Texas senator gambled, successfully, that opposing ethanol mandate would paint him as small-government purist
Sen. Ted Cruz’s Monday victory in the Iowa caucuses struck a blow against a seemingly unshakable rule of presidential politics: A candidate can’t win Iowa without enthusiastically supporting the federal ethanol mandate.
A desire to court Iowa’s influential corn growers has traditionally prompted candidates of all stripes, whatever their usual views of government, to embrace ethanol. Mr. Cruz gambled, successfully, that questioning the mandate would cement his position as a small-government purist and win the loyalty of the state’s conservatives.
The Texas senator traveled the state, and the country, calling for phasing out the mandate, which calls for blending ethanol into gasoline, and eliminating it altogether by 2022. He became the first candidate to win the caucuses without supporting the mandate since Congress first created it in 2005, weathering a rare rebuke from Iowa Gov. Terry Branstad.
Mr. Cruz’s win raises the question of whether the turbulent conservatism roiling the GOP electorate means that unconditionally embracing ethanol is no longer a requirement in the Iowa caucuses.
“The GOP nationally and in Iowa has become more conservative, and part of the new conservatism is a dislike of government subsidies—letting Congress pick winners and losers,” said Larry Sabato, a political scientist at the University of Virginia.Read the rest of the story HERE.
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