I just voted for Ted Cruz in New York’s Republican primary, and it was not a hard call. The emotions I most closely associate with this campaign season are, in no particular order, dread, despair, rage, and mournful resignation. So to my surprise, there was a spring in my step as I headed to my polling place, located in a public housing complex a few blocks from my apartment. No, I’m under no illusion that Cruz will win the New York primary outright. Donald Trump is quite popular among Republicans in New York. Almost every recent survey has him comfortably above the all-important 50 percent marker statewide, which means he is all but certain to win the lion’s share of New York’s delegates. I’m nevertheless holding out hope that I will be able, in my own infinitesimally small way, to help deny Trump one of the three delegates that my congressional district, New York’s 10th, will send to the Republican National Convention.
Why Cruz? Did I vote for him because I find him charming and approachable? No, I’m afraid that’s not it. Cruz struggles in personality contests for the obvious reason that he is impressively unappealing. Let us not forget that Cruz’s remaining opponents for the GOP presidential nomination are Trump, a blowhard who has literally made a career out of lying about the size of his fortune, and the petulant John Kasich, who would be one of the world’s most boring men if he didn’t also have an explosive and easily triggered temper. Somehow, among these paragons of human excellence, Cruz strikes many voters as the least likable of them all.
If it’s not Cruz’s winning personality that’s led me to him, what is it? The first and most obvious reason I backed the Texas senator is that he is the only Republican left in the race who can defeat Trump. John Kasich has bested Trump in exactly one state, Ohio, where he has been governor for more than five years, and he has failed to broaden his appeal among non-Ohio Republicans in the weeks since—despite having ample opportunity to do so. Kasich’s team has betrayed a failure to grasp the basics of how delegates are allocated, and for that reason alone he should go mutter to himself in a corner somewhere and leave the rest of us alone.
The same can’t be said of the Cruz crew. Cruz has run a disciplined, focused, and tenacious campaign, which has been causing Trump fits. Most recently, Trump has been crying foul over the fact that Cruz has outmaneuvered him in recent state conventions and caucuses in Wyoming and Colorado. One is reminded of a particularly choice Trump bon mot from August, when he told CNN’s Chris Cuomo, “I am a whiner, and I keep whining and whining until I win.” Though I wouldn’t say that Cruz is immune to the whining impulse, he generally takes a different approach: He keeps organizing and organizing until he wins. I admire that.Read the rest of this op-ed HERE.
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