The story of the week in the GOP nomination fight is all about organization. Ted Cruz has it, Donald Trump doesn’t, and so Cruz is not only vacuuming up every available delegate, he’s actually stacking Trump’s delegations with his own supporters. On April 1, Politico reported that more than 100 delegates are poised to break from Trump after the first ballot, and for Trump the picture is worsening every day.
|Cruz addresses the Colorado GOP State Assembly|
He’s losing every organizational battle, and his people on the ground seem woefully unprepared. By contrast, the Cruz campaign is emerging as a model of preparation and efficiency. Again and again, when state and local party decisions have to be made — when organization truly counts — the Cruz team is getting the job done. It’s a marvel.
Or is it? While no one should discount Cruz’s organizational prowess, he’s not that good. One of the hidden stories of the 2016 GOP campaign is the extent to which Cruz is the beneficiary of years of local tea-party organizational effort. Activists have made a long and patient effort to both infiltrate the Republican party and build, in essence, a “shadow” party — a party within a party.
The era of its mass rallies might be over, and the Tea Party label may have fallen out of fashion, but tea-party activists have built their own organizational base, and in many states it competes with or even dominates the traditional party structures. In other words, the Tea Party has its own “establishment” of politicians and activists, and it just might carry Cruz over the GOP finish line.
Seven years after the legendary Rick Santelli rant that helped launch a movement, it’s increasingly clear what the Tea Party was and was not — and what it is and is not. It was a mass movement that mobilized voters who were angry at Obama and the Republican establishment. It was not a mass movement centered around constitutional conservatism. It is a new and likely enduring part of the Republican coalition. It is not poised to remake the party itself or to become a major player as a third party. The Tea Party is part of the GOP, but it will never become the GOP. The movement simply isn’t large enough.Read the rest of David French's op-ed HERE.
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