Soon before Ted Cruz won a second term in the Senate on Tuesday, MSNBC host Rachel Maddow opined that his “repellant personality” might be an advantage.
“He has never campaigned as a politician as being a guy you would like to be around. He has campaigned as a sort of World Wrestling villain, right?” said Maddow. “Your hate makes me stronger. So we’re all talking like that’s a weakness. Ted Cruz knows that he has a repellent personality. He has just turned it to his advantage.”
Cruz beat Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, a liberal favorite who became a Hollywood darling.
There was broad agreement on the panel that Cruz was personally disgusting — particularly when compared to O’Rourke.
“A very attractive charismatic candidate,” said MSNBC mainstay Eugene Robinson, who said that O’Rourke has the “X-factor.”
Cruz 47, entered the national political scene in 1999 as a policy advisor on the George W. Bush presidential campaign, later working on Bush’s legal fight in the 2000 Florida presidential recount.
He won his Senate seat in 2012 after defeating the GOP lieutenant governor in a primary that the Washington Post called “the biggest upset” that year. His conservative views made him a polarizing figure. Cruz lost a bitterly fought race for the 2016 GOP presidential nomination to Donald Trump, but they overcame that history to campaign together at a rally last month.