz. That was reflected in the March 2016 CPAC Straw Poll results with Ted Cruz garnering 40 percent compared to Rubio 30 percent and Trump just 15 percent. At the time Trump was far ahead in the popular national vote. There is a huge disparity between how CPAC votes and how the ordinary Republican voter votes.People who go to CPAC are high information voters and very ideologically driven. They care about conservative principles so much that they spend their money and time to talk about them. And, they are the kind of people, by the way, who are willing to serve as delegates. It wasn’t just cleverness that got Cruz all those delegates willing to switch to him on the second ballot. The kind of people who are willing to spend their own money to travel to a conference to talk about conservative issues and meet conservative superstars are also the kind of people willing to spend their own money and time to travel the the Republican National convention.
Trump’s winning campaign has been fueled by heavy favorable free media. It may win you the votes but it doesn’t win you the delegates. The kind of people willing to be delegates, I am pretty sure, do not depend on Fox news and CNN for their information.
The talk is that Cruz, after resting up, and going back to the Senate, will spend his time helping conservative down ticket candidates. I hope so. He may have a lot to offer them not just in name recognition but in concrete help, money and support.
Of course, this kind of politicking is not completely motivated by helping the conservative movement. It will also help him if he decides to mount another run in 2020. That decision will depend on a great many unknowns and unknowables. But this is how political parties are built and maintained. It is after all, a team effort. And Cruz will be building a national team at the same time he is building the conservative movement.
I am sure, if there had been an internet in 1976, we would have seen many of the post campaign analyses we have seen about this race explaining why Reagan lost. But he came back. So don’t give up hope. Stand by.