[caption id="attachment_282485" align="alignnone" width="600"] Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, speaks at a news conference after a visit to the Arizona border with Mexico in Douglas, Ariz., Friday, March 18, 2016. (AP Photo/Ricardo Arduengo)[/caption]
Yesterday, Ted Cruz spent a good part of the day at the Arizona/Mexico border. He visited several contentious spots there, spoke a couple of times with various local officials, and generally got briefed on current conditions. And then there's this: "“This is a national security crisis. And it’s a crisis that the federal government is refusing to do its job and solve,” Cruz told reporters, standing behind a lectern anchored in the dirt, the Chiricahua Mountains visible behind him. Cruz was flanked by former Texas governor Rick Perry and local law enforcement personnel and ranchers clad in cowboy hats. Cruz said he thinks the federal government should be working in concert with local law enforcement to secure the border."
What 'this' is, in this context, is probably best described as 'reassurance.' What Ted Cruz was doing in Arizona was demonstrating that he is a Republican candidate who can address legitimate worries about border security and illegal immigration without, you know, sounding evil, crazy, or some mutant combination of both about the subjects. Yesterday would probably not move the needle among the hardcore immigration people who actually believe that campaign-trail garbage about us building a sixty-foot* wall and making Mexico pay for it - but whether it moves the needle among anybody else is something that I guess we'll see on Tuesday.
It will be very interesting to see what happens in Arizona then, in fact. Certainly Cruz isn't writing off the state quite just yet. Which is exactly as it should be, of course.
*Or whatever the number is this afternoon.