Sunday, May 8, 2016

The Cruz collapse

You're ridin' high in April, shot down in May.  That line from That's Life perfectly describes the implosion of the Ted Cruz campaign last week.  Fred Barnes dissects the Senator's presidential campaign in The Weekly Standard and makes some interesting points:

What happened to Ted Cruz? A month ago, he won the Wisconsin primary in a landslide and was poised to combat Donald Trump with a fresh burst of enthusiasm. Now he's out of the race and Trump is the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

Things happened in two cycles, some in recent weeks and others that plagued his campaign from the beginning. As Trump said last night, Cruz is tough and smart. But he made big mistakes as a presidential candidate....

 Cruz decided to make a stand in Indiana, brushing off the five Northeast states. He believed they "wouldn't make any difference in voters' minds in Indiana," says Rich Danker, who ran a pro-Cruz super PAC. But states "don't have to be all alike" for voters to be influenced by their outcome, he says.

After Cruz came in a distant third in New York, his poll numbers began to drop. Over ten days in late April, Cruz went from six percentage points behind Trump (WTHR/Howey Politics) to 15 points behind (NBC/Wall Street Journal)....

Two other factors contributed to his demise. He accused Trump of being a liberal like Hillary Clinton, the likely Democratic presidential nominee. The charge wasn't credible. Trump may not be a conservative, but he's hardly a liberal.

And Cruz talked incessantly about process. He and his campaign aides boasted about how well he was doing in putting Cruz backers in delegate slots pledged to Trump. They pointed to their success in winning all 34 delegates in Colorado, though neither a primary nor a caucus had been held...

This backfired. Voters tend to be uninterested in campaign process. Worse, Trump insisted the nomination fight was "rigged" because delegates were being chosen un-democratically, without the assent of voters. Trump exploited this issue successfully for days.

Then there were Cruz's long-term problems. One was his persistent claim to be the only "true conservative" in the race. Indeed, he is a conservative. But by saying so incessantly, he cut himself off from voters who weren't interested in a right-wing candidate. (KF: Watch President's Reagan's 1980 speeches. How many times does he say the word "conservative"?)

"Picking a president is about the candidate's vision of where to take America," Danker wrote. "'Making America Great Again' may be facile but it meets this objective. Cruz did not have a campaign theme like this of his own, never mind a slogan for it."

Nor was Cruz's stump piece the equal of Trump's. Cruz delivered a stream of applause lines. Trump ad-libs about the news of the day. He is interesting and lively and gets far more media coverage as a result. "Trump talks about things that matter to people," a Republican consultant says. Cruz stressed ideology...

Cruz was praised by the media for his data-driven strategy. He knew so much about voting blocs, even tiny ones, that he was free to select what states – usually the winnable ones – in which to compete. This strategy failed.

In New Hampshire, the most important early primary in the entire contest, Cruz took a pass. Had he run hard – he had the money to do so – he probably would have finished second to Trump. Instead he came in a weak third and his performance in South Carolina's primary two weeks later suffered. He came in third, behind Trump and Marco Rubio. (KF: South Carolina was a forerunner of Indiana. Cruz went hard for that state. It was a state that should've been one of the best suited for his campaign and he got clobbered.).

"Trump's strategy was so simple that it's almost crude: try to win every state," Danker wrote. "He visited just about every state that had a nominating contest, and refused to concede there was any place where he couldn't do well (KF: while Trump followed a fundamental rule of tennis: hit the ball where they ain't).... Rest of essay.

Kingfish note: The Republicans would be wise not to ignore Cruz.  He seemed to be the only GOP candidate who figured out the data-mining and micro-targeting techniques used so well by the Democrats in 2012 and applied them to his campaign.  There were no Orca's in his campaign.  

