Cruz certainly isn’t wrong here. Candidates in both parties have received presidential nominations after failed primary bids — even after multiple failed primary bids. Joe Biden tanked in two primaries: he first lost to Michael Dukakis in 1988, then to Barack Obama in 2008.
However, the problem with Cruz’s argument is that he just doesn’t have the “enormous base of support” that the other candidates he name-dropped had.
The 2024 primary field seems to offer limited opportunity for candidates not named Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis to receive the nomination, and this is because of pre-existing name recognition. DeSantis has been successfully characterized as a personified rebuke of Biden-era wokeism and COVID policy. Trump, meanwhile, is simply Trump.
Those are the two major lanes the Republicans seem to be operating in right now — leaning back into Trumpism, and a DeSantis-esque brand of institutional pushback against overreach by Democrats on COVID and social issues.
Given this, it’s unlikely that Cruz has the advantage he thinks he does. This isn’t to say that there is no path to the nomination for him — however, his optimism is certainly overstated given the nature of the developing 2024 primary landscape.
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