Ted Cruz has been rising in the polls these last few weeks and has taken first place in Iowa. That’s great news for conservatives everywhere, as the purist Senator has few flaws in the eyes of the movement right. But does that mean he is a real leader for the nomination? Not fully, because the Texas Senator is going to have a hard time reaching the 50%+1 of delegates needed to receive said nomination.
Ben Shapiro has written up a good summary for those who aren’t already familiar with how the delegate system works this cycle. To make this simple – delegates are largely handed out by population, not party power, meaning deep blue states aren’t much weaker, if at all, than deep red states. Therefore, a large portion of delegates are handed out in moderate areas, which are harder for Ted Cruz to win than conservative and deeply religious parts of the country.
Additionally, many red states opted to go early in the primary calendar, and the RNC made it so states going before March 15th couldn’t give their delegates away in a winner-take-all contest. They must give them away proportionally, with the exception of South Carolina. Alaska, Alabama, Georgia, Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Idaho and Mississippi all go before March 15th, making it so other candidates, like Trump and Rubio for example, can still win delegates in those states, even if Cruz were to somehow take first in all of them.
Once winner-take-all states start voting, the Ted Cruz path to nomination narrows as he contends with people who tend to poll better in those states. If Senator Cruz wants to win, he needs to find a way to appeal in more moderate states and quick, otherwise he will be left in the dust.