Bush vs. Cruz – Stark Contrast in Strategy

It might be about a year and half before the presidential election on Tuesday, November 8th, 2016, but former Governor Jeb Bush and current U. S. Senator Ted Cruz are busy working hard. Technically, Jeb Bush is not yet a declared candidate; however, Senator Ted Cruz is definitely in the race with the help of his Harvard MBA educated wife, Heidi Cruz. How do these national leaders compare with one another? What are their apparent strategies? Let’s look at the stark contrast between Bush and Cruz …

What about Jeb Bush?

On April 13th (Thomas Jefferson’s birthday), donation bundlers are thought to be meeting in Miami with the Jeb Bush team as a “thank you” social for their fund-raising efforts.  Some believe that bundlers need to raise at least $500,000 to qualify as a top bundler.  It’s been reported that two bundlers actually raised $4 Million.  Note that these fund-raising activities are not technically for the actual campaign since Mr. Bush is not an official candidate.  Rather, these donations are targeted to his Super-PAC (Political Action Committee).

Ironic Note – It’s been thought by some that Marco Rubio will announce his candidacy on the same day, April 13th, in the same area – at Freedom Tower in Miami.

The Jeb Bush strategy appears to be about getting the top Republican donors to support his potential campaign.  That’s why he has been following a so-called shock and awe campaign with about five dozen fund-raisers in the early months.  If Jeb Bush manages to snag the bulk of major contributors, it might turn out to be a very small field of presidential candidates after all.  Let’s keep watching what happens with the money.

While Jeb Bush’s money strategy is open and obvious, he is also running a somewhat stealth campaign for the hearts, minds, and support of social conservatives.  It’s been reported that he has met quietly with social conservatives including at least one individual from Focus on the Family.  While not openly courting Christian conservatives, he would certainly love their support.

Overall, Jeb Bush’s strategy is to leverage the good will associated with his last name, family friends, advisers, and donor network.  The strategy is also to build a middle-of-the-road or moderate approach to policy questions, hoping to garner moderate democrats and independents, without losing conservatives in the process.  It’s an approach reminiscent of Mitt Romney.

What about Ted Cruz?

Senator Ted Cruz is following a much different strategy.  To begin with, it appears that he is following a “disruptive strategy.”  The term “disruptive strategy” originates in the world of corporate strategy and refers to following an approach that confuses the competition and throws them off guard.  If followed properly and creatively, it can totally beat the competition, and do so before they realize how to react to it.  Ted Cruz’s early announcement (before April 1st) is disruptive in nature.  Why?  The answer lies in when donations are reported.

Rather than seek to corral the big donors of the traditional Republican establishment, Senator Ted Cruz appears to be seeking a large number of small “retail” donors from small businesses, the tea party, and everyday voters fed up with Washington.  A related part of his strategy appears to encourage millions of disaffected Republican voters who stayed home in 2012 to get out and vote for him.  He also hopes to energize millions of born again Christians who have not been motivated to vote, to actually come out and vote next year.

Senator Ted Cruz hopes to motivate voters with a solid, conservative platform, that economic and social conservative will rally around.  He will argue for getting back to the Constitution, protecting freedom across the board, and protecting our nation.

This is shaping up to be a race that offers a study in contrasts.

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