Behind Ted Cruz’s Rise in the Polls: Lopsided Support

30 Nov 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

5 takes on 2016 as the campaign kicks into high gear.

It’s not often that a presidential candidate goes off script on the campaign trail — unless you’re Ted Cruz with an opportunity to cite your favorite movie. But the same polls suggest he has a big challenge: He has very little support outside of a growing base of self-described “very conservative” voters. “Very conservative” voters can propel Mr.Never fear, Ted Cruz fans, his campaign is making sure this holiday season you have your very own festive Cruz Christmas sweater for all those crucial December happenings.

Donald Trump, a contender who embodies the ultimate cross-pollination of politics and entertainment that began with Ronald Reagan, continues to easily outpace Ted Cruz, Ben Carson and Marco Rubio in what has become essentially a four-man field (with Jeb Bush and his millions lingering outside the circle of power).With just two weeks left until the government runs out of money, there is increasing pressure from congressional Republicans to use a must-pass spending bill to force President Barack Obama into accepting several controversial policy riders — including new curbs on the Syrian resettlement program.

Prompted by Pastor Warren Hunsberger saying his favorite movie is also , Cruz broke into about minute’s recitation of lines from the 1987 film starring Cary Elwes. One of the reasons Marco Rubio might actually have a chance to be the Republican nominee—and to advance his mostly positive and optimistic message—is (perhaps ironically) because he’s willing to play the game of politics. Cruz to victory in Iowa, a caucus state, but according to exit poll data from 2008 and 2012, those types of voters represent a smaller share of the electorate in every primary state. The wrangling over how to repeal Obamacare with budget reconciliation will come to a head this week, beginning with a kick-off meeting tonight among Senate Republicans to chart a path forward.

Hillary Clinton is still outrunning the wolves of scandal, but she hasn’t entirely dispatched Bernie Sanders yet — or shown signs of crossing over to capture independents in Ohio, Florida, New Hampshire and Iowa in the general election. Sporting solid majorities in both chambers, Republicans are angling for some big wins in the first year-end shutdown fight since the GOP took control of Capitol Hill. And now that he’s gaining momentum in the primary, his many GOP nemeses in Congress are returning the favor by quietly coalescing behind Marco Rubio. It does not sound like there are currently 51 votes for the plan to defund Planned Parenthood and strike down the health care law’s individual and business mandates, but top Republicans are insisting they will get there as early as this week and there is a method to their madness. Standing by the cash register, the final question the firebrand senator received was one he was well-prepared to answer: Why should Iowa Republicans pick him to carry their torch over Donald Trump, the billionaire juggernaut with whom he is now statistically tied in the Hawkeye State? “I think the reason people got excited about Donald Trump is they’re fed up with Washington.

As befits the season, America is still very much in shopping mode, with major swaths of both parties still willing to jump from one candidate to the next. But it will be a challenge to secure enough concessions from Democrats to mollify the right wing while avoiding the political risks of shutdown brinkmanship. Senior Republican senators who’ve clashed with Cruz for years have had nothing but nice things to say about Rubio even as he’s dissed — and largely ditched — his day job in the Capitol. In the most recent Quinnipiac survey of Iowa, he had a large 16-point lead among voters who described themselves as “very conservative.” With 38 percent of their support, his strength there was greater than that of any other candidate in any ideological category.

After Obama and congressional Democrats stymied their agenda for years, Republicans see the end-of-year funding bill due Dec. 11 as their best path for achieving their top policy priorities. And when, after the Paris attacks, the topic of conversation followed the circuitous route from terrorism, to refugees, to immigrants, Rubio drew a more obvious connection: National security. (More specifically, Ted Cruz’s vote to supposedly weaken national security.) The attack on Cruz is apparently tied to the latter’s support for the USA Freedom Act, which altered the way intelligence agencies conduct surveillance and gather data. “As the recent terrorist attacks in Paris have shown, now is the worst possible time to undermine the very tools that keep our people safe,” Rubio said on Saturday. But he held the support of just 14 percent of “somewhat conservative” voters and a mere 6 percent of self-described moderate or liberal Republicans.

The featured item is a red Christmas sweater with the Texas Republican presidential candidate’s face in the middle of the chest, flanked by two “Don’t Tread On Me” snakes, with a White House directly under it all. They reason Democrats will accept some riders — especially measures with bipartisan backing — to avoid a knock-down, drag-out shutdown fight this December. More House endorsements for Rubio are set to roll out in December, according to campaign sources, and several GOP senators said privately they expect their colleagues to get behind Rubio once the GOP field thins. Because Trump has helped frame the central question of this primary as: Who will stand up to Washington?” Cruz continued: “Now if that’s the central question, it leads to a natural follow-up question.

The mystery of why Republican voters love Donald Trump more each time he makes up a story about Muslims dancing on rooftops after 9/11 or slimes a disabled reporter isn’t really very mysterious after all. The movement toward Rubio appears to be as much about anxiety over the possibility of Cruz going up against Hillary Clinton as it is affection for the Florida senator. For instance, when making fun of terminology used by President Obama, he has recited the Inigo Montoya line, “You keep using that word, I do not think it means what you think it means.” Second, USA freedom did not stop the practice of obtaining information; the government must now obtain a warrant—and the records are kept by the phone companies as part of their normal business practices. Federal transportation policy expires on Friday and the omnibus will need to be delivered shortly after on Dec. 11, so time is beginning to become a factor for Republican leaders Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.

