Ted Cruz Number One with Grassroots Tea Party Activists

The Associated Press
The Associated Press

On a national grassroots call hosted by Mark Meckler, tea party leader and founder of Citizens for Self Governance, Texas Senator Ted Cruz came out as the clear early favorite of national grassroots leaders. The call included over 100 tea party leaders and some former country Republican Party officials from 33 states including the early primary states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

Even as Sen. Cruz was the heavy favorite among these grassroots activists, many also took Donald Trump seriously. But if anyone was in second place with these callers it was Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, who many said had proven he could take on the unions and the liberal establishment and beat them at their own game.

Moderated by Mark Meckler, the one-hour call featured a very wide range of conservative activist groups. 9/12 groups, tea party groups, local Republican organizations, and supporters of an Article V Constitutional Convention were invited to participate in the call, and while some disagreed on candidates–especially Donald Trump–they all expressed a concern over the scope and size of government.

Meckler began the call asking how the grassroots members feels about real estate mogul Donald Trump, the candidate first on everyone’s lips these days. While most seemed favorably impressed by what they have seen of his campaign so far, several said they were worried that Trump had a far too pragmatic do-what-works attitude that isn’t backed up by a reasoned ideology. Still, all seemed to agree that Trump was acting like the candidate that millions of Americans are longing for, a man who is straight forward, unafraid, and hard charging.

For more on Trump, many attributed his current standing in the polls as much to what others are doing wrong as to what Trump is doing right. Many of the callers were tired of  the dancing around issues that most politicians do, and these activists felt that Trump’s head-on style was winning him plaudits in the face of the weakness seen in so many other candidates, not to mention in the Republican Party itself.

But once the callers got past the Trump question, the suitability of the other candidates was broached, and several of the candidates came in for favorable mentions. One caller said that Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal had the right stuff to become president and that he had all the right answers to the questions he’s been asked thus far. At least two said they’d support former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiornia. Many more thought that Scott Walker was the perfect mixture of a successful governor who could fight the left but still gain the support of moderates.

But without question Texas Senator Ted Cruz was the runaway favorite among these activists and grassroots leaders. Time and again the callers said they were on board the Cruz bandwagon, and the main reason appeared to be that Cruz was the best on articulating the case for how the Constitution and our national system should properly work. These grassroots leaders felt Cruz was the right man to bring Washington back toward the Constitutional Republic it was meant to be.

The heavy support for Cruz didn’t surprise Meckler, though. “I’m continually surprised by the disconnect between polling and what I hear about Cruz as I travel the country (20 states since January),” Meckler told Breitbart News after the call ended. “I believe his support among the grassroots is much stronger than the polls reflect, and that such enthusiasm will pay political dividends in the end.”

While none of the other GOP candidates were given favorable mention–one even said that former Texas Governor Rick Perry was too timid to do the right thing, especially on the border issue–one candidate was universally disparaged: Jeb Bush.

Finally, another area of consensus was expressed by the grassroots leaders on the call. All of them wanted a Republican leader who could articulate the best case for fee markets, less government, and stonger local control. The feeling was universal that government has grown too big and needs to be reduced, that regulations and government agencies have grown too big for their britches, and that government needs to take massive cuts all across the board.

Mr. Meckler said that he and his organization would host more such grassroots calls so that disparate conservative groups could hear what each other are doing, saying, and advocating.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston or email the author at igcolonel@hotmail.com


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