Ted Cruz may win Iowa, but he missed an opportunity

Cruz had been improving his favorability ratings among Republicans until “New York values.” The line may be helping him consolidate support among the plurality of voters he needs to win in Iowa–it must be helping at this stage, otherwise he would not keep repeating it–but it will not soon be forgotten elsewhere.

The momentum Cruz would have otherwise had after an Iowa caucus victory will now be undercut by a renewed anti-Cruz backlash.

Cruz also missed an opportunity in the ongoing dust-up about Trump’s participation in the Fox News debate. If he had joined Trump’s protest, given the clear evidence of bias at the network, he would have consolidated the anti-Trump opposition and made a stronger case for the one-on-one debate he is now proposing. He also would have helped Trump end the networks’ practice of setting Republican candidates up for failure on the debate stage.

Instead, Cruz sided with the network. The result is that he will have to share a Trump-less stage with the Iowa also-rans.