Real-estate mogul Donald Trump pounced on Sunday after Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) faced some backlash over one of the senator’s campaign mailers.
“I think it’s one of the most disgraceful things I have seen in politics,” Trump said in an interview on MSNBC’s “Hardball.”
“I think it’s one of the most horrible things that I have seen in politics,” the Republican presidential front-runner added. “And I have seen pretty bad stuff just like you have.”
Trump was responding to the small firestorm generated by one of Cruz’s recent campaign mailers in Iowa. Cruz is Trump’s top opponent in the state’s caucuses on Monday.
The mailer in question gave supposed grades to both the recipient and his or her neighbours based on their turnout in recent elections. The top of the mailer proclaimed: “VOTING VIOLATION”:
It’s not entirely uncommon trick of political psychology for campaigns to exploit: According to at least one study, people were more likely to vote when informed about the public nature of their voting histories.
Another presidential candidate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Florida), also released a “report card” mailer aiming to use social pressure, although his was slightly softer than Cruz’s and generated less backlash. The New Yorker’s Ryan Lizza also suggested that Cruz’s “voting violation” notice may have fabricated the actual grades assigned to its recipients.
For his part, Cruz defended the mailer by reportedly saying, “I will apologise to no one for using every tool we can to encourage Iowa voters to come out and vote.”