The following is an excerpt from OpinionJournal’s “Best of the Web” at The Wall Street Journal written by the editor, James Taranto.
Cruz Gets a Bronx Cheer
Maybe Ted Cruz had a point (albeit a politically ill-advised one) about “New York values.” The Republican presidential middle-runner was in the Bronx yesterday, and New York did not exactly distinguish itself.
(For readers unfamiliar with our state’s geography, the Bronx is a “borough”—a subdivision of New York City—and is, paradoxically, both within the city and on the U.S. mainland.)
“TAKE THE F U TRAIN, TED!” screams the cover of today’s Daily News, New York’s decreasingly hinged left-leaning tabloid. The F and U are shown in white on colored circle backgrounds, in the manner of the signs designating New York City subway lines. The guys at the News must all get driven to work in limos, or else they’d know there’s no U train.
The news story inside has an opening paragraph worthy of Salon: “Ted Cruz came to New York Wednesday talking about education, but he’s the one who got schooled.” Cruz was scheduled to give a talk at a charter high school (or is that a high charter school?), the Bronx Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy.
A group of students wrote to the principal, Alix Duggins, saying they intended to walk out: “The presence of Ted Cruz and the ideas he stands for are offensive. His views are against ours and are actively working to harm us, our community, and the people we love. He is misogynistic, homophobic, and racist.”
We have to admit, they certainly are preparing these kids for college.
The letter continues:
He has used vulgar language, gestures, and profanity directed at a scholar and staff members, along with harassing and posing threats to staff and scholars according to the Disciplinary Referral slip. This is not to be taken kiddingly or as a joke. We are students who feel the need and right to not be passive to such disrespect.
Perhaps this is some sort of inside joke, but the News doesn’t bother to explain it. Principal Duggins’s reply: “Your points are eloquently argued—in fact, so eloquently argued that upon reading your email, Khori Whittaker, the CEO of Lighthouse Academies has agreed to cancel the visit.”
So “New York values, at least as taught at the Bronx Lighthouse College Preparatory Academy,” consist of intellectual conformity and hostility to contrary views. We wish we lived in a liberal city.
Cruz did put in an appearance at a Bronx restaurant, but WCBSreports it was disrupted by hecklers:
A protester with the Latin hip-hop group “Rebel Diaz” interrupted the event while Cruz was addressing a crowd of supporters privately behind a curtain, WCBS 880’s Stephanie Colombini reported.
“Ted Cruz has no business being in the Bronx!” the protester said. He said the neighborhood where Trump [sic!] was appearing is an immigrant community and also attacked Cruz’s view on climate change.
He was escorted out by police.
Another protester echoed the same sentiments.
“If you are anti-immigrant, you are not welcome here. We are at the forefront of climate change here, Ted Cruz. We are at the forefront of climate change here,” the man said. “People are dying. People are dying, Ted Cruz.”
The heckler was ejected, and Cruz remarked: “We need positive solutions, not the kind of anger that that man has.” We’d point out the angry man was also speaking nonsense. Death is inevitable; yesterday’s high temperature at “the forefront of climate change” was in the mid-40s; and “If you are anti-immigrant, you are not welcome here” is an obvious contradiction in terms.
The New York Post, the city’s conservative tabloid, panned the Cruz visit too, calling it “a complete dud”:
There are more than 1.4 million people in the Bronx—but Ted Cruz couldn’t even muster 100 at a campaign event in Parkchester with state Sen. Ruben Diaz Sr., a conservative Christian minister. . . .
Aside from about 70 ministers affiliated with Diaz, only a dozen voters turned up—and two of them were tossed out after screaming protests. . . .
Cruz, meanwhile, doubled down on his assault on “New York values,” though he rebranded his message to make it easier for conservative New Yorkers to swallow by calling them “liberal Democratic values” and linking them to Donald Trump.
“Let’s be clear. The people of New York know what those values are, the values of liberal Democratic politicians like Andrew Cuomo, like Anthony Weiner, like Eliot Spitzer, like Charlie Rangel, all of whom Donald Trump has supported, given tens of thousands of dollars to throughout the years,” said Cruz.
Of course New Yorkers—especially in heavily Democratic New York City—have also given those liberal Democrats their votes. So what does Cruz stand to gain from attacking them on their home turf?
Quite a lot, actually. As Business Insider’s Josh Barro notes, the New York Republican Party allocates 81 of the state’s 95 national convention delegates by congressional district, three per district:
For the state and for each district, delegate allocation will be proportional if no candidate gets over 50% of the vote, but it will become winner take all for a candidate who gets over 50%.
Trump’s path to clinching the nomination with 1,237 delegates is dependent on a blowout win in New York, in which he breaks 50% statewide and in most congressional districts, winning nearly all the delegates. If Cruz can get enough votes to keep Trump under 50% statewide and in many congressional districts, he’ll make it very difficult for Trump to walk into Cleveland with a majority of the overall delegates.
The Real Clear Politics average has Trump at 53% statewide, with 22% for John Kasich and 18.6% for Cruz. If those numbers hold, Trump would get all 14 statewide delegates. But Cruz and Kasich wouldn’t have to eat into Trump’s lead that much to deny him some of them.
Proportional representation at the district level works as follows: If a candidate wins a majority, he gets all three delegates. If no one does, the candidate with a plurality gets two and the second-place finisher gets one.
New York has closed primaries, so that only registered Republicans can vote in the GOP primary. And because New York City is so heavily Democratic, most of its districts have few Republicans. The restaurant where Cruz spoke yesterday is in the district of Rep. Jose Serrano, where Mitt Romney received just 3% of the vote in 2012. The Cook Political Report ranks it as the most Democratic district in the country (five of the city’s districts make the top 10).
But Serrano’s district has the same three-delegate allotment as all 26 others in New York, which means Republicans there have an outsize influence. Cruz doesn’t need to persuade many of them to earn himself a delegate, maybe two or even three. This is a great time to be a Bronx Republican, assuming you don’t mind living in the Bronx.
For more “Best of the Web” from The Wall Street Journal’s James Taranto click here.