Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Rotten Billionaires Are Paving Ted Cruz's Path To The Republican Nomination

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In the new CBS/NYTimes poll, Texas neo-fascist Ted Cruz is way down at 4%, tied for 6th place with also-rans Rand Paul, John Kassich and Mike Huckabee. Meanwhile the newest poll in Iowa has Cruz in 4th place with 6.2%, behind Carson (30.6%), Trump (18.6%), Rubio (10.0%), and Jeb (6.8%). And the PredictWise betting market data has Cruz in 5th place with 6%, behind Rubio (35%), Jeb (18%) Trump (18%), and Carson (8%). So, why you may be wondering, do we still think he's going to be the Republican nominee? Note: nnd it's more than just wishful thinking.

Let's start with fundraising. Only Ben Carson has raised more money than Cruz from small donors but most of his money comes from a handful of the worst of what Bernie calls the "billionaire class." Right now, Cruz has the most money-- he's raised a lot from ruthless and vile Texas billionaires and, unlike Jeb, hasn't spent much. The biggest single contribution to a campaign-- from the Wilks brothers, odious homophobic bigots-- was to Cruz ($15,000,000). So was the second biggest, $11 million from far right lunatic Robert Mercer (of Renaissance Technologies, a hedge fund right down the street from my old house in Setauket)... and the 3rd, $10,000,000 from fellow Texas neo-Nazi Toby Neugebauer. And then Monday, reports Politico, billionaire technology entrepreneur Darwin Deason (who had already donated $5,000,000 to Rick Perry's SuperPAC) and five other wealthy Texans announced that they were coming aboard his campaign.
For all his bashing of “billionaire Republican donors” who “actively despise our base,” the anti-establishment senator from Texas is being bolstered by his own robust base of wealthy contributors. Cruz raised $5.2 million through the end of September from supporters who gave him the $2,700 maximum-- making him No. 2 in the GOP race for large donors, after former Florida governor Jeb Bush, according to an analysis by the nonpartisan Campaign Finance Institute.

Cruz’s un­or­tho­dox campaign has hit on a fundraising formula that no other candidate has been able to match: raising millions from a robust base of grass-roots supporters while building a substantial network of rich backers.

The senator’s quiet fundraising prowess-- he has collected $26.5 million to date-- could help give him staying power in what is sure to be a hard-fought battle for the GOP nomination. The structure of his donor base closely resembles that of President Obama, whose vaunted fundraising operation intensely focused on low-dollar givers as well as major bundlers, bringing in a record $783 million for his 2012 reelection.

Cruz has had trouble making inroads in New York financial circles or on Florida’s donor-rich Gold Coast. But he is finding support among like-minded ­constitutionalists, religious conservatives, and oil and gas executives, campaign finance filings and fundraising invitations show.

“A lot of Wall Street is out of touch with mainstream America,” Cruz’s wife, Heidi-- who is on leave from her job as a managing director at Goldman Sachs and is one of his most prolific fundraisers-- said recently. “That’s not our funding base.”

The senator is a different person in private fundraisers than out on the campaign trail, according to people who have observed the dynamic. He doesn’t back away from his hard-line positions, but he quickly moves past them, trying to present a restrained, Harvard-educated lawyer.

“People are swayed by his intellect,” said Mica Mosbacher, a Houston fundraiser helping organize events for Cruz across the country. “He always says, ‘Ask me all the hard questions.’ And he is very polite and humble. I think the firebrand you see [in public] is his passion getting ahead of him. Those who are supporting him admire that he will stand up for what’s right.”

A Republican strategist well connected to the donor world added: “When he’s with major donors, they expect the guy they see with all the red meat, but they instead see an intelligent but toned-down lawyer with real bona fides. He will say things like, basically, ‘This is politics-- you’ve got go out there and sell and perform.’ ”

