While Donald Trump proceeds in his buffoonery, another candidate lurks in the shadows patiently waiting to seize America by the throat

 

Political media coverage has been singing a song of late. You might have noticed it, it goes a little something like this: ‘Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump Trump TRUMP’. It’s no secret that everybody is talking about Donald Trump. A heck of a lot of this coverage is negative, with plenty of extremely creative columns being put out there to warn readers of the dangers of a Trump presidency — not to mention the problems his campaign has caused in trivializing what should be a more sophisticated primary season.

But I’m not scared about Trump. Even if he does win the primaries, there’s plenty of well-backed data to show that he literally cannot win the presidency against any of the potential Democratic candidates. To use a well-worn turn of phrase, he is all bark and no bite. No, the person I’m worried about is Ted Cruz.
A skilled and Machiavellian politician, not to mention an incredibly talented debater, Ted Cruz has been playing all the right moves as he slowly but surely continues to creep up the polls. A master of PR, Cruz capitalizes on events, public moods and demographic trends to surest effect. Watch him gatecrash the release of Kim Davis as if it were his own campaign rally, slyly and successfully flip-flop his positions for political expedience and even dramatize his image as a family man for political ads.

Worst of all, he masterfully appeals to the social conservative and evangelic wing of the Republican Party. In the debates, listen to his elevated rhetoric as — with a well-placed wobble in his voice — he dogmatically expresses his fear for America’s security, trivializing the complexity of international relations into a zero-sum battle between good versus evil. Ted Cruz knows the fears, desires and tendencies of his voter base like the back of his hand, and he certainly knows how to exploit this for his own advantage.

Trump has also been a blessing for Cruz. With his dogmatic charisma, Trump has been sensationalizing and bringing attention to the issues that Ted Cruz has been talking about for years. Trump’s controversial proposals and well-reported bigotry has also allowed Cruz to escape the heat that usually comes from being one of the most right-wing candidates in the field.Though Donald himself may be too politically tone-deaf to realize it, but there is very good and strategically sound reason for Cruz’s decision to publicly express admiration for Trump, rather than attack him alongside every other candidate.

Cruz is banking on the slow decay of Trump’s popularity, and is already standing with open arms to take in his voter base once they finally grow tired of the current front-runner. Trump has done wonders for politically activating the low-educated, white working class, and Cruz is hoping to reap the rewards.
Whilst everyone insatiably fixes their attention on a man who could never be President, Cruz is working hard to legitimately secure a viable route to an election victory. For Game of Thrones fans, he is the Littlefinger of 2016; slowly and quietly advancing his position in the shadows of Trump’s over-dramatic displays of sensationalism (… King Geoffrey?).

Trump’s entertaining but ultimately unsustainable candidacy is certainly a discomforting look into the state of American politics, but the fact that Ted Cruz — a man who wants to make the Middle East ‘glow in the dark’ with carpet bombing — could actually end up being our President is one of the untold scare stories currently facing US Politics.