No, the Texas junior senator isn't Ronald Reagan. But then nobody is or ever will be. But like Jughead Jones always said, why not borrow from the best? And that's what Senator Cruz is doing by going full-bore with the use of humor in his ad spots:
Contrary to what a lot of Tea Partiers stubbornly believe, and as I continue to preach, conservatism and constitutionalism do not and will never sell themselves. Right, in other words, does not make might. We have to sell our ideas in a way that appeals beyond our own little bubble to the general electorate beyond. Part and parcel of that reality is that we cannot play into the hands of a media that will always go out of its way to make us look bad and horrible and evil and vile and disgusting and despicable and reprehensible as possible, which is precisely what Donald Trump is going out of his way to do, which is why it is day-glo obvious that he's, wittingly or unwittingly, a Clintonoid plant. We cannot push the racial angle (not that anybody other than Trump would) and the rule of law angle because low information voters won't understand the latter. But the economic angle? That's a different story, and that's precisely the angle that Senator Cruz emphasizes here.
Which brings us back to Reaganite humor over Tea Party anger. I relentlessly point this out as well: the Gipper never compromised his conservative principles in order to "move to the center" in Nixonian fashion; rather, he sold his principles and beliefs to the general electorate in a much more appealing and persuasive fashion by maintaining a sunny, optimistic, tinkle-in-his-eye positivism that LIVs found a lot easier to buy into. After all, if you have a chance to go to, say, a Bill Engvall or Ron White concert or attend a political snarlfest, which would you choose? Most people like to laugh more than they do rage. It's healthier, too.
This is what Senator Cruz is tapping in spots like the one above. He makes a very salable point about the economic impacts of illegal immigration, which blunts Marco Rubio's attempts to paint him as just as big an immigration squish as Rubes, makes a play for blue collar Trumplicans, and manages to also take shots at the Obamedia and the "Washington cartel" as well, all in a way that provides a hearty guffaw or two. And remember what makes a joke work - that there's at least a kernel of truth at its core.
If Senator Cruz keeps this Reaganian mien front & center, he can defuse the media's attempts to depict him as a wild-eyed, rabid, frothing "radical" and make himself look like a lot "safer" of a choice for "swing" voters than his heretofore....well, self-created "wild-eyed, rabid, frothing, radical" reputation would suggest. And that could very well carry him to the White House.
After which he can go back to being the "wild-eyed, rabid, frothing radical" that it's going to take to repair the massive damage inflicted by the, by that time, preceding eight years of catastrophic Obamunism.
But with a twinkle in his eye.