Op-Ed: Ted Cruz doesn't stand a chance this time around

Posted Mar 25, 2015 by Calvin Wolf
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) is the first official major candidate for president. He won't win the GOP nomination, but winning in 2016 is likely not his game plan. He is playing the long game and will win through 2016 martyrdom.
Gage Skldmore
Many people are wondering why an unpopular, outspoken firebrand like Ted Cruz is running for president. After all, he will almost certainly not come close to clinching the Republican nomination. Cruz, the libertarian first-term U.S. Senator from Texas, rankles almost as many Republican colleagues in Congress as he angers Democrats. He openly criticizes president Barack Obama, the Affordable Care Act, and virtually every other White House action. He voted to shut down the federal government to avoid overspending.
Will Ted Cruz triumph? Not in 2016. But, shrewdly, he is likely playing the long game. At age 44, a relative youth in national politics, Cruz has plenty of time left to make his play. He also knows that many potent GOP presidential nominees did not get the nomination on the first shot.
Ronald Reagan did not clinch the nomination in '76, nor did George Bush Sr. in 1980. John McCain did not get the nomination in 2000. Mitt Romney came up short in '08. Even Richard Nixon, after two terms as vice president, had to take his lumps with humiliating losses in 1960 and '64. America loves a comeback.
And, in the case of many unsuccessful presidential campaigns, you can always get picked up quickly as the nominee's running mate, as did Bush Sr. in 1980 and Biden in '08. Or, you can get picked up as the nominee's running mate next time around, even if you don't run yourself, as happened to Al Gore in '92. The economics quote of "supply creates its own demand" appears to run true in politics, where you could say that "campaigning creates its own demand."
Cruz, at the very least, will get tons of publicity for his political views, which he appears to cherish. If he gets a nod to be Jeb Bush's veep, which is still unlikely, so much the better. Cruz could then run for president again in 2024, when he'd only be in his early fifties.
Likely, however, Cruz will end up back in the Senate...but with a fuller war chest from presidential campaign contributions. It is a win-win situation: Even if he collapses on the presidential campaign trail, he still gets dividends for future Senatorial candidacies.
But, ultimately, Cruz may be hoping to galvanize support for his staunch brand of conservatism. He could be hoping that a mainstream Republican wins in 2016, dissatisfies conservatives with a milquetoast term that changes few or no Obama policies, and leaves the electorate hankering for a "true conservative" in 2020 or 2024. Or, perhaps more slyly, he could hope to split the Republicans in 2016 and cause a Democrat to win the White House, giving Republicans four more years of Obama-esque policies. By then, thoroughly sick of liberalism, all non-Democrats will be eager to vote for a libertarian like Cruz.
Basically, Cruz could win big next round by throwing a monkey wrench into this round.