Ted Cruz First to Announce 2016 Candidacy

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The first man to officially throw his hat into the ring for the Republican nomination in 2016 is none other than Texas Senator Ted Cruz. The 44-year-old first-term senator is expected to formally announce his candidacy on March 23rd at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia.

Judging by the polls, Cruz has some catching up to do. While he has a strong conservative following, he doesn’t have the name recognition enjoyed by prospective competitors Rand Paul, Scott Walker, and Jeb Bush. Of course, there is still a long time between now and the primaries. And by announcing first, Cruz can expect to dominate the political conversation for the next few days.

Cruz has two things working against him in addition to his obscurity. One, he is inexperienced. While no one can question his professional bona fides, his 2012 run for the Senate was his first foray into politics. He previously worked as solicitor general of Texas. Still, our current president rode into office on a similar level of political experience, so it can be done.

The biggest problem Cruz will face also happens to be his greatest strength. He is not a politician. He is principled, and he makes no bones about where he stands. That’s exactly what conservatives love about him, but it could make him a tough sell in the general election. Is America ready to elect a president with views this strong? Those views have put him at odds with Republican leadership, meaning he may come up short when it comes to garnering party support.

He certainly stands as a stark contrast to frontrunner Bush, who has attracted a lot of criticism for his moderate views on immigration, healthcare, and Common Core. On the other hand, Bush is not having any problems getting RNC support behind him, and he will be tough to beat in the fundraising game. Unless Cruz can galvanize the base and the Tea Party to rally around him with money, he could have a hard time gaining traction against a behemoth political machine.

Even if Cruz’s candidacy is ultimately unsuccessful, though, he brings a much-needed voice to the race. Casual Republicans need to know there are still politicians out there who stand for conservative principles. Cruz can out-talk just about anyone, so his presence in the debates will be a forceful one. Unfortunately, in a political climate where many voters will follow the race through five-minute clips on the nightly news programs, Cruz is going to be at the mercy of the mainstream media. And the liberals in New York have already made it clear what they think of his brand of hardline conservatism.

Of course, it’s very early to engage in any serious speculation. Cruz is first into the ring, but he won’t be the last. As it stands right now, there are almost a dozen Republicans thinking about running for the White House. How it all pans out will depend on who actually runs. One thing’s for sure: it’s going to be interesting.