However, Cruz's strategy was based upon maximizing a conservative base.  However, he failed miserably in some of the most conservative states such as South Carolina and yes, Mississippi.  He should've done well here but the campaign was almost non-existent.  Trump came here twice to great aplomb while the Senator poked his head into a fish house at the last minute.  Sanatorum fought for this state and got it in 2012. Cruz didn't and lost it badly in 2016.   Cruz did well in caucuses where organization is a premium but not so well in the primaries, especially the open ones.  However, those who play to win usually do while those who don't win very rarely. The 2016 GOP campaign was no exception. 


Anonymous said...

I agree and would add that Cruz just isn't likable or attractive.
He should have hired someone to do his wardrobe,hair and make-up before he campaigned ( it got a bit better over time). Of course, Trump had hair and make-up issues until recently with the skunk tail and white eye sockets).
And, he should have hired a voice coach. He sounds like he's coming off of a drag of helium or just whiny.
The comparison photos of Cruz with a character from the Adams Family was brilliant.

Kingfish said...

Every sentence sounds like a pronouncement. A voice from Mount Olympus. Fine if you're John Facenda, not fine if you are not. He comes off as someone who doesn't know how to have fun. Give him credit. He made big mistakes but also ran a smart campaign that was ahead of his competitors in many ways. He was big enough to take a swing at it. He saw an opportunity and jumped on it. Something Mario Cuomo and Jeb Bush didn't do when it was available.

Anonymous said...

Trump's mystic aura prevailed in the primaries. While I will hold my nose, and vote for him as vote against Hillary, I have serious doubts he will prevail in the runoff. Think about it, would you hire Trump? Would you seek employment with him? He has serious image problems. Clinton has rabbits in the hat, and she will use them, and the media is fighting Trump. He has an uphill battle.

Anonymous said...

What an insufferable and sanctimonious asshole.

Anonymous said...

Cruz was never more than a niche candidate. He only won 4 states which held primaries - Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho & Wisconsin. He lost 26 primaries. The majority of his delegates were won at caucuses - when your record is 4-26 when voters go to polls (as opposed to insiders picking insiders), Cruz was never really viable. He was toast after on Super Tuesday, when he went 2-7 in primaries.

Cruz campaigned like he was trying to become captain of the debate team. No better example than when he argued for 10 minutes on the rope line with Trump supporters before the Indiana primary. He preached like a lawyer, made points like it was a debate team competition, and then called those voters they were being "played for chumps" when they remained unmoved by his oratory skills.

Anonymous said...

Because his preachy religious persona turned off NE states and that rolled into Indiana. He sucked and stood no chance against Hillary.

Get On The Train Bitches said...

You idiots languish around in your cypress-panel-walled dens chugging cheap beer, bitching about Trump while foaming at the mouth over that insufferable bitch who will be his opposition (if not jailed).

Anonymous said...

Cruz was the "niche candidate" which makes Kasich the non-candidate.

Anonymous said...

Cruz reminded me of Jim and Tammy Faye as well as Jimmy Swaggart. A true televangelist. He was about on par with Ernest Angely. The only way to beat a Democrat is to out nasty them. We have just the candidate to do it!

Anonymous said...

He is too much of a politician. People are tired of the life long politician. Just look at the problems we have now caused by politicians. Some people actually believe what a politician tells them. Poor fools. It is time for someone who is not a politician to take over. Couldn't do any worse.

Anonymous said...

I think Crudball would have done a lot better, if he'd washed the grease out of his hair, and stopped running around in bluejeans. With the greasemop, and the jeans worn at inappropriate times, he looked as Hispanic as his name.

Frankly, both Crudz and Rubio look and act, to me, like typical, insane Latin American dictators. I would assume that Hispanic Republicans are here, because they (or their families) FLED countries ruled & ruined by men like Crudball & Rubio. They know the look. They know what it means. And that's the last thing they want ruling over them.

Simon Cowell Says said...

Trying to button a sport coat that's two sizes too small over jeans that call attention to a middle aged paunch is just not good planning. He and John Belushi used the same wardrobe consultant.

