Rick Perry Endorsing Ted Cruz Could Be The Push The Senator Desperately Needs Before Iowa
After a handful of recent debates and new TV ads, many believe that the race for the GOP nomination is down to the two candidates who have consistently remained in the top spots among the polls: Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. As other formerly bright candidates, like Jeb Bush, have fallen behind to single-digit percentage points among voters, Sen. Cruz continues to fight against Trump, who is the leading front-runner. In what could be the push that Cruz needs to beat Trump, fellow Texan Rick Perry endorsed Cruz for President on the morning of Jan. 25. Perry was previously seeking a presidential bid, but suspended his campaign in September.
Sen. Cruz has only been in office since 2012, which makes him one of the most junior members of the senate, especially among presidential hopefuls. Perry, on the other hand, is a veteran politician who has served in various ways for the Republican Party since the late 1980s, including serving as Texas Governor from 2000 to 2015. Thanks to this experience, Perry's endorsement is vital for Cruz because he now has the support of a longtime politician who could convince voters of Cruz's capabilities to be commander-in-chief.
This endorsement comes with only one week until the Iowa caucus, which is a crucial time for candidates to establish themselves as a leader worthy of a nomination. A recent Fox News poll showed Trump leading Cruz by 14 percentage points.
Cruz is the youngest among the GOP candidates when it comes to being a politician; he was elected junior senator of Texas in 2012. However, Perry has supported the Republican party since 1989 and took over as Governor of Texas in 2000 when George W. Bush resigned to assume the presidency. Perry served as governor for 15 years, so his veteran status could help voters and other Republicans take Cruz more seriously. It is one thing for a candidate to champion for himself and to try to convince others that his lack of experience won't be an issue as President, but Perry's endorsement could seem more legitimate to voters.
In an interview with Politico, Perry said he is not worried at all about Cruz's experience:
He knows he's going to surround himself with people who do have that experience, and I'm very satisfied that on Day 1, he will be ready to be commander-in-chief. Partly because of the time he's going to spend in learning what he doesn't know, but he's also surrounding himself with people who are extraordinarily capable and wise.
Although Trump continues to appeal particularly to new Republican and independent voters, of which 27.3 percent said they would vote for Trump, he has not garnered much affection from his fellow candidates, which is clear in Cruz's latest TV ad and Marco Rubio's tweets.
Perry has been vocal about his disdain for Trump, as well as how he sees Cruz as a better option for the White House, which could resonate with many voters. According to Business Insider, Before Perry suspended his campaign in September, he attacked Trump's campaign strategies.
It is time to elevate our debate from divisive name-calling, from sound bites without solutions, and start discussing how we will make the country better for all if a conservative is elected president.
Gaining support from fellow anti-Trump voters is a smart way for Perry to ensure Cruz's success, especially when the race is considered to be between Cruz and Trump only. However, Perry went one step further in pushing Cruz ahead when he used Cruz's conservative ideals to his advantage by comparing them to Trump's inconsistent campaign.
Of those individuals who have a chance to win the Republican primary, at this juncture, from my perspective, Ted Cruz is by far the most consistent conservative in that crowd.
Many people have attacked Cruz for being too conservative and unwilling to compromise. Along with his endorsement, Perry has championed Cruz's strong beliefs and shut down the concerns that Cruz would be difficult to work with. In a statement, he noted:
You'll have with Ted Cruz that same result of, senators and others in the Washington establishment that are mad at him, find him to be hard to work with, they will find a way to work with him because they know he means what he says he means.
By painting a picture of a candidate who actually says what he means and will follow through on that (what a thought!), Perry is doing anything he can to assure voters that Cruz is the best GOP candidate for the job. Although Cruz remains more conservative than the average, general election voter, Perry is using his endorsement to change the perception that Cruz is unfit for presidency and unwilling to compromise on the issues, which could make him the frontrunner among the GOP race.