How Donald Trump’s Appropriation of David Perdue’s Strategy Could Stop Ted Cruz and Split the GOP

When I interviewed Ted Cruz at the Republican state convention last May, he spoke abolut building a broad based coalition of conservatives in the Reagan mold that would ultimately lead to his being nominated to the presidency. Over the summer and fall, Cruz talked about the various lanes within the Republican electorate that he could compete for, especially the evangelical lane, which he thought he could control, and especially in the south, serve as a firewall on Super Tuesday.

Well, Super Tuesday is today, and after a third place showing in evangelical-rich South Carolina and a similar ranking in the most recent Georgia poll, the Texas senator’s plans don’t appear to be working. And that’s because of someone else who decided to enter the race.

He tapped voter anger to emerge from a primary field full of experienced Republican officeholders. A political outsider, he had a name most voters recognized, a business background fused to a populist message and, given that he was funding his own campaign, a self-avowed freedom from lobbyists and special interests.

The candidate I’m describing above could easily be Donald Trump. But, it also describes David Perdue, who ran his cxampaign two years ago as an outsider, taking the nomination away from insider Jack Kingston. The quote is from a story out today in Politico that describes how Trump stole the south from Ted Cruz. The way he was able to do it was by emulating the campaign of Perdue, whom he sought out in May of 2014 for advice on how to run.

In Perdue’s Senate strategy, Trump saw the makings of a White House run of his own. And two years later, Trump has used that blueprint to not only capture the South, but to steal the region away from Ted Cruz on his way to the lead of the GOP primary.

“We knew then Trump was going to run for president, and this was a race we could watch,” said Nunberg, who left Trump’s team in August of last year but is still supporting his candidacy. “In terms of all the themes, the competition, this was the race Mr. Trump followed closely, as did his team, myself and [consultant] Roger [Stone]. It had the most similarities and parallels to what he wanted to do.”

The Politico story goes on to describe how Trump’s campaign appropriated the issue of illegal immigration–once thought to be a major selling point for Cruz in his match up with Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio–and used it as his signature issue. Trump was also able to win the support of a plurality of the evangelicals Cruz believed would support him in his race. The whole article is well worth the read for insight into how Trump appropriated much of Perdue’s strategy, and how that might lead to Cruz’s downfall.

If Trump ends up being the big Super Tuesday winner, he could have the GOP nomination wrapped up by the Ides of March, when winner take all voting begins. And that could be when the similarity between the Perdue and Trump campaigns comes to an end. After David Perdue won in an extremely close primary runoff in July 2014, those that had supported Jack Kingston knew that Perdue was, in the end, a conservative whom they could support in the general. Within a few days, the calls for unification started, and with the support of his party, Perdue went on to win in November.

Trump may not be so fortunate. Many Republicans do not view him as being conservative, and the number of people who say they will not support him in the general election continues to grow, as evidenced by the #NeverTrump movement on social media. If he wins the nomination, Trump might be able to moderate some of his views as he eyes a general election battle. For many in the GOP, though, his nine month scorched earth campaign is something that they can’t forgive. And that, in turn, could tear the Republican Party apart.

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Bart
Bart

The GOP is torn apart, has been for years. Trump’s nomination will provide clarity on the separation especially when the party puts forth a ‘conservative’ to run independent.

If/when Trump becomes the GOP nominee, my bet is on Paul Ryan to be that 3rd party candidate.

John Konop
John Konop

Bart,

In all due respect, no way he gives up the third most powerful job in the country as speaker, for a hope and prayer as a third party candidate. The word is Romney is trying to raise 100 million to place attacks adds against Trump. Obviously, Romney is positioning himself as broker convention solution candidate. Or be the third party guy, who represents the establishment….

Bart
Bart

John,

Pundits said the same when Ryan gave up actually the most powerful seat in Congress as chair of the House Ways and Means. They were wrong then, I think you’re wrong now. He is the go to good guy with strong conservative credentials and probably the most electable of anybody in the so-called establishment.

Romney is a political loser with no credibility outside a small group of DC insiders led by Dan Senor. If that is who the GOP puts forth to challenge Trump, they might as well give up now.

Calypso
Calypso

I could go for ‘President Ryan’. Something Clancy-esque about it!

MikeSilver
MikeSilver

Open Borders/Pro Muslim Immigration Ryan is why Trump is winning.

Omnibus was a giant FU to the voters who support Trump. They got the message loud and clear. The Professional Republicans are against Americans and solely represent the interests of corporations and globalists like George Soros.

