Ted Cruz is trailing in New York, where Trump's home field advantage and Kasich's moderate style plays well with voters. Worse, Cruz may have alienated many New Yorkers months ago when he took a shot at Trump's "New York values."
Since he arrived in town, the New York tabloids have brutalized Cruz. New York is, after all, the capital of global capitalism, a place where the rags to riches stories that undergird the American dream tend to happen for all the world to see. There are liberals, but there are also huge pockets of hardworking, religious conservatives who once enthusiastically elected Republican majorities. It's possible that many of these conservative New York voters felt that they were unfairly lumped in with the millions of liberal New York City residents who sway the state's elections in a deep blue direction.
Simply put, they could not "fuhgeddaboutit." It would be easy for Ted Cruz to simply apologize, but instead, the Texas Senator is doubling down, with nuance. As Newsmax notes:
Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz said Thursday that he "not remotely" had any regrets for bashing front-runner Donald Trump's "New York values" as he campaigns in the Empire State ahead of its April 19 primary. "Everyone in New York and outside of New York knows exactly what I meant by that," the Texas senator told Dana Bash on CNN. "It is the liberal values of Democratic politicians who have been hammering the people of New York for decades. "They've suffered under these liberal values," Cruz said, pointing to such Democrats as New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, Mayor Bill de Blasio — even presidential front-runner Hillary Clinton.
"Andrew Cuomo told New Yorkers that if you're pro-life, if you believe in traditional marriage, if you believe in the Second Amendment, there is no place for you in the state of New York," Cruz said.
The senator has faced a torrent of criticism since arriving in New York Wednesday — from the city's newspapers, protesters as various events, even from Trump himself at a big rally on Long Island — for his "values" comment during the South Carolina debate in January.
To Cruz's credit, this is a smart move. His advantage over Trump is his strong defense of conservative values. Backing down undermines that defense. But in qualifying his comments, he also expressed the frustration of those disenfranchised New Yorkers who love their state and families too much to flee to other states. Will it work? It's worth a try. Cruz may be trailing now, but as the saying goes "In a New York minute, everything can change."