This isn’t true. Texas Sen. Ted Cruz — the true outsider, the tribune of the grassroots, the ruthless lawyer — is the clear frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

This is not trolling. This is serious. Conservatives vote in Republican primaries. And Cruz is really good at talking to conservatives.

Even his enemies will concede Cruz is smart. And his resume is strong — Princeton and Harvard Law School; success at the highest level of American law; serious jobs in federal and state government; and an underdog Senate victory in 2012. The strikes against Cruz as a Republican candidate usually run something like this: He doesn’t poll well; the shutdown freaked people out; he can be grim; he’s not well-regarded among Senate Republicans. Cruz, who quickly replaced Jim DeMint as the most hated man on Capitol Hill, has been underestimated for what is basically a credential: Even Republicans in Washington hate him.