Cruz even kisses up to rich flamboyant gays, despite the fact that his top backers are all hysterical and vicious sociopaths motivated primarily by rabid homophobia. He's also tight with Michael Jackson's crackpot rabbi Shmuley Boteach-- despite Shmuley's advocacy for his gay brother-- who ran for Congress in 2012 against Bill Pascrell, who beat him 73.6-25.4%, despite the million dollars Schuley sucked out of the Adelsons. Yesterday, writing for Politico, Shane Goldmacher explained how Cruz plans to use this money and win the Republican nomination, even if he is way back in the polls at the moment. His theory revolves around the 4 lanes that could, if put together properly, potentially lead to victory: "a moderate-establishment lane, in which he would not compete; a tea party lane, which he needed to dominate; an evangelical lane, where he had strong potential but little initial traction; and a libertarian lane, which began as the turf of Rand Paul."
“The players that were expected to be formidable in those lanes have not got the traction they had hoped,” Cruz said. “The most encouraging thing I would say is that I think three of the lanes are collapsing into one, which is the evangelical lane, the conservative tea party lane, and the libertarian lane are all collapsing into the conservative lane and we’re seeing those lanes unify behind our campaign.”

On this point, Cruz and the Republican establishment that hates him seem to agree. Cruz has yet to pop in the national and early-state polls but his foes and allies alike say he is poised to break through.

“He’s not to be underestimated,” said Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the New Hampshire Republican Party. Cullen is no fan of Cruz but he predicted the senator is “likely to be one of the final four” in the primary. “I think he stands a pretty good chance of cornering the right-wing vote, which is remarkable given how large the field is.”

Scott Reed, the senior political strategist for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a symbol of the GOP establishment that Cruz rails against on the trail, said the Texan “is shaping up to be a real finalist in Cleveland,” where the Republican nominee will be crowned next summer. “Cruz has a strong team, approaches every week with goals and a strategy,” Reed said. “If you look away from Cruz's TV coverage and just listen to the audio, he has the strongest message to GOP activists and primary voters.”

Even former President George W. Bush singled out Cruz as one of his brother’s top rivals, particularly in Southern states that vote on March 1, saying at a recent private fundraiser, “I just don’t like the guy.”

Cruz, who again is in the midst of battling his own party leadership on Capitol Hill, this time over a potential budget deal that would lift the debt ceiling, is accustomed to such remarks. Asked if Bush’s comments were a badge of honor, the ever-cautious Cruz paused nearly 7 seconds before he declared with self-satisfaction, “It’s not surprising that he would attack candidates who he perceives as a threat to his brother’s campaign.”

...By [March 1, when a set of conservative and evangelical states across the South will dominate the voting, including Georgia, Alabama, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma and his home state of Texas] Cruz hopes to have consolidated the conservative side of the 2016 ledger. Within three weeks, by March 22, almost two-thirds of the Republican delegates will have been allocated.

“In past election years a candidate could essentially move to Iowa or move to New Hampshire, live there for a year, and hope to catch lightning in a bottle and surprise everyone and ride that momentum to having a shot at the nomination,” Cruz told POLITICO. “I don’t think that’s possible this cycle and the reason is the [Republican National Committee] dramatically accelerated the process.”

“For the candidates who have not been able to raise any money, it is simply not feasible for them to run a national campaign, and so they’re not,” Cruz said.

Still, Trump and Carson stand in his way. Trump, to a large extent, has scrambled the neat lanes Cruz has delineated, drawing from angry voters everywhere. Meanwhile, Carson is pulling a large share of the evangelical vote, even Cruz’s top advisers admit.

But to the Cruz campaign’s delight, Trump and Carson have begun aiming at each other, with Trump questioning Carson’s religion and energy level over the weekend, and Carson retorting that he’d worked through 20-hour surgeries: “Doesn’t require a lot of jumping up and down and screaming, but it does require a lot of concentration.”

Cruz has drafted behind Trump for months, hoping to sweep up his supporters when what many have seen as an inevitable fall comes. But increasingly the Cruz campaign is preparing for Trump to remain a force through the primaries.

Carson, on the other hand, the Cruz campaign thinks will fade as scrutiny intensifies. Plus, Cruz intends to box out the retired neurosurgeon by winning over the movement conservatives who are desperate to unite behind a single candidate early in 2016, after back-to-back cycles nominating a more moderate Republican, who, they believe, failed to get out the Christian vote.

“It’s almost like a fable, like the Holy Grail that nobody can ever do,” said Roe, the campaign manager, of uniting the movement. “We have the unique chance this time to pull it off.”

