Think more recently of Donald Trump, who throws paper towels at a hurricane-ravaged crowd in Puerto Rico or attributes the forest fires in California to incompetent forest management and confuses the Finnish President with his references to “raking”. Trump’s die-hard supporters viewed none of this as gaffes, but on top of that adds his continued minimization of yet another disaster, the Covid-19 pandemic, and you have a pattern of indifference to the suffering that ultimately cost him reelection, according to his survey participants.
In the case of Cruz, his missteps are worthy of a simulation in which the player tests how many wrong moves he can make in a row. (Departing in the midst of the crisis? Check. Just months after attacking a Democratic mayor who traveled to Mexico during a Covid-19 lockdown. Check. Ask the overworked Houston Police Department for assistance at the airport? Check. Claim You, you mean, to come back immediately if the airline says otherwise? Cruz clearly wasn’t up to date on how best to respond to a natural crisis. President Barack Obama’s response to Hurricane Sandy, his quick The gathering of forces and his visit to the affected areas have made him non-partisan praise.
Are there lessons the Senator could learn from the past for Cruz? There is one that quickly springs to mind, even if executing can be challenging: Apologize.
When he was re-elected, Lindsay cut an ad that began: “I misjudged the weather before the city’s biggest snowstorm. And that was a mistake. “It couldn’t have been much; but voters wanted to hear this pretty Manhattan WASP scratching a little in front of the suburbs. In contrast, Chicago Mayor Bilandic never apologized for the chaos in his city, saying once that a return to 70 percent efficiency would be good enough. Christie was even more stubborn, noting that using the beach was one of the office’s requirements.
Cruz made the right first move – when he returned to Texas on Thursday afternoon, he admitted he made the wrong call: “Look, it was obviously a mistake, and in hindsight I wouldn’t have … I almost started Thinking the moment I got on the plane … leaving when so many Texans were injured didn’t feel right. “
The most promising course from now on could be going all-in; apologizing not only for leaving, but also for earlier taunting California for its energy issues for making family vacations his top priority. And if he wants to change the subject, he could take on what experts have long pointed out as a long-term dilemma for politicians in disaster situations: while voters are aware of the immediate response to a crisis, they never reward leaders who try to prevent the next one.
Dan Hopkins, a professor at the University of Pennsylvania, has suggested that disaster risk reduction is an extremely low-cost policy that does not register like a failure with voters. “As voters, we watch out after disasters and reward or punish incumbents for their actions,” he wrote. “But when the cameras are elsewhere, we are nowhere near as good at rewarding incumbents as they prepare for the next disaster.”
Going that route would require a heavy dose of humility from Ted Cruz and a willingness to stop gaining cheap political points in order to find an approach that might actually make things better. A look at the senator’s file shows us how likely that answer is.