What does this reveal, if anything, about Cruz’s positioning during the Trump administration? In the fall I had called Steve Deace, a Christian conservative talk radio host in Iowa who helped deliver his home state to Cruz in the Republican caucuses. He protested that the 2.0 notion is meant to cut Cruz down. “The system’s number one goal is to show that it can co-opt anybody,” Deace said. “It can corrupt everybody. No one can stand up to it, and they have had this story written of Ted Cruz 2.0 for over a year.”

But others are willing to concede the necessity of changing tactics. “The failure of the leadership in both the House and Senate is abundantly clear,” said JoAnn Fleming, executive director of the East Texas tea party group Grassroots America. “We don’t need Senator Cruz to be calling them out every fifteen minutes on the floor of the Senate anymore.” Yet Cruz is still a warrior on the important issues, she maintained. “The way he fights for them has to be a little bit different.”

Jeff Roe, the big-data guru of the Cruz political operation, told me that Cruz has gone from “fighting tooth and nail” to prevent bad legislation to “fighting tooth and nail to get good reforms done, and that requires a different skill set.” The political landscape has shifted, he said, and then offered an analogy that many Texans will appreciate. “I mean, if you’re a passing quarterback who goes to a running quarterback program, you better learn how to run the ball. And if you’re a running quarterback and you’re going to a spread offense, you better learn how to pass the ball.”