This is not a surprise.
Drivers speeding down a busy highway about 70 miles outside Houston have been greeted with two blunt messages that Bruce Labay put up at his oil field services business. One declared that Mr. Labay was tired of softhearted Republicans, though he used a more colorful adjective. The other read, “We Need More Republicans Like Ted Cruz.”
Mr. Labay, 55, made his signs by sticking 1,200 plastic foam cups, one by one, into the loops of his chain-link fence, a 90-minute project that filled much of the fencing around BL Oilfield Services in the town of El Campo.
“I was proud of him,” Mr. Labay said of the state’s junior senator. “I was proud he was a Texan. I wish they would have held firm, and we’d still be shut down.”
Home states and districts are usually loyal to their senators and representatives in times of political crisis. But the continued support for Mr. Cruz among Texas Republicans illustrates something larger: the cultural and political divide that continues to widen between a red state that President Obama lost by nearly 16 points in the 2012 election and the blue or even purple parts of the country where Mr. Cruz’s tone and tactics have caused outrage and consternation.
“Texas is not America,” said Matt Mackowiak, a Republican political consultant in Austin and the former spokesman for Mr. Cruz’s Republican predecessor in the Senate, Kay Bailey Hutchison. “It’s in America, but it’s not America. National polls don’t mean anything. Democrats haven’t won a statewide office in Texas since 1994. There are no Peter Kings in Texas.”
It’s human nature to defend one of your own from outside attacks, and besides, the people of Texas elected him. His behavior — good or bad — is a reflection on them. So even if he turns out to be a mighty asshole, they’ll at least outwardly stand by him.