Election 2016

How The ‘Trump Factor’ Could Complicate Sen Cruz’s Super Tuesday In Texas

Texas may be “Cruz Country,” but one political expert says Trump supporters are a wild card.

Ted Cruz
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz visited Houston to deliver the State of the Senate address on September 1, 2015.

On February 25th, the candidates for the GOP presidential nomination will hold a prime-time debate in Houston.

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

Houston Public Media's Coverage of Election 2016

A few days later, Texas and a dozen other states will vote in the Super Tuesday primary.

University of St. Thomas Political Science Professor Jon Taylor says the two men who lead the Republican pack may not win quite as many votes in Texas as some pundits expect, because of an odd mix of voter rage and apathy.

"It's almost like this is the year of The Angry Voter. But it's also the year of the ‘I-don't-give-a-crap voter.' And it's kind of a pox on both houses," Taylor said.

Taylor says 2016 is similar to the presidential campaign of 1992, when GOP primary candidate Pat Buchanan and independent Texas businessman Ross Perot tapped into the same emotions now fueling Donald Trump's popularity.

But will that be enough to get Trump supporters to take action?

"My own gut feeling is they won't, necessarily, which means they're expressing more of an anger and animosity toward government in a way that's not the same as a committed primary voter — Republican or Democrat alike — going to the polls, supporting a particular candidate," Taylor said.

Taylor believes that Trump's closest rival in polling for the Iowa caucus — Senator Ted Cruz — will likely win the Texas primary. However, Taylor adds there are a number of Republicans who are unwilling to choose Cruz because they're turned off by his personality. And that could prompt some Texas primary voters to look closer at, and possibly cast their ballots for, candidates like Florida Senator Marco Rubio or New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.

Taylor says if there's no clear front-runner by April, or if it appears Trump will win the delegates he needs to clinch the nomination, then we could see a convention that's more chaos than coronation — with Republican leaders having to decide whether to support Trump, whom they feel may not best reflect the party’s values, or try to persuade delegates to pick another nominee the leadership finds more acceptable.

On the much less crowded Democratic side, Prof. Taylor predicts Hillary Clinton will score an easy victory over Bernie Sanders in Texas.

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David Pitman

David Pitman

Host, Morning Edition

Hi there. I’m glad you found me. Let me take a moment to answer some of the questions you might have about me and my job. I have worked as Morning Edition Host and reporter at News 88.7 since August of 2009. Previously, I hosted Morning Edition at WMFE in...

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