“I can’t guarantee we’ll win,” Cruz told a group of pastors Monday at a private meeting in Cedar Rapids. “I don’t know that. That’s out of my hands. I believe we have a path to victory.”
A friend of mine told me the night of the last debate that “Cruz’s run is done” when Trump went for the birther angle. “He’s successfully planted doubts.” I poo-poohed it, but that really has hurt Cruz. The latest CBS News’ poll shows 16 percent of Republican primary voters think it’s a serious issue, well beyond the margin of error.
According to the Washington Post, a loss in Iowa “would call into question the depth of his coalition.”
Also at stake is the credibility of his vaunted data and field operation, which in Iowa is believed to be more sophisticated than any other Republican’s.
I’m not sure that’s really the issue. Having the ground game and data is important, but using 40 years of persuasion techniques, from body language to word choice, Trump is making a non-issue stick to Cruz like a blood libel.
Instead of a test of Cruz’s careful preparation and campaign management, this is really a test of Trump’s ability to mesmerize and hoodwink the electorate into believing whatever he says.