All that engineered outrageousness isn’t about fact, or politics, or messaging, it’s about channeling the rawest emotions of his fans (and they are fans, not political supporters in a conventional sense). Third, it’s important to note that USA Freedom was compromise legislation—and that, in fact, one could reasonably argue that Cruz’s efforts helped keep us safe by preventing the complete repeal of the Patriot Act’s provisions. If the sweater ($65 donation) is too festive for you the website is also offering up baseball caps, t-shirts, polo shirts, scarves, beanies, and hoodies with Cruz’s campaign logos emblazoned on them.

Nobody’s got a firmer grasp on the GOP’s amygdala — perhaps nobody ever has — or given voice to the sense of creeping decline so acutely felt in white America. Mainstream elected Republicans now see Cruz as a bigger threat than Donald Trump or Ben Carson to clinch the nomination — but equally damaging to their party’s chances of winning the White House and keeping the Senate next fall. As US News & World Report noted last year, “There [were] not enough votes in the House to reauthorize the Patriot Act without amendments limiting its authority, according to statements from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte, R-Va., and Rep. The popular “Blacklisted and Loving It” poster is also up for grabs, which Cruz was recently seen showing off with “Saved By the Bell” star Mario Lopez on Twitter. Here’s what those of us trapped inside the gilded New York-Washington brain cage miss: Trump may not be telling the truth, but he’s sure as hell telling their truth.

Rubio would be a much stronger general election standard bearer, they believe. “Marco is a true next-generation conservative,” said Steve Daines (R-Mont.), one of three senators who endorsed Rubio in November. “Every time there’s a debate, his stock goes up.” Cruz winning the nomination “could happen with the angry situation we have out there” among the GOP electorate, said one Republican senator who hasn’t endorsed in the race but does not want Cruz. The electorate is so conservative because the delegate selection process begins with caucuses, which draw the most engaged, activist and conservative voters. This allows him to shatter most conventions of presidential campaigning, especially the notion that you have to run a positive campaign (or at least outsource your vitriol to surrogates) in order to win.

Rubio’s GOP colleagues are looking to exploit what they see as Rubio’s advantage on national security in the aftermath of the Paris terrorist attacks. CRACKIN’ DOWN: House Majority Whip Steve Scalise is cracking down on the “Hope Yes, Vote No” crowd that are likely to turn the omnibus into a mostly Democratic affair, per an internal welcome back note obtained by Huddle. “Too many in our Conference are falling into the pattern of voting no on tough bills while actually hoping the bill passes because they know that the outcome will be even worse if the bill fail … The vote that hurts our Conference is the no vote from a Member who hopes the bill passes, but relies on others to carry that load. That vote isn’t fair to the Members who shoulder the responsibility of voting yes … the story of a bill that passed with 150 Republican votes is much more positive and assertive than the story of a bill that passes with 79 Republican votes,” Scalise writes.

Pluck off the happy-talk hat, and Trump has ridden up to 30 percent on almost unrelentingly negative, Reagan-on-downers message: Build a wall to keep out Mexicans; my opponents are fat, stupid, ugly, nasty, sweaty and poor; keep your “Morning in America,” I’m calling my campaign book “Crippled America.” The question is no longer whether Trump can win the GOP nomination. Progress is being made,” Jennifer Hing, spokeswoman for House Appropriations Committee Chairman Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), said Sunday. “We do not have an update on timing, but it is expected the bill will be ready for the floor prior to the deadline.” Control of both chambers should give Republicans more leverage in the spending fight, but the GOP will almost certainly need Democratic votes to carry the spending bill over the finish line — giving the minority party at least some say over how the sweeping omnibus legislation turns out. He has similarly pushed—unsuccessfully, albeit unapologetically—to use the power of the purse to stop Obama’s immigration policies and strip federal funding for Planned Parenthood. Still, one senior Democratic aide lamented last week that talks on riders had gotten “nowhere.” And some Democrats are complaining about the level of funding for key government agencies and arguing that spending for some areas, such as the measure that covers labor, health and education programs, is getting shortchanged. Dan Coats (R-Ind.) said: “I don’t think you can split that baby.” “Candidates running for national office who are articulating strong, firm, decisive positions that are well-thought-out are going to have an advantage,” said No. 3 Senate Republican John Thune of South Dakota.

Cruz mocked his fellow Republican presidential candidates for being absent in those fights. “It was like they were in witness protection,” he said. It’s whether his message will appeal to general election voters (or those Republicans most concerned with winning back the White House) who don’t share his anger or definition of the truth. Congress confronted another government shutdown battle in September over Planned Parenthood funding, but the news of the sudden resignation of then-Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) sucked up all of Congress’ attention — and extending government funding became largely a formality.

