Cruz on rebound
We believe Ted Cruz has generally benefited this week from several factors that have gone his way, or recognition of which will help him build momentum in Indiana and beyond. Donald Trump chalked up some expected primary wins and had some superficial things go his way this week and last, but with sober analysis may be seen as the existing choir clearing its throat with later “unhelpful” developments.
After the April 19 and 26 New York and other Northeast sector primary losses, however expected, Cruz needed to shake some things loose to go his way and have some others fall his way. They have. Nevertheless, about those primary losses:
True, the New York and NE Republican losses were larger than polling indicated but they were not seriously contested by Cruz either. It was Trump territory or someone as non-conservative as him. Any hope by Cruz for better than expected percentages was based on hope that that sector of Republicanism had changed. It has not. It is in the water. It is the same big government, socially liberal element that has been the bane of conservatism for decades.
Consider the states in that sector of the country (we include Delaware and Maryland as Northeast because of prevailing demographics, geography and a generation of voting history). New York has not voted for the Republican presidential nominee, no matter how “moderate” since 1988. Connecticut not since 1988; Delaware not since 1988; Maryland not since 1988, Pennsylvania not since 1988; Rhode Island not since 1984; New Hampshire not since 00(barely) and before that 1988; Massachusetts not since 1984; Vermont not since 1988 and Maine not since 1988.
It is a very Blue part of the country. Every state with the exception of Pennsylvania and New Hampshire are rated “sure Democrat”. The two exceptions are not rated as leaning Republican but “toss-up.” Their electoral vote total is twenty-four. As we have pointed out, no New York favorite son (Trump) with the exception of truer Kansan Eisenhower, has brought that state to the Republican presidential fold in over 100 years.
The recent history* of the sector is that the Republicans there have an affinity for moderate candidates as nominees but produce no electoral votes in the general election for the Republican nominee. As in zero /none. Depending on the Republican party rules in each of those states it makes some sense to compete in them if they are proportional in their award of delegates but more so for the favor of delegates when they are unbound. Because of our electoral college system, there should be no presumption that popularity in the primaries in those states means anything positive for the general. Maybe just the opposite.
The good news for Cruz supporters came midweek, after getting past the last of the Nor’easters.
- First was the announcement of Carly Fiorina as his vice-presidential pick. That should help in California, and should be an asset in the remaining states and in the general.
- Second was John Boehner’s attack on Cruz (see yesterday’s comments). Helped by Senator Lee’s take down of Boehner over the matter, it should resonate in Cruz’s favor as the “anti-establishment candidate.
- Third was the endorsement today by Indiana Governor Mike Pence. It was about time.
- Fourth was that a very recent poll showing Cruz leading Trump by double digits in Indiana.
Trump experience late this week largely not helpful
Trumps late-week attempts at putting Cruz away in Indiana include the following;
- The Boehner endorsement hurts in the states that are left.
- His foreign policy speech provided no gravitas
- His endorsement by Bobby Knight in Indiana is just one loud-mouth jerk endorsing another. Hoosiers will not be overly impressed, they have Bobby’s number.
- His expressed appreciation for convicted rapist Mike Tyson, seriously?
- The one thing that may solidify some of his existing support is the violence perpetrated by the usual suspects at his campaign events.
*State voting histories available here