Constitutional conservative Ted Cruz met with 20 of the most powerful conservatives in America at a private dinner on Tuesday night to discuss the former GOP presidential candidate’s future as leader of the conservative movement in America.
Held at the home of conservative media guru Brent Bozell, the overriding theme of the meeting was the comparison of Ted Cruz to Ronald Reagan, and the election of 2016 to Reagan’s near-win in 1976, an election followed by the Gipper’s historic victory over Jimmy Carter in 1980, according to several sources via a report from The Hill.
Those in attendance included Heritage Foundation president and former senator Jim DeMint, Club for Growth president David McIntosh, and longtime conservative activist and political direct mail pioneer, Richard Viguerie.
With many conservatives disillusioned with the choice between two New York liberals, Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, her prior donor, there is a movement to have GOP delegates “unbound” at the Republican Party convention in July, which would enable them to support a true conservative like Ted Cruz, or any other Republican for that matter.
But according to Brent Bozell, that was not the main topic of the evening.
“There was just discussion of the future of the movement and the future of Ted Cruz as the leader of the movement,” Bozell told The Hill.
“There are a lot of similarities with Reagan in ’76, where Reagan came very close and then in ’80 won the presidency,” he added.
“It wasn’t a function of ignoring [Trump] or he wasn’t worth our time…There were people in that room who’ve taken different positions on this race. You’ve got the Never Trump and you’ve got people who are for Trump in that room.
“I wanted to keep the focus on the future of the movement and Ted Cruz.”
Bozell said he derived “a feeling of enthusiasm for [Cruz] going forward,” and said that most people in the room viewed the Texas senator as “the leader of the conservative movement.”
NRA board member and former Cincinnati mayor Ken Blackwell, who also attended the meeting, had his sites set on a presidential run in 2020 for Ted Cruz.
“I am very high on Senator Cruz and I know that there are millions of other people committed to conservative principles that share my view,” Blackwell said. “If he ran for president in 2020 he would still be in his 40s,” he noted.
“I think [Ted Cruz] earned the position of being the leader of the conservative movement in terms of an elected official,” David McIntosh told The Hill on Wednesday.
“Talking to him…I think he’s thinking about how to do that and ready to step into that leadership role,” he added, saying he wouldn’t get into private conversations had at the dinner.
“I’m a huge Ronald Reagan fan so the analogy I used with Ted is, ‘You’re Ronald Reagan in 1977 and you’ve got a choice: Are you going to take on the leadership of the movement?’”