The only way to top that was for him to open that whiny, preachy mouth. If he could have campaigned without speaking or appearing he might have had a better shot at the gold ring.

Anonymous said...

KF, I'll risk sounding as if I'm making pronouncements again.
I would suggest that there is quite a bit of evidence that how one appears in public or on television is important in a campaign.
While it isn't always fatal, it certainly hurt Nixon in his television debate with Kennedy. And, Nixon walking on the beach in a suit is still the stuff of legend as is Dukakis looking silly in the helmet.
That Hilary often sounds shrill( when she could learn to project her voice over the crowd) is something Trump has certainly pointed out.
That Romney looked too stiff and starched was not just discussed, he tried to change that image too late.
Image isn't everything as you pointed out. A candidate can't appear unenthusiastic or be uninspiring . I would have added " or say stupid, gratuitously mean things" until this race.
But, hiring an image consultant is something those who will be in the public eye do all the time including CEOs. And, how one looks and sounds when delivering a speech is often part of courses in public speaking/speech writing at the college level. It's not just what you say but how you look and sound saying it if you want people to listen.
Human beings, fairly or not, make initial judgments of others based on appearance.
As a lawyer, surely you know that how you and your client appear in a courtroom matters. Candidates for office are being " judged" as well!

Anonymous said...

4:43 gets it. People want CHANGE, and it's basic and simple. The majority of people believe that "politicians" have rigged our government so that nobody wins but the minority of people already at the top (and politicians). Although he has issues, Trump is viewed as an "outsider", not a politician like Cruz. And Trump's gaffs and comments make him appear more mainstream and "unpolitical".

Anonymous said...

Cruz collapsed because he misread the country. His Rush Limbaugh stump speech didn't sell. He truly thought Limbaugh was right about there being a "Reagan Majority" out there just waiting for the right candidate. Cruz' entire career was based upon getting the conservative nut-job vote. He staged a futile publicity stunt by briefly shutting down the government and deliberately sabotaged the decorum of the Senate for the sole purpose of becoming a hero to the talk radio/Fox News idiots and the 15 - 20 million people to listen to that crap. (Keep in mind that 20 million is a stretch plus more than 200 million will vote in the presidential race in November.) The point is that the nut job vote is irrelevant. If it were relevant in terms of numbers of voters, Cruz would have captured far more delegates in the states holding actual elections...but in the end his bottom line stump speech wound up being an attack on Trump's personal life and behavior. Sound familiar? Yep. We saw it in the Senate race last year when the nut-job candidate spent millions of dollars launching personal attacks on a senior senator who had never, ever cast a single vote that wasn't in the best interests of the State of Mississippi and the people who live here. Good riddance, Ted.

Anonymous said...

8:09 am You make good points. I think the Reagan Majority or the Silent Majority or whatever you want to call us, are more than a little put out by both parties catering to their crazy extremists. Indeed, both parties created those crazies by creating unrealistic expectations and appealing to fear and prejudice.
No surprise that neither party can control the insane " base".
And, it's no surprise that the line between being politically incorrect and being horribly insulting has become so blurred that even politicians can't figure out when they piss off huge voting blocks!
And, more than a few of us would like to see pragmatic solutions rather than all this " our way or the highway" nonsense! Ideologues are annoying and arrogant and wore out my patience long ago!

Anonymous said...

In response to 8:09 the crowd shouted "Pork, Pork, PORK. We want Pork. We want more PORK."

Anonymous said...

When Cruz speaks his voice sounds like a cross between actor Nathan Lane and Mr. Haney from 'Green Acres'.

I find it interesting that not one person I know who flooded my Facebook with posts supporting McDaniel was supporting Cruz.

Old Times Here Are Not Forgotten said...

Good riddance. In his own way, Cruz was more dangerous than Trump. Maybe now we'll get a 3rd party/independent conservative candidate who can split the vote such that no one wins a majority and it goes to the House to decide whoever it wants to be president, and they don't have to be one of the candidates. And while we're at it, look what Trent Lott is preaching/peddling these days. Personally, I long for the old days in Washington when the parties worked together and got things done.

