What Cruz 2016 is creating isn’t a mere candidacy. It is a potential force of nature resulting from the confluence of two events. On one hand, you have unprecedented anger and frustration over the corruption in Washington, D.C., and the lack of vision and courage in response to it from current national GOP leaders. Combine that boiling cauldron of anger with the emergence of a bold, wicked-smart, and winsome upstart like Cruz, who’s despised by all the same people the GOP base no longer trusts and despises right back, and you have the makings of a perfect storm for such a time as this.
Not to mention the fact Cruz is the rare national Republican figure who is equally admired by the folks at Freedom Works and the American Family Association, which gives him a chance to coalesce a GOP base that has been splintered the past two primary cycles. He may not be the most socially conservative or the most libertarian, but he’s enough of both that, with his fighting spirit, he can draw from each crowd.
This is not to slight several other solid 2016 candidates, several of whom I know and have interviewed several times. Many of those candidates are more tested and have lengthier resumes than Cruz. However, when trust in government erodes, moxie trumps credentials with voters, who are looking for fresh faces that haven’t been tarnished by the system yet. GOP primary voters want someone who earns their approval, not the Beltway’s. In fact, the Beltway’s approval will wear more like a scarlet letter.
Cruz has tapped into this visceral energy by doing the very things the know-it-alls say are verboten. He’s proud to represent a conservative base the ruling class often shuns and mocks. If the other non-establishment candidates want to avoid the coming “Cruz missile,” their only defense is to go on offense and show the base they are better qualified to ruthlessly take on Obamaism.
This next primary cycle won’t be about who scores the highest on the worldview exam, who can raise the most money, or who says “Jesus” the most. People fear for their future. This next primary cycle is about survival, as in, who you’d want next to you when surrounded in a dark alley by the bad guys both foreign and domestic.
Elites will sneer at the potential of President Cruz at their own peril. Everyday Americans sent our sneering elites a message from Virginia’s 7th Congressional District last week. Another message is likely coming from Mississippi’s U.S. Senate runoff election next week. If these messages continue to fall on deaf ears within the 202 area code, Cruz could very well become the weapon of choice to “make D.C. listen” in 2016.
(Steve Deace is a nationally syndicated talk show host and the author of “Rules for Patriots: How Conservatives Can Win Again.” You can follow him on Twitter @SteveDeaceShow.)