The question is, is the angry, fearful wing of the Republican Party the “nominating wing” in 2016? Could Trump really ride the angry wave to the nomination? I say no way, but what about Cruz? Could his angry message be sufficiently informed and feel authentically Republican to enough voters to make him the GOP nominee? There is no question about his ideological commitment and there is nothing “kinder and gentler” about him. And importantly, after Trump, no one comes across as angry as Cruz, and no one has outflanked him on the right. So if Trump fades, is Cruz left standing as the only vehicle for the angry, while the hopeful spread their support among several acceptable candidates?
Trump says bombastic things, while Cruz takes a hard line that sounds tough but not as crazy. Just look at his idea to have a “religious test” for all Syrian refugees who are entering the United States. It’s certainly more sane than Trump’s idea of maintaining a database that tracks all Muslims in the United States, but you can see some similarities in the responses both candidates have to the Paris bombings. They are both playing into and trying to capitalize on voters’ anger and fear. On the other hand, candidates such as Bush, Rubio, Christie and Kasich are making a more measured pitch. Bush took the higher road when he responded to Trump’s proposal, saying, “You talk about closing mosques, you talk about registering people, that’s just wrong . . . it’s manipulating people’s angst and their fears. That’s not strength. That’s weakness.” But do a majority of Republicans see any tempered positions or comments as a sign of weakness? Do they think that serious and thoughtful responses represent the vile “politics as usual” that always succumbs to the go-along-to-get-along mentality that has made our problems metastasize in Washington?