The House may be less problematic because many Republicans, thanks to gerrymandering, are secure in their conservative districts. The Senate poses greater challenges, but the National Republican Senatorial Committee has been busy recruiting and training candidates who can bridge the gap and win both primaries and general elections, especially focusing on states where Democrats either are vulnerable (Arkansas) or are retiring (South Dakota, Montana and West Virginia).
This is where Cruz re-enters the picture. Extreme voices may win primaries, but they do not win statewide elections, especially in a nation where a majority self-identify as centrist. This is a lesson Republicans have learned before but that stubborn factions, who would rather tether themselves to a flagpole than run the flag across a finish line, seem unable or unwilling to embrace.
Think back to 2010 and Delaware’s Christine “I’m Not A Witch” O’Donnell and Nevada’s Sharron “Some Latinos Look More Asian To Me” Angle. And then, who can forget 2012’s stars: Richard Mourdock, who explained that rape pregnancies are gifts from God, and Todd Akin, who explored the nuances of “legitimate rape.”
Cruz comes off as smarter than all of the above combined. There’s a reason so many outside the Beltway admire him. To those who feel jilted by the system and insulted by critics, he is a vision of palm trees, dates and fountains. He articulates what they think and feel and, as a bonus, he’s got that Latino thing.
But Cruz is a mirage -- an idea conjured in a fantasy that can’t be realized in reality.
Like many successful politicians (and narcissists), he reflects back to others their own projected needs and desires. But then reality sets in -- the debt-crisis deadline looms or the defunding ruse is exposed as theater -- and only dust and dung remain among the shards of mirrored glass.