Senator and former Republican presidential frontrunner in Iowa Ted Cruz has seen a sizable advantage over Donald Trump become completely reversed in a matter of weeks, and so the man who was accusing Trump of desperation a few weeks ago seems to be panicking a little, himself. As Iowans are set to caucus in a matter of days, Cruz is telling evangelical pastors in the state that if Trump wins Iowa, that could be the whole ballgame.
The Christian Broadcasting Network’s The Brody File posted video of Cruz addressing the pastors on Monday, and essentially conceding defeat if Trump manages to win the Iowa caucuses:
“We talked before about the politics of this being effectively a two man race between me and Donald Trump, let me talk for a moment if you happen to be thinking about another candidate beyond the two of us. There are a lot of good people in this race. There are a lot of people who I like, who I respect, who are friends of mine, who I have no intention of insulting or denigrating. But I will say right now, between Donald and me, this is neck and neck. It is an absolute dead heat. And if Donald wins Iowa, he right now has a substantial lead in New Hampshire, if he went on to win New Hampshire as well, there is a very good chance he could be unstoppable and be our nominee. And the next seven days in Iowa will determine whether or not that happens. So even if you’re thinking about another candidate, the simple reality is there’s only one campaign that can beat Trump in this state, and if conservatives simply stand up and unite, that’s everything.”
Up until now, Cruz has tried to project calm and cast himself as the up-and-comer breathing down Trump’s neck, but the past several weeks have reversed those roles, as Trump simultaneously lowered expectations for himself in Iowa and worked Cruz over enough to regain his lead. Cruz’s declaration to the pastors is tantamount to a conditional surrender. If Cruz fails to win Iowa, the comment will dog him as others ask why he’s still in a race that he, himself, said was unwinnable.
Cruz is right to panic. Trump’s candidacy has displayed a durability beyond most people’s expectations, and with a huge lead in New Hampshire, Iowa may well be everyone’s last chance to blunt the momentum of the Trump juggernaut. That, and Thursday night’s debate, which should feature some wild punches.
This is an opinion piece. The views expressed in this article are those of just the author.