Ted Cruz's Chances: Zero to Slightly More Than Zero
Pundits weigh in
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2015 12:34 PM CDT
US Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at the Grafton County Republican Committee's Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner at the Indian Head Resort in Lincoln, NH, on March 15, 2015.   (AP Photo/Caledonian-Record, Paul Hayes)

(Newser) – Ted Cruz officially announced yesterday he'll be running for president, and plenty of critics have announced their take on his candidacy since. "The most interesting question about Mr. Cruz's candidacy is whether he has a very small chance to win or no chance at all," is how "The Upshot" puts it, adding that the Texas senator seems like "a long shot," mainly because he hasn't appealed to party "elites": He was once deemed "The Most Hated Man in the Senate" by Foreign Policy—which also labeled him "the human equivalent of one of those flower-squirters that clowns wear on their lapels"—and still has only about 6% of the vote in countrywide polls, despite his recent media ubiquity. Other pundits' responses are variations on that theme:

  • Jamelle Bouie pulls no punches for Slate, more or less comparing Cruz's run to a fever dream—and it all comes down to his "persona." "Cruz is an uncompromising politician who disdains his opponents … abhors pragmatism [and] antagonizes his colleagues—Republican and Democrat," Bouie writes. "To the vast constellation of Republican lawmakers, activists, intellectuals, and party operatives, [this] makes him a pariah. … If party support is the best guide to who wins, then Cruz is dead on arrival."
  • Eugene Robinson isn't willing to totally discount the senator. "True, his habit of usurping Speaker John Boehner's job and leading House Republicans into hopeless battles has alienated much of the GOP establishment," he writes for the Washington Post. "But whatever game he's playing, Cruz has the intelligence to look several moves ahead. For this reason alone, I can't count him out."

  • Obviously Jonathan Martin thinks Cruz has more than a snowball's chance, as he spells out for the New York Times the steps Cruz would need to take to win—mainly, doing well in Iowa and South Carolina (lots of Christian conservatives there) and pushing his way to the front of the anti-establishment line to take on the GOP establishment candidate. "By virtue of his strong rhetorical skills, biographical appeal, and uncompromising conservatism, Mr. Cruz is the most logical nominee in a party that has turned sharply to the right," Martin writes, though "he would still find it difficult to defeat a better-funded Republican who had the backing of the party establishment."
  • A Wall Street Journal op-ed actually likens Cruz to President Obama, claiming the two are "strikingly similar in their pedigrees and political style" and that "both are better talkers than listeners." But Cruz's apparent strategy to "run as much against Washington and his own party 'establishment' as against the other party" will ultimately fail him, the Journal notes: "Mr. Cruz's hard-edged message against immigration may play in the GOP primaries, as Mr. Romney's did, but it is a dream come true for Hillary Clinton."