Rick Perry vs World
28 September 2016
Has Ted Cruz even lost . . . Deace?
Iowa radio host Steve Deace fiercely defended Ted Cruz throughout his entire presidential run.
Deace -- along with other Cruz partisans like Amanda Carpenter and Erick Erickson -- was so hardcore for Cruz that he even spent early summer 2015 attacking conservative #NeverTrump as "establishment" because it was the Cruz party line.
Fascinating turnaround if even Deace's listeners are abandoning Cruz.
23 September 2016
Five reasons Ted Cruz will support Donald Trump sooner or later
It's been obvious since the convention that Ted Cruz will eventually support Donald Trump.
1. Ted Cruz is Nixon
In Ted Cruz is Nixon and Is Ted Cruz the new Nixon?, friendly conservative pundits Rich Lowry and Matt Lewis nailed it: Ted Cruz is Nixon. He's a hyper-ambitious politician who calculates the politics of every move and position.
The #CruzCrew twitterverse thinks that Cruz's current stand against Trump is principled. Maybe it is, but there's no way Cruz will maintain opposition to Trump.
Ted Cruz is a calculating politician, and his current position is untenable.
2. Hillary. Hillary. Hillary.
Ted Cruz's convention speech put him in a bad long-term position, though he didn't seem to realize just how bad. He went on national TV and said "vote your conscience" -- a phrase that has a very specific meaning in politics: it's okay to vote against your party.
Cruz and his advisors soon realized they'd miscalculated by the intensity and length of the backlash. They lost their biggest 2016 donor, probably permanently.
It's impossible to overestimate the level of antipathy that the average Republican voter has for Hillary Clinton. It's so strong that Republicans are willing to back a liberal New York Democrat like Donald Trump if it keeps Hillary out of the White House.
3. Jeff Roe's Rasputin-like hold on Ted Cruz.
It's hard to understand how 2012's Ted Cruz went from emotionally shouting at David Dewhurst "How dare you question my patriotism?" during a debate [because of a mail piece written by Jeff Roe for Dewhurst] to becoming 2016's Ted Cruz: the presidential candidate who deliberately chose the same tactics and reputation for dirty dealing.
Much of Jeff Roe's strategy has been awful for Cruz, but great for Jeff Roe. The Cruz 2016 strategy never had any chance of winning the nomination, but it was a great strategy to get second place.
Roe has always been against the "vote your conscience" line, and he seems to always eventually get Cruz to agree with him. He'll get it this time too, eventually.
4. "Vote your conscience" has already run its course.
Ted Cruz needed a big stand to make people forget how he was Trump's biggest supporter when it mattered. There was almost a year of this:
The whole convention speech was an attempt at getting voters to forget that Ted Cruz bragged about his campaign strategy of boosting Trump because he thought it would help his chances.
In fact, after the primaries Jeff Roe even accidentally admitted how Cruz's entire strategy was to boost Trump because Cruz couldn't beat anyone else one-on-one. "Our strategy required us to be head-to-head against [Trump]."
The whole "vote your conscience" kerfuffle has now served its calculated purpose.
5. Cruz is going to have to tell people he voted against Hillary Clinton if he wants to win re-election in 2018.
If Cruz doesn't flip, the ads against him write themselves in the 2018 GOP primary. You show some of the endless footage of Cruz and Trump as best friends forever, then you show Cruz refusing to support Trump.
"Can you trust a politician who can't even stand against Hillary Clinton?" That's a winning message against Ted Cruz for anyone if Hillary is president, because the right's intensity against Hillary will only intensify if she's in the Oval Office.
If Cruz is going to flip-flop on Trump (again!), he may as well do it now. Cruz has literally been all over the map on Trump. Surely his supporters can swallow one more change?
It's possible that he doesn't tell us until after November that he voted for Trump. But I'd bet he does it sooner rather than later.
Expect the pedantic argument.
I doubt Ted Cruz comes out with a full-throated backing of Trump. It's much more likely that he just decides to flip-flop by saying that "conscience dictates that I vote against Hillary."
If history serves, he'll then make the argument that his flip-flop is 100% consistent with what he's always said.
13 August 2016
Ted Cruz will never be president
When I talk to hardcore CruzCrew folks, they always tell me that Ted Cruz is the favorite for 2020 because "he finished second and Republicans always choose the next one in line."
That's crazy. For one, Donald Trump didn't come in second last time.
My response is always the same:
Ted Cruz couldn't beat liberal New York Democrat Donald Trump when it got down to (virtually) one-on-one. In fact, he got crushed, and it would've been even worse for him since more of Katich's supporters would've gone to Trump and not to Cruz.
