In this installment of Ask TPT, a reader asks us if Ted Cruz’s “burning bridges” strategy is a wise one.
From time-to-time we get letters asking various political questions in which they would like to get our input on. And from time-to-time, we answer them in something we would like to call “Ask TPT.” (Also if you have a question of your own, send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the words “Ask TPT” in the Subject Line.) In this installment, our question comes from George.
Hey There Post Turtlers,
Been reading your site for a while and have a question regarding Ted Cruz. Don’t worry it’s not a birther question. LOL
I was actually going to ask about his recent debate performances. He has been going on stage a lot and bashing many Republican candidates saying stuff like, “they aren’t looking out for your best interest” or “how he’s the only one that stands up for the true conservatives in the GOP.” Also I understand that most candidates when running for office do this, but [Cruz] is more combative with his rhetoric, at times even rivaling Donald Trump!
My question is, won’t this hurt Cruz if he doesn’t win the presidency? I mean imagine if you openly bad mouthed your co-workers trying to get a promotion and then you didn’t get it. You still have to go back and work with all the people you trashed on! Why would they work with you and pretend like nothing happened? Wouldn’t Cruz have the same problem if he were to go back to the Senate?
George (from Parts Unknown)
That… is actually a very good point!
Honestly we never really thought about Ted Cruz’s “everybody but me is a crony for the Republican Establishment” argument that he has been making in the 2016 primaries. I mean at this point he’s even openly going after moderators at debates!
But for years there have been stories that Cruz isn’t the most liked guy in Washington. The general consensus was always that he never was a “team player”, even within his own party. He even highlights this fact in his own book talking about how he’s the shining light of conservatism in a room full of big spending Republicans! You can even see it in the last GOP debate where Rand Paul and Marco Rubio called out Cruz’s allegations.
The strategy of Cruz painting everyone else in the GOP race as part of the “political elite” or GOP Establishment is a tricky, but smart one. Hell, he won the Iowa Caucuses using this very strategy! However to George’s point, I can see how this could bite him in the ass if he isn’t careful.
On one hand, he has gained significant momentum by positioning himself as an outsider candidate – much like Donald Trump – but with actual Washington experience. Yet on the other, he just can’t keep burning bridges with everyone around him. While true, he wasn’t much liked by the GOP to begin with, but lately he’s been extra aggressive about his outsider status during these primaries. This could pose a major problem for him down the line.
Unlike Trump who uses his own billions to run his campaign, Cruz’s campaign relies heavy on political donors. Trump in other words, has the luxury of burning bridges in the GOP Establishment, because he never has to see them again if he were not to win the 2016 primaries. Cruz on the other hand, is a US Senator that needs the Republican machine for just basic survival in Washington, forget about the connections he needs when it comes to re-election time as a Texas Senator!
On the campaign trail, telling voters that you aren’t like those “fat cats in Washington” is a valid political strategy that can be used in town hall meetings to gin up votes, but it’s entirely another thing to do it on a national stage. It’s a gambit that Cruz is playing in trying to become the GOP nominee – which if he were to get the nomination, his relationship with Establishment Republicans would become null since the party would have to back him in that instance – but what happens if he doesn’t get the nomination?
It’s an interesting question, which to be honest, we don’t really know the answer to. But if Cruz isn’t careful, he could be burning bridges that he can never rebuild.
(Photo Credits: CruzforPresident Instagram, Google Images)