If Donald Trump’s rise has been aided by low-information voters, Cruz is gaining with certain-information voters. They consume different media and admire different heroes than the press that writes gaffe-of-the-day stories or lists of winners and losers. And they are seen as more likely to vote in the defining early contests, especially in the Bible Belt-centered March 1 primaries.
“This is an extraordinary change in politics,” said Jeff Roe, Cruz’s campaign manager. “It’s not just what conservative voters get from the evening news, or Fox, or the newspapers, or talk radio. It’s what they get minute by minute from a conglomerate of conservative news sites.”…
“You’ve got a situation, not just in Alabama but all over the country, where people curate their news consumption to affirm their worldview,” Sims said. “Inside of that world, brand really matters. It almost doesn’t matter how much a politician spends in advertising if his brand is bad. Take Jeb Bush — I sincerely believe there is not enough money on the planet earth that Jeb Bush could spend it in Alabama and win.”
Sessions, who has not officially endorsed any candidate, was a crucial player in all of this. The conservative voters who favored Cruz despised most everything about Washington. They were also judicious; they would reward a politician who got it right. Again and again, they cited the good word of Sessions as proof that Cruz clearly had defended their values. On the one hand was the Rubio campaign; on the other was the America-first senator who attacked the Gang of Eight whenever a microphone appeared in front of him. No contest.