The Republic

Anonymous said...

Sorry, but the Constitution says the House of Representatives has to choose from a list of the top five finishers, which means it will be one of the candidates.

Old Times 2 said...

Well, rats. We're doomed!

Anonymous said...

@3:46 - You are correct about it being from the top five finishers, but that is the top five from the electoral college vote. If 3:03's fantasy were to come true, at least one additional person (other than Trump/Clinton) would have to receive electoral college votes. The House would choose between anyone who got EC votes, assuming it is not more than five candidates.

But, if they House did not vote for any one in a majority, then it moves to the Senate who would be choosing a Vice President, who could become Acting President.

Anonymous said...

Minor correction to 3:46 and 12:32: The 12th amendment changed it the list to the top 3 vote recipients in the electoral college. Also, the Senate chooses the VP from the top 2 EC recipients. You could end up with a split result between President and Vice President.

Anonymous said...

A split between president and vice president is the way it should be.

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Trollfest '09

Trollfest '07 was such a success that Jackson Jambalaya will once again host Trollfest '09. Catch this great event which will leave NE Jackson & Fondren in flames. Othor Cain and his band, The Black Power Structure headline the night while Sonjay Poontang returns for an encore performance. Former Frank Melton bodyguard Marcus Wright makes his premier appearance at Trollfest singing "I'm a Sweet Transvestite" from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." Kamikaze will sing his new hit, “How I sold out to da Man.” Robbie Bell again performs: “Mamas, don't let your babies grow up to be Bells” and “Any friend of Ed Peters is a friend of mine”. After the show, Ms. Bell will autograph copies of her mug shot photos. In a salute to “Dancing with the Stars”, Ms. Bell and Hinds County District Attorney Robert Smith will dance the Wango Tango.

Wrestling returns, except this time it will be a Battle Royal with Othor Cain, Ben Allen, Kim Wade, Haley Fisackerly, Alan Lange, and “Big Cat” Donna Ladd all in the ring at the same time. The Battle Royal will be in a steel cage, no time limit, no referee, and the losers must leave town. Marshand Crisler will be the honorary referee (as it gives him a title without actually having to do anything).

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In the spirit of helping those who are less fortunate, Trollfest '09 adopts a cause for which a portion of the proceeds and donations will be donated: Keeping Frank Melton in his home. The “Keep Frank Melton From Being Homeless” booth will sell chances for five dollars to pin the tail on the jackass. John Reeves has graciously volunteered to be the jackass for this honorable excursion into saving Frank's ass. What's an ass between two friends after all? If Mr. Reeves is unable to um, perform, Speaker Billy McCoy has also volunteered as when the word “jackass” was mentioned he immediately ran as fast as he could to sign up.

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There will be a hugging booth where in exchange for your young son, Frank Melton will give you a loooong hug. Trollfest will have a dunking booth where Muhammed the terrorist will curse you to Allah as you try to hit a target that will drop him into a vat of pig grease. However, in the true spirit of Separate But Equal, Don Imus and someone from NE Jackson will also sit in the dunking booth for an equal amount of time. Tom Head will give a reading for two hours on why he can't figure out who the hell he is. Cliff Cargill will give lessons with his .80 caliber desert eagle, using Frank Melton photos as targets. Tackleberry will be on hand for an autograph session. KIM Waaaaaade will be passing out free titles and deeds to crackhouses formerly owned by The Wood Street Players.

If you get tired come relax at the Fox News Tent. To gain admittance to the VIP section, bring either your Republican Party ID card or a Rebel Flag. Bringing both will entitle you to free drinks.Get your tickets now. Since this is an event for trolls, no ID is required, just bring the hate. Bring the family, Trollfest '07 is for EVERYONE!!!

This is definitely a Beaver production.

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