Flag thrown on Ted Cruz’s Iowa ground game

Sarah Rumpf reports that Ted Cruz’s campaign has sent certain Iowa voters a large card printed to look like a manila envelope on one side and labeled: “ELECTION ALERT,” “VOTER VIOLATION,” “PUBLIC RECORD,” and “FURTHER ACTION NEEDED.” The text of the mailing stated:

You are receiving this election notice because of low expected voter turnout in your area. Your individual voting history as well as your neighbors’ are public record. Their scores are published below, and many of them will see your score as well. CAUCUS ON MONDAY TO IMPROVE YOUR SCORE and please encourage your neighbors to caucus as well. A follow-up notice may be issued following Monday’s caucuses.

The notice also listed the name of the recipient and her husband, along with five of their neighbors.

The recipient’s husband called this notice to the public’s attention, via twitter, stating: “Hey @Ted Cruz, your brilliant public shaming campaign has inspired me to caucus on Monday…For @Marco Rubio.” He says he was undecided until he got the notice, though he was already leaning towards Rubio.

The notice is so bizarre that I thought at first it might have been sent by a rival campaign as a dirty trick to undermine Cruz. But Rumpf says that Cruz’s spokesman Rick Tyler confirmed that the notice was from the Cruz campaign. According to Rumpf, Tyler added that the targeting had been “very narrow, but the caucuses are important and we want people who haven’t voted before to vote.”

The Cruz campaign boasts about being into “Big Data” and says that it classifies potential voters by personality type. The Cruz campaign’s assessment of the personality type of the “very narrow” group that received this mailing must not be flattering. “Submissive to authority,” “Easily bullied” or maybe “Not too bright” come to mind.

One of the cliches of the GOP campaign has been that for months Cruz was “drafting” behind Trump, allowing the frontrunner to take most of the “incoming” (another overused term in campaign coverage). I have heard prominent Cruz supporters say privately that this is exactly what Cruz wanted to do for as long as possible.

Now that Cruz and Trump are attacking one another, Cruz can no longer “draft.” This was particularly true in the last debate because Trump didn’t show up.

So far, Cruz hasn’t handled the sudden wind swirl particularly well. But his “VOTER VIOLATION” mailing (assuming that Rumpf’s reporting is accurate) seems to be more a function of the personality of his campaign than of not having Trump diverting the flak.

I don’t know what “Big Data” says, but to me the mailing plays straight into the hands of Trump, who says that Cruz is a nasty guy (he has never struck me as nasty), and of Rubio, who comes across in public as less abrasive. If this is Cruz’s vaunted ground game in action, it should be penalized 15 yards.

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