If he couldn't beat liberal Democrat Trump one-on-one for the nomination, how will Ted Cruz beat an actual Republican?
I have yet to hear a good answer.
31 July 2016
The strangest thing about 2016 to me
It's been a crazy campaign. The Republican Party lost a hostile takeover to a liberal Democrat from a New York. An outright socialist nearly got the Dem nomination.
Yet to me the strangest thing is still:
Why did Ted Cruz look at the Dewhurst campaign and think, "Yeah, that's the kind of campaign I want to run for president!"?
The Dewhurst campaign did their best to "otherize" Ted Cruz in 2012. They implicitly and explicitly called him a sellout to the Chinese Communists, they had trucks parked outside the Cruz campaign office, they tried to make him seem like a foreigner, there was lots of immigration innuendo, they questioned his patriotism, etc etc.
This was all came to a head when Ted Cruz got a little emotional during a debate and directly confronted Dewhurst to ask why a Dew mail piece explicitly questioned his patriotism.
The piece was written by Jeff Roe, the Cruz 2016 campaign manager.
That's hardly the end of it -- Cruz 2016 relied pretty heavily on the people behind Dewhurst 2012.
So again, why did Ted Cruz look at those campaign tactics and think, "yeah, that's what I want!"
I don't get it.
14 July 2016
Munisteri leads the charge for Donald Trump
On the Rules Committee, Munisteri leads the charge for Donald Trump:
TX GOP chairman Steve Munisteri rebukes Senator Lee, saying he claims to represent the grassroots but isn't reflecting the will of voters— Tim Alberta (@TimAlberta) July 15, 2016
23 June 2016
Could Donald Trump lose Texas?
Could Donald Trump lose Texas? Yes.
Is Trump likely to lose Texas? No, because not even Trump is "likely" to do that horribly, but it is absolutely possible.
Republicans presidential nominees run about 19% better in Texas than they do nationally.
The last couple presidential elections in Texas weren't close: Romney beat Obama by almost 16% (running 20% better than his 4% national loss), whereas McCain won by just under 12% (running 19% better than his 7% national loss).
Hillary is leading by about 7% right now, so that suggests we're looking at a 12% margin in Texas at the moment. While Hillary is the 2nd least liked presidential nominee of all time, she's facing off against the least liked presidential nominee. Ever. Given the massive financial and enthusiasm deficit on the Republican side, I'd say the more-likely-than-any-other-individual-scenario is that Hillary ends up winning by more like 10 or 12, a la with 55 or 56%.
If so, we're looking at Trump +7 in Texas instead of +12.
But our demographic makeup is more Latino than the national average, and Trump will definitely run behind.
Latinos are only about 10% of voters nationwide, but with Trump on the ballot, Latinos will likely be close to 20% of the Texas electorate. A normal GOP presidential candidate gets about 35% of the Texas Latino vote, and a good one like George W Bush can get close to 50%. Trump will be lucky to get 15% of it -- anecdotal evidence suggests many of those folks can't vote for Hillary but certainly some will.
Depending on that number, we could be anywhere from Trump +2 to +8.
If Hillary gets to around +11% nationally over Trump, then Texas should see some polling that is in the margin of error.
Whether you think that is possible depends on how likely Trump is to be able to balance his appeals to the white working class voters who don't normally vote versus many of the conservative-leaning suburban white women (who do vote!) who are put off by Trump's bigotry and misogyny.
It also remains to be seen whether the right can put together any sort of fundraising apparatus for GOTV without a cooperative or palatable figure at the top of the ticket -- if not, you'd think that adds a percent of two to where the polls peg Hillary.
Lots of X factors, but on balance they probably weigh against Trump.
Hey, Hillary could get indicted. Or Russian hackers could release all the emails that she recklessly put on the internet in order to keep her emails shielded from FOIA laws.
One final point: in the final days of the campaign, Trump could do anything. If he's losing, he's unlikely to simply run the race out hard to keep the margin of defeat low so that Republicans save the House majority. He doesn't care -- he hasn't even pretended to be a Republican for more than a few years! He consistently referred to the Republican Party as "them" or "you" even during the primary. That sort of X factor definitely increases the possibility that Trump somehow does the unthinkable and loses Texas.
What will happen down the ballot is anyone's guess.
01 June 2016
Who won the runoffs?
I was somewhat surprised to see Michael Quinn Sullivan claim victory in the runoffs last week:
Tonight's runoff elections produced important wins around the Lone Star State for conservatives. Most significantly, three major leaders in the Democrat-enabling House Republican leadership were defeated.
On the other side of the Capitol, the Texas Senate was markedly improved with conservatives handedly winning the two open seats.
