Don’t worry, Ted Cruz is telling his fellow Republicans, about that new Gallup Poll showing that the GOP’s favorability rating has sunk to an all-time low. And ignore the National Journal, Washington Post, CBS News, AP, CNN, and Pew surveys showing that Americans are mostly blaming Republicans for the government shutdown.
Those are all wrong, the Texas senator is telling his GOP colleagues, because he has his own poll, and it shows the GOP is winning.
As David Drucker reports at The Washington Examiner, Cruz argued to Republicans at a closed-door lunch on Wednesday that the campaign he led to shutdown the government over Obamacare has bolstered the GOP’s political position, rather than hurt it. Cruz says he knows this because he paid for his own poll, conducted by his own partisan pollster, who was on hand to explain the results to his skeptical colleagues.
Despite all that, the poll was not much rosier than all public polls, showing that the public blames Republicans for the shutdown by a 7 point margin.
To Cruz, as Drucker writes, this shows that “Republicans are in a much better position than they were during the 1995 shutdown because this impasse is defined by a disagreement over funding for the Affordable Care Act as opposed to a general disagreement over government spending.”
Maybe Cruz is right, and maybe Republicans are “winning,” and maybe his pollster is better than everyone else’s. Maybe.
But if not, then he’s falling victim to same fallacy Republicans ran into leading up the 2012 election, when Mitt Romney was reportedly so convinced that he was going to win that he didn’t even bother writing a concession speech. The national public opinion data was pretty clearly showing the opposite, but some on the right stuck to the echo chamber, where the polls were unskewed and the vibes were good, leading to Dick Morris predicting as late as 8 p.m. on election night that Romney would still win big, and later to an on-screen meltdown from Karl Rove when Romney lost Ohio.
The fancy word for this is “epistemic closure,” but basically it means only believing what you want to believe and ignoring the rest. That may be why Cruz thought that Barack Obama would ever agree to defund his signature legislative accomplishment. Or thinking, as a large number of Republican lawmakers seem to, that failing to raise the debt ceiling would be no big deal.
But unlike the election, if Cruz is wrong and breaching the debt ceiling is as catastrophic as most economists are predicting, this time the whole country loses.
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Despite trailing Hillary Clinton by a significant margin, Bernie Sanders wasn't going the way of Ted Cruz tonight. The Vermont senator upset Clinton in Indiana, with MSNBC calling the race at 9pm. Sanders appears poised to win by a five- or six-point spread.
And just like that, it's over. Ted Cruz will suspend his presidential campaign after losing badly to Donald Trump in Indiana tonight. "While Cruz had always hedged when asked whether he would quit if he lost Indiana; his campaign had laid a huge bet on the state." John Kasich's campaign has pledged to carry on. “From the beginning, I’ve said that I would continue on as long as there was a viable path to victory,” said Cruz. “Tonight, I’m sorry to say it appears that path has been foreclosed."
The Republican establishment's last remaining hope—a contested convention this summer—may have just ended in Indiana, as Donald Trump won a decisive victory over Ted Cruz. Nothing Cruz seemed to have in his corner seemed to help—not a presumptive VP pick in Carly Fiorina, not a midwestern state where he's done well in the past, and not the state's legions of conservatives. Though Trump "won't secure the 1,237 delegates he needs to formally claim the nomination until June, his Indiana triumph makes it almost impossible to stop him. Following his decisive wins in New York and other East Coast states, the Indiana victory could put Trump within 200 delegates of the magic number he needs to clinch the nomination." Cruz, meanwhile, "now faces the agonizing choice of whether to remain in the race, with his attempt to force the party into a contested convention in tatters, or to bow out and cede the party nomination to his political nemesis." The Associated Press, which called the race at 7pm, predicts Trump will win at least 45 delegates.