Sunday, March 6, 2016

District 1 Tribute: Ted Cruz

In The Hunger Games, Tributes Can Team Up For A Time--But Must Eventually Turn On Each Other!
The Crubio-alliance on display at the 11th debate collapsed yesterday: Cruz announced he is opening up 10 offices across Florida, directly competing with Rubio for much needed votes and taking a risky plan to win the state, coming from behind--or throw it to Trump trying. The Romney-plan was to box out Trump by having other candidate's supporters back each non-Trump in their home state. This would keep (in theory) Trump from winning Florida and Ohio--the winner-take-all blockbuster states voting on the 15th. People were hopeful that Cruz and Rubio would join together into a Trump-beating Voltron candidate with the best interests of The Republic and The Conservative Movement at heart.

It was always a fantasy scenario--but it didn't last 24 hours.

Cruz fans note that Rubio did, in fact, run in Texas--but the rejoinder is that Texas was proportional (so Rubio stood to get a few badly needed (he got 3). In the case of Florida, if Cruz costs Rubio the win by 1pt, Trump has 99 delegates and . . . erm . . . uh . . . A KASICH AIN'T ONE (sorry). Cruz, of course, thinks everyone should align behind him.

Erick Erickson, of course, agrees (he tells Rubio supporters: Stop whining and start winning--then we'll talk).

Punchable Face vs. Solid Gold Dumpster Fire

Part of the problem with the Brokered Convention plan (Rubio's, Romney's) is that it is predicated on the unlikely event that the convention can pick a reasonable candidate from the ashes of a prevent-defense primary. The reality is that if it happens it'll be candidate Paul Ryan. If him, then maybe Mitt Romney? At the bottom--the bottom--of the list that power-brokers would choose is Michelle Bachmann. Right under that, scrawled on the table-top because they ran out of paper is the name Ted Cruz--and he knows it.

Rubio knows it too--but thinks that mathematically he's got an argument to be the choice because he's the best polling of the guys who actually ran.

So the Romney Strategy isn't really a team-effort. It's a Rubio-Mitt partisan effort that looks empty to Cruz. It doesn't help that last night Rubio (and Kasich) cost Cruz Kentucky where he lost by only 4pts. In other words: solidarity is for losers.

No, really, this team-up thing only makes sense if you're losing.

This leaves each candidate in the unenviable position of trying to look civic minded while running for themselves and themselves alone. Rubio doesn't have the rep as a back-stabber who will do anything to become president. Cruz does.

To this point, it's worth noting that the names above might have some scientific basis. Apparently the way Ted Cruz smiles makes you hate him. Here's the science! ('Science'):
"The normal way a face moves is what's called the Duchenne smile, named after the 19th century French neurologist. So the mouth goes up, the eyes narrow and the eyes crinkle at the outside, forming crows feet," said Cytowic, a professor of neurology. 
"Cruz doesn't give a Duchenne smile. His mouth goes in a tight line across or else it curves down in an anti-Duchenne smile. So he doesn't come across as sincere at all."
Basically, the problem here is that while Cruz may well be the best person to challenge Trump 1-on-1, nobody knows for sure and Cruz, like everyone else, is a flawed candidate (everyone in power hating you is not a resume builder). People think Cruz is creepy or untrustworthy.

Cruz deciding to wreck Rubio when they are both facing a more powerful opponent certainly doesn't help that perception. It's also the case that Trump has called for Rubio to drop out. This could mean Trump fears running against Rubio in Florida--but it is more likely that Trump knows that if Rubio does get out of Florida and it's Ted-vs-Trump, he has an advantage in that Cruz is a disaster in Florida approaching Kasich territory.

It's also interesting that going after Trump directly and personally tends to sink you: Rubio went balls-out and saw his position crumble. Cruz did a bit (and not as personally) and is doing better. Kasich hasn't at all and is rising faster! Other candidates must see that as an ominous sign.

Like the candidates, though, we'll have to wait to see what develops. It's 9 days until the 15th where this rodeo is probably going to be "over" one way or the other.

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