I’m hopeful that Trump doesn’t run away with the nomination. I think Rubio does have a chance if he gets some time. Watch his Kennesaw speech and it will sway even the most hardened Trump voter. …… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iBS3EFggBMs&t=2169s

Bart
Bart

So Gang of 8 Rubio is your solution to illegal immigration. Interesting.

And I was there Saturday, definitely swayed this Trump voter to vote for Trump and eliminate Rubio from consideration.

Baker
Baker

Because stamping our feet and talking about 40 foot walls is a solution. Secure the border for real and deal with people already here. Every Republican wants to secure the border (even including tracking visas which I’m not sure Trump is aware of) and the idea of deporting 12ish million people should either be reprehensible or simply wildly impossible.

auh2o
auh2o

So, you want open borders with no security? No wall, nothing? Romania built one a few months ago. Seems to be helping them. Why don’t we take the fence down at the White House, too? Or is Obama the only one of us deserving of a more secure environment?

Baker
Baker

Ha. Yes because that’s what I said.

A crapload of the border already has a wall on it. And no one in the Republican race is arguing for open borders.

And, fwiw, there’s this… just how many people are streaming across that border right now?

http://www.pewhispanic.org/2015/11/19/more-mexicans-leaving-than-coming-to-the-u-s/

auh2o
auh2o

Ask the border hospitals that are overwhelmed and ask the border sheriffs how much crime they’re dealing with. Yeah, they’re leaving all right!

Benevolus
Benevolus

The stories I have seen say that these immigrants are less likely to commit crimes than citizens.

John Konop
John Konop

B,

In fairness we have a major issues with gangs ie MS16, Mexican mafia……..Ironically they terrorize their own communities by far the most. That is why as you know recommended for years, bringing immigrants out of the shadows, with an understanding they will help root out the gang problem. It should not be full citizenship, only a temporary work and or school visa. They should not eligible for benefits, and most not be working for some standard wages that hurt American workers. They have to have insurance, pay taxes…..

LTWill
LTWill

I think you’re right about the GOP being fractured for a while. After G.W.Bush, the party has been split on list of pretty big issues (immigration, foreign policy, trade). Younger conservatives are now challenging the party on social issues like gays and privacy. The party won’t win a Presidential election until it can figure out how to reunify themselves on the big issues. Being anti-Democrat isn’t enough anymore.

augusta52
augusta52

Correct…it could be said that the GOP peaked in 1984 with Reagan’s record-setting 525 electoral vote showing (and 49 states). Almost a 17-million vote margin. But in 1988, Bush the first won by about 7 million votes (8 points), and the GOP showed slippage that year outside the South; in the 11 states of the Old Confederacy, Bush won 58 percent of the vote, but he only won 52 percent in the (combined totals of the) other 39 states. No Republican presidential candidate has won a majority of the popular vote outside the South since 1988—-and given huge Democratic margins… Read more »

John Konop
John Konop

Lt and Aug,

You both make good points, but Kasich and or Trump could change the map. They will both play well in the rust belt, and Trump has a shot at NY.

John Konop
John Konop

A very interesting article, I wonder if Trump had not run who would of won?
Following the logic of this article it would seem, it would of been Carson vs Cruz for that outsider lane.

LTWill
LTWill

Recent history would suggest Cruz vs. Rubio. Without Trump, evangelicals and outsiders would have coalesced around Cruz. He is a much better campaigner than Carson, Huckabee, and Fiorina. Rubio would still have the establishment/mainstream Republican vote.

Saltycracker
Saltycracker

Here’s a few catchy verses for Three Jack

https://www.youtube.com/embed/Nh8kaXXv35c?rel=0

John Konop
John Konop

LT.

Good point, but I was not clear, I thought Carson vs Cruz would of been the fight for the third rail ie Trump train, had he not ran.

augusta52
augusta52

Cruz can’t get the nomination. Too far right, too tied to evangelicals (see Pat Robertson 1988, Mike Huckabee 2008 and Rick Santorum 2012). Exit polls had him getting a mere 8 percent of the non-evangelical vote in very secular New Hampshire and 15 percent in much less secular South Carolina. Once March 15 passes by (Florida and North Carolina in the South that day), the southern voting for the nomination is largely over (unless you count West Virginia later in the spring). Can anyone really see Ted Cruz winning Illinois in a few weeks? Ohio? New York and Pennsylvania in… Read more »

chefdavid
chefdavid

So a lot of you are claiming I’m not showing up if Trump is elected, were you not the same ones that where damning the Ron Paul supporters who said the same thing a few years ago?