With all the imagining Ted Cruz was doing in his speech announcing he’s running for president, one thing I don’t think he was imagining was winning.
In fact, I’m convinced Cruz knows he’s not going to win and he doesn’t care, since he’s not really in the race to win.
What I believe Cruz is after is to solidify his career as a radical religious-based right wing nudge, someone who can command fancy prices to throw red meat to the faithful at rightwing gatherings. If I’m right, the true competition for Cruz is not political trust fund babies Jeb Bush and Rand Paul, but current religious right demagogues Mike Huckabee, Sarah Palin and Rick Santorum. There are just so many $50,000 honorariums floating around.
My theory depends on Cruz being a rational person who realizes that he has pissed off too many mainstream Republicans with his obstreperous grandstanding and obstructionism since he assumed the office of junior U.S. senator from Texas. He knows that his loud-mouthed intemperance may have given him national visibility but at the cost of burning bridges. When it comes time for Republican senators and Congressional representatives to begin giving endorsements, I’m guessing they’ll go out of their way not to give their nod to Cruz.
My assumption that rationality guides Cruz’s actions stems more from his background than from his public statements, which show an irresponsible disregard for economics, economic history and how government works in the 21st century real world. I’m assuming that if Cruz didn’t pick up good reasoning skills growing up as the privileged child of business owners, he certainly picked them up at Princeton or Harvard Law School. Of course, Cruz was also indoctrinated in middle school and high school into the beliefs of the Christian and economic rightwing, and perhaps these beliefs have addled his brain.
I could be all wrong. Cruz’s wife is a high-ranking executive at Goldman Sachs, and maybe Goldman is looking for a reliable Republican to offset their investment into the campaigns of such Democrats as Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton. Maybe Cruz is backed by the kind of deep pockets that kept Newt Gingrich in the 2012 race long enough to embarrass himself.
He might also be thinking that running this year will increase his visibility, thereby setting him up for serious runs in 2020 or 2024, by which time he’ll be only 54. But candidates that start in the extreme rightwing fringe like Ron Paul and Rick Santorum usually remain fringe candidates, even as their visibility rises. The way to win the Republican presidential candidacy is to start in the middle and look right. That’s what has worked for every Republican candidate since Nixon. My guess is Cruz knows that his strength as a demagogue is also his weakness as a serious candidate, so instead of jockeying for a future race, he is positioning himself for the gravy train awaiting all politicians willing to appeal to the doctrinaire ignorance of the Christian right while espousing economic policies that enable Cruz’s social and economic class—the wealthy—to continue pulling more and more money from the middle class and poor through lower taxes on the wealthy, privatization, policies that keep a lid on wages, the dismantling of the social network and government disinvestment into America’s future.