At Nate Silver’s 538.com they describe the Republican electorate as a five-ring circus, composed of Libertarian, Tea Party, Evangelical, Establishment and Moderate voters. A candidate who can bring three of the rings together will be the winner. Ted Cruz is the one who’s doing it.
With his pastor/father Rafael leading the way, Cruz has taken the lead among Iowa religious voters away from Ben Carson. Their affection for the fervently Christian Carson is not enough to overcome his obvious weakness as a Commander in Chief. Santorum and Huckabee are his other competitors in this ring, and neither has Cruz’s money or organization. They’re going nowhere, and evangelicals like to go with a winner just like everyone else. Cruz now has this bloc firmly in his grasp, and he’s not letting go.
Marco Rubio is Cruz’s main competition for the Tea Party ring, but he’s not putting in the time schmoozing with them that Iowans believe they’re entitled to. Cruz has a far superior organization in a state that greatly rewards it. While Rubio seeks to bridge the establishment/Tea Party divide, Cruz revels in denunciations of the Republican power elites. He’s Tea Party born and bred, and it’s paying off.
Cruz’s third ring, the one that puts him over the top, is libertarian, where he competes with Rand Paul, a disappointingly tepid campaigner who seems a little lost. He’s going nowhere in a hurry, and has to start thinking about winning reelection to the Senate. It’s entirely possible he may drop out and throw his support to Cruz, who largely shares his ideology.
Part of that ideology is an aversion to foreign adventures, crusades, and immersion in the endless civil wars of the Middle East. When Cruz continues to insist he will not put an American army into the middle of this hell hole, he appeals to a very important bloc of Iowa voters. As Michael Barone, who knows these things, states in The Almanac of American Politics, Iowa is “. . . one of the most dovish, isolationist-prone states . . ” in the Union.
For the rest, here’s the link to American Thinker.