Even as a Senator from the state, there’s no denying that Ted Cruz is as polarizing a figure in Texas as he is in the rest of the country. Even as the state’s business and evangelical elite throw their support his way, he still only brings in support from about half of Republicans in his own state at the best of times. So forget about the country as a whole for a minute. Is Texas, the state the put Cruz in power, ready for him to be President?
An Outsider Even Here
Cruz isn’t exactly like other Texas politicians. First off, he’s not particularly Texan, at least not in the traditional view. If one is American by birth and Texan by the grace of God, Cruz is both and neither. Born in Canada to Delaware native and a Cuban in exile, Cruz doesn’t have the long lineage other Texas politicians have prided themselves on during their campaigns. In fact, it wasn’t until 2014 that Cruz ceased to be a Canadian citizen after renouncing his dual citizenship. Even so, he’s spent in excess of four decades living in and around Houston, and knows that area as much as any to be home.
This doesn’t really have much to do with his politics, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t matter to voters. They’re not necessarily ruling him out because he doesn’t take the form of a typical Texas politician, but it has become increasingly easy for him to ostracize and isolate fellow party members and voters by failing to fit the mold of a typically Texas politician.
In this state, that has the power to isolate and appeal. Texas is home its share of fringe communities that are attracted to atypical candidates, but there’s also a lot of pride in tradition around here. For that reason, alone, Cruz is polarizing but by no means down on support within the state.
For their part, Cruz’s politics are no where near moderate, and that has both gained and cost him favor in Texas. He has seriously raised the bar for what it means to be a conservative, and some of the state’s more moderate Republicans have take exception to Cruz’s extremist views and unwillingness to even vote on some issues that don’t conform to his idea of what is right.
Add on the fact that Texas, for its decades long reputation as the reddest of the red states, has a strong liberal backing in most of its metropolitan areas and an increasingly large Democrat voter base, and Cruz is at odds with as much of the the state as he is supported by it.
In the end, though, it’s not the support Cruz can garner from Texas that counts. It’s the support he can muster up across the country, and his political reputation up to this point means less than his campaigning from this point forward. Texas is about as ready for Cruz to be President as any other part of the country, and with extreme support and disapproval of the candidate pouring in every day, only time can tell how this one will really go.