Why Bob Vander Plaats chose Cruz over Trump, Rubio, Carson

11 Dec 2015 | Author: | No comments yet »

Cruz emerges as Iowa’s new favorite.

Ted Cruz, looking to fuel new-found momentum in the Republican presidential race, said Thursday he would seek a strategy to “defeat and destroy” the Islamic State, though he left open the question of U.S. ground troops and denounced any American intervention in Syria’s civil war. Ted Cruz nailed an endorsement from a well-known Christian conservative newsmaker Thursday, one more step toward locking up the influential evangelical conservative voting bloc in Iowa. “At the end of the day, we truly believe that Ted Cruz is the most consistent and principled conservative who has the ability to not only win Iowa but I believe to win the (Republican) nomination,” Vander Plaats, the president of the Family Leader, told The Des Moines Register in an interview Wednesday. It’s a triumph for Cruz, a Texas U.S. senator whose stances on abortion, same-sex marriage, illegal immigration, religious liberty and foreign affairs align with the most hardline conservatives in Iowa — the voters who are expected to dominate the first-in-the-nation presidential vote on Feb. 1.

And with Cruz leading the field in a Monmouth University Iowa poll released this week, rivals are suddenly confronted with a new level of urgency in their efforts to stop the Texas senator from building early-state momentum that could carry him through the South Carolina primary next year and into March 1, when seven other Southern states will go to the polls. Cruz called for a “sustained, coherent, directed bombing campaign” against Islamic State positions in Syria and Iraq, arming the Kurds in Iraq, and recruiting the Jordanian and Egyptian military forces.

And it’s a blow to the other candidates who auditioned for the endorsement, including Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Marco Rubio, Carly Fiorina, Rand Paul, Mike Huckabee, Rick Santorum and Lindsey Graham. The Vander Plaats endorsement came in the midst of a fruitful week for Cruz, which included national endorsements Wednesday from the National Organization for Marriage and from Richard Viguerie, a prominent conservative voice and the founding father of political direct mail. “I think you can look at the [Vander Plaats] endorsement as continued evidence that Sen.

He spent the better part of the year leading up to the 2008 contest stumping for Mike Huckabee, who ultimately coasted to a nearly 10-point victory over Mitt Romney. That’s also Cruz’s target audience. “This is an endorsement that simultaneously sends a signal to political observers and motivates active Caucus voters,” Cruz said in a statement issued from campaign headquarters. “It’s more evidence that our campaign has momentum and is gaining ground heading into the final weeks of the Caucus. Jeb Bush and Chris Christie didn’t court Vander Plaats, a controversial figure who is a lightning rod for criticism for his belief that conservative Christian ideology should be the driving force in government. Cruz is consolidating support here in Iowa, building an organization that’s capable of winning on Feb. 1,” said Eric Woolson, formerly a key Iowa operative for Scott Walker, who is now unaligned. “If he’s not the frontrunner [in Iowa], he’s certainly in the top two, he and Mr. Four years later, Vander Plaats kept his powder dry for considerably longer before throwing his support behind Rick Santorum less than a month before the 2012 caucus.

This endorsement also speaks to the grassroots activists who have delivered for the past couple of Iowa Caucus winners, that the time has come for us to coalesce. In 2008, Vander Plaats spent a year stumping for Huckabee, a former governor of Arkansas, and at the last minute in 2012 backed Santorum, a former Pennsylvania U.S. senator. Trump.” “Yes, he’s the frontrunner,” said Steve Deace, a prominent Iowa radio host who offered one of the first major endorsements from the state’s socially conservative wing when he backed Cruz in August.

Barring the ever elusive, last-minute “white knight” play, in which Mitt Romney is somehow declared the nominee by acclamation at the Republican National Convention, this likely means making a choice between Donald Trump and Sen. Since March, Cruz has been highly visible in Iowa, courting Evangelicals and winning valuable endorsements including the backing of Representative Steve King. Cruz devoted much of his speech to attacking the Obama administration’s foreign policy, saying the president would prefer to ignore the threat of radical Islamic terrorism, or even use the phrase. Citing the recent attacks in Paris and San Bernardino, Calif., Cruz disputed the administration’s description of the attackers as “lone wolves,” saying instead: “These wolves are not alone — they are instead operating in ideological packs.” Seeking to align himself with the legacy of Reagan and foreign policy adviser Jeane Kirkpatrick, Cruz said today’s leaders should take the same approach to Islamic terrorists that the nation’s 40th president did towards communists: “We win, they lose.” As part of that effort, Cruz echoed his calls for tighter security at U.S. borders and halting refugees from “terror-ridden countries,” particularly Syria.

I think it’ll be a big tidal wave, and I think it will be the most united we’ve ever seen the conservative movement when it’s all said and done.” The Cruz campaign is beginning to see returns from months of methodically courting evangelical and other conservative grassroots leaders, many of whom have expressed hope that conservatives would unite around one candidate early enough to ensure that their choice, rather than an establishment favorite, secures the nomination — in contrast to previous presidential cycles. Vander Plaat’s decision is a serious blow to a number of Cruz’s rivals who are also hoping that Christian conservative voters will propel them to a victory in Iowa, where Evangelicals make up roughly half of GOP caucus-goers. Drawing contrasts with some of his Republican rivals, Cruz opposed expanded surveillance powers, saying the ones that exist already threaten civil liberties.

