How Cruz Can Make Trump Supporters His Voters
Ted Cruz and Donald Trump are aiming for the same people. The problem for Cruz is that Trump supporters are insanely loyal to him
Frank Luntz profiled Trump supporters in one of his infamous focus group. What was revealed was that when they were shown videos of Trump saying things they said they didn’t support, their support for him remained constant. At times, it even increased. Every time he showed them video of someone attacking Trump, his support immediately increased. Trump has shown that he has a voter ceiling in the mid-30s. The prize is convincing the remaining 65% to solidify around one candidate.
Cruz has to turn Trump supporters into his voters in order to win, but calling them dupes or saying they follow a reality tv show star is not going to aid him in that mission. The concern the conservative electorate has with Trump is that he does not have the appropriate temperament to be president. I would think that it would be that he’s a liberal, but what do I know? In order to win over Trump supporters, you must demonstrate that Trump is ill-suited for the presidency without insulting them.
In his refusal to attack, how much longer can Cruz turn the other cheek while Trump hits him? It’s well past time for Cruz to respond. As the primary and caucus season draws near with Cruz gaining momentum and Trump resorting to public mud slinging, Cruz needs to contrast his version of conservatism with Trump’s. If need be, Cruz should take the gloves off and verbally dissect Trump.
If he does not, his refusal to attack Trump will come across as, at best, pandering to Trump’s supporters which makes a candidate with likeability issues even less so. At worst, he’s seen as weak for while it might be good politics to play nice with Trump, it isn’t leadership.