For more than a year, Cruz has aggressively courted social-conservative leaders such as Tony Perkins, head of the Family Research Council, who has not endorsed yet but will appear next month with Cruz at a South Carolina rally for religious liberty. One critical movement convener, Paul Pressler, on whose ranch Christian leaders gathered in early 2012 to throw their support behind Rick Santorum, has already backed Cruz. And the Cruz campaign expects two other influential Iowa leaders-- The Family Leader’s Bob Vander Plaats and Rep. Steve King, whose son is working for Cruz’s super PAC-- to line up behind him. “I think it would be a stunner if they didn’t,” said a senior Cruz operative.

Cruz pointed to straw-poll wins as evidence of his broad coalition: He finished first both at FreedomWorks, which trends libertarian and tea party, and at the Values Voter Summit, which draws social conservatives.

“If I woke up tomorrow and decided I wanted to run as a moderate, I couldn’t do it,” Cruz said. He is running hard to the right on gay marriage, abortion, taxes, Israel, immigration, Iran, environmental regulations, appointing judges, you name it. There is little nuance. Asked this weekend in Iowa how he would handle the Islamic State, Cruz replied, “Kill them all.”

The other candidate Cruz thinks could be left standing by springtime will be a GOP establishment contender. But he couldn’t guess who that might be, given Bush’s weakness. “The moderate lane is crowded as all get-out,” Cruz said. “Three months ago, every observer would have assumed that Jeb Bush would run away with being the moderate establishment candidate. At this point, I have no idea who the moderate establishment candidate will be.”

Whoever emerges, Cruz is betting the conservative will win out in a one-on-one race, especially if he gets a head start.

“The person who coalesces the majority of conservatives is gonna be the winner,” Roe said. “It’s not the establishment. There’s not enough people there any longer. There’s just not.”

Cruz has run this game plan before: navigating a multicandidate GOP primary against a well-funded Republican who began as the darling of the GOP establishment. That’s how he won his Senate seat in 2012, consolidating the conservative side of the electorate, forcing early favorite Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst into a runoff, and then crushing him.

“I think the dynamics are very, very similar,” Cruz said of 2016.

...“There are a lot of political campaigns that are staffed by mercenaries, that are staffed by people who are essentially selling a bar of soap. The candidate’s a bar of soap. OK, let’s go sell it. If this doesn’t work, we’ll move on and sell the next bar of soap,” Cruz said. “I think one of the greatest strengths of our campaign is the team that has come together.”

Others are impressed too. Reed, the Chamber strategist, said: “Cruz's senior team moved to Houston, moved their families to Houston, and are all in this effort. No consultants flying in and out but real accountability. Very impressive.”

Roe, the campaign manager, said they are all-in for the rare chance to elect an unabashed and unapologetic conservative.

“If you tried to create the perfect constitutional conservative, you would make them like Ted Cruz,” Roe said. “You would have them be the son of an immigrant. You would have them memorize the Constitution in their teenage years. You would have them go to the best colleges in the world. You would have them study and apprentice under the best conservative jurists. Then have them run a campaign where they had to run against the moderate establishment and beat them. Like, that’s what it would be. And that’s exactly what it is.

Despite his discipline, his pedigree and his hard-line message, Cruz has not had his breakout moment. If he does, the Republican political establishment he has so angered on Capitol Hill and across Washington is ready to pounce. But Cruz has already proved adept at turning scars from congressional battles-- John McCain’s “wacko bird” insult to name a prominent one-- into assets, if not a Teflon shield on the campaign trail.

“If you see a candidate Washington embraces,” as Cruz likes to say, “run and hide.”
He will be the Republican nominee. And that should scare every normal person in America. I know you don't want to this fanatic asshole become president. Bernie Sanders-- and his wealth of ideas-- is how to stop Cruz. You can do your part here.

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2 Comments:

At 1:05 PM, Blogger pursang833 said...

$5 million to Rick Perry? Might as well flushed it down the toilet for all the good that money did. Just think though of the actual good it could have done instead of funding Perry's vanity campaign.

Here I thought billionaire's were smarter and superior to us peasants.

 
At 11:21 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The turn around will come the day Ted "Ted" Cruz decides to act intelligent in public.

John Puma

 

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