By McKay Coppins
As an audience of 600 Republicans awaited the arrival of Sen. Ted Cruz Friday night at the Iowa Events Center, conservative Christian activist Steve Scheffler came to the podium to give thanks to God for the Tea Party savior — and plead for more principled conservative leaders like him willing to “be crucified for their belief system.”
Advertisement - story continues below
The ballroom full of amens that followed went a long way toward explaining why Cruz — fresh off a failed crusade to dismantle Obamacare that resulted in a 16-day government shutdown and a political disaster for his party — has been greeted with such adoration by Tea Party crowds in recent days.
In Cruz, conservatives have found something better than a champion for their cause or a defender of their values. They’ve found a martyr.