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Ted Cruz and New York Values

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Eighty percent of voters live in cities, and Ted Cruz needs them.

What to make of Senator Ted Cruz? He is a very, very smart man who apparently believes that the median Republican presidential primary voter is very, very dumb. There’s some evidence for that proposition — Donald Trump still leads in the national polls — but Cruz’s strategy rests on the proposition that these voters will enjoy being condescended to. He may very well have chosen the most effective strategy.

Senator Cruz is very much hardwired into the current us-and-them mood of the electorate, Right and Left, and though he is a creature of Princeton and Harvard Law whose household long has been sustained by a Goldman Sachs paycheck, Cruz is keenly interested in giving the impression that there exists a vast cultural chasm between himself, the champion of what some populists like to call “the Real America” — as though Ronald Reagan of Hollywood, J. P. Morgan of Wall Street, and Bill Gates of Harvard weren’t real Americans — and the wicked Washington-based elite. Cruz is an outsider to the extent that a member of an Ivy League eating club (have someone explain it to you) who went on to be a member of the nation’s most prestigious lunch club, the Senate, can be an outsider. He is a Texan, albeit a Texan from the anodyne suburbs of Houston, which could be the suburbs of anywhere. He didn’t grow up baling hay in Muleshoe.

Courting the boob vote, Cruz is campaigning as a boob, a project complicated by the fact that there is a much bigger boob in the race: Donald Trump. Cruz, an affluent Ivy Leaguer, needed to distinguish himself from Trump, a very rich Ivy Leaguer, and what he came up with was: “New York values.” A Republican presidential candidate need not trouble himself too much about New York’s votes in the Electoral College, and Trump himself had used the phrase to characterize his many departures from the traditional conservatism of the Republican party, of which he is a freshly minted member. Cruz, canny politician that he is, never bothered to go into much detail about what is meant by “New York values.” Sneering at them was enough. But sneering at New York values isn’t very smart for conservatives. Not in the long run.


Source: Kevin D. Williamson, http://www.nationalreview.com