Ted Cruz is in a much stronger position on immigration than Marco Rubio–all he has to say is that he opposed the Gang of 8 bill and Rubio supported it, in fact helped craft it and sell it. So this should be easy. It’s mystifying then that Cruz has let himself get tangled up on this issue, especially when he’s so careful about thinking things through and looking around corners. If you read this as well as a bunch of posts by my colleagues, it is obvious that Cruz supported legalization (or at least led everyone to believe that he supported legalization). Given that, it seems Cruz could simply say that he changed his mind on legalization, or that he still supports legalization but only in the right circumstances, namely when his enforcement program has taken hold and reduced the illegal population. Instead he now insists he never supported legalization and never will. On Greta last night, he gave the impression of crab-walking up to Trump’s position–all illegal immigrants will be deported, end of story (although, of course, Trump says he will bring many of them back). I say crab-walking because if this was Cruz’s position earlier in the week, he simply could have said so at the debate. Cruz still wins the political argument on immigration with Rubio, but he has spent a couple of days on defense and made his own forthrightness on this an issue, when it was totally unnecessary. I believe that Cruz is disciplined and smart and basically doesn’t make mistakes–except to be too clever.
A couple of other thoughts on the race:
–Trump’s dominance in the latest Fox poll is extraordinary. He has the support of nearly half of Republican men–46 percent. Same with non-college educated Republicans. If there were a national primary and it were held any time soon, Trump would waltz to victory.
–In the PPP poll, Cruz has a better fav/unfav than Rubio and beats him head-to-head, and basically ties Trump.
–It may be like saying the Cowboys are just two games out of the NFC East, but Jeb Bush is just 3 points out of second in the New Hampshire poll from the Boston Herald.