On Thursday, Senator Ted Cruz tried to undermine Donald Trump by declaring that he has “New York values.” The crowd of South Carolina Republicans laughed when Cruz declared that “most people know exactly what New York values are.” When pressed, he elaborated that while New York state has many wonderful people, “everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro-gay marriage, focus around money and the media.” He added, “Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan. I’m just saying.”
How smug and confident he sounded making that attack. And no wonder. New Yorkers are socially liberal and more focused on money and media than the rest of the country. And Republican audiences have eaten up attacks on urban elites for years.
Hell, hating on Manhattan is a trope.
Listening to Cruz brought to mind that old series of TV commercials set in the Old West, where a bunch of tough-guy cowboys would be gathered for their evening meal. Here’s one where the cowboy who brings a salsa from New York City gets hanged:
Of course, if you watched Thursday’s debate, you know that Cruz’s attack backfired spectacularly. Trump responded by talking about the September 11 terrorist attacks in a monologue that my colleague aptly dubbed his finest moment. Unlike so many invocations of 9/11 in Republican primary debates, it didn’t feel like a non-sequitur.