Ted Cruz was counting on his reputation as a Capitol Hill rebel to catapult him to the front of the 2016 presidential lineup. Then came Donald Trump.
In an election year when an outside-the-Beltway pedigree is paramount to success, Cruz is finding that many of his conservative supporters are lining up behind candidates with similar positions on immigration and the economy, but with no connection to Washington. With such a crowded field, Cruz is finding his share of the far-right vote is being siphoned off by a handful of other candidates. From Trump, to neurosurgeon Ben Carson, to businesswoman Carly Fiorina, Cruz is just one choice out of many.
Cruz, it turns out, needs Washington more than ever.
With Congress back in session and a long list of to-do items, Cruz’s campaign may be able to leverage this legislative session and win back some of the evangelical and conservative support he will need if he hopes for victory in Iowa.
An Iran deal, a must-pass government spending package, and the potential for a debt-ceiling brawl will provide Cruz with plenty of opportunities to take the spotlight against the establishment.
On Wednesday, Cruz will appear with Trump in a rally against the Obama administration’s Iran deal. Most Republican candidates have taken their fair share of swings against the business mogul and unlikely front-runner, but Cruz has embraced the real estate developer in hopes that if Trump bows out of the race, some of his supporters will flock to Cruz. On the West Lawn of the Capitol, Cruz will send a message to his supporters that he is still fighting, even if President Obama has already secured the votes he needs to pass the historic deal.