This election season has been far from conventional. Often, when the political pundits have predicted something to happen, exactly the opposite has happened. This is especially pertinent in relation to the rise and continuing success of Donald Trump.
At this point, candidates such as Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, and Jeb Bush should realize that there is no beating Trump with standard tactics. Trump has set the rules for the game. And each candidate must play the game if they want to win.
This election is not about who has the best policies. It is not about who is the most likable. This election is not about who is the most conservative or even the most electable.
This election is about one thing and one thing only: Who fights the dirtiest and hardest? Who do the voters believe will fight for them in the Oval Office? Who is the toughest? That’s it. This is not traditional politics. It’s a contest to see who is the strongest, most rugged, most durable candidate.
This is exactly why Trump can get away with saying nonsensical things and shouting over the other candidates at debates. This is why, when Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio use logic to battle Donald Trump, they are perceived as weaklings. This isn’t about logic. It’s about toughness.
To stop Trump, something must change. Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, or someone else has to put Trump in his place. And to succeed, this must be a Trump-esque, forceful manner of confrontation. It means talking over Trump. It means playing dirty the way Trump plays dirty. It means relentlessly tearing Trump down the same way he relentlessly tears his challengers down.
I echo Ben Shapiro of The Daily Wire when I say that Cruz is most likely the only candidate who will be able to do this effectively. Jeb has already proven, by sparring often with Trump in debates, that his underwhelming debate tactics will always be inferior to Trump’s bullying – in this election season, at least.
Rubio stands a better chance at putting Trump in his place in a forceful manner than does Jeb. He has superb debate skills and often clever comeback lines. I hope he does try to put Trump in his place – however, Rubio just isn’t a “tough guy.” That’s not Rubio’s style. Rubio operates on skill and finesse, not raw toughness. This is why he won’t try, and if he does try, he will be taking a serious risk. Again, this isn’t about who is the best debater or who has the best policies. Rubio gets the better of Trump in both of those categories. The problem is that this is about sheer toughness, an area where Trump clearly has the edge over Rubio.
Cruz, on the other hand, would stand the best chance of any of the candidates in an all-out confrontation with Trump. First, he is the most likely to try this tactic – after South Carolina, he will be desperate heading into Super Tuesday. Second, he became famous by standing up to the bullies in Washington – or, as he likes to call them, the “Washington Cartel.” He has done this type of thing before, although not the extent that it will be needed against Trump.
Cruz has already shown flashes of this. Earlier in the week when Trump threatened to sue Cruz over an “inaccurate” (read: totally accurate) ad highlighting Trump’s leftist history, Cruz not only refused to take the ad down, but vowed to play it even more often.
This is what we need. This is exactly what could take Trump down. Beat Trump at his own game. Trump has already shown that he will unceasingly, viciously attack Cruz. And Cruz is now starting to show that he can, and will, fight back.
Cruz is not perceived as a “nice” guy; this actually plays to his advantage. The person who takes down Trump cannot be “nice” in going about it.
Voters right now believe that Trump is the toughest candidate, the candidate who will be willing to fight for them in the White House. (Of course, it makes no sense that some conservatives are siding with Trump, since Trump is a liberal – but this election isn’t about logic, remember?) This is exactly why Trump is winning. But it could also prove to be his demise.
By all means, I hope Cruz does an all-out attack on Trump. But let us only hope that it is not too late.