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The Ted Cruz brand

It takes all kinds.

Not Ted Cruz

While some Republicans may fret about Trump’s shaky approval ratings or their party’s brand among disappointed conservatives, Cruz seems to occupy his own space in the political firmament. Launching his 2018 reelection campaign in Houston on Monday, he can fall back on his own tried-and-true persona: an unreconstructed conservative born of the party’s grass-roots base.

It is an identity that also could serve in some degree as a bulwark against the anti-Trump wave that has propelled his Democratic challenger, El Paso Congressman Beto O’Rourke, who launched his long-shot campaign a year ago Saturday.

Whatever the president’s fortunes in a tumultuous and often chaotic White House, Cruz, once Trump’s fiercest GOP critic, appears ready to stand on his own.

“He’s certainly not a Trump Republican,” University of Texas government scholar Sean Theriault said. “He’s a Cruz Republican, and I mean Cruz in all caps. He definitely marches to the beat of his own drummer.”


Although Cruz has smoothed over his differences with Trump since their bitter 2016 GOP primary rivalry, it always has been clear that Cruz represents a much more orthodox strain of conservatism.

From Cruz’s perspective, Trump’s decisive advantage was his cross-over celebrity appeal, an unforeseen X-factor that may or may not still drive voters to the polls.

“The percentage that Trump has that like him, they’re not political people,” said GOP strategist Rick Tyler, who worked on Cruz’s presidential campaign. “They’re not going to show up for other Republicans, and never have. So, the idea that Trump is going to drive people to the polls in Texas is not there. But I don’t think Cruz relies on those people.”

Indeed, all the early signs point to a familiar Cruz strategy of focusing on his conservative base and it die-hard tea party and evangelical activists.

I agree with Sean Theriault that Cruz is a TED CRUZ Republican, whose thoughts and instincts are always about himself and his own interests. I don’t agree that this means that Cruz is a not-Trump Republican, because the only time Cruz has ever opposed Trump, even to the minimal and mostly performative extent of other Republicans when they clutch their pearls over some horrible thing Trump has said, is when he was still running for President. I think he doesn’t like talking about Trump because that takes away from talking about himself.

For sure, this election is about base turnout, and if I were somehow in the position of advising Ted Cruz I’d tell him to focus on making sure his people are engaged. Given Cruz’s lukewarm poll numbers – really, most people just don’t like the guy – it’s an interesting question how big that base is. The Venn diagram of “Ted Cruz Republicans” and “Donald Trump Republicans” surely has a lot of overlap, but I’d bet the not-overlapping part of that set is significant. He’s the favorite to win because he starts out with more voters, but one way or another we’ll get a better idea this year just how much support he really has. The Trib has more.

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  1. Manny Barrera says:

    I would change “evangelical activists” to anti-Christ activists. There is no Christ in the hearts of most of them, there are exceptions to most rules.

  2. Karen says:

    I was at the Cruz campaign kick-off party and there were a lot of grassroots people and definitely a lot of energy in the room. Conservatives love him and he is here to stay. And, as a Cruzer from the very beginning, I can definitively say that he and Trump have nothing in common. Trump was a former Democrat, turned Independent, turned Republican, who actually has a lot of liberal tendencies. Cruz has been a Constitutional conservative from the very beginning. Statewide, Cruz received 1,322,724 votes. Meanwhile, all Democratic challengers combined, only received 1,042,914 votes, according to the Texas SOS website. Beto is a longshot, indeed.

  3. Manny Barrera says:

    Karen what is a “Constitutional Conservative”? Karen what is a “liberal” with “liberal tendencies”?

    What I believe Karen is that you are worker for Cruz that is trying to put lipstick on a pig. In my opinion Cruz is an evil person who would sell his mother for power.

    Examples of how much Cruz loves Trump the Russian puppet, but that is understandable after all his father fought with Castro.

    I could go on forever, But Cruz is not a person that will stand with the working men and women of this country his loyalty belong to his handler, a billionaire from New York;

  4. Bill Daniels says:


    I thought liberals were against internet bullying?

  5. Manny Barrera says:

    Who is bullying? Calling people that were not able to understand the online registration “stupid” during license registration, that is what you are referring to?

    What makes you think I am a liberal, besides what is your definition of a liberal. I am making an assumption to you are referring to my comments above as bullying. Was I bullying Karen of Ted Cruz? Maybe the Russian puppet on the GIF.

  6. Manny Barrera says:

    “Life’s tough, even tougher if you are stupid.” My comment above refers to the quote at the beginning of this thought. A person who goes by Bill Daniels used it. But it is okay because fascists like to bully and it is okay for them to do it. Do I think Bill Daniels is a fascist? I have no idea but putting names like liberals and “Constitutional conservative” is meant to convey a message, even using the you are a bully comment.

  7. Bill Daniels says:


    You flat out called out Karen as a paid Cruz astroturfer. Unless you have some proof of that, yeah, you bullied her. All she did was give her anecdotal experience, and gave us a brief synopsis of her political leanings, for reference. Ask yourself why a paid Cruz staffer would even post here. Kuff’s site is very liberal, I doubt many votes for Cruz would be in play by the readers of this blog.

    Now, did you have trouble registering to vote when you renewed or changed your address online with the DPS? If so, then yes, I called you stupid, and I apologize to you for online bullying. If not, then you were not bullied by me.