By Mike Pomranz
Updated January 08, 2020
Credit: © Scott Olson/Getty Images

Some political candidates like to focus on wedge issues. Ted Cruz however, has turned his sights to potato wedge issues.

The Republican presidential candidate and Texas senator dispatched with his biggest political rival last night, Donald Trump, at last night’s Iowa caucuses. Many are crediting Cruz’s success in Iowa to his constant physical presence throughout the state, which included appeals to people of all demographics: even French fry loving school children.

“Let me say something to the school-aged kids here,” Cruz was quoted as saying in Des Moines the day before the vote. “When Heidi [Cruz’s wife] is first lady, French fries are coming back to the cafeteria.”

Though the French fry position puts Cruz in clear opposition to the Obama administration’s school lunch policy as championed by the First Lady Michele Obama, the appeal is a bit odd considering that most people eating lunch in school cafeterias aren’t eligible to vote. That said, people as young as 17-years-old were allowed to caucus last night, and a candidate should never overlook the all-important “principals-who-occasionally-try-to-act-cool-by-eating-in-the-cafeteria” vote.

And Cruz isn’t the first one to rally around the idea of unhealthy school lunches. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie made a similar statement in Iowa a couple weeks ago, telling a fifth-grader, “If I’m president, back to whatever you want to eat.” Though at this point, prefacing anything Christie says with “if I’m president” pretty much negates the second half of the sentence.

Of course, Cruz can’t credit all his success to his French fry pledge, but name-dropping one of America’s favorite foods certainly didn’t seem to hurt his campaign. My advice for Trump if he wants to recapture momentum in New Hampshire: Make some big statements about mozzarella sticks.