There is an “I” in Ted Cruz

So, I was reading through this Vox piece last week that nicely explains why all the Republicans who know Ted Cruz in DC hate Ted Cruz.  Party politics is a team sport and Cruz is definitely not a team player.  In fact, he is quite willing to throw his team under the bus to make things better for himself.  Actually, one of the classic definitions of a political party (from Anthony Downs) is that of a “team of men seeking to control the governing apparatus by gaining office in a duly constituted election.”

Anyway, here’s Andrew Prokop:

But the issue is broader than that — at heart, Ted Cruz is so loathed by Republicans because he’s not a team player. And not only is he not a team player, but he instead constantly positions himself as working against the Republican team in general and his Senate colleagues in particular…

Being a team player is very important in politics. It’s common for presidential candidates to trash Washington on the campaign trail: Barack Obama did it, and George W. Bush did it before him, and Bill Clinton did it before him. But all three were members of good standing in their respective parties — they didn’t pick gratuitous fights with their major partisan allies, and they certainly didn’t portray their parties’ leading electoral officials as corrupt sellouts trying to hoodwink their own voters.

Cruz has done just the opposite. For the past three years, he has been engaged in a very specific, pointed, and personal attempt aimed at painting practically every Republican in Washington as a corrupt phony and himself as the only honest man in the city. And his fellow Republicans don’t like this one bit. [emphasis mine]

Cannot get quite the analogy I want, but something along the lines of a baseball batter who will swing at an obvious ball to try and hit a home run whereas if he had just taken the pitch he would have gotten a walk with the bases loaded and his team wins.  So, it is pretty clear why Republican politicians hate Ted Cruz– he’s quite willing to screw them over for his personal gain.  I would also argue that this being his approach to politics reveals something about his character.



About Steve Greene
Professor of Political Science at NC State

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