Donald Trump won (technically, not yet, but it’s a certainty, right?) by spending the least of all the top 5 GOP candidates, by spending the least amount of time talking about policy, and by dint of $2 billion in free media.
Trump was endorsed by two of the early hopefuls, semi-endorsed by two of the wannabes before the Iowa caucuses, and joined by just about every high profile far-right political figure. He had six times the media exposure of any other candidate. In the media, he had many, many friends and very few enemies.
Trump has it all going for him: a 757 jet, buildings bearing his name, Mar a Lago, and Ann Coulter. The man had a mind-control operation better than Basil Sandhurst. Trump is The Controller.
And that makes Ted Cruz the Iron Man. In the Marvel universe, nobody likes Tony Stark, the acerbic genius who’s rarely wrong and never backs down. Stark is the Avenger that the other Avengers love to hate.
Look at what Cruz did. He and his super PAC raised over $81 million, most of it from over 300,000 supporters who gave $60 or less. He won 11 states and nearly single-handedly stopped Trump from achieving a majority of delegates, while fighting off 15 other candidates.
Cruz outlasted Jeb Bush and his $155 million in funding, he forced Marco Rubio from the race, he held off John Kasich until the very end. He was Iron Man with all these minions attacking him and The Controller pulling every string. Cruz nearly won, because if the race made it to an open convention, the Iron Man had his legion of powered suits waiting for him.
And Cruz did all of that without any high-powered endorsements. In fact, he had one good endorsement in Wisconsin, a “I hate Trump” speech by Mitt Romney, which may not be the kind of endorsement anyone wanted, along with a tepid nod from Jeb Bush, whose brother loathes him. Gov. Mike Pence’s Indiana endorsement reminded me of forcing my two young boys to take a formal photo together without fighting: Forced and uninspiring.
Cruz had everything going against him and still nearly won. If there is a story here, it’s this: In 1976, Ronald Reagan nearly beat Gerald Ford, an incumbent president, for the GOP nomination. In 1980, after 4 years of Carter, he won in a landslide.
We will either have President Trump or President Hillary Clinton. Either way, in 4 years, the country will be starving for real leadership. Whether its from inside the GOP or some party that hasn’t yet been organized, Ted Cruz a.k.a. Iron Man is going to be back, stronger, and maybe even likable (Tony Stark does grow on you eventually).
In 2020, the Iron Man may be an unstoppable force. We can always hope.