Then there’s the not-so-minor matter of the economy, or more precisely the “Obama-Clinton economy,” which is what Republicans will call it if China drags the world into recession. Rubio’s earlier support for comprehensive immigration reform — or a “massive amnesty plan,” in Cruz’s words — would preclude that kind of crossover appeal, the Texan said. On the day after Thanksgiving, The Wall Street Journal’s Greg Ip tweeted: “Ouch: Due to ‘downward trajectory in underlying productivity growth … our estimate of US potential has fallen to 1.5%-1.75%.’ – JP Morgan.”

Congressional Republicans, especially conservative lawmakers, insist that any spending bill include provisions to tighten the vetting process for Syrian refugees. Democrats for two years have held up Cruz as the de facto leader of the Republican Party, dubbing him “Speaker Cruz” after he prodded former Speaker John Boehner into a 2013 battle over Obamacare that shut down the federal government. WEDNESDAY’S TRIVIA WINNER – Alexander Levine was the first to answer that Montclair, N.J., is home to Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson and Stephen Colbert. Senior Republican aides and strategists think he’s kryptonite if the party, whose core base of older, white conservative voters is shrinking, wants to be viable on a national stage.

The House passed legislation beefing up those standards before Thanksgiving; McConnell has fast-tracked that bill to the Senate floor but has not yet indicated when it could come up for a vote. Just this month, Democrats annoyed Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell by insinuating he had agreed to take up a hard-line immigration bill heavily touted by Cruz. TODAY’S TRIVIA – Alexander has today’s question: This man stepped into the leadership void for his party in the ’20s and ran for president repeatedly. The idea that McConnell would take cues from Cruz after the Texas senator’s withering criticisms of the GOP leader was perceived by Republicans as a subtle Democratic attempt at boosting Cruz. “Obviously, Marco was bitten by the national limelight like John Edwards,” Reid said in the POLITICO interview. “Marco Rubio, somehow someone told him, ‘Why don’t you run for president?’ OK, great idea.

Rubio courageously worked to fix our broken immigration system, and—proving no good deed goes unpunished—he has been attacked in vicious and unfair ways. He has been a nonentity here.” Asked this month why he isn’t unleashing on Cruz in similar fashion, Reid replied: “I haven’t heard Cruz talk about how he didn’t like the Senate.” Rubio’s backers, for their part, say Democrats are trying to meddle in the GOP primary, adopting the strategy they’ve used in recent Senate elections of propping up unelectable Republican candidates in primaries in the hopes of facing a weaker general election opponent. Trump has fired up the base with a Cruz-on-steroids persona: more politically incorrect, scorched-earth and (unlike Cruz) self-financed and not dependent on large donors. Cruz worked across the aisle to address serious concerns about the intersection of civil liberties and national security, and today, that effort is being twisted and demagogued. Cruz, who has begun to subtly jab Trump in recent days, poked him again earlier Sunday by telling a crowd at the Pizza Ranch in Newton that his immigration blueprint is “the most aggressive—it is the most significant plan to secure the border and end illegal immigration.” Trump has positioned himself as the leading restrictionist in the Republican field.

Babin is a member of the conservative House Freedom Caucus, a group of about 40 Republicans who have largely stated they would support an omnibus only if it includes language on Syria. A Quinnipiac poll of Republicans in the state released last week found Trump leading with 25 percent, and Cruz surging to 23 percent, within the poll’s margin of error.

Or he could face off against a candidate who has even more narrow appeal than his own — for example, if John Kasich or Chris Christie won the New Hampshire primary. Ben Carson, the former Iowa front-runner who has been sinking rapidly in the polls, could give Cruz room to grow—both are competing for the state’s outsize evangelical constituency. Another collision point is spending for the Green Climate Fund, which is run by the United Nations and helps distribute money to developing countries to deal with the effects of climate change. But if it is, Cruz has a strong case to make, particularly in Iowa, which has a tendency to break the mold and pick an ideological warrior—it selected Rick Santorum in 2012 and Mike Huckabee in 2008. “Our country’s in crisis,” Cruz told the crowd in Van Horne, asking for their support. “It’s now or never.

There are a large number of well-funded establishment candidates who could split the moderate vote, not to mention Donald Trump, who has underappreciated appeal to moderate voters. The Cruz campaign seems cognizant of its narrow base; it has deftly focused on building a broader coalition from the very start, when he announced his candidacy at Liberty University, a Christian university in Virginia.

But Senate Republicans have had to navigate a tougher path toward passage, considering the narrower majority they hold in the chamber and resistance from both the conservative and moderate parts of their conference. Susan Collins, Mark Kirk of Illinois and Lisa Murkowski of Alaska have objections to defunding Planned Parenthood, which the House-passed version of the bill currently does. It’s what I used to call a no-brainer.” Republicans are also staring down a deadline for a multiyear highway and transit program before funding for the transportation programs runs out on Friday. This is not very surprising: Evangelical voters have traditionally gravitated toward candidates who are more obviously associated with the religious right, like Rick Santorum, Mike Huckabee and Pat Robertson. Ultimately, candidates who start with lopsided, factional appeal usually struggle to broaden their base, even when they’re viewed favorably throughout a party, like Bernie Sanders.

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