How Cruz crushed ethanol

‘There’s an Iowa way of doing this, and the rest of the candidates did it the Iowa way,” Majda Sarkic, a spokeswoman for the pro-ethanol group America’s Renewable Future, told National Review days before the Iowa caucuses.

All of the candidates, except Ted Cruz, that is. In a highly unusual move for a man who sought, and ultimately won, the support of Iowan caucus-goers, Cruz didn’t court, kowtow to, or bow down before King Corn. From the time they arrived in the Senate eyeing a presidential run three years ago, he and his advisers have known that his opposition to the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), which requires gasoline to contain a minimum level of ethanol, would cause him headaches in Iowa. But as early as the state’s agricultural summit last May, he signaled that he would play to win the state on his own terms.

How did he pull it off? Yes, the Republican party has grown less tolerant of crony capitalism and government subsidies in the Obama era. And, yes, only a fraction of Republican voters in Iowa turn out to caucus — a generally quite conservative fraction at that. So Cruz knew that there was a limit to how much harm he could do himself by writing the issue off.