Cruz may be exceptionally foul to their taste, but he is nevertheless a consistent conservative Republican who just happens, for his own cynical, brand-building purposes, to favor doomed procedural tactics. During the press conference Vander Plaats called Cruz, “the extraordinary leader that we need for these extraordinary times.” “We will be going all in for Senator Ted Cruz – We have found him as a man of deep character.

King, Deace and Vander Plaats represent a trifecta of key social conservative endorsements, and give Cruz entrée to their extensive Iowa networks, in addition to the one the senator has already built: Cruz has chairs in every county in the first four early-voting states, and is in the process of a recruiting a supportive pastor in each of Iowa’s 99 counties to further bolster his strength with conservative Christians. It’s also a major setback for Ben Carson, who had briefly emerged as the Evangelical favorite before being battered by skepticism over his personal biography and his ability to grasp anything more than the basics of foreign policy.

A man that we can fully trust, who has a consistency of convictions, who loves his God, loves his spouse, and who loves his family,” said Bob Vander Plaats. “We also see him to be very, very competent. Of the three prominent endorsers now on Cruz’s side in Iowa, Vander Plaats has the best record of backing winners: he aligned with Mike Huckabee in 2008 and Rick Santorum in 2012, both of whom went on to win.

Though his Republican colleagues in the Senate dislike him, this isn’t the first time they’ve had to deal with an ambitious junior senator getting in everyone’s way to pursue his own ends, and it won’t be the last. Cruz is also locked in a battle with other Republicans — including Marco Rubio, Ben Carson, Chris Christie, and Jeb Bush — seeking to be the alternative to Trump should he falter when voting time comes. Trump, he was probably taken off our radar when he made the decision not to attend the forum.” “However, I do believe the one issue he decided he was going to lead in Washington, D.C., with (Democratic New York Sen. Cruz could also slip, they argue, as more scrutiny accompanies his rise in the polls. “If this was Jan. 15, it’d be a very different story,” said Matt Beynon, a spokesman for Santorum, the rival who won Iowa in 2012 but is a longshot this cycle. “Now you’re going to have nearly two months of scrutiny. His reckless lack of discipline and egregious lies, “braggadocio,” and racism appeal quite strongly to a slice of the Republican Party, but turn off most everyone else.

He said this time around, after examining the GOP field, he is backing the candidate “that can go the distance and become the nominee.” “For a lot of people I talked to in Iowa, the difference is Cruz is not as brash as Donald Trump. In a question-and-answer session later, Cruz declined comment on aNew York Times story saying he questions whether Trump has the “judgement” to be president. The freshman senator has been careful not to personally attack GOP frontrunner Donald Trump throughout the race, a strategy his Republican opponents have failed to do. Cruz languished as a second-tier candidate all year — he claimed only 6% of likely GOP caucusgoers support in an Iowa Poll in January; 8% in August; and 10% in October. In recent days, Trump’s proposal to ban Muslims entering the U.S. has been condemned by all GOP presidential candidates except Ted Cruz. “Cruz was very careful, while he said he didn’t like the statements he also said that he thought he would put Trump in his cabinet because he is a great negotiator,” said Sanders. “I think Cruz not attacking Trump has to do with the fact that he knows Trump has a ceiling, he thinks he is not going to last and Cruz wants to be there to pick up the pieces, it’s very calculated.” King says he doesn’t believe Senator Cruz is calculating each move but rather abiding by President Ronald Reagan’s 11th Commandment: “Thou shalt not speak ill of any fellow Republican.” “Cruz’s MO is to follow Reagan’s 11th Commandment, he hasn’t really been attacking others but he does defend himself when he is being attacked especially when it is not the whole truth.“ Iowa State Senator Dennis Guth says speaking the truth and standing by his convictions are traits Ted Cruz has upheld during his tenure in Congress and on the campaign trail.

Every one of us who is running is being assessed by the voters under that metric, and that is exactly why we have a democratic election to make that determination.” His campaign has brought an ironic twist to the pursuit of the white working class, the demographic that, for many cycles now, has been the subject of much high-stakes tussling between the parties. And the board gave the go-ahead for Vander Plaats, Family Leader vice president Chuck Hurley and board chairman Robert Cramer to make personal endorsements. Trump has laid out a path not just for taking this demographic, but making many of them love you to the point where they get upset if you offer any critique of him.

What’s also appealing to the establishment about Cruz over Trump is that Cruz can at least be controlled somewhat, whereas Trump cannot be controlled whatsoever. Cruz in a general election would understand his responsibility to the Republican Party—to not go out of his way to humiliate it by speaking off the cuff, thus endangering down-ballot candidates. A majority of American voters also aren’t going to listen to Trump’s slightly more moderate policy positions over Cruz’s if the idea of a personality like Trump as head of state scares them into shock. One simple mental exercise when considering electability is: Would you feel at least barely safe with this person running the affairs of state for even a day?

Though a couple of Cruz’s legislative policy proposals are far to the right of Trump’s, you could at least see Cruz sitting in the Oval Office for 24 hours without destroying the world. The only information the party would gather after riding Trump to its third consecutive Electoral College defeat is the simple acknowledgement that it had just wasted a presidential election on Donald Trump. Cruz’s campaign is predicated on the idea that, in such a polarized environment, what matters most is turning out one’s own side, and the best way to do that would be to nominate a movement conservative such as himself.

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