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"New York Values:" The Cruz Strategic Play Against Trump

by Christopher Chantrill
January 19, 2016 at 12:00 am

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AFTER THE GOP debate last Thursday night the big issue was “New York Values” and the next day it looked like New Yorker Donald Trump had dealt with the issue by invoking the shades of the fallen 9/11 heroes.

But now it all comes clear to me. “New York Values” is how Ted Cruz intends to take the air out of Donald Trump’s balloon. It’s obviously a strategic decision that the Cruz campaign has thought long and hard about. They intend to flood the airways with negative ads showing that Donald Trump is, at heart, just a New York liberal with an unusual haircut and a great reality show.

Yes, you say, but these negative ads from Cruz will just make the Trumpers angry. That’s true, but the purpose of negative ads is not primarily to change minds but to drive down the morale and the turnout for the opposition. And that’s how the barrage of New York Values negative ads will work. Sure, they will make the Trumpers angry. Don’t you get angry when the liberals run negative ads against Republicans on your conservative talk radio station? But the ads will also drive down the enthusiasm of the Trumpers; they will sow tiny seeds of doubt. They will drive down the turnout of the Trumpers. The only question is: how much?

You can see, from Ted Cruz’s Friday phone-ins on the day after the debate, that there’s also a positive side to the New York Values meme. Talking to Sean Hannity and others on the first day of his apology tour, Ted Cruz hit the heads of the nails he will be driving in over the next month.

I apologize to the millions of New Yorkers who have been let down by liberal politicians in that state.

I apologize to the hard working men and women of the state of New York who have been denied jobs because Governor Cuomo won’t allow fracking...

I apologize to all the pro-life and pro-marriage and pro-second amendment New Yorkers who were told by Governor Cuomo that they have no place in New York because that’s not who New Yorkers are.

I apologize to all the small businesses who have been driven out of New York city by crushing taxes and regulations.

I apologize to the millions of unborn children, many African-American and Hispanic, whose lives have been taken by politicians who relentlessly promote abortion on demand with no limitations.

I apologize to all of the African-American children who Mayor de Blasio tried to throw out of their charter schools that were providing a lifeline to the American Dream.

That reads pretty clear to me. Everything that comes out of elite liberal New York goes against the interests of ordinary people that just want a decent job and a decent education for their children. So vote for Cruz if you want a decent job for yourself and a decent education for your children.

“Hope and Change,” cried Obama in 2008. “New York Values” is Ted Cruz’s cry in 2016. Nothing new here. Back in Victorian England, Disraeli had political operatives Taper and Tadpole demand “What is our cry?” in his novel Coningsby. The cry of New York Values works two ways. On the positive side it asserts that Cruz has fought for conservative values all his life against the corrupt Washington cabal. On the negative side Ted just happens to have a whole library of Trump quotes to show that the Donald is really just a squishy liberal crony capitalist whose real talent is sucking up to the liberal elite.

But will it work? Nobody knows: that’s why we have elections. It’s obvious that the Cruz horse stumbled out of the starting gate on Thursday. Not good. But the first rule of German strategic thinking is that ΅no battle plan survives contact with the enemy,” and the lesson of Helmut von Moltke’s three wars of German unification from 1862 to 1870 is that when you get the strategy right the tactical mistakes often take care of themselves.

We will find out over the next month which campaign has done its strategy right and got the right resources in the right place at the right time.

But here’s something for you Cruz campaign hotshots to worry about. Around the cardio machines at my gym on Saturday morning the ladies were discussing the Cruz birther issue. These are 40-ish women and show up at the gym every Saturday morning. I have never heard them discuss politics before. On the one hand, this is good. Ordinary non-political people are getting engaged in the election. On the other hand it is an alarm bell for the Cruz campaign. Hello Ted: you and your guys better figure out how to starve this birther issue before people start talking about The Little Shop of Horrors.

Christopher Chantrill blogs at www.roadtothemiddleclass.com.

Buy his Road to the Middle Class.

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Faith & Purpose

“When we began first to preach these things, the people appeared as awakened from the sleep of ages—they seemed to see for the first time that they were responsible beings, and that a refusal to use the means appointed was a damning sin.”
Finke, Stark, The Churching of America, 1776-1990


Mutual Aid

In 1911... at least nine million of the 12 million covered by national insurance were already members of voluntary sick pay schemes. A similar proportion were also eligible for medical care.
Green, Reinventing Civil Society


Education

“We have met with families in which for weeks together, not an article of sustenance but potatoes had been used; yet for every child the hard-earned sum was provided to send them to school.”
E. G. West, Education and the State


Living Under Law

Law being too tenuous to rely upon in [Ulster and the Scottish borderlands], people developed patterns of settling differences by personal fighting and family feuds.
Thomas Sowell, Conquests and Cultures


German Philosophy

The primary thing to keep in mind about German and Russian thought since 1800 is that it takes for granted that the Cartesian, Lockean or Humean scientific and philosophical conception of man and nature... has been shown by indisputable evidence to be inadequate. 
F.S.C. Northrop, The Meeting of East and West


Knowledge

Inquiry does not start unless there is a problem... It is the problem and its characteristics revealed by analysis which guides one first to the relevant facts and then, once the relevant facts are known, to the relevant hypotheses.
F.S.C. Northrop, The Logic of the Sciences and the Humanities


Chappies

“But I saw a man yesterday who knows a fellow who had it from a chappie that said that Urquhart had been dipping himself a bit recklessly off the deep end.”  —Freddy Arbuthnot
Dorothy L. Sayers, Strong Poison


Democratic Capitalism

I mean three systems in one: a predominantly market economy; a polity respectful of the rights of the individual to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; and a system of cultural institutions moved by ideals of liberty and justice for all. In short, three dynamic and converging systems functioning as one: a democratic polity, an economy based on markets and incentives, and a moral-cultural system which is plural and, in the largest sense, liberal.
Michael Novak, The Spirit of Democratic Capitalism


Action

The incentive that impels a man to act is always some uneasiness... But to make a man act [he must have] the expectation that purposeful behavior has the power to remove or at least to alleviate the felt uneasiness.
Ludwig von Mises, Human Action


Churches

[In the] higher Christian churches... they saunter through the liturgy like Mohawks along a string of scaffolding who have long since forgotten their danger. If God were to blast such a service to bits, the congregation would be, I believe, genuinely shocked. But in the low churches you expect it every minute.
Annie Dillard, Holy the Firm


Conversion

“When we received Christ,” Phil added, “all of a sudden we now had a rule book to go by, and when we had problems the preacher was right there to give us the answers.”
James M. Ault, Jr., Spirit and Flesh


Living Law

The recognition and integration of extralegal property rights [in the Homestead Act] was a key element in the United States becoming the most important market economy and producer of capital in the world.
Hernando de Soto, The Mystery of Capital


presented by Christopher Chantrill

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