The Untold Story of Ted Cruz’s Libertarian Victory

Source: Medium | February 5, 2016 | Joel Kurtinitis


Rand had alienated much of his father’s base with consecutive endorsements of establishment fixtures Mitt Romney and Mitch McConnell, and a lot of liberty people around the state quietly grumbled that the apple had fallen too far from the tree.

Those of us actively working to grow the liberty base and keep our people involved spent a lot of time defending Rand against accusations of selling out. We had seen too much real success here in Iowa to believe that the future of libertarianism lay only in message candidates and internet activism. We knew that a Rand Paul presidential run could do what two Ron Paul runs could not — bring libertarians together with conservatives and tea partiers into a winning coalition.

Quietly, the Ron Paul army left the Gary Johnson purity police behind and began gearing up for Rand 2016.

A Time For Choosing

Many of us only noticed Ted Cruz as an accessory to the great Rand Paul filibuster of 2013 — a guy we knew had enjoyed strong support from libertarians for his senate run, and a fitting sidekick for the heir apparent.

But as time wore on, Rand seemed less and less inclined to identify with the liberty movement, describing himself as “libertarian-ish” and seemingly desperate to dissociate politically from his father and the movement he spawned. Libertarians around Iowa and the nation balked as he added Maine Senator Susan Collins to his endorsement list, lined up a private meeting with Goldman-Sachs executives, and even accepted an invitation to a DC fundraiser for Iowa’s establishment Governor, Terry Branstad, even as the Governor spent his political capital actively trying to oust the Paul faithful — including myself — from the leadership of the state party.

Other problems began to surface with the evangelical and tea party voters we hoped to win over before 2016. When the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act, Rand Paul went on the record praising the majority opinion — regarded by some as an anti-Christian polemic — and suggesting that Republicans simply “agree to disagree”. Later, Paul stumbled on the same issue by going AWOL during the Indiana religious freedom law controversy.

Those of us stumping for Rand early knew this would cause a firestorm within the Christian community, as the gay marriage issue had already begun a rapid metamorphosis into a credible threat to religious liberty.


A Movement to Identity

A few weeks after the meeting, Cruz’s staff quietly began informing us of the Senator’s intent to announce, and asking us for commitments to support him for President.

Such a choice is hard enough for anyone, but for members of the tight-knit liberty community, it was even harder. We knew that Rand would be rolling out his campaign soon, and banking on all of his father’s supporters to fall in line. Undercutting Rand’s political machine by publicly advertising libertarian support for his competitor was asking for trouble.

I just didn’t know exactly how much trouble.

After a lot of thought and prayer, counsel and research, my wife and I became some of the first members of the Liberty Movement to publicly endorse Cruz.


Iowa’s Secret Swing Vote

In the lead-up to caucus night, all the talk was centered on the Iowa evangelical vote — the dominant block of voters that had carried Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum to consecutive wins in prior elections.

Forgotten — as usual — was the fate of the 26,000 caucus-goers who voted for Ron Paul in 2012.

Cruz’s campaign focused primarily on evangelicals as the larger voting bloc, but understood the significance of the libertarian vote, and made sure to include a pitch to liberty-minded Republicans at nearly every campaign stop in the final weeks. The idea of a candidate not named Paul actually working to earn the libertarian vote was a novelty in itself, and appealed to a lot of grassroots liberty folks used to being despised by both the establishment and the moral majority.


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  • Discussion
  • Consistent #577

    Ted Cruz’s coup among libertarian Republicans is perhaps the quietest revolution of 2016, in part because it’s the one that Washington fears the most — a union of anti-establishment outsiders overcoming their differences to pursue areas of commonality.

    In short, the reassembling of the Reagan coalition.

    slhancock1948 #582

    Yes, I was glad to see from the start of the Cruz campaign that many Paul supporters had been upset with Paul’s close ties with McConnell and some of the deals he made with him go over to join Cruz.

    I am proud that Cruz has run a grassroots campaign, that he is sensitive to people’s concerns and gives everybody a fair shot when asking questions. Some, obviously just want to argue and don’t listen for an answer, just want to stir up trouble. But he listens all the way through the question, like few others do. They think they have the gist of the question and cut the questioner off, start on with their own answer. I think if more people saw Cruz in the town-hall settings they’d see that he is NOT the unelectable candidate everybody else is portraying him as. He is the real Reagan, but even more.

    Pray for righteousness to be restored and for the peace of Jerusalem

    ConstitutionalConservative #589

    I would think it natural for Libertarians to gravitate towards Cruz as he is not unsympathetic to many of their issues, in fact a host of those the issues they are concerned with can be effectively dealt with by returning those issues back to the states as the constitution intended, and in the Cruz administration the Constitution will once again be supreme.

    It is very rare to hear anything from the MSM that would reflect positively on Cruz, well there may be a little and as they do report something positive it is immediately accompanied by a “BUT” so a casual 20 second positive reference is followed an extended intense “BUT” that if not stated outright it is inferred Cruz cannot win, as hard as they are want to try the media cannot hide or even slightly tamp down their progressive liberal bias.

    Cruz knows he doesn’t need the media I personally think he is better off without them, he observed that if one is on the right side of the issues and works hard to take his message directly to the people and speaks the truth he can overcome the assaults on his personal character and integrity… of course it was Reagan who demonstrated the winning formula and I am of the mind that Cruz intensely studied Reagan’s example as his campaign is very reminiscent of the performance of Reagan.

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