Ted Cruz’s campaign has been clear from the start that its path to victory depends on the mobilization of conservative evangelical voters. In service of that goal, Cruz has pursued and welcomed the endorsements of a stunning array of extreme anti-gay and Christian-nation activists.
At last weekend’s Awakening conference in Orlando, Team Cruz was the only presidential campaign with a visible presence, hoping to boost support in the 10 days that were remaining before the crucial March 15 primary in Florida. Campaign volunteers staffed a table, selling t-shirts and bumper stickers, but what they were really looking for was pastors who would publicly back Cruz.
Religious Right leaders, including Ted’s father Rafael Cruz, often blame the decline of America on pastors who aren’t preaching aggressively enough. That message was also heard at the Awakening and the Cruz campaign gave pastors in attendance a way to do something about it. The campaign asked pastors to sign a commitment card allowing their names to be used publicly. It also encouraged pastors to host a voter registration drive and regularly address political and cultural issues from the pulpit.
“Your endorsement encourages members of your congregation and your community to vote for Ted Cruz,” said a flyer aimed at pastors. “It inspires courage in other leaders to endorse too, multiplying the influence.”