How Donald Trump may attack Ted Cruz in Iowa

Despite the fact that the two of them have maintained cordial relations, it appears Donald Trump may be ready to go after Ted Cruz.

Mic Smith/AP
Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump speaks during a rally coinciding with Pearl Harbor Day aboard the aircraft carrier USS Yorktown in Mt. Pleasant, S.C., on Monday. On Tuesday, Trump defended his plan for a 'total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States' by comparing it with President Franklin Roosevelt's decision to inter Japanese Americans during World War II.

Donald Trump may be getting ready to slam Ted Cruz.

Why? Mr. Cruz is threatening Mr. Trump’s lead in the crucial early caucus state of Iowa. And the Texas senator reportedly told a gathering of donors earlier this week that he doubts Trump has the “judgment” to be commander-in-chief.

All this appears to have convinced Trump to punch Cruz’s coordinates into his insult artillery, despite the fact that the two of them have maintained cordial relations to this point.

“Looks like @tedcruz is getting ready to attack. I am leading by so much he must. I hope so, he will fall like all others. Will be easy!” Trump tweeted on Friday morning.

Here’s how Trump, a master at finding his opponents’ weak points, might mount his “easy” anti-Cruz assault.

Label Cruz unlikable. It’s no secret many of Cruz’s Senate colleagues are not fond of his grandstanding. GOP lawmakers in particular are irked by his charges that their lack of will is what’s behind the party’s failure to enact more conservative legislation.

Most of this grumbling is anonymous. Trump’s won’t be. The real estate magnate delights in personal digs, from calling Jeb Bush “low energy” to branding Ben Carson “pathological.” Expect Trump to find unsubtle ways to bring this up.

Call him a puppet. Trump is already making an issue of the fact that Cruz’s alleged insult of his judgment occurred at a private meeting with donors. Or, as Trump calls them, “bosses.”

“@tedcruz should not make statements behind closed doors to his bosses, he should bring them out into the open – more fun that way!” Trump tweeted Friday.

This is Trump-speak for “you’re bought and paid for.” Trump often boasts that he’s so rich he doesn’t need donations and the strings they inevitably bring with them.

Pronounce him unelectable. Cruz has positioned himself to be a Donald Trump who is more acceptable to party leaders and the electorate as a whole. Trump, jiu-jitsu master, is likely to flip that around and charge that Cruz is the candidate who is fatally flawed.

Trump could say that Cruz’s appeal is narrow, as he excites only evangelical and very conservative voters. He could point out that Cruz has said he favors a return to the gold standard, and that his (Cruz’s) tax plan contains a hidden 19 percent national sales tax.

Non-Trump pundits have raised all these points. Some say Trump is right – he might be the superior choice for the Republican Party.

With the exception of immigration and the blocking of Muslims at the US border, “Trump’s actual policy positions are generally more moderate than Cruz’s, and his support within the GOP primary electorate does not look particularly ideological,” wrote Vox’s Matthew Yglesias earlier this month.

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