Is Ted Cruz the Republican Comeback Kid?

Cruz racked up Kansas and Maine on Saturday, meaning that – along with Iowa, Alaska, Oklahoma, and Texas – he’s won a total of six of the 19 states’ primaries and caucuses thus far.  

By Rhonda FanningMarch 7, 2016 2:28 pm,

Dateline Fort Worth – The Star-Telegram reporting that psychologists and therapists are seeing a wave of new clients exhibiting what they call “Trump anxiety.” Some of the billionaire’s diatribes evoke flashbacks of dictators. For others, the stress stems from a cognitive clash over how Trump can get away with – indeed, succeed with – the sort of bullying behavior that society otherwise condemns.  

Dateline San Antonio – A work in progress by an artist named Vincent Valdez is getting national attention in a New York Times editorial from Lawrence Downes. In Texas last week during Super Tuesday, he came upon the Texas artist’s gray monochrome painting depicting hooded Klan members in a contemporary rural setting – an unusually haunting mural that Downes believes captures the political temperature of 2016 as KKK leader David Duke’s name returns to the front pages.

But it is a Texan’s anti-Trump campaign that is really stirring up things after weekend primaries and caucuses in Maine, Kansas, Louisiana, Nebraska and Puerto Rico. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz appears to be making good on his claim that he may be the only Republican viable enough to prevent Trump from becoming the Republican nominee.

Texas Tribune reporter Patrick Svitek has been covering the ups and downs of the Cruz campaign.

On whether the Republican field has become a two-man race:

“After the nominating contest and their outcomes on Saturday, I think Cruz has more evidence than ever to make that argument. He won two out of four contests on Saturday. He walked away with the most delegates that day than any other candidate. And he has momentum on his side, heading into the winner-take-all contests on March 15. Trump still has a sizable delegate lead over Cruz. Cruz only slightly narrowed that on Saturday. But again, momentum is certainly on Cruz’s side as he continues to make this argument that he is the most viable alternative to Trump.”

On Trump’s 11 of 13 primary wins and Cruz’s four of six caucuses wins:

“Ted Cruz does very well in a caucus setting. Caucuses tend to reward campaigns that are well-organized. Cruz’s campaign has a reputation for being well-organized and, in addition to that, a very data-driven and very sophisticated with their turnout operation…. They’re confident that in any election setting where it’s just Republicans that are allowed to participate, that Ted Cruz will, more often than not, come out on top. Again, yes, the number of caucuses are dwindling, but they still see a lot of those closed elections where they believe they will do well.”

On what the “geography” of the states that Cruz has won tells us about how his campaign is going:

“He’s doing well in some of these states that hold caucuses, some of these states that are a little more rural. If you look at the map … there’s certainly a geographic diversity to his victories and I think that helps him dispel with … the criticism that he’s just a regional candidate, that he just does well in the South.

“Ironically enough, it’s the South where he’s fallen short of expectations. It’s interesting to see the geographic diversity that’s emerging in these wins. I think maybe they’re more united by the fact that they’re a lot of caucuses than the fact that there’s any kind of broad political connection he has to them.”

On whether a win for Sen. Marco Rubio in his home state of Florida would benefit Cruz:

“(Cruz)’s trying to make sure the exact opposite happens. He is kind of in an all-out sprint at this point. His campaign, his super PACs, want to make sure Rubio loses Florida. Because Cruz’s campaign wants to – however far-fetched this may seem – they want to wrap this all up before the convention. They want to beat Donald Trump fair and square. For that to happen, they believe that Rubio needs to lose his home state Florida. So that’s why you’re seeing Cruz and his allies making an aggressive play in Florida because – they won’t tell you this publicly – but they probably would rather have Donald Trump win Florida than Rubio win Florida. As long as they give Rubio a reason to drop out of the race on March 15, they’re happy with that.”