In the wake of a divisive GOP presidential primary, the right desperately needs a uniter — someone who, in the mold of Ronald Reagan, can bring together the entire conservative movement. Although most Republicans now support Mitt Romney, he’s not the kind of figure who’s likely to inspire the grassroots right.
However, there is a rising conservative star who has managed to pull support from every corner of the American right. That man is Ted Cruz, and as you may have heard, he’s running an insurgent campaign for U.S. Senate in Texas — and is poised to force an upset in the May 29th primary, despite establishment distortions of his record.
As the national secretary of the Republican Liberty Caucus and a surrogate for the Young Americans for Liberty Political Action Committee (both of which have endorsed Cruz and other liberty Republicans), I’m amazed by how perfectly Ted represents the best aspects of the American right. A native of my adopted hometown of Houston, a graduate of Harvard Law School, a brilliant orator, a successful Texas solicitor general and the son of a Cuban immigrant father, Cruz embodies all of the fantastic things about the tea party movement that the left desperately tries to ignore.
Because Ted focuses primarily on economic matters and holds reasonable, largely consensus-minded views on foreign policy and social issues, he has inspired nationwide confidence in his underdog yet very serious campaign to dethrone the candidate who once seemed like the inevitable nominee, moderate Lieutenant Governor David Dewhurst.
Cruz has been endorsed by Sarah Palin, Rand Paul, George Will, Mark Levin, Jim DeMint, James Dobson, Sean Hannity, Ron Paul, FreedomWorks, the Club for Growth, the Tea Party Express and countless prominent conservative individuals and groups. No other Senate primary candidate in the country has come close to securing such an impressive breadth of endorsements.
And the best part is that Ted and the tea party can set themselves up for victory with a big push before the May 29th primary. In fact, polling released on Monday shows that Cruz is poised to force Dewhurst into a runoff, which will be held in late July. Cruz’s motivated core of supporters will be a big advantage in the runoff, which will inevitably be a low-turnout affair.
According to the new University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll, Dewhurst has the support of 40% of likely voters, falling short of the majority needed to avoid a runoff, while Cruz captures 31%. As Daron Shaw, a professor of government at the University of Texas and co-commissioner of the poll, stated, “If they’re in a runoff, Dewhurst is in trouble.” This is great news, and advocates of liberty nationwide ought to take notice, and invest in a Cruz victory.
Instead of fighting amongst each other, it would behoove right-wing activists to unite around candidates like Cruz as they face big-government opponents within their own party. We conservatives must arm our movement with a House and a Senate willing to stand up to a big-spending president regardless of his partisan affiliation. Ted Cruz is a man I’m confident will join brilliant elected officials like Rand Paul, Mike Lee, Tom Coburn, Jim DeMint and Justin Amash in that fight — a fight crucial to putting America back on the road to fiscal sanity and economic prosperity.
Corie Whalen, an early leader in the tea party movement, is a libertarian-conservative political consultant. Her clients range from non-profits and PACs to candidates and public figures. She writes from Houston, Texas.