Reading the headline might leave some in disbelief for different reasons. Is Senator Ted Cruz an outsider? He’s a first term United States Senator who has alienated everyone and has yet to secure a single Senate endorsement. Businessman Donald Trump even has more Senate endorsements than him. How much clearer of an outsider definition can that get?
Valid, to a degree, but there’s more to the story at this point. Senator Cruz’s background in politics extends a lot further back than his rookie Senate career. To be clearer, it extends back more than a decade and a half, when he joined the presidential campaign of George W. Bush in 1999. As a member of the Bush 2000 presidential campaign, he was a domestic policy advisor to the then-Texas Governor. Senator Cruz was later responsible for helping assemble Bush’s legal team, which included John Roberts.
Fast forward to the present day.
Looking at this point in the race, the case for outsider status is there. Fellow United States Senators won’t endorse him, with the exception of Senator Mike Lee, with some citing his demeanor and others his views. Surely if he was an establishment candidate, they would all be circling around him and lifting him with praise.
The flip side is this doesn’t mean a thing. It just means Senator Cruz has a reputation as being abrasive and difficult to work with. When even more conservative Senators refuse to endorse him and even support his opponents, it speaks volumes to his political character.
Furthermore, the political establishment appears to be rallying around him instead of Senator Marco Rubio in order to defeat Donald Trump. Trump has become a growing problem for the Republican Party, as his disrespect for conventional political rules has placed everyone in an awkward position. The desperation for an establishment alternative is growing greater by the day.
Neil Bush has joined the Cruz presidential campaign’s financial team, only deepening the ties to the Bush family and Republican establishment in general. This signals a shift that the mainstream is coming around to the reality he may be the only viable anti-Trump candidate for the establishment.
Is Senator Ted Cruz an outsider? Hardly. But does that make him an establishment candidate? There’s an argument for it, though there’s a case that he’s not necessarily their first pick. Regardless, he’s certainly no Washington outsider and he’s absolutely not scaring the “Washington cartel.” He was there, he’s been there, and he’s helped shape it. Senator Cruz may not be their first pick, but they’ll settle for one of their own who occasionally goes rogue instead of someone with less or zero D.C. ties.