Arlington, TX - In the wake of FreePAC and Restoring Love, a euphoric and driven group of activists gathered at the Sheraton.
“This is not about Ted Cruz. It’s about grassroots,” a female twenty-something campaign worker called out from the middle of a group.
Some of the usual tea-party suspects were there, bright buttons, references to tyranny, a couple of suits, and some old people... They all sang God Bless America and joined each other in prayer. But the tri-cornered hats and Uncle Sam costumes were conspicuously absent. They were replaced by three long rows of networked PCs with real time election statistics, a few Macbook Pros, and a smart phone in every hand.
“Two years. Houston, Midland, San Angelo. I was in freaking San Angelo! Give me a hug man,” Michael Duncan reveled with a small group of volunteers.
Michael, a baby-faced twenty five year old wearing True Religion jeans and a cycling shirt is a full-time staffer for FreedomWorks. He face-timed FreedomWorks’ DC office and held the phone high above his head, showing his partners in DC a 360 degree view of the hotel boardroom. People celebrated on both sides of the connection- both sides of the country.
“I just got a text from our Las Vegas activists thanking you for doing this!” shouted another FreedomWorks guy, Dave Speilman. Hat sideways, scruffy, he’s twenty-something as well. He wears a Chai, a star of David, and a Torah symbol on a chain around his neck. Next, the Ohio team called to congratulate Texas.
He continued in private conversation, “I founded Kosher Tea.” Kosher Tea is an Israeli branch of the Tea Party. He started it in Tel Aviv with 7 members last year during Glenn Beck’s Restoring Honor event in Israel. Kosher Tea has 1700 members now. He claimed that Jews in America are moving to the political right in general. “Jews are definitely moving to the right. Everyone assumes it’s because of Israel. Well, that’s actually third in importance among Jewish voters behind the economy and family issues.”
Dave has been in Texas on and off for the last 18 months, leading up to FreedomWorks’ endorsement of Cruz in June 2011, through the primary.
Prior to the FreedomWorks endorsement, Cruz was polling at 2 percent with 3 percent name recognition. They were followed by Club for Growth, Glenn Beck, Senator Jim DeMint, Senator Rand Paul, Senator Mike Lee, and it snowballed from there. Their decision to endorse Cruz was based on an internal “scorecard.”
That night Cruz was up by 7 points when the race was called by the major news agencies.
Across the room sat Virginia Prodan, a Romanian immigrant lawyer. She “escaped” Romania in ’88 just a month prior to Ceausescu’s overthrow and execution. She got another law degree from SMU upon her arrival. For Virginia, every election has international ramifications.
Virginia said, “It’s about Obama for me. Romania is so close to Russia that if America loses her strength, I believe they will invade us (Romania) again.” Virginia typifies a strain of eastern Europeans both inside and outside of Europe who follow American politics closely, who having escaped communism, now cling to the right side of American politics. She see’s a slippery slope in Europe and is doing all she can to keep American principles pure. Virginia commented that a strong America gives Romanians faith in democracy and capitalism.
“When America has a President that stands for faith and freedom, it is a sign to the people of Europe. Ted Cruz's election shows that America is still trying to preserve conservative values.”
Virginia is currently founding a Romanian Tea Party with the FreedomWorks.
For the grassroots, the Cruz win is not only about Texas, but about America. It is about restoring what conservatism means.
And for these activists, a win proves their point, gives them a mandate... and they’re on to the next race.
Watch a video slideshow of grassroots activists for Cruz below: