Cruz, like Nixon, is a guy you instinctively want to avoid. There was an alien aspect to Nixon that even his friends found to be off-putting. His enemies, of course, pounced on these things, hence the name “Tricky Dick.” Cruz has this same problem. His friends are not enthusiastic about him, but his enemies are very enthusiastic.
Nixon, like Cruz, was never embraced by the GOP. Eisenhower picked him as his VP, but treated him like bad odor. Ike was universally revered, but Nixon, despite his talents, was despised by the WASP elite of both parties. Democrats hated him for Alger Hiss and Republicans hated him for being low-class. The fact that Nixon was smarter and more knowledgeable about international affairs made things worse as he could not be dismissed as a rube.
Then again, in Nixon’s day, the GOP actually went to the trouble to appear as though they believed in something. Today they can hardly be bothered.
And then there’s that whole 19th-century ethos, explained by Severian:
Pick any 19th century president — the odds are you’ll find a weirdo with limited interpersonal skills. In the newsprint-and-telegraph media era, the President was basically just his party’s designated flak-catcher. Nixon was a Martin van Buren type — an ideas guy, an organizer, a wire-puller, who through a weird confluence of circumstances ended up as the nominee. It’s only the media era, and really the tv era, where you get the “imperial presidency” (in that jerkoff’s condescending but wonderful phrase) and all the hoopla and nonsense that goes along with it. As I’ve said before, Cruz would’ve cleaned up in the 19th century.
And Van Buren, who arrived at the White House from the Andrew Jackson administration — he was Andy’s second-term Vice President — caught plenty of flak just from the Panic of 1837. At any rate, the electorate was disinclined to elevate any sitting Veeps thereafter, including Nixon in 1960; the only one since to break through was Bush 41. (Joe Biden? Don’t get your hopes up.)