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Cruz Strategy? Poach Rand Supporters and Defend Trump Supporters

Cruz Strategy? Poach Rand Supporters and Defend Trump Supporters

Playing a long game . . .

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.”


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.


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Cruz is a good one on one debater but as president, I have doubts about him. He may be better placed in the Senate. That body needs some new blood and plenty of disruptors. The status quo can’t only be broken from the outside, there needs to be insiders to help.

    flodnar143 in reply to Whitewall. | August 13, 2015 at 1:43 pm

    Trump/Cruz 2016. Per an article by Wayne Allen Root, Trump is like the Energizer Bunny, hit him and he hits back harder and keeps on going.

The strategy Cruz is following is a sound one. Trump has the plurality of support due to name recognition and his willingness to address illegal immigration. Cruz must pick up the support from the candidates lacking strong numbers, while addressing the issues giving Trump traction.

While not the ‘perfect’ candidate, Cruz is the candidate with the strongest conservative bona fides.

    To get Trump supporters, Cruz needs expressly to articulate substantive positions close to those that have caused Trump to gain support, primarily on the open-border and illegal alien issues.

      Radegunda in reply to Rick. | August 13, 2015 at 12:04 pm

      I’ve found many Trump fans to be resistant to talk of substantive positions. They’ll say things like: “That doesn’t matter! He’s a fighter! We’ve had enough politicians! We need something completely different! Trump knows how to get things done! You’re a RINO shill! No Jeb!”

        Juba Doobai! in reply to Radegunda. | August 13, 2015 at 12:55 pm

        Your flawed assumption is that everyone you think is supporting Trump is a Trump supporter. The support is not for the man but for what he’s doing to the Establishment as a whole. A lot of people of your mindset don’t want him to speak or be heard. A lot of Conservatives want him to be heard because we recognize his utility even though he is not our candidate. So, we are cheering him on because our candidate is moving through and giving solid answers to serious questions. Our candidate has been in talks with The Donald, a curiosity in itself.

        I’ll tell you something: Trump is making Americans dream again. He’s awakening the American fighting spirit. Call him the flag bearer, if you will. The man who carries the standard into battle is often not the leader, just a standard bearer. That’s Trump.

          Radegunda in reply to Juba Doobai!. | August 13, 2015 at 1:16 pm

          Your first error is reading into my statement some “assumption” that is neither stated nor implied, nor a logically necessary basis of what I actually said.

          My actual statement concerned “many Trump fans,” and the basis of my statement is what I have seen many people say in response to doubts about Trump. You twisted my words into something more sweeping and indiscriminate, so that you could attack me.

          Weirdly, after accusing me of making faulty assumptions about what’s in the mind of everyone who appears to support Trump, you made a completely unfounded and ridiculous assertion about my “mindset.”

          Nowhere have I ever said or implied that I don’t want Trump to speak or be heard. It is Trump fanatics who don’t want Trump critics to speak or be heard. I have only asked that Trump fans scrutinize him more carefully before giving him their support, and stop lashing out in blind anger at those who do scrutinize him.

          Radegunda in reply to Juba Doobai!. | August 13, 2015 at 1:27 pm

          A lot of Trump fans don’t care about your candidate; they don’t see Trump as the path-maker for any other candidate. A lot of Trump fans are making it very clear that they regard him as the one and only — and even that they will not vote for anyone else, even to stop a leftist.

          That is the “mindset” I’m criticizing. You are fantasizing about what my own “mindset” is.

          “A lot of Trump fans are making it very clear that they regard him as the one and only”

          Humor me, where are you seeing this?

      Ragspierre in reply to Rick. | August 13, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      The problem with your observation is that it overlooks the old, old problem.

      You assume because you don’t have a bright recollection of Cruz setting out these exact positions that Cruz never has.

      What’s true is that he HAS, you don’t know or remember, AND that’s because it hasn’t been reported/emphasized by the Mushroom Media, WHICH is because Trump is their darling.

      IF you don’t know about it, it doesn’t mean it didn’t happen.

        I am not certain as to whom your comment is specifically directed.
        I, of course, did not say that Cruz has not taken such positions, because I know he has, and I have discussed some of them personally with him. What I wrote and believe is that that is what he has to do to get Trump supporters. My guess is that Radegunda is correct in that at least some Trump supporters don’t care much about substantive issues. I think Juba D is correct also in that many people support what Trump is doing, without supporting him as an individual candidate. If Trump can inflict meaningful damage on the GOPe and its go-along media servants he will have performed a great service for America.

    Juba Doobai! in reply to Redneck Law. | August 13, 2015 at 1:18 pm

    Perfection in this life is illusory; and the idea of perfection is a religious one—Judaeo-Christian. So, let’s deal with reality: there is no perfect candidate. In the case of Cruz, there’s a man who’s a lifelong Conservative, knows what he believes, fights for it, proselytizes, and is an apologist for Conservative ideals. He’s not unwilling to be an outsider. He knows when to fight, is willing to give his opponents a chance to prove his advisers wrong, and is willing to call a spade a spade. Does he have flaws? Yes. Definitely. Pride. Ego. Ambition, but not the vaulting kind that o’er leaps itself and falls on the other side—he’s no Macbeth, neither is he a Lear. The belief that he can sway through the power of his words—Obama believes this but lacks the ability to debate or offer an argument at all.

