By Bill Collier- From the start of the campaign I was excited for Ted Cruz. He made his announcement on March 15, 2015. Technically he had already announced via a Tweet, but his speech at Liberty University in Lynchburg VA was the starting point.
I followed his career as a Senator and was often inspired by his speeches. When I saw his actual plans….I was hopeful oh so hopeful, that we could get this man, the only rock-solid and straight down the line true conservative in the race, into the White House! No more backroom deals, no more insider baseball, oh, and did I mention the gold standard? Cruz supports SOUND MONEY and only gold can give us that. He supports the things he supports because they will make us all more likely to prosper!
He was quoted by the Washington Post-
“Today, I am announcing that I am running for president of the United States,” Cruz said, about 20 minutes into a speech to students here. “Ted! Ted!” students yelled.
“It is the time for truth. It is the time for liberty. It is the time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States,” Cruz said.
It was a moment of promise and hope and I was happy to count myself a TedHead. Cruz had proven he could and would fight, he had an exemplary public record, and he had argued liberal lawyers to a stand-still in front of the Supreme Court. His resume is a conservative fantasy come true, frankly.
But as the race proceeded it became all too clear. Ted Cruz was missing the plot.
Back in August of 2015, Trump and Cruz joined forces to protest the Iran deal. This was before they cordially loathed one another. (The cordiality is gone now, too.) The whole exercise was a distraction, it elevated Trump, and it didn’t do Cruz any good. It was such a total distraction from his main offering, his main selling point, which was and is PROSPERITY.
Art Laffer and Steve Moore, full disclosure, for whom I have built a website, were quick to note that of the candidates running in November of 2015, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz had the best tax plans. His plan and his initial rhetoric in favor of his pro-prosperity plan were praised by Ralph Benko in his Forbes online column. In fact I have my own insider sources who re-assured me that Cruz had been told that his plan was the best plan for prosperity and that he could win by preaching a pro-prosperity message.
The sad irony for prosperity voters such as myself, Ted Cruz did not push a prosperity message, his theme was a mixture of conservative purity, outsider street cred, and Christian statesmen. None of these are bad things, but voters really mostly want prosperity. And, unlike anyone else, I think, Ted Cruz has a plan that will deliver that, but Donald Trump is the one who is promising that. (Clearly, a vote for Trump is NOT a vote for prosperity, regardless of the rhetoric).
So what has become of the Cruz campaign?
Cruz failed to win straight up. He didn’t get the popular votes needed to secure first round votes in the convention- Trump has more than 2.5 million vote than Cruz and almost 300 more first round guaranteed delegate votes in the convention. Cruz, a lawyer and a brilliant tactician in such matters, has figured out how to game the system to snatch away delegates, all legally I will add, to try to win on round two of the votes. He is spending money and resources, and lots of it, to get delegates.
Meanwhile, now it is announced that Cruz will cede Oregon and New Mexico to Kasich who will cede Indiana to Cruz in the hopes of stopping Trump from winning in those states. This is all perfectly legal and legitimate, and Trump complaining about it is laughable (as if he would not do the same thing). But it is a far cry from the opening lines of such a promising campaign.
While no formal numbers have been revealed, Ted Cruz’s campaign is said to be “well organized” to mobilize people on the ground and get his supporters nominated and elected, by local to state conventions, to be delegates. Even in states where Trump won, many of the delegates selected have pledged to vote for Cruz on round two if Trump doesn’t come in with enough to win in the first round. This is a credit to Cruz and demerit to Trump who should have known better!
Cruz became mired in responding to the latest outlandish Trump attack, he threw out red meat, he had near religious events with Glenn Beck, and now he is focused on getting delegates to secure a win…by what many see as a backdoor. It may be legal and fair, but it is hardly what I had hoped to be seeing this late in the game.
Cruz is not liked by the establishment types. Mitch McConnell, who loathes both Trump and Cruz openly, gleefully, predicted a contested convention. Karl Rove’s speculation of a “fresh face” emerging may not have been evidence of an evil plot on his part, but a learned analysis of what is quite possible- the GOP will try to put up someone other than Trump or Cruz in a contested convention.
The opening remarks of the campaign, which were so promising, have now devolved to this from an interview with Seam Hannity:
“Donald Trump’s campaign does not know how to organize on the grassroots, and so when the delegates are elected the real conservative activists show up, they elect delegates and we are winning those elections over and over and over again,” Senator Cruz explained to Sean. “I cannot help that the Donald Trump campaign does not seem capable of running a lemonade stand.”
This may in fact be true. But winning elections by the popular vote is the key to legitimacy in this society, a society long trained in the notion that every vote counts and that it is your duty to go out and vote. It is also a complete distraction from Cruz’s actual best selling point- that he has the plan that will make us all more prosperous.
It is a lawyerly response from Cruz- now it’s not the votes in primary or caucuses which are convenient and open to all registered party members, it’s the delegates. Technically, quite true, and yet, it’s sausage and now we are talking about all the ingredients of sausage instead of prosperity!
Ted Cruz being forced to rely on legerdemain to win, instead of good, clean wins at the polls coupled with such legerdemain to protect his delegates, is about as appealing as, well, the legal profession itself. The fact is. we are at this place because Ted Cruz could not muster enough of a plurality of votes to beat a New York liberal in a GOP primary. And the reason for that is not Trump, the media, Sean Hannity, or Drudge, all the people Cruz blames: the reason is that Ted Cruz had a brilliant path to victory through a prosperity message but he allowed himself to get distracted.
I am disappointed in Cruz because he allowed himself to become distracted from the only message that will work, prosperity, despite having the plan to back such a message up. He failed to win nice and clean by wining so much support that he only needed to use his delegate mining legerdemain to protect his lead in subsequent rounds if needed. I don’t blame him for fighting on, but I am disappointed that he could not win a clear MORAL victory, coupled with a legal victory, over his opponents.
If Cruz manages to pull this off and win by delegate mining legerdemain I won’t necessarily fault him. You can bet if Cruz was ahead and wasn’t so good at the delegate game he’d be the one facing a contested convention despite being far ahead. In other words, the other side would resort to these means in a heartbeat.
But even if he does win- if he fails to get on the prosperity train and stay there and not be distracted by anything or anyone, not even Hillary and her media sycophants, he will lose the popular vote and he will have no recourse to delegate mining legerdemain!
I do not mean to suggest I won’t vote for Cruz, I am simply disappointed, and I say that as someone who wants Cruz to win. If he manages to pull this off, and, again, nobody can convince me anybody else would not do whatever it takes, he has a choice. Push a massive prosperity message making big promises he can deliver- people will quickly forget and not care about the process that led to his COMING OUT as a prosperity guy.
In the end, we are all prosperity voters. Trump and the Democrats seems to be very good at talking that talk. Cruz can walk that walk, it’s only his messaging that I am disappointed in.