Tuesday, June 30, 2015


This is from The Hill:
Sen. Ted Cruz is hoping to ride the conservative backlash on gay marriage to the front of the Republican presidential pack.

The Texas Republican has hit the Supreme Court with repeated rhetorical barbs in the wake of its ruling Friday that allowed for same-sex marriage in all 50 states, calling the justices “lawless,” “elites” and “a threat to our democracy.”

... The Texas senator has been courting the religious right from the start of his presidential bid, launching his candidacy this spring at the evangelical Liberty University.

But he has competition for the conservative mantle, with rivals, such as former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, also taking aim at the Supreme Court.

... Cruz needs to make up ground in Iowa, which is the first state in the presidential nominating process. A Des Moines Register poll released late last month found only 5 percent of potential caucus-goers listed Cruz as their first choice for president.

By comparison, Huckabee, who won Iowa in 2008, garnered 9 percent in that poll.
Right -- and in the same poll, Ben Carson is at 10% and Scott Walker is at 17%.

My first thought when I read this was that perhaps white religious conservatives see Cruz as a bit too, um, foreign. Compare him to Scott Walker, a Wisconsin preacher's kid who talks the Christian talk on the trail ("Jesus affects my life no matter what I do"). And compare him to Mike Huckabee, a white minister who exudes Southernness. But then there's Ben Carson -- a black city kid who's also developed a big following among evangelical voters. I don't think ethnicity is Cruz's problem. It may not even be Bobby Jindal's problem.

I think the problem Jindal and Cruz might be having with these voters is that their religious conservatism doesn't seem baked into their makeup. With Cruz, it seems added on. (Jindal just seems to be trying too hard.) From what I read about Walker and Carson, the God talk just seems to flow naturally. Cruz seems as if he's glommed onto it as a source of bullet points to use in debates; he comes off as a sincere wingnut, but not so much as a sincere conservative Christian.

Rafael Cruz, Ted's father, might be able to make some inroads with this crowd -- Byron York calls him "the most effective surrogate of the 2016 campaign." Of course, he actually is a right-wing preacher. But I'm not sure he's effective enough to change the impression his son conveys: a right-wing zealot, yes, but one who got that way not by praying but by being trapped in Enemy Territory (i.e., the Ivy League). Ted has to make people think he feels this stuff in his bones. I don't think the church-social crowd buys that.


Victor said...

Booby J converted to Catholicism.

Cruz's family was Catholic until his father realized the grifting possibilities by changing over to being a Southern Baptist.

Real redneck Dominionist/Evangelical "Christians" are wary of anyone who was raised unlike them.

I'm not saying that this is the main factor - but, I'm throwing it out there as A factor.

mlbxxxxxx said...

I think this is a year for governors in the GOP. If Jindal had been a better gov., he might have a better shot, but I think his problem is that he hasn't done that well in LA and just doesn't come across that well. Walker hasn't done that well in WI either, but WI is viewed as enemy territory while LA is mostly red. Walker and Bush both have the experience that I think the GOP voters think contrasts well with Obama's lack of experience -- a criticism that is often made about him by the right. Of course, Huckabee was also a gov. as was St. Reagan. I think Kasich may also have a credible showing but Christie, though a gov., may have too much baggage to make a real run for it. I am convinced that Rubio will eventually go nowhere in 2016 and the main reason will not be ethnic politics but his lack of experience. Rubio would have a shot at VP with Jeb if they both weren't from FL -- and he might have a shot with Walker, should he prevail. Nobody's gonna want Cruz on their ticket.

Carson is sui generis. He's the Black Swan, no pun intended. That is the secret to his appeal. Hard right, Evangelical, highly educated, successful, and, best of all, black -- he can be proof positive that they are not racist. "Looky here, got a smart black man on our team." I do not think he is going to make it on his own, but he's going to do better than he should due to a weird sort of reverse racist affirmative action. Still think he'd make a dynamite VP for Jeb.

Steve M. said...

Victor, the only reason I think Catholicism isn't a factor is that Santorum is Catholic and the religious right loves him (or did in 2012, at least). But he laid the God talk on with a trowel, and he has a special-needs child who, he loves to remind his audiences, wasn't aborted.

Feud Turgidson said...

IMO he comes across like one of those Paul Popeil wannabes performing for the rubes in the new products tent at a county fair. They like what he's saying, but not that he seems to be talking down to them. Walker's more convincing as just as fkng ignorant a reactionary dumbass as they are.

Victor said...

True, Steve.
Very true...

Unsalted Sinner said...

"Rafael Cruz, Ted's father, might be able to make some inroads with this crowd -- Byron York calls him "the most effective surrogate of the 2016 campaign.""

Bold words indeed, Mr. York! Of course, Cruz Sr. is also stark raving mad, but I don't suppose that will be a liability in the GOP primaries.