Friday, February 19, 2021


We all know that Ted Cruz was hoping to run for president in 2024. After the Cancun trip, he probably can't run now -- but I think he'll run for reelection to the Senate, and he'll probably win.

Yes, even some conservatives are criticizing Cruz, but Roy Edroso is right:
I'm not starry-eyed about this apparent consensus on Cruz. First, no one actually likes him; Texans are simply unable to vote for Democrats, lest they question the unreasoning belligerence that passes for manhood there.
Certainly there's a segment of the Texas electorate that doesn't match Edroso's description -- but that segment always falls just short of an electoral majority, and I'm not optimistic that that will change in 2022 or 2024. Yes, Stacey Abrams got a couple of Democrats over the finish line in Georgia, but I don't see a Stacey Abrams in Texas, just as I don't see one in Florida, ehere Democrats routinely fall just short. And in both states, Republicans will undoubtedly find extremely creative ways to suppress the Democratic vote in the future.

Amanda Marcotte is also right:
The situation in Texas is so bad that it started to feed progressive fantasies that this might actually be the moment that Republicans start to pay a political penalty for years of neglecting basic governance duties in favor of endless culture war politics and liberal-baiting....

But I would not be writing the eulogies for Cruz's political career just yet....

Republicans have mastered the art of turning their own failures as leaders into a story about how it's the government that's the true problem — not their deliberate mishandling of it.

The expansive right-wing propaganda machine gets to work exploiting every catastrophe caused by Republican neglect and using it for a morality play about how government itself can never be trusted to handle important responsibilities. As such, their audiences are encouraged to vote not on the basis of policy, but instead to elect politicians based on culture war politics and trolling liberals.

...this is what Republicans are good at doing: creating crises and then using them as evidence that politics is useless for anything but for whining about liberals.
But maybe a Republican could beat Cruz, as Jamelle Bouie argues:

But Cruz will have an advantage over Republican challengers (assuming there are any) precisely because most of the critics of his Cancun trip are liberals, which means Cruz's is the enemy of Republican voters' most hated enemies, and because the liberal criticism of Cruz is that he could have done something to help, which, as Marcotte notes, is the complete antithesis of how Republican voters view the role of elected officials.

Marcotte writes:
There are, of course, many things politicians can do. As many liberals pointed out on social media, a lot of Democratic politicians are hustling to get aid to people in Texas, even ones like Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, who represents New York. More broadly, however, there's plenty Cruz, as a senator, could be doing to leverage this crisis to push for policy. For instance, he could be backing the Green New Deal, which tackles the twin problems of decaying infrastructure and climate change at once.
But opposing the Green New Deal and all other climate legislation is precisely what Texas Republicans want their candidates to do. So is being the polar opposite of AOC and Beto -- even when AOC and Beto are providing desperately needed aid to suffering Texans.

So once this crisis passes, Cruz will be seen as precisely what Texas Republicans love: a guy hated by liberals. His approval numbers will stay solid on the right. That should get him reelected.

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