Well, now we know for certain. A National Review article came out yesterday in which insider Republicans reveal that Ted Cruz is thinking about mounting a 2016 candidacy for the presidency.
“If you don't think this is real, then you're not paying attention,” one GOP insider said. “Cruz already has grassroots on his side, and in this climate, that's all he may need.
“There's not a lot of hesitation there,” said a Cruz donor and longtime friend. “He's fearless.”
“We all see a path, and he does, too,” a former Cruz colleague said. “This isn't someone who needs to be told the obvious. He didn't run for the Senate to get cozy, so no one who knows him is surprised that he's at least looking at it.”
What are Cruz's chances? Read more below the jump.Ted Cruz has an excellent chance of winning the Republican primary. The GOP base that turns out in primary elections has gotten increasingly extreme, and many GOP primary voters ally themselves with the Tea Party over the Republican Party, even more helpful to the Tea Party-focused Cruz. On the active right, Cruz is seen as a welcome thorn in President Obama's side, an effective senator who isn't afraid to speak truth to power. That's a strong formula for a Republican primary candidate.
Party members are also looking to nominate a Hispanic candidate to, they hope, help stop their bleeding among American Hispanics. Cruz, like Rubio, is of Cuban descent, but there's no reason to believe that will matter much. Cruz also tows the party line on almost every issue. Well, except when other Republicans like Rubio want to proceed to a partial background check debate or do something about our immigration system. But he doesn't buck Republican orthodoxy like Rand Paul sometimes does in favoring, for instance, marijuana legalization.
But what about the general election? Cruz would have to explain why he opposes immigration reform, any form of gun control and supports cutting social security to the American people, the vast majority of whom are opposed to Cruz's positions on those and many other fundamental issues. He'll also have to get past the fact that his brand of smarminess is only appealing to avid right-wingers; his charm, such as it is, has strong boundaries.
Ted Cruz has made himself one of the most visible and influential freshman senators in history. He's now known across the country, and his extreme accusations even made it into President Obama's jokes at the White House Correspondent's Dinner. The consensus on whether his Canadian birth precludes a run for president seems now to be settled upon: it doesn't. We already knew we're in for six years of constant Ted Cruz news (and shame) – now we must prepare ourselves for the increasingly inevitable presidential run in two years.