As Ben Carson’s campaign sinks in the winter of his discontent, Ted Cruz’s seems to be experiencing an early summer, so much so that he is telling supporters that he thinks that he will have the Republican nominations sewn up by March.
“There is a very good possibility that the Republican primary will be decided by the end of March,” the Texas senator told volunteers on a conference call in which he also rallied them against an anticipated deluge of attack ads.
“Strap on the full armor of God” for the negative advertising that is coming, Cruz told volunteers, predicting that foes could spend tens of millions of dollars against him in January alone. “We ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
Cruz urged supporters to remain upbeat as he faces a heightened level of scrutiny from his detractors, who are increasingly setting their sights on the Texas senator in Iowa. His opponents, he warned, will “toss out any lie, toss out any attack, and the attack will do its damage before anyone discovers it’s not true.”
Such confident statements by candidates are not uncommon, especially when they are trying to raise money and fire up their supporters because people like to think that they are part of the winning team. But it can lead to a bad fall.
One recalls Newt Gingrich, when he was experiencing a surge in the polls in the last cycle, confidently predicting in December 2011 at a similar point that he was the one true conservative in the race and that it was pretty much inevitable that he would be the eventual Republican nominee, saying “It’s very hard not to look at the recent polls and think that the odds are very high I’m going to be the nominee.”
Although Gingrich won the South Carolina primary in January 2012 (the primaries were scheduled much earlier than in this cycle) and came second eight days later in Florida, his campaign floundered after that. Buoyed by a massive donation from billionaire Sheldon Adelson, Gingrich came first again in his home state of Georgia in March, but that was a brief resurgence and he crashed and burned, and by the end of April he was out of the race.
So is Cruz the Gingrich of 2016? He is riding high right now and seems to be as cocky as Gingrich was then. I hope he has a similar fall because I would love to see his smug face disappear from the scene.