It’s morning in America. Although, given that I’m under 2 inches of snow and Ted Cruz is dominating the news cycle, it’s more likely to be a morning in December of 2013, than one in March of 2015. But whatever. Happy Presidential Election Kickoff Day, everyone!
And, as announced, Senator Ted Cruzis the first out of the gate to declare his intention to compete for the Republican Presidential nomination. He officially launched his campaign for President this morning, with the obligatory “video that looks like it was cobbled together after someone ran a search for “America” on a stock photo site. Cruz’s is entitled “A Time for Truth,” and it is very, very patriotic. There are many waving flags, tow-headed children, working Americans, baseballs flying and things of that nature.
His longer, more comprehensive ad, which features him in shirtsleeves talking about his American-ness, is here.
I like the approach, honestly. I know, you’re going to have to pick yourselves up off the floor after reading that, but instead of the traditional, “write the book, form the PAC, waste the time and energy courting donors” approach favored by what Cruz would probably label “establishment” candidates, Cruz is going for a distinctly grassroots-focused campaign, that takes the argument directly to the people, and will inevitably force the the rest of the nominees to position themselves as being “for” or “against” whatever Ted Cruz positions himself to be. And as Cruz does best when positioned as a “populist” candidate in opposition to the DC elite, it’s likely to be a winning strategy, at least in the short run, until someone else follows suit.
And while we’re still a year out of Super Tuesday, his approach is also smart in that it places him ahead of the game as compared to the people he seems to be gunning for directly: Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum, both of whom run as populist candidates, count on votes from Middle America, and will be mud-wrestling each other for the social conservative vote. They might be too little too late; obviously, Ted Cruz is giving his opening speech at Jerry Fallwell’s university for a reason, and it’s unlikely to be because he’s angling for his own megachurch Sunday morning special if his dreams of world domination fall short.
He does, of course, lose the opportunity to raise money for a PAC, which could, if he drops out before the primary is over, put him in a better position to exert influence over the eventual nominee, but I don’t suspect Ted Cruz is very worried about campaign dysfunction. It’s impossible to predict how much money he’ll raise, and GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump isn’t likely to need it anyway.