    Are we willing to look at his flaws and say we can live with them? I am.

American Human | August 13, 2015 at 9:40 am

Trump seems more to be talking than actually proposing. I don’t read everything they all put out so I may be mistaken. I like Cruz, he’s one of my top 3.
Trump may be talking a good game but he seems mostly to be yelling a good game. He isn’t willing to discuss Fiorina without insulting her first, the same with Paul. Rand Paul says “XXX” about Trump and as a rebuttal Trump calls him a loser. Wow, I’m convinced.
He seems to have the same narcissistic personality as Obama. I don’t want another Presidency defined by the phrase “Its all about me!”
Cruz seems to be serious about what he wants to do instead of just “Be the President”.

    Radegunda in reply to American Human. | August 13, 2015 at 12:15 pm

    Trump thinks he has a smart response to questions about his plans: that it doesn’t make sense to have a detailed plan set in stone, because a leader has to be flexible in how he proceeds.

    But people aren’t asking him to tell us every little step he would take; they’re asking for more specificity about where he plans to go, and for a plausible route there.

    Some of his supporters are giddy about his pledge to “Make America strong again.” Trump knows that such people don’t care to hear his strategy for doing so. His fan base generally trusts that he’ll aim to do the right thing because he’s a “patriot,” and that he’ll be able to “get the job done” because he’s brash and aggressive and very rich.

I was at Red State in Atlanta and of all the speakers there Cruz got the best reaction from the crowd. He won’t get that in the North East or in some of the liberal states but he uses very little hyperbole and knows his stuff. He understands when to say something and when not to. He is very smart to not attack Trump. Like with obama I am reaching the point where I cannot watch Trump speak. He just blathers on and on about his lead in the polls and never actually has an answer when asked a direct question about a major issue. Ask the same question of Cruz and you will get an intelligent answer, not a lot of hot air. Trump is starting to remind me of Little Richard and the way he always told everyone how beautiful and smart he was.

Thank God that somebody in the GOP understands the concept of “long game”. With Cruz as president we can reverse years of Democrat unconstitutional mischief-making.

    Eskyman in reply to Juba Doobai!. | August 14, 2015 at 3:56 am

    There are at least 2 candidates that can play the long game, or maybe “are playing the long game;” you don’t get all the pieces to build a huge hotel (for instance) all at one time. Someone who is smart, shrewd, and lays careful plans gets the payoff in the end.

    Smart people don’t advertise what their plan is until it’s a done deal. Spring the trap too soon, the bird flies away! Of course our great president knows better, he’s always showing all his cards to everyone while bragging how brilliant he is. As we all know, he’s a great negotiator, even better than his own team of negotiators!

    Another point that we all know: Ted Cruz is very, very smart. If he hadn’t gone into politics, he might have made a billion or so in property, don’t you think? Some people are naturals in the ‘art of the deal’!

Donald Trump has two big negatives with Republican primary voters.

(1) He pals around too much with the Clintons, who even today are still members of his golf club. (You’ll know that Clinton’s attacks on Trump are bullshit if she doesn’t actually resign from his Trump Westminster National golf club)

(2) He spent the last 10 years of his life at NBC, an organization which is actively hostile to Republican voters.

So there is room for Cruz or somebody else to take away all of his supporters.


(1) this amnesty issue is ballgame. Any signs of weakness on this issue will result in those Trump voters going to somebody else or staying home. Past Republicans who promised border security lied. Past Republicans who promised border electronic surveillance or drones lied. Past Republicans who promised a fence lied. At least with a wall the American public can see that their politicians are not liars when the wall is built.

(2) Republicans want a strong alpha male leader right now. That’s why Trump’s support went up after Megyn Kelly’s Ambush. Trump wasn’t going to let the media control him. In other times, a more congenial or even stubborn leader would be fine.

Any Republican who is elected is going up against a hostile media, a hostile huge entriched government, and a hostile city in Washington DC. This Republican will only have as allies John Boehner and the wimps.

Honestly, I don’t see Cruz doing this. He’s too polite, & too restrained. He cares too much about seeming reasonable. Plus, Last year he essentially went into hiding during the run up to Obama’s executive amnesty. He’s a debater not a fighter.

    dorsaighost in reply to rotten. | August 13, 2015 at 11:19 am

    and yet he leads by double digits …

    Juba Doobai! in reply to rotten. | August 13, 2015 at 12:37 pm

    Donald Trump has two big negatives with Republican primary voters.

    (1) He pals around too much with the Clintons, who even today are still members of his golf club. (You’ll know that Clinton’s attacks on Trump are bullshit if she doesn’t actually resign from his Trump Westminster National golf club)

    (2) He spent the last 10 years of his life at NBC, an organization which is actively hostile to Republican voters.

    So there is room for Cruz or somebody else to take away all of his supporters.

