Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ted Cruz is ready to make it official

By Richard K. Barry

The Houston Chronicle reported yesterday that Senator Ted Cruz will announce on Monday he will run for president of the United States. The Chronicle characterizes the move as "accelerating his already rapid three-year rise from a tea party insurgent in Texas into a divisive political force in Washington."

The question though is whether such a polarizing figure can be competitive.

"I don't consider him a mainstream candidate, and usually to win you've got to be inside the 45-yard lines," said Greg Valliere, a political adviser to Wall Street firms who believes that if Cruz did earn the nomination, he would not win more than a dozen states in the general election. "The enthusiasm for him will be tremendous in maybe a third of the party, but another third of the party will be strongly opposed and another third of the party will be wary.

Many were no doubt assuming Cruz would run, so this isn't a particularly surprising development. What may be interesting though is the likelihood that Cruz, unlike so many pretenders before, will be able to articulate a clear and coherent tea party vision for the country. This will give us, as Valliere suggests, a better sense of exactly how popular such a view is.

I think Valliere is being too generous to Cruz, who may be brighter than the average mouthbreather in his clan, but is too ugly a politician to make a huge impact on the national scene.

My guess is that the only thing Cruz's candidacy will do is push more viable Republicans to the hard right, which can only be a good thing for Democrats.

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