Ted Cruz’s Holiday Spirit
The simple truth about Cruz, says Eliana Johnson of the National Review, is that “the man who boasts of his ideological purity is perhaps the most obviously tactical candidate.” His path to the nomination runs through Iowa and the deep South — through evangelicals, gun fanatics, nativists, climate deniers and social conservatives — and every position he takes is laser focused on winning them over. And it’s working — Cruz has surged past Trump in Iowa and into second place in the latest national polls, and the growing consensus within the Clinton campaign is that Cruz will be the GOP nominee. Cruz, not Trump, is becoming the man to watch.
And he bears watching. His holiday rhetoric is not that of a God-smacked extremist prone to verbal excess, but a cold-eyed cynic, a top-tier graduate of Princeton and Harvard who condescends to his target audience for his own narrow ends. For the construct which defines him is not a hard right-wing belief system, but something far more frightening: the barren psyche of a demagogue.
Classically defined, a demagogue is “a political leader who appeals to the emotions, fears, prejudice and ignorance of the lower socioeconomic classes in order to gain power.” Thus, as with Cruz, for the sake of stirring excitement, demagogues “oppose deliberation” and “accuse moderate and thoughtful opponents of weakness.”
For those who missed it, this is a real Ted Cruz ad. His followers love it.