    Your analysis is rotten, er, weak. Jeb Bush of the Bush family which is big with the Clintons. Whether or not they’re members of Trump’s golf club is irrelevant. Trump doesn’t think like a woman—if you’re against them you don’t want them belonging to your organization. Trump is a businessman, which means he’ll take anybody’s money cuz that’s the bottom line. To quote that famous line from the Godfather, “it’s strictly business, nothing personal.” Not everyone you socialize with in the business world is a friend. Businessmen maintain and socialize with a host of contacts. It’s called networking and knowing people who can help you get things done. The wedding attendance is part of that.

    Fox recently hired Maria the Money Honey Bartiromo. Again, it’s about money and who offers you enough. As The Donald would say, it’s all about the art of the deal.

    As I said, your points are really weak, your reasoning questionable. Therefore, your conclusion about Cruz is also questionable. If you understood the mindset of debaters—-it’s a war—you would not say Cruz is not a fighter. Cruz has a terrible reputation in the Senate because he is a fighter. The first rule of fighting is standing up for your principles, no matter how unpopular they are. Cruz has done that. ,the second rule is to have a long game. That’s Cruz.

    Anyway, moor reasoning all around.

Midwest Rhino | August 13, 2015 at 11:31 am

Trump says he has changed, just like Reagan. But Reagan changed in the early 1950’s and over decades, whereas Trump changes overnight. But Cruz is right to seek the Trump rebellion, and recognize that most want an outsider. In time they’ll find out Trump is dishonest and shifty, and has been part of the crony capitalism problem, not the solution.

Those that get slammed with Trump hyperbole have to respond, or be deemed beta males (or beta females). Walker responded to Trump’s “$2B Loss” lie, but referred me to politifact to find the truth, instead of giving a sound bite detail when he had the chance. Those missed opportunities add up.

But if Cruz can catch the Rand wave, and the Donald rebellion, and be clear about no amnesty, and maybe adopt the Giuliani plan along with the wall … he may be “The One”.

Guys that get attacked by dishonest Trump slams have to take it directly to Trump for being dishonest, while recognizing what makes Trump interesting with his alpha male approach. I’m wondering when Trump will pull the birther card on Cruz.

Cruz might contrast himself with Obama, who hid as senator, but rammed through leftist junk against the majority as president. Cruz stands for the majority in Congress without hiding, and as president would stand for the majority without establishment blockage.

MaggotAtBroadAndWall | August 13, 2015 at 11:58 am

I don’t have a twitter account, but I have a couple dozen twitter handles bookmarked that I click on from time to time to see what those people are tweeting about. One of those is Cruz’s campaign manager, Jeff Roe. Roe has been tweeting out pics of the crowds where Cruz has spoken on the campaign trail.

Bernie may be drawing tens of thousands in big blue cities like Seattle and Portland, but Cruz is drawing several hundred to 1000+ in towns and small cities like Murfreesboro, Russellville, and Crawford County. Cruz is attempting to build a big base of support in the south to win the primary.

Roe is an interesting character himself. He’s from my hometown of Kansas City. Many in the media/political class resent him because they don’t like his tactics that have been so successful. It’s hard to read a story about him without him being described as “controversial”, “hard hitting”, “dirty”. One story is that a few years ago Roe went dumpster diving through garbage to find embarrassing stuff that the campaign he was working for could use to embarrass the opponent. Earlier this year, Tom Schweich committed suicide shortly after announcing he was running for governor of Missouri. The Roe haters blamed his suicide on an ad Roe was behind. Dr. Milton Wolf blames Roe in part for his loss to Pat Roberts in the Kansas Senate primary last year.

I’ve wondered if Roe may have influenced Cruz’s decision to call Mitch McConnell a liar on the Senate floor. Pundits talked about it for two or three days, giving Cruz a ton of free publicity and positioning himself as an outsider running against his own party. Sure seems like something Roe would have endorsed.

Whatever people think of Roe’s tactics, his firm, Axiom Strategies, claims on its website an 81% success rate in getting people elected to Congress. If you are running for office you may not like his tactics and you may not even want him on your team. But you sure as heck don’t want him working for your opponent against you. Cruz was probably smart to pick him off early.

    That there speaks volumes about Cruz: he’s reality based—politics is a nasty game and you can’t be holier than thou when you’re playing it; when you’re going up against people you have to look in the toilet bowl to know what they’ve been eating—that’s the debater in Cruz who knows you have to get inside the mind of your opponent, think like he does, and think two to three steps ahead of him; if you’re going to play, you play to win; information is a knife, and you have to know when to stick it in and turn it in your opponent, while making sure you don’t get bloody. Sounds like a debater to me. Sounds like a fighter.

      Well stated, Juba.

      What’s the big difference between a bully and a fighter? A bully is full of bluster who is likely to turn and run when confronted with an adversary. A fighter doesn’t care. He’s in it to fight.

      I see Trump as a bully and Cruz as a legitimate fighter.

        “I see Trump as a bully and Cruz as a legitimate fighter.”

        Your blind if you cannot see trump as a fighter, “legitimate” or not.