I once heard someone sum up the game strategy of legendary Georgia Bulldog Coach Vince Dooly. “Three yards and a cloud of dust.” It was a strategy built on fundamentals with a focus on keeping control of the ball and steady, consistent, movement down the field. There were no exciting choreographed, complicated, plays. Just three yards and a cloud of dust.
The Ted Cruz campaign could also be characterized as three yards and a cloud of dust. Cruz is a master political strategist. He knows what it takes to win and he has built a campaign organization that focuses on the fundamentals. Last August, Ted Cruz launched a bus tour of states across the South. It was months before the primaries in these states.
Iowa had a caucus and New Hampshire had a primary weeks before a ballot would be cast in most of the states he visited. Cruz was thinking ahead. He was counting and courting potential delegates and building a ground game. Before the end of the year, Cruz had a leader in nearly every county in Georgia.
Donald Trump won the vote in Georgia in a crowded field. Ted Cruz came in an overall third but placed second in more congressional districts. The end result is that Cruz came in second in the delegate count.
As candidates suspended their campaigns, Cruz kept moving forward and taking a larger percentage of voters with each primary. He also doubled back and courted more potential delegates in the event of a second round of voting at the convention.
Yesterday in Wisconsin, Cruz proved that he can stay in the game. He had to win Wisconsin. He did it with a steady and consistent ground game. There were plenty of independent Political Action Committee attack ads on Donald Trump that definitely helped Cruz. Attack ads alone do not win campaigns.
Donald Trump still holds a commanding lead and there are still over 700 delegates in primaries yet to be held. The next one is New York, Trump’s home state. Just as Cruz had to win Wisconsin, New York is a must win for Trump.
It will come down to the wire with possibly Republican voters in California actually playing a key role in the nominating process. Three yards and a cloud of dust. It all comes down to the ground game.
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