Ted Cruz is Nixon, not Goldwater

First, all the caveats. Obviously and most importantly, Cruz is not a paranoiac. He’s more ideological than Nixon. And he has none of Nixon’s insecurity, in fact the opposite. Nixon went to tiny Whittier College and resented the northeastern elite; Cruz went to Princeton and Harvard and could be a member of the northeastern elite in good standing if he wanted to be.

But Cruz is cut from roughly similar cloth. He wears his ambition on his sleeve and isn’t highly charismatic or relatable. In high school, he could’ve been voted most likely to be seen walking on the beach in his dress shoes. If Cruz wins the nomination, it’ll be on the strength of intelligence and willpower. He’ll have outworked, outsmarted, and outmaneuvered everyone else.

Certainly, Cruz isn’t ascending on the basis of warm feelings from his colleagues. Cruz portrays his unpopularity within the Senate as establishment distaste for him as a lonely man of principle. But it’s a genuine personal dislike.

Not that Cruz cares. In fact, a key to what he has been able to achieve is his apparent immunity to the reflexive desire to be liked by people around you, a weakness to which almost all of us fall prey. Cruz is free of the peer pressure that typically makes all senators, at some level, team players.