The Ted Cruz surge has officially arrived. Predictably, the same political class that previously didn’t give him any shot to win the nomination is now saying he’s “peaking too soon” or the “flavor of the month.”
Here are five reasons why they’re wrong (as they almost always are).
1. Contrary to conventional wisdom, Iowa does not “break late.”
Accounting for the upcoming holidays when most people tune out politics, there are about 40 days until Iowans vote in their first-in-the-nation caucuses. Cruz is now the leader in the Real Clear Politics polling average in Iowa. By that point in the 2008 cycle, eventual winner Mike Huckabee was beginning his surge and had vaulted to second in the RCP average. The previous two Iowa winners, George W. Bush in 2000 and Bob Dole in 1996, were the established frontrunners from the outset. The only time someone pulled a rabbit out of their hat to win Iowa at the final gun was Rick Santorum four years ago. Iowa is an organization-driven state, and it takes months of retail campaigning to build that organization. That’s why Iowa does not “break late” and Cruz is not “peaking too soon.” In fact, he’s peaking at the perfect time. What you’re seeing is an Iowa harvest coming forth following a year’s worth of tilling the soil, planting seeds, and tending the fields. Cruz and his Iowa team simply out-worked everyone else.
2. Cruz is the first candidate in a generation to coalesce the conservative movement.
The two big endorsements in Iowa are Congressman Steve King and conservative activist Bob Vander Plaats. Cruz reeled in both of those big fish, and he’s the first to ever do so. On a national level you’re seeing unprecedented coalescing as well. Cruz is the first three-time winner of the Values Voters Summit straw poll, and won the Freedom Works straw poll as well. No other candidate has been able to simultaneously appeal to social and limited government conservatives. National conservative leaders like Richard Viguerie and Dr. James Dobson endorsed Cruz, and reportedly there are even more to come. The National Organization for Marriage, which didn’t endorse in both 2008 and 2012, has endorsed Cruz, as has Gun Owners of America. This is the most united we’ve seen the conservative movement since the Reagan Revolution.
3. There is no basis for another conservative candidate to challenge Cruz.
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By coalescing the conservative movement, there is no means by which another conservative candidate could surge. Where would his or her support come from? For example, four years ago Santorum nabbed late endorsements by Vander Plaats and Dobson to kick-start his campaign. But as we’ve noted this time, those two heavy-hitters are already with Cruz. The resources and organization other conservative movement candidates in the race (Huckabee, Santorum, and Paul) would need to launch themselves are simply not available. Those candidates are now officially dead in the water. At this point, it’s just a matter of how long and for whatever reason they want to continue to stay in the race. That certainly doesn’t mean Cruz has the nomination sown up, but it does mean that if a movement conservative wins the nomination, it’s going to be Cruz.
4. Cruz has already assembled a national organization, which gives him the capability to go the long haul.
Cruz became the first candidate to build a ground game that covers every county in all four of the early states back in October. While most candidates are still trying to catch up to him in Iowa, Cruz will be doing a national swing through Super Tuesday states next week—which he originally started organizing back in August. As a result, Cruz has better organization on the ground in those states than most of the GOP field has on the ground in Iowa, New Hampshire, and South Carolina.
5. Cruz has the cash.
Cruz ended the third quarter reporting period with the most cash on hand of any GOP presidential candidate. Even better, Cruz has received donations from a whopping 362,000 individuals, whose average donation in the third quarter was only $66. Translation: He has a donor base that is a renewable resource for the rest of this campaign and has not maxed out.
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