If there’s one knock against Ted Cruz, it’s that he’s not very likable. I felt that way before mostly because that’s what I keep hearing from liberal mainstream media and his colleagues in Congress. A little over a month ago, I started really watching him once he started rising in the polls and formed my own differing opinion.
It occurred to me that all of the talk about him being unlikable was coming from the two sources that I trust the least: other politicians and the media. That was the first alarm bell, but I needed to get another opinion. My husband and thankfully apolitical, so he became my guinea pig. I didn’t tell him anything about the candidates. For two weeks, I simply had him watch footage during debates, interviews, and even on floor of Congress. I didn’t tell him who my concerns were about. I just wanted him to watch hours of footage with his not-so-unique perspective of never watching political news and never reading articles about the candidates.
I had him rank the candidates in order of likability. The results were far from what I would expect as someone who watches all of the political news and reads every article I can. Here is his stackranking of the candidates with a phrase or word that he felt they evoked.
- Carly Fiorina – “good hearted”
- Ted Cruz – “passionate”
- Mike Huckabee – “down to earth”
- Donald Trump – “entertaining”
- Rand Paul – “all over the board”
- Chris Christie – “not trustworthy”
- John Kasich – “egotistical”
- Marco Rubio – “fake”
- Ben Carson – “angry”
- Jeb Bush – “superiority complex”
Those of us who follow politics know that Carson and Cruz could easily be flip-flopped on the list based upon the ideas of political pundits. The rest of the list is pretty normal, though most believe that Rubio would be higher. I know it’s anecdotal but knowing my husband tells me it’s the most unbiased perspective possible. He had actually never heard of John Kasich before I had him start the experiment.
The political world and mainstream media have been pushing the talking point of “Ted Cruz is unlikable” for so long that it has really started to affect those of us who are involved in politics. However, my husband represents the bulk of voters. He’s a single individual and this is about as anecdotal as you can get, but when I started viewing it with an open mind I realized that I, too, didn’t really have a reason to not like him.
The pundits who said that Cruz shutting down the government in 2013 destroyed the Republican party didn’t have much to say when they won the Senate less than a year later. The Senators who represent us in Washington DC don’t represent the mindset and discerning hearts of the voters. The media and the Senate might not like Ted Cruz, but we shouldn’t allow that bias to cloud our own perspectives.
Following last night’s debate, I took to Twitter and found the Tweet below. I showed my husband. He asked if he could change his answer. In his mind, Ted Cruz had quickly become the most likable candidate out there. The debate – the first that he’d ever been forced to watch live – solidified his perspective that Carly Fiorina was very likable, but Cruz’ willingness to not be bullied by the moderators pushed him up even higher in my husband’s eyes. The Tweet was the icing on the cake.
— Justice Don Willett (@JusticeWillett) October 29, 2015