Amanda Carpenter is about the best spokesman possible for Ted Cruz. She's telegenic, intelligent, relentlessly on message, and committed to Cruz's success. As a former employee, she's able to talk intelligently about his thought processes and accurately project his campaign strategy. Carpenter on CNN has been maybe the best media weapon the Cruz campaign has had this campaign season.
Last night around 1:40 ET, while the rest of the world slept, Carpenter let slip some frustration after watching Ted Cruz's post-Nevada speech. It encapsulates what I've felt watching Ted Cruz's failure to adapt to the unique challenges of facing Trump head on.
CARPENTER: Something has to change to stop Donald Trump. I mean, you know, I worked for Ted Cruz, I've heard that speech from Ted Cruz probably a million times. One of the problems that I think people have had in trying to beat Trump is that they haven't changed their language and changed their tactics. You have to look at what Trump is doing. And I'm not saying adapt his tone and don't act kind to other people. What I'm saying is that, stop using labels that people don't care about anymore. Stop saying "Evangelical," "I'm the most conservative guy," just... talk straight to the voters, to the issues they care about.
Carpenter is right on. I've followed Ted Cruz very closely during this campaign and his lack of rhetorical flexibility is becoming a problem. He's got a set of pat lines that get great applause from whatever crowd he is in front of, but they are not working to grow his crowds any longer, and they haven't been since before the Iowa caucuses.
Cruz must adapt, or die. There's no other choice, at this point.