HOT: The big dogs of the social conservative movement have voted, and their candidate is Ted Cruz. The effort among leading social conservative organizations to coalesce around one candidate – in order to maximize their influence on the nomination process – is a quadrennial initiative which usually comes to naught. But this year, doubtless due to fear of The Donald, the objective was achieved.
As noted previously, Cruz has been endorsed this week by the National Organization for Marriage and Richard Viguerie. Other participants in the social conservative consensus project will follow suit. But the big get is Iowan Bob Vander Plaats, whose network of pastors across the state is widely considered sufficient to swing the caucuses to Cruz.
That sets up a big bounce for Cruz going into New Hampshire. Of course, the Iowa and New Hampshire electorates are very different (the former evangelical, the latter libertarian), and in fact, New Hampshirites revel in going their own way. But winning Iowa puts Cruz in the top three in New Hampshire and sends him into South Carolina with Big Mo.
NOT HOT: Marco Rubio. The cruel calculus of the nominating process is that you actually have to win somewhere early on. If Cruz does indeed pull out Iowa and South Carolina, with The D taking New Hampshire – or if Cruz comes in second in South Carolina to The D, which will be fun because so many heads will be exploding here in D.C. – there isn’t much oxygen left for Senator Rubio. Continue Reading