You heard it here first. Ted Cruz is the favorite to win Iowa. Oh, I know he is not top of any poll among likely Caucus goers. He certainly is not topping any national polls. Sure there is no Cruz Fever About to Sweep the Country articles about to appear in Time, the Washington Post or New York Times that libertarians seemingly get for blinking these days. But none of that matters now.
As he demonstrated at the Values Voter Summit this weekend, Cruz is emerging at the choice of social conservatives. As Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum showed with their wins in 2008 and 2012 that is the key group in Iowa. Granted both Huckabee and the New Robert Evans will run again (seriously, what else do they have to do with themselves) but they are both retreads. Cruz is a new fresh face and a much more skilled debater and speaker.
As for the crop of younger challengers, this weekend as demonstrated that Washington-media darling Rand Paul has a great deal of work to do. His support for legalizing drugs and cutting foreign aid to Israel will remain barriers for him to build support among this social conservatives. In addition, Paul’s recent ambiguity on gay marriage doesn’t help with social conservatives. You notice he didn’t even come in second in the straw poll.
Before you know it it’ll be January or February 2016 in Iowa and Ted Cruz will be making his victory speech and the Bush Republicans will be freaking out. Just remember you heard it here first.