NYT’s Nate Cohn Writes Off Ted Cruz

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) stands on stage while speaking to a crowd gathered to announce his presidential candidacy at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Va. on March 23, 2015.
Andrew Harnik/AP
Washington, DC

The title of Nate Cohn’s latest effort in the New York Times pegs Texas Senator Ted Cruz as a “long shot,” but even that is more generous than most of what Cohn actually goes on to say.

It’s almost as if Cohn just doesn’t care for the conservative firebrand.

The most interesting question about Mr. Cruz’s candidacy is whether he has a very small chance to win or no chance at all.

Cohn runs through several scenarios, all of which end with Cruz not simply losing but potentially causing havoc across the GOP due to the possibility that he hurts another candidate, most particularly Jeb Bush.

The candidate with the most support from party elites doesn’t always win the nomination, but support from elites is probably a prerequisite for victory.

“A candidate without substantial party support has never won the nomination,” said John Zaller, a political-science professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, and one of four authors of “The Party Decides,” an influential work on the role of parties in the nominating process.

Cohn even went out of his way to round up any so called “hate” for Cruz. Perhaps he should have just gotten right down to it and used “I Hate Ted Cruz” as the title for his piece.

In April 2013, he was identified as “The Most Hated Man in the Senate” by Foreign Policy magazine, which described him as “the human equivalent of one of those flower-squirters that clowns wear on their lapels.” And that was before he led the government shutdown. If you did a web search for “Senators Hate Ted Cruz” on Sunday, that Foreign Policy article wouldn’t have even come up on the first Google page. It was supplanted by titles like “Why Senate Republicans Hate Ted Cruz,” “GOP Still Despises Ted Cruz,” “Everybody Hates Ted Cruz” and the generously titled “How Unpopular Is Ted Cruz Right Now?” Answer: very.

In fact, everybody seems to lose except Cruz if he wins … according to Nate Cohn.

If Mr. Cruz won Iowa, he probably still wouldn’t have much of a shot at the nomination. He would face relentless criticism from other Republicans. His opponents would probably coalesce around anyone else to stop him. The “very conservative” wing of the Republican primary electorate is not large enough to swing the nomination without additional support from the relatively secular, moderate and “somewhat conservative” voters who decide the party’s blue and purple state primaries.