HOUSTON — On Wednesday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) appeared to suggest that he may launch a second campaign for the presidency in 2024.
“You know, I ran in 2016. It was the most fun I’ve ever had in my life. We had a very crowded field. We had 17 candidates in the race — a very strong field — and I ended up placing second,” Cruz said in an interview with the Truth Gazette.
EXCLUSIVE: I asked Sen. @TedCruz if he would ever consider another run for President.
His response: “Absolutely, in a heartbeat. I ran in 2016…very strong field and I ended up placing 2nd.”
“…there’s a reason historically that the runner up is almost always the next nominee.” pic.twitter.com/5U3EhkqgXp
— The Truth Gazette (@Truth_Gazette) December 22, 2021
Cruz also suggested that historical trends favor him, given that he placed second in the 2016 Republican presidential primary:
“There’s a reason, historically, that the runner-up is almost always the next nominee,” he continued. “And that’s been true going back to Nixon or Reagan or McCain or Romney that has played out repeatedly. You come in with just an enormous base of support.”
Cruz certainly isn’t wrong here. Candidates in both parties have received presidential nominations after failed primary bids — even after multiple failed primary bids. Joe Biden tanked in two primaries: he first lost to Michael Dukakis in 1988, then to Barack Obama in 2008.
However, the problem with Cruz’s argument is that he just doesn’t have the “enormous base of support” that the other candidates he name-dropped had.
The 2024 primary field seems to offer limited opportunity for candidates not named Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis to receive the nomination, and this is because of pre-existing name recognition. DeSantis has been successfully characterized as a personified rebuke of Biden-era wokeism and COVID policy. Trump, meanwhile, is simply Trump.
Those are the two major lanes the Republicans seem to be operating in right now — leaning back into Trumpism, and a DeSantis-esque brand of institutional pushback against overreach by Democrats on COVID and social issues.
Given this, it’s unlikely that Cruz has the advantage he thinks he does. This isn’t to say that there is no path to the nomination for him — however, his optimism is certainly overstated given the nature of the developing 2024 primary landscape.
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