Goldman Sachs client/spouse and presidential hopeful Ted Cruz has less than one week left in the New York portion of his "At Least I Ain't Trump" roadshow.
The man who has wrapped himself in an anti-Wall Street populist cloak while deriding "Crony capitalism" and "New York Values" now finds himself desperate to at least make a show in the New York primary. Now he only has to figure out how to raise some cash and make a friend in a state that mostly hates his guts.
Unfortunately for Ted, there's really only one place to go for such things...
This Monday, assorted bankers, traders and Wall Street lawyers will gather inside the neo-Georgian walls of the Harvard Club in midtown Manhattan to write big checks to an unlikely recipient: Ted Cruz.
And, according to Politico, almost everyone involved is pretty annoyed that this event is even happening.
So Cruz and his wife Heidi, currently on unpaid leave from her Goldman Sachs executive position, will gather with donors in New York next week to refill the coffers. Event chairs for the Harvard Club gathering must collect $25,000 each for Cruz. Members of the host committee must commit to bringing in $10,800. Those who donate $2,700 will get to schmooze with the Cruzes at a VIP reception. General admission is $1,000.
Given the formidable stakes, many on Wall Street are paying attention to Cruz's overtures. Some say they dislike both Cruz and Trump, but will come to the aid of Cruz as the lesser evil. Others find Cruz's anti-Wall Street rhetoric, combined with his role in promoting Washington gridlock, too objectionable to overcome.
While it's unclear how much one would have to pay for the chance not to schmooze with Cruz, it seems apparent that many on Wall Street would be eager to pay it. Like Anthony Scaramucci...
“The problem Ted has is, if you are blasting the business community and Wall Street alone for the financial crisis, that is completely unfair because it was a combination of forces that caused it, ” Scaramucci said.
And Ken Langone...
“I couldn’t do it because I just don’t like the guy,” Langone said.
But Cruz's signature mix of personal unlikability and lack of viability hasn't totally alienated everyone...
“There isn’t any enthusiasm for Cruz but people don’t fear him the way they fear Trump,” one prominent fixed-income manager said recently from his midtown conference room with sweeping views of lower Manhattan. “To use a Wall Street term there is less 'beta' with Cruz, less volatility risk, less chance of him doing something crazy that destabilizes markets and the economy.”
Basically, "He's essentially repellant, but we think he's just hollow enough to stay in his lane if he somehow manages to win." Hardly a hearty endorsement.
But this is where the GOP has been heading since last Summer when almost every candidate joined the stampede to cravenly bash Wall Street in an attempt to prove that they were the populist leader of the party. Once Trump hijacked the entire affair, it opened the door on an alternate reality in which Hillary Clinton became a viable option for Reagan Republicans working in finance and unable to delude themselves into backing John Kasich.
Now, Cruz is using bizarre logic to claim that he is the standard bearer of GOP establishment orthodoxy and trying to get Wall Street to buy into his campaign, the same one he has used to bash finance in an attempt to woo Republican Bernie Bros. And that's how a bunch of people end up in a room at the Harvard Club wishing that they were anywhere else and wistfully wondering where it all went wrong.
And if you need more proof of that, just do a quick parsing of this sentence:
One banker who is backing Cruz, but declined to be named, said people should get over their angst and learn to love the Texas firebrand.
"Sure I'll write Heidi Cruz's husband a check, but do I have to put my real name on it?"
Cruz's message to Wall Street: Help me [Politico]