With Ted Cruz breathing down Donald Trump’s neck, expect to see the media begin to spare him some of the harsh reporting they’ve used to dismantle Republicans in the past. Cruz, who has kept a relatively low profile up until the last month or so, has yet to endure the true heat of the mainstream spotlight. But as the media wakes up to him as the potential nominee, that honeymoon will come to a swift end.
And hey, it already has.
In Politico on Friday, there’s a long article that says that Cruz would be “the most conservative nominee in generations.” As you may have guessed, they don’t mean that as a selling point.
In the article, writer Nancy Cook sketches a broad outline of Cruz’s positions, building the case that he is too conservative to win in a general election:
He calls climate change a “pseudoscientific theory.” He opposes abortion even in cases of rape and incest – exceptions that got nods from Republican nominees Mitt Romney, John McCain, and President George W. Bush.
“Some of his policy prescriptions may hurt him if he becomes the nominee and needs to pivot to appeal to a wider swath of voters outside of the evangelical base he has courted assiduously this primary season,” Cook writes.
Politico is not wrong about Cruz’s conservatism, of course. And they aren’t wrong when they describe him as one of the Republican Party’s most conservative (potential) nominees. And they’re certainly not wrong about how Democrats will attack Cruz if he goes head to head with Hillary.
But it’s a mistake to assume that Cruz’s conservatism will cost him in November.
But see, this is just an extension of the media’s anger over Trump. They thought it was over when the party released their 2012 “autopsy” report of the election. They thought they had won. For Republicans to ever win the White House again, they would have to essentially become Democrats-lite. They would have to change positions on illegal immigration. Reach out to minorities. Stop pushing back against abortion and climate change. And on and on.
And instead, the two frontrunners are Trump and Cruz, two candidates who are the antithesis of everything in that report. And the media (to say nothing of the Republican establishment) is just livid that America’s conservative party won’t stop being conservative!
A win – for either of them, but especially Cruz – could change the conventional wisdom about conservatism for years. That’s exactly the kind of change this country needs.