- - Tuesday, March 24, 2015

On Monday, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz taught the Republican Party a lesson it desperately needs to learn. Mr. Cruz taught the GOP something about winning.

The Republican Party, at least at the national level, is pretty pathetic. The Republicans have lost four of the last six presidential elections. Republicans have actually lost the popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Even the two races that George W. Bush won were close. The 2000 election was not decided until weeks after Election Day and even in 2004, Democrat John Kerry kept it close enough that he did not concede until the next day.

Ted Cruz broke the rules with his announcement. A Republican candidate is supposed to play the game. He is supposed to be not interested. Then there are leaks from family and friends encouraging him to run. Then the candidate finally sets up an exploratory committee. Finally, he does what everyone knew he was going to do months ago. He runs.

Ted Cruz broke the model. He didn’t bother with an exploratory committee. He just ran. He went to Liberty University, the last place a Republican moderate would think about going. He made a speech that fit Ronald Reagan’s vision of a banner of bold colors, not pale pastels. He spoke for 45 minutes without a teleprompter.

By breaking the rules, Ted Cruz is showing the GOP something else.

He is the only candidate who can beat a Democrat in 2016.

The Republican Party is strangled by its consultants. These consultants make millions each presidential election and guarantee the only thing the nominee will be doing on election eve is making a concession speech. These consultants have spread throughout the GOP. They sanitize and sterilize their candidates. They turn their candidates into tofu candidates. These are candidates who have no vision, message or meaning. No wonder they lose and lose badly.

At the presidential level, these consultants tell their candidates don’t be controversial, don’t do anything that could possibly offend anyone and don’t contest blue states. The classic example of this came in 2008. Then-vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin wanted to go to Michigan. She believed she could put that state into play. The McCain campaign consultants overruled her and it came as no great shock that the GOP was slaughtered in Michigan.

Based on the states that have voted for the same party in the last six elections, the Democrats start with a 242-102 lead in the Electoral College. All they need is Florida and they have a win.

The typical Republican mentality is to run an “establishment” candidate who is a moderate. The belief is the “moderate” beliefs of the candidate will pull votes away from the Democrats and give the Republican the majority vote. That didn’t work for George H.W. Bush in 1992. It didn’t work for Bob Dole in 1996. It is arguable that it did not work for George W. Bush in 2000. It didn’t work for John McCain in 2008 and it didn’t work for Mitt Romney in 2012.

The only way a Republican, any Republican, will take the White House in 2016 is to offer a banner of bold colors and to throw away the Republican playbook. If the GOP has any prayer of winning in 2016, it must go into blue states and start taking them away from the Democrats. There are a number of blue states that could be taken, including Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri and even Maryland.

Insanity is defined as trying the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. That is also called failure. That is what the Republican Party has been doing since 1992.

There is only one man who can break that streak. His name is Ted Cruz.

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