On Monday, Texas Senator and Tea Party darling Ted Cruz became the first person to announce a presidential campaign for the 2016 presidential cycle
. The announcement was made before a captive audience of young evangelicals at the Protestant school Liberty University. The crowd of proverbial young Turks is exactly the group Cruz must unify behind his candidacy if he is to succeed at winning the party’s nomination. It may well be that Cruz appreciates his underdog status in the GOP. For starters, he hasn’t exactly engendered a lot of good will among his senior GOP senators. The firebrand was apt to go behind the back of leadership to push for an assault on the Obama agenda. Alexei Beltyukov noted
that he also stirred up conservatives in the House against Obamacare with the same fervor that Senator Elizabeth Warren inspired in December’s CROmnibus revolt.
By announcing his candidacy first, Cruz will be able to test out his message without any formal candidate competing against him. This will let him see how well conservatives respond to his candidacy. However, Cruz seems to be focused on his message which may not be his problem. The party base does not support Obamacare, high taxes, immigration reform, or global warming. Cruz does not face a no-confidence vote in his conservative credentials. What he faces is the perception that he is a lightweight compared to Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. The latter has been elected thrice to the governorship against heavy liberal opposition. He has also succeeded at turning around his state’s economy through conservatism. Cruz has no comparable list of accomplishments to recommend him.