Ted Cruz’s popularity is like nothing Texas politics has ever seen. He received an eight-minute standing ovation from the Texas Federation of Republican Women in San Antonio. This was followed by a fourteen-minute standing ovation in Arlington. The way he is going, he could be elected governor by acclamation. What explains Cruz’s unprecedented adoration? I think it’s three things:

(1) Cruz is the rare politician who talks up to his audience, not down to his audience

(2) He elevates the discussion with his intelligence.

(3) He seldom resorts to gimmicks or applause lines; he makes his audience proud that he is on their side.

Moderate Republicans and Democrats who underestimate him are making a mistake.

AP Photo | Carolyn Kaster