Ted Cruz Positioned Himself Well For 2020 General, Not Just Primary

Oh, Ted Cruz. Never change. The Texas Senator stole the scene last night at the RNC convention by refusing to endorse Donald Trump in his speech. If there was any doubt why, he followed it up this morning by saying he wouldn’t be a “servile puppy dog” by endorsing a man who personally attacked his wife and father. The focus today is what it means for conservative voters in 2016 and Cruz’s almost-certain run in the Republican primary again in 2020. But Cruz achieved much more than positioning himself as the true conservative who wouldn’t follow Trump into terrible defeat. […]

Men Comprise 82% of Ted Cruz’s Delegate Haul From Iowa Districts

In the fight to stop Donald Trump from winning the Republican nomination, opponents often point to his awful polling numbers in a matchup against Hillary Clinton. Historically terrible numbers among female voters are driving Trump’s theoretical thrashing in the November election. So it was perhaps a bit odd to see such a male-heavy slate of delegates come out of the district conventions, which were dominated by Ted Cruz supporters. Cruz backers handily won 11 of the 12 delegates up for grab at the district conventions on Saturday, which will badly damage Trump’s chances if the national convention goes to a […]

Cruz Gets Caught In The Branstad-Vander Plaats GOP Civil War

Ted Cruz has made a lot of enemies in Iowa. Chief among them is the ethanol industry. Now several of Cruz’s important Iowa allies may be exacerbating his problems and opposition by unwittingly dragging him into a long-running internal Iowa Republican civil war. The conflict is a fight over the future of the Iowa Republican Party, but it may prove decisive in the future of the national party. It may even make Donald Trump the nominee. Cruz’s newest critic in Iowa is none other than Iowa Governor Terry Branstad, who told reporters after a renewable fuels summit in Altoona on […]

Ted Cruz’s Weird, Wobbly Week On Ethanol

He loves me. He loves me not. He loves me… What the heck is going on with Ted Cruz and his stance on ethanol this week? For a year the Texas Senator has come under withering assault from Iowa’s farmers and ethanol industry for his position on the Renewable Fuel Standard. Cruz embarked on a 28-county bus tour in Iowa this week and was pressed at nearly every single event over ethanol. The pressure appears to be getting to him. Cruz, a candidate who often highlights his consistency on conservative issues, now talks up how he would allow the RFS […]

Trump Tells Voters To Follow The Money On Cruz’s Big Oil Problem

The long-simmering conflict over Ted Cruz’s stance on ethanol erupted into a full-fledged war in Iowa in recent weeks, with Donald Trump putting the exclamation mark on the debate last night. “But with the ethanol, really, he’s gonna come a long way because he’s right now for the oil,” Trump said in his opening remarks, targeting Cruz specifically after the Texas Senator’s criticisms of Trump emerged earlier that day. “But I understand because big oil pays him a lot of money. He’s got to be oil, right? The oil companies give him a lot of money.” “He gets a lot […]

Bye Bye, Bobby. Cruz In The Driver’s Seat Now

And then there were 14. Or 13, depending on how you’re counting. Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal ended his campaign for the Republican nomination on Tuesday, saying it was clear that 2016 simply was “not his time.” Jindal had seen some upward movement recently in Iowa, but it was much too little, too late to think he could catch fire and become a national contender. Jindal made a competent effort in Iowa this cycle, spending 74 days here since 2012, one of the most frequent Iowa Caucus visitors. Jindal started in the basement in Iowa polls earlier this year, back when […]

Steve King’s 2016 Pick Would Damage 4th District’s Economy Most

Congressman Steve King’s endorsement of Ted Cruz for the Iowa Caucus yesterday morning didn’t come as too shocking a surprise. With Cruz gaining the most traction of any of the Tea Party/evangelical Republicans, Iowa’s conservative leaders have gravitated toward backing the Texas Senator in hopes of uniting that wing of the party for caucus night. King’s own son joined one of the Cruz Super PACs this summer, and Cruz and King hunted together recently in Northwest Iowa. “[Cruz] has an unmatched intellect grounded in constitutionalism, the rule of law, and American exceptionalism,” King said in endorsing Cruz. “He knows how […]

Few Republicans Try To Close The Deal At Big GOP Event

The Republican Party of Iowa’s Growth And Opportunity event on Saturday was meant as a sort of replacement for the Iowa Straw Poll, and judging from many of the candidates’ speeches you’d think they were still in that August mindset. Few of the White House hopefuls deviated from their typical stump speeches. Despite being a mere three months from the Iowa Caucus, many contenders’ pitches remain in the introductory stage. That seemed odd considering most of the 2,000 attendees at the event were involved party activists who have seen all of these people at events or watched them online. The […]

We Review Ted Cruz’s Ridiculous Children’s Coloring Book

Few other presidential candidates’ campaign events are as stage-managed as Ted Cruz’s. Fancy backdrops, dozens of volunteers in matching t-shirts to welcome you, well-produced introductory videos and free pocket constitutions are present at nearly every Cruz event in Iowa. And the best piece of campaign chum you’ll find when you go see Cruz in person? The professional children’s coloring book produced by his campaign. Now, to be clear, I think having a coloring book to hand out to children is actually a good idea for candidates like Cruz who are appealing to the evangelical set. You see lots of families […]

Key Takeaways From A Week Of Caucus Events

Starting Line has been out on the Iowa Caucus trail a lot recently, hitting up both Democratic and Republican events, mostly in central Iowa the last week and a half. There’s always something interesting to take out of each candidate’s visit, though oftentimes not enough to fill a full post (or I’m just too tired by the time I get home). So here’s a collection of observations and analysis of a number of caucus visits I’ve been to recently. (Also, if you’re not following me on Twitter, you’re missing out on about 50% of the reporting Starting Line does). Trump […]