The Corner

Cruz’s Campaign Strategy

We wrote about it back in December, and his speech this morning, both in terms of its location and its content, certainly reinforced the idea that he will make little effort to woo independents. By promising to abolish the IRS and repeal Obamacare, Cruz is banking on the assumption that many voters, uninspired by candidates who have embraced the mushy middle, have stayed home in recent years: 

To hell with the independents. That’s not usually the animating principle of a presidential campaign, but for Ted Cruz’s, it just might be. His strategists aren’t planning to make a big play for so-called independent voters in the general election if Cruz wins the Republican nomination. According to several of the senator’s top advisers, Cruz sees a path to victory that relies instead on increasing conservative turnout; attracting votes from groups — including Jews, Hispanics, and Millennials — that have tended to favor Democrats; and, in the words of one Cruz strategist, “not getting killed with independents.” . . .

As for Hispanics, Millennials, and women, Cruz’s advisers point to internal polling showing that he won 40 percent of the Hispanic vote in Texas when he was elected in 2012, seven percentage points more than Mitt Romney won there, and to a Politico report indicating that, on social media, Cruz is the most talked-about presidential candidate on the right. And they argue that he has a logical appeal to female voters. They cite his speeches about the influence of the important women in his life, his support for Democratic senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s bill that would have removed sexual-assault cases from the military chain of command, and his attempts when he was a college student to confront the problem of date rape, news of which conveniently emerged as the Rolling Stone piece about a purported 2012 gang rape on the University of Virginia campus began to unravel and the controversy it sparked reached its apex. His wife, Heidi, a managing director in the Houston office of Goldman Sachs who burnished her political skills as an economic adviser on George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign and then in the Bush White House, where she served on the National Security Council, will also undoubtedly play a role in his efforts to appeal to women.

#related#In his speeches, Cruz often cites Ronald Reagan. The case he will have to make to Republican donors and primary voters as election season continues is that he is more like Reagan than the other true conservative, Barry Goldwater, often cited as a lodestar for his ideological purity — but not for his electoral success. 


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