Republican underdog Ted Cruz is fighting for his political life in Indiana, a state that votes Tuesday. In a recent rally, he openly framed the race against frontrunner Donald Trump as a battle of good versus evil.
It is widely believed that Cruz will need to win Indiana to stop Trump from amassing the required 1,237 pledged delegates to win the nomination on the first ballot at the July convention in Cleveland, Ohio. The RealClearPolitics average puts Trump nine points ahead of Cruz, with 42.0 percent to the Texas senator’s 32.7 percent. The most recent poll has The Donald up by a whopping 17 points, even though Indiana Governor Mike Pence tepidly endorsed Cruz at the end of last week.
In this light, the Texas senator declared the race to be a war of good versus evil.
“I believe in the people of the Hoosier State,” Cruz declared at a rally in La Porte. “I believe that the men and women gathered here and the goodness of the American people, that we will not give into evil but we will remember who we are and we will stand for values.”
Cruz added that “this entire political process has conspired to put the state of Indiana in the position to stand up and speak the voice of sanity.”
In these comments, the Texas senator followed the lead of Glenn Beck. At a Sunday rally in Lafayette, Indiana, Beck declared that no decision could be more morally important than the choice between Cruz and Trump.
“God is making sure that every single person, every single voice is being heard this time around. He’s not going to say: ‘Oh well somebody on the east coast did it. Somebody in Florida did it,'” Beck said, according to the Washington Examiner. “He wants you to know, in Indiana, that you are putting your name down on good or evil, liberty or slavery, you are making the decision.”
This is not the first time such hyperbole has featured in the election. Last week, former Speaker of the House John Boehner called Cruz “Lucifer in the flesh.” Nevertheless, for all Trump’s blustering, he has never phrased the election in such moral and quasi-religious terms.
Unfortunately for Cruz, many voters simply do not know his concrete policy proposals. Many might see his campaign as wholly focused on stopping Trump, rather than as a positive message and plan for the country. Rhetoric like this is unlikely to alter that dynamic. Then again, everyone called Reagan crazy for calling the U.S.S.R. the “evil empire.” The time for choosing is close at hand.