One of the repeated ‘presumptions’ about Ted Cruz has been that his ‘base’ should be in the states south of Maryland & east of Louisiana.
I’ve even quoted it myself in the past, in various Rubio vs Cruz arguments that are now absolutely moot & ancient history.
The idea was that Cruz’ connection to voters would be through his evangelical faith & social conservatism. The thought was that these voters – who are concentrated in Iowa and the Southeast – would identify with Cruz based on issues of faith, religious freedom, abortion & gay marriage…
It was wrong, and it should have been painfully obvious why:
Most voters – even devout Evangelicals – do not single-issue vote on social issues. More often, they vote their own personal economic situation & associated ‘feelings’ moreso than they vote for faith-issues.
In some cases – especially in places left-behind by the modern postindustrial economy – they may well see the two as intertwined, and thus consider ‘conservatism’ to be about bringing back some mythically bygone era, where every man went to Church on Sunday & punched in at the local widget-factory on Monday – and every woman joined her husband in the pews on Sunday & stayed home with her kids during the week… Rather than as allegiance to a set of ideological/academic principles like free markets & free trade…
The Southern Democrats had all this ‘figured out’, and the party of Jefferson & Jackson exploited it to keep the ‘Solid South’ on their side all the way up until they were hijacked by the ‘New Left’ in the 60s, and turned towards their modern incarnation as the ‘Social(ist) Justice-Warrior’ party… As the Democrats became more and more ideologically-sorted & more-and-more aligned as a coalition-of-perpetual-victimhood, the South started voting Republican. And alot of people took for granted the notion that the South had actually become Republican.
Turns out they were still Jacksonian Democrats all along. No change, just a new label.
It went unnoticed because the post-60s Republican Party, after the fall of Nixon, became dominated by Reagan’s western-states based Conservative/Free-Marketeer/Defense-Hawk coalition. No Jacksonian candidate ever ‘got anywhere’ in the GOP – although Pat Buchannan tried, he appealed on faith not on economics & got crushed.
The truth is, Cruz’ strongest states always were – and always should have been – the western states.
Yes, California, Oregon & Washington are largely ruled by a blue-cabal of technocratic environmental radicals (WA has divided-government in-that the state Senate is GOP run)… Yes, NM is generally-blue…
But this is also the region that gave the country BOTH Goldwater *and* Reagan…. With the exception of GHW Bush & Mitt Romney, every Republican nominee after Ford has been a Westerner (California, Texas, Arizona).
The West is the land of personal responsibility & individual freedom – going back to the original land-rush. This is the land where the roots of ideological conservatism have always been a tradition, long before the South flipped their colors.
It’s also the region that has benefited the most from the Reagan/Bush ‘consensus’ on market-libertarian: settled relatively late in the 19th century, there was far less of the old-line consumer-manufacturing economy to be ‘lost’ to foreign competition. When the South was full of textile mills, the West was still cattle ranches & gold mines… Today, it’s the ‘home’ of most of our technology, energy, defense & aerospace industry: the sort of production & manufacturing fields where the US is competitive without tariffs or other undue government protection (and where we sell more to ‘the rest of the world’ than we make for domestic consumption). Being close to China geographically means our ports handle much of the imported goods Trump demonizes – and that a Trump trade-war would cost white and blue-collar jobs (both in the aerospace & armaments factories, in tech, and on the docks) alike.
The only bit of Trumpisim that will have an appeal out here is the immigration part, but that is a double-edged sword & a very weak motivator (Very few voters actually consider immigration a priority), especially when the economic side of Trump’s views is so devastating to the major local employers.
All of which makes the western states *perfect* for an ideological conservative *in the Republican Primaries*, where the Left doesn’t get their ‘say’. California Democrats aren’t going to be lured to mess with the results by the promise of ‘being laid off due to a trade-war with China’.
The West is Cruz’ natural base. And if Trump is being stopped, the West will be what saved us from his plot.