In the biggest upset of the evening, taxpayer champion Wayne Christian defeated establishment candidate Gary Gates in the race for Railroad Commission. Despite Gates spending untold millions in six previous runs for public office, conservatives made sure seven wasn't his lucky number.
Those are the high points.
The downside is that conservatives basically broke even in the Texas House in 2016 due to the Straus/teachers' union alliance picking up a good number of the open seats. Hence, unless something changes, Straus will be re-elected Speaker.
Of course, it is possible that something changes. At some point, you'd think many of the folks in the Texas House would realize that joining up with Straus is a career killer. Without exception, everyone who has joined the Democrats and voted for Straus has lost when attempting a bid for higher office. Also, conservatives have had decent success at picking off Straus loyalists. If you stick your head out for Straus, look out.
But many of those folks probably don't mind. They get cushy lobbyist jobs and if they stuck around long enough, then they get a sweet pension.
31 May 2016
Choose Your Own Adventure
WHEN: It's the summer before the Iowa caucus.
WHO: You are a senator from Texas running for president. You're young and ambitious. You've built your national brand as a "truth-teller" who will "take on the corrupt establishment."
CONTEXT: The current polls are led by a New Yorker who has been a liberal Democrat for most of the past few decades. He is by far the most liberal candidate to ever run for president in your party, and he's actually somehow leading in the polls.
The same liberal New Yorker personifies the corrupt establishment, and you've made fighting them a cornerstone of your career. He hated Reagan, and while he's switched parties a few times while chasing the zeitgeist, he's a massive donor to the worst politicians of both parties. Though his fortune appears to be largely inherited, he dabbles at real estate development which frequently involves large donations to local politicians whenever zoning or regulatory issues are encountered.
You are the true conservative truth-teller. There's a large slice of the conservative electorate that hangs on your every word, believing that you always speak the truth.
A) Take him on. Tell the truth. Stand on principle.
He's a fraud. You know he's a liberal con man. Everyone knows it.
The liberal New Yorker has channeled a certain anger from a slice of the electorate, but behind the scenes he winks and nods to his lifelong friends and co-conspirators in the liberal / New York media.
His record is equally as pro-choice, pro-amnesty and anti-gun as Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders. In fact, it's arguably even more liberal, as he's taken recent positions indisputably even farther left on those issues than Hillary and Bernie.
It's time to unmask the con man. Not only is it the right thing to do, it'll earn you points from party activists and fundraisers who are tired of seeing a liberal lead the polls of a conservative party. It will guarantee you air time on TV.
If you succeed, you'll look like a strong leader who can do more than just piss people off. You'll look presidential.
B. Bear hug
* Hold rallies with the New York liberal.
* Declare him "terrific" at every opportunity.
* Compliment him as "brash" whenever he puffs himself up and attacks the disabled/veterans/etc.
* Enthusiastically defend him from all conservative attacks on his record by saying, "[Liberal New Yorker] speaks the truth!"
Your favorability numbers are quite low, leading your political consultants to tell you that getting head-to-head with this liberal New Yorker is probably the only way you can win the Republican nomination. The talk radio hosts and "conservative" clickbait media have shown that they will follow your talking points.
Surely, as soon as you get head-to-head with a liberal Democrat with New York values, there's no way you can lose. Presumably the talk radio hosts will follow your sudden conversion when Mr. New York Values becomes a foe instead of your best buddy.
Choose your own adventure.
01 April 2016
April placeholder post
This is the April placeholder post.
02 March 2016
Huge night for Donald Trump
Super Tuesday was a huge night for Donald Trump, but perhaps not for the reason you would expect.
Sure Trump won most of the states that voted, but in a divided field that's to be expected.
Donald Trump's path to victory depends on everyone staying in the race. As such, the most important thing for Trump was to hope that Cruz got results that convinced him to stay in the race.
Cruz has no path to the nomination. We've now passed all the states where Cruz was on friendliest terrain, and he couldn't muster much in the way of stopping Trump, except in two states where social conservatives control the electorate (Iowa and Oklahoma) and at home in Texas.
Moreover, Oklahoma doesn't award delegates to the winner', so no one tried to win it, because winning it wasn't worth anything on a delegate level.
The question is whether Cruz recognizes the reality that he has no path to the nomination. If Cruz does, Trump is a long shot for the nomination because winner take all states are coming and Trump can probably only win those in a divided field. If Cruz doesn't, then Trump should waltz to the nomination with the 35-40% of the vote that he's got.
It's pretty tough to recognize reality sometimes. That's what Trump is counting on -- and that's why it was a huge night for Donald Trump.
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