As ofr right now, Trump is the prohibitive favorite to be the GOP nominee, but he remains a weak GOP frontrunner, who earned 37% of the GOP vote thus far, and Trump is a flawed general candidate who is very likely to lose to Hillary should he be our nominee.
Cruz can beat Trump for the nomination, but it’s an uphill battle, and to do it, Cruz has to take Trump down, definitively, and win hearts and minds of mainstream Republican voters. How can Cruz do that?
There are some different thoughts on this, and I responded to another comment on RedState concerning this. They argued for doubling down on “running against DC”. I think that is a mistake. Cruz is becoming a one-note trumpet player if he overuses that. Moreover, as a ‘regular Republican’, I have issues with our GOP leadership, but I know they are not the main enemy or problem in our politics – the leftists are; Democrats and Hillary.
Cruz is now in a unique position. Before today, there was a multi-way race. Cruz now can claim many things with Rubio out of the race, he can absorb the Rubio message and their voters. I think the anti-DC-elites is only part of the story here. Cruz can now say:
- CRUZ IS NOW THE ONLY REAL REPUBLICAN IN THE RACE.(*)
- CRUZ IS NOW THE ONLY CONSERVATIVE IN THE RACE.
- CRUZ IS NOW THE ONLY HONEST PERSON IN THE RACE.
- CRUZ IS NOW THE ONLY OPPONENT OF CRONYISM IN THE RACE.
- CRUZ IS NOW THE ONLY ONE 100% OPPOSED TO OBAMACARE MANDATES.
- CRUZ IS THE ONLY ONE WE CAN TRUST TO PUT CONSTITUTIONAL CONSERVATIVES ON THE COURTS.
(*)Wait, what about Kasich? Now we have a two-man race, Trump v Cruz, but we have a 3-way candidacy: GOP establishment, constitutional conservative, and populist phony. The plain fact is that Kasich cannot win, and shouldn’t be running, so Cruz does best by ignoring him. Again, the real choice is Trump v Cruz. If he comes up, just mention that – Kasich only won his home state and nothing else and cannot win enough delegates to catch up let alone get to a majority.
Ted Cruz gave a stump speech last night that laid out where he thinks he is and the contrasts. On some points, Cruz nailed it – some of his Trump criticisms were on-target, but more importantly, he revived some of his positive agenda. Cruz spoke specifically about jobs and job creation as his agenda, talked back to Reagan.
The running against DC stuff actually doesn’t help him much now, because Trump isn’t DC. Trump is a uniquely fraudulent phony and a uniquely skilled BS artist. Trump needs to be called out on his BS artistry. Mention cronyism by name, and mention Trump’s real acts of cronyism, like his $400 million tax abatement from Abe Beame in the late 1970s. In short, don’t wast time running against ‘DC’ and use your airtime to START RUNNING AGAINST HILLARY AND TRUMP.
But a campaign isn’t just against something. It is also for something: It needs to have a hopeful, positive and optimistic part to it. Cruz is absolutely on target when he mocks the ‘Make America great again’ motto as not being sufficient, but let’s be real: It has appeal because we the people want a better future. Cruz explains that leadership is more than a motto, but Cruz AT LEAST needs to paint a positive vision. When Trump says ‘we are going to win so much you’ll be sick of winning’ he is in his own simplistic way painting a bright future. Rubio was excellent at, like Obama, making his personal narrative one about the wider hope of the American dream. Cruz has done that as well, with his overused story of his Dad’s money sown in his underwear, and his UNDER-used stories of heartbreak, struggle and redemption in his family.
This race is now a two-man race. It is also a David vs Goliath race, and Cruz should not deny but rather should embrace the underdog role. In 2012, Cruz came in second in the ‘first round’ of the primary, well behind the ‘frontrunner’ Dewhurst. Dewhurst had money, name ID, and status. Cruz didn’t give up though. What Cruz had that Dewhurst lacked was the support of conservative activists and key members of the party faithful. With that support, and with the right message to voters, Cruz came from behind and prevailed. He can do it again.
These are my thoughts. What are yours?