Cruz Doesn’t Want All the Votes – He’s Smarter Than That

Cruz in NH

I hate those billboards that say “Think outdoor advertising doesn’t work? It just did!”

What they mean is that you looked at it, but that’s not working. That’s just reading comprehension. Unless the person looking buys the product, the advertising didn’t work.

I also hate “if everyone just gave $5” fundraising pitches. Everyone won’t. We know that.

It is a waste of time trying to appeal to everybody.

In advertising and fundraising, you figure out who your core audience is, and you go at them hard. You speak to them in the places they go, in the language they use, and you ignore everyone else.

That’s how Ted Cruz goes after votes.

Cruz doesn’t want, and knows he can’t get, every vote. His strategy is to get enough votes from the constituencies he knows align with his vision, counting on their numbers and willingness to march lock-step to keep him near enough to the top that when Trump implodes, or when Trump becomes such a threat that desperate Republicans look elsewhere, Cruz will seem like the best and only option.

When I signed up for campaign events over the weekend, I had to provide my phone and email. All of the campaigns followed up with me except for the Cruz campaign.

His sign-up form asked for the most information, including a question about whether Ted could count on my vote or if I was undecided. I checked undecided. I did not get any follow-up. They weren’t after me. Maybe they googled me—seems entirely possible.

Mind you, this was a campaign that had headsets so that people could phone bank while waiting in line, so it wasn’t that they didn’t have the capacity to follow up.

I truly believe that they were running so lean and focused that they didn’t really care about undecideds.

Here’s something else. Most campaign events had reserved seats in the front row. Cruz’s event did not.

When people entered the events with reserved seats, they quickly filled up the rows immediately around those reserved seats, so they filled in front to back.

When we entered the Cruz event, a few people bee-lined for the front row, but not everyone. People spread out.

When Cruz came into the room, he shook hands with every single person sitting on the front row. He didn’t even look over their shoulders. He was there to connect with the most eager, the true believers.

He shook other people’s hands at the end of the event, but again, those were the people who rushed forward, not those who hung back.

Jeb Bush paid just under $1,200 per vote in the state. Cruz, by comparison, came in ~1,200 votes ahead of Jeb, but paid only $18 for each one. Trump spent about $40, Kasich, a little over $200.

Everyone I talk to says there’s no way Cruz could win. 

But he won in Texas, and everybody said he wouldn’t do that, either.

Just because you won’t vote for him doesn’t mean no one will.

Repeat after me: he’s not after everyone’s vote.

Everyone isn’t his target audience.

He’s hoping people underestimate him. He wants you to underestimate him, to call him crazy, to insult his supporters and mock him. I’m guilty of that, I know.

If people don’t see him as a threat, they have less incentive to work hard and vote for his opponent. If he gets the nomination, which seems possible, and we have low turn-out in a few keys states because Clinton or Sanders supporters get cocky, he could win.

And we’ll really lose if that happens. Time to start taking Cruz very, very seriously, and to focus all of our effort on increasing voter turnout in Democratic and progressive areas.


This entry was posted in advice you didn't ask for, politics, Texas and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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