It looks like the GOP nomination will effectively be decided when the votes are counted on March 15th in Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Illinois, and Missouri. All but North Carolina are “winner take all” states, and it seems that Trump has a sufficient lead in the polls and enough momentum to win most of those states and put his delegate count out of the reach of Ted Cruz, who now trails by 99 delegates.
Further, despite the GOP establishment’s attempts to block Trump from getting the nomination, and even if Trump doesn’t get the required 1237 delegates in the primaries, we believe it will be impossible to deny him the nomination if he arrives at the convention with significantly more delegates than any other candidate. Doing so would rip the party apart and probably cost it the presidency in the fall.
Just ten days ago, when Cruz won Kansas, Maine, and Alaska on March 5, it looked liked Trump might have peaked and Cruz was poised to jump to front-runner status, but that conclusion proved premature.
After the 12th, and probably the last, GOP Debate Thursday night, and per the recent polls, it looks more than ever that Trump will grab the vast majority of delegates on Super Tuesday II, leaving Cruz far back in the dust.
Why won’t Cruz be able to catch Trump and beat him in the remaining primaries? There are two main reasons: Cruz is too clever by half and he lacks charisma.
Too clever by half: Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz said Cruz, as a student, was “off the charts brilliant”.
But there are different kinds of intelligence that can be divided into three categories: sharpness or cleverness; deep thinking at the “big picture” level; and wisdom, which includes morality, judgement and emotional intelligence.
Ted’s “brilliance” seems to be of the first type. He has powerful command of facts and details, his retention of details is excellent and he can recall them quickly. This makes him fast with debate retorts. His thinking is tactical, utilizing facts and details to make his points and to criticize his opponents in order to win people over and turn them against his rivals.
This tactical thinking requires Cruz to be calculating constantly, when answering questions from the press and voters, deciding which facts, details, and talking points are mostly likely to influence people. In short, rather than speaking his truth from his heart, Cruz is opportunistic and manipulative. We see this in long pauses before answering questions, as his tactical mind is processing what answer he should give rather than what he truly believes. This is one indication of lying.
When people speak the truth, it comes quickly and naturally. When they lie, they must pause to consider what they should say because they don’t want to tell the truth, and they must recall their previous lies on the subject to make sure they don’t contradict themselves. This doesn’t mean Ted is necessarily lying; it just means he is calculating rather than entirely genuine in his responses. Most people may not realize this consciously, but many sense it subconsciously. They sense they are being “sold” something and it gives them a vague feeling of distrust. And, of course Trump’s succinct characterization of him as “lying Ted” feeds right into this perception, whether accurate or not. All this makes Cruz appear opportunistic and more concerned about his own career than our country and we the people.
In addition, Cruz lacks the ability to see, or at least to communicate, the big picture and to synthesize it into his message in ways that can reach most voters. He focuses so much on the trees that people can’t see the forest. In debates he always leaves me longing for more, more of how adhering to the Constitution would go a very long way to save our country from bankruptcy and big government bureaucratic tyranny. Instead of talking about ideas, he talks about people and things and details. He talks endlessly about the polls, how he is the only one that can beat Trump, how Trump has supported this Democrat and that liberal cause, and he snarkily criticizes Trumps positions and statements, which Ted sometimes mischaracterizes just a little to make them bigger targets for criticism.
Cruz is more of a detail oriented, tactical nitpicker than a strategic visionary leader. He seems to believe his clever tactics, spiced up with occasional jokes that mostly don’t fly with working class folks, are sufficient to win people over, but they aren’t; he is clever alright, too clever by half.
Instead of painting a vision of America in bold colors, Cruz tells us he will paint such a picture and is the only one who really can. It’s like the old saying about writing fiction: “don’t TELL the reader, SHOW the reader.” Cruz doesn’t show us a vision of America we can aspire to, but rather he tries to convince us his vision will be great with many words and details, and by making snarky comments about Trump’s failings. Trump is the king of criticism and insults, of course, but he does communicate a vision for America and that is what moves people.
Trump says, “I will build a wall”; “We will make America Great again”, ” We don’t win anymore; we are going to win again”, “I’m going to bring back millions of jobs from China”, and “We are going to have smart trade with other countries not just free trade”. Each promise is a big, bold, clear picture that working class people can see and understand how it will benefit both them and the country, and that motivates them to support Trump for president.
The details aren’t as important as a specific visionary ideas. He doesn’t just say, we are going to make America a shining city on the hill, he gives specific bold ideas on how to get there.
In comparison, Ted’s details, tactics, and snark are too clever by half. They leave many people cold, unmoved. One must already believe the Constitution is the only thing that can save us to really support Cruz. Otherwise his being a Constitutional conservative means very little to people. They just don’t get the significance of it, and Ted doesn’t do a good job of explaining the importance of the Constitution, or how far we have already strayed from it. Thus, these people are easily swayed by Trump’s big, bold colored vision of America, and not Ted’s details.
Charisma: Cruz ain’t got it and Trump has. This is plain to see. Trump is a TV star; he has bravado and is a big spectacle wherever he goes with his jet and helicopter and billionaire businessman confidence (or narcissism, if you prefer), and his pin-up model wife.
Cruz is average in appearance; has a slightly unpleasant sounding voice, and many find him just a little creepy looking.
He does smile and joke more than many dour Republicans, but he just doesn’t connect with working class folks the way Trump can. Somehow Cruz doesn’t look entirely comfortable in his own skin. Altogether, these things create the impression of disingeniousness. He often comes off like a used car salesman trying to convince you that the high mileage on a used car he is trying to sell you is not a problem with anecdotes about friends who have cars with even more miles on them. You are unconvinced by his argument.
So, unless widespread violence breaks out between protesters and Trump supporters, which could change the trajectory of the race, it will become clear in the evening of March 15 that Trump will be the GOP nominee.
Embrace it or your life may be miserable for the next fours years. Of course it could still be miserable even if you do embrace it. Time will tell…