When the junior senator from Texas announced that he was running for president last March, I used these pages to write that, “Ted Cruz could win in places like Alabama.”
That opinion was based upon Cruz’s unapologetic advocacy and defense of the conservative principles of limited government, individual liberty, and free markets, and his sincere desire to see those principles form the foundation for a massive shift in American governance.
Five months into his campaign, however, I feel that my earlier statement must be revised: Ted Cruz will win in places like Alabama, and perhaps in even less conservative states.
That prediction is based upon his impressive performance in the crowded primary thus far.
First, Cruz raised more hard money in the last reporting cycle than any of his competitors – even more than Jeb Bush who is backed by the establishment’s money machine. This is a crucial indicator because, as we have learned, in this age money is indeed speech, and donating to a candidate is essentially “early voting” it is most truthful and practical form.
Moreover, Cruz’s cash was raised in small amounts from many individual donors, a clear sign of deep and wide support cross the nation. Usually, when a candidate claims that they’ve raised more individual donations and in small amounts, it’s meant to highlight their grassroots support and downplay the fact that they’re not raising large sums of money. Cruz is turning that typical formula on its head. He’s getting more individual contributions, in smaller amounts, and still raising the most money all at once. That’s unheard of.
Second, Cruz is polling remarkably well in a crowded field of several All-Star candidates who, in normal cycles, would be leading contenders for the nomination. It’s not like Cruz is the only conservative in the race; it’s just that he may be the most courageous and trustworthy. That’s making a difference.
After the first debate, Cruz rocketed to second place in an early survey of support, behind Donald Trump and ahead of Ben Carson. Notice anything similar about those three? They’re all outsiders, either removed from the party’s establishment by their careers (Trump and Carson) or by their actions (Cruz). When those other two leave for whatever reason (Trump isn’t a consistent and trustworthy conservative, and Carson isn’t ready to battle the Democrats or the bureaucracy), the natural recipient of their fed-up-with-the-establishment supporters is Cruz. When the field shrinks in the coming months, expect Cruz’s numbers to steadily increase.
Third, Cruz’s anti-establishment message is resonating with voters, and it’s something that movement conservatives have been waiting to hear since 1988. His attack on the “Washington Cartel,” as he calls it, takes on both parties. Last month he took to the Senate floor and, in an unprecedented act of political courage, called the party’s lackluster and backroom-dealing majority leader, Mitch McConnell, a “liar” for secretly negotiating with Democrats to pass President Barrack Obama’s trade deal and rescue a crony capitalist bank from disestablishment. I’ve rarely seen a sitting politician take-on his leadership like that, and it was refreshing and inspiring.
So when Cruz came to Huntsville last Sunday evening to speak with supporters, I took my two oldest children in hopes that they’d see the man who might end up rescuing their generation from inheriting a weakened, and less free, America. I’ve been to a number of these early primary events, and I only expected 200-300 attendees at most. But organizers said they received more than 1,400 RSVPs, and by my count there were easily 2,000 people standing in the main hall and foyer of the Jackson Center conference facility.
Cruz’s speech was wonderful, and it reminded me of what Rush Limbaugh said when he announced last spring.
“We finally now have, on display, someone who can cheerfully, confidently, happily articulate conservatism in a charismatic, positive way,” Limbaugh said on his radio program last March. “Somebody who’s not afraid of it. Somebody who’s not ashamed of it. Somebody who doesn’t see any need to qualify it or to make excuses for it.”
Does that remind you of any other candidate in recent decades … who was also hated by the establishment?
Let’s hope Cruz – and America – enjoys similar results.