Why "New York values" works for Ted Cruz: It can mean anything

Was Cruz saying Trump is a liberal? That he’s un-American? That he’s crass, amoral? People can fill in the blanks. To the voters Cruz is targeting, the phrase can suggest any number of things — and it does. In an election season characterized by blunt political instruments, New York values is a effective for its relative subtlety.

On an anecdotal level, activists assembled at a tea party convention in Myrtle Beach on Saturday all had different responses for what New York values means to them. Both Cruz and Trump spoke at the conference that day, and the crowd was stacked with supporters of both candidates.

“I’ve never been to New York, I really don’t know,” said Steve Brown, 58. “Well, I’m seeing that Mayor de Blasio and he seems to be against his own police force and he’s against the Second Amendment, and if that’s their values I don’t want nothing to do with it.”

“New York is like a piece of the United States that’s not exactly traditional, it’s such a mixture of all kinds of feelings, all kind of backgrounds,” said Dona Vasey, 65. “I think it’s almost too much diversity. Not to say you can’t live there or anything, it’s just so saturated with diversity. That’s what I think of when I think of New York, I can be there but I don’t know if I can live there.”