Harry Reid says everything in the same soft-spoken but firm tone, so it might not be immediately clear that when he thinks about Ted Cruz running for president, some part of him is cackling with glee. Here’s what he told Rachel Maddow in an interview, aired on Maddow’s show Monday evening:
REID: If I didn’t care so much about our country I would hope [Cruz] would get the Republican nomination for President, because that would be the end of the Republican Party.
MADDOW: In what sense?
REID: He stands for everything America doesn’t.
Reid, as Senate Majority Leader (a post he’s held for six years) speaks in polito-speak, so let me translate:
“Cruz getting the nomination in 2016 would be aMAZing. We would win EVERYWHERE! No one would take any Republican seriously just because they shared a ticket with that guy. I mean, did you hear the stuff his dad said recently? And Cruz himself gave us about eight elections worth of cannon fodder during his 13-hour non-filibuster. We would win Arizona, North Carolina, maybe even Montana. And that's on top of the entire midwest and both coasts. Oh man, I get giddy just thinking about it.”
So let’s say that Cruz runs for president (very likely) and that people aren’t worried about how he was born in Canada (a tad awkward given the whole birther thing, but whatever). Does he have an actual shot?
Not really. If he can somehow box out Rand Paul, and the other candidates for Tea Party darling, AND the “mainstream” Republican vote gets split by, say, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush and Marco Rubio (Rubio will get Tea Party votes too, unless they’ve turned on him by then). Then yeah, you can start to see a scenario where Cruz wins Iowa on the strength of the evangelical vote, takes South Carolina, and then picks off enough states to have more delegates than anyone else. Not likely, and one has to think that a massive campaign from within the Republican Party would emerge to thwart him.
So, were talking a 10% shot at best, and 5% is more realistic. Still, a Democrat can dream.