The Ted Cruz campaign is holding its own in terms of polls and campaign fundraising; indeed, according to reports, the Cruz campaign raked in $1 million within the first 100 hours following last Thursday’s debate.  His #CruzCountry bus tour is also creating a lot of buzz on Twitter, with enthusiastic supporters tweeting that they’ve just met the “next president.”

Watch:

Winning the presidency is clearly Cruz’s goal, and he seems to be playing a long game.

While many other GOP candidates are quick to dismiss Rand Paul and his supporters and to disparage Donald Trump and his supporters, Cruz is remaining above the fray.  As we all know, this is not a man afraid of the fray, so it seems that Cruz’s goal is to strengthen his own support and to win the support of the other candidates as they—he hopes—drop out of the field.

All of the GOP presidential candidates want to be the last man or woman standing, of course, and they all want, hope for, or feel entitled to (depending on the candidate) the supporters of all the other candidates.  But for my money, Cruz is the one who has the foresight and humility to understand that the fight for conservative—and libertarian—support doesn’t begin or end with the primary season.

According to The Washington Post, Cruz is already looking toward gaining both supporters and donors from the now-floundering Rand Paul campaign.

 Ted Cruz’s operatives are quietly reaching out to Rand Paul’s early supporters and endorsers, making the case that the Texas senator is their best bet if they want a Republican nominee who is friendly to libertarians.

Saul Anuzis, the former Michigan GOP chair who is working for Cruz, recently traveled to New Hampshire to meet with Paul backers and make that case, my colleague David Weigel scoops for the 202. The key to his pitch: Paul is floundering and Cruz is viable. Other sources tell me that Cruz is poised to roll out a few endorsements from 2012 supporters of Ron Paul who have held off on signing with Rand.

. . . .  Cruz himself freely acknowledges that he wants to dip into the libertarian bracket. The Texan is on a bus tour this week across the South, with a focus on states with early March primaries. Katie Zezima, on the Cruz beat for The Post, relayed between stops in Tennessee that Cruz is invoking the Fourth Amendment, a Paul favorite, whenever possible.

On Sunday, during a rally in Huntsville, Ala., Cruz pivoted twice to libertarian-leaning answers. First, he bragged about being “an original co-sponsor” of Paul’s “Audit the Fed” bill. “What the Fed is doing is dangerous,” he said. “They are debasing the currency with QE1, QE2, QE infinity!” Then, asked about databases kept by the Department of Housing and Urban Development to track diversity, Cruz touted his unrelated work “to lead the effort to end the federal government’s bulk collection of phone metadata.”

Not only is Cruz actively courting Rand donors and followers, but he’s also courting Trump supporters should Trump’s campaign at some point implode.  Politco reports:

Texas Sen. Ted Cruz on Monday warned that the Republican presidential candidates who are slamming Donald Trump do so at their political peril.

Cruz’s remarks, which came during an interview with POLITICO as he swings through the South on a bus tour, are among the most detailed comments to date regarding his reluctance to criticize the real estate mogul, who is currently leading the polls in the GOP primary.

“I would … note that an awful lot of Republicans, including other Republican candidates, have gone out of their way to smack Donald Trump with a stick. Now I think that’s just foolish,” he said.

Cruz goes on to explain why he thinks it’s a mistake to denigrate Trump and his followers, Cruz tells Politico: “Donald Trump had a rally in Phoenix, Ariz. [to which] between 10 and 20 thousand people came out. When you attack and vilify the people at that rally as crazies, it does nothing to help Republicans win in 2016. I’d like every single person at that rally to show up and vote in 2016, knock on doors with energy and passion, and turn this country around. If Washington politicians show contempt and condescension to those [voters,] that is a path to losing at the ballot box.”  He’s right.

While other GOP candidates are avoiding Rand Paul supporters like the plague and bashing Trump and his supporters, Cruz understands that building a broad coalition of support is going to be key to winning not just the GOP nomination but the presidency.