(Salon) -- There’s been some more buzz this week about Ted Cruz’s presidential prospects. The demagoguing senator took his first trip to Iowa just six months after being sworn in to office, and he’s pretty clearly reaching for the White House. Early reports are that it’s going well. And Rich Yeselson wrote a high-profile (and fascinating) essay arguing that, basically, Cruz is perfectly positioned for reaching the top of the Republican ticket.
The focus of this piece is on Cruz’s general election viability. When it comes to the primary, I’m not going to start handicapping the viable candidates seeking the Republican nomination yet; I’ll only say that I don’t see any reason not to include Cruz in that group, as of now. Viable candidates have conventional credentials and are in the mainstream of their party on questions of public policy. Cruz, from what we know now, qualifies. With four years in elected office by January 2017, he’ll be in a similar boat with Barack Obama (who, granted, had held lower office as well) and Mitt Romney (who at least had four full years before his campaign began). And while Cruz surely is planted at an edge of the Republican mainstream, I don’t see any reason, so far, to believe he’s close to falling off that edge. Whether or not Yeselson is correct that Cruz is a particularly strong candidate, it’s certainly very possible to see him nominated.