Republican Ted Cruz of Texas and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont may be polar opposites on the political spectrum, but Cruz says he sympathizes with Sanders' complaints about a rigged system because he thinks he was cheated, too.
Cruz was trailing Republican nominee Donald Trump by several hundred delegates by the time he suspended his campaign, but told Politico he believed he would have defeated Trump for the party's nomination if the businessman didn't benefit from "$500 million in free media."
Trump would "lose state after state after state and the media would say that he can’t be beaten ... and the media liked to paint me as some whacked-out theocrat,” Cruz said on Politico's "Off Message" podcast.
Not only does Cruz have a beef with Fox News, saying the conservative cable news network was biased in favor of Trump, but he told Politico he also believes there was "collusion" on the part of the mainstream media to help Trump win the nomination.
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“Four weeks before we dropped out, we were winning the race,” Cruz said. “Eighty percent of [Marco Rubio’s] supporters came to us and the party was unifying behind us. ... In the 30 days before [the] Indiana primary, Trump got $500 million in free media, 90 percent was positive. What the media said on every station is, ‘Trump is unbeatable, he can’t be beaten’ — while he’s losing.”
The conspiracy, according to Cruz, was executed by "mainstream media players" who are "liberal Democrats" hell-bent on helping Trump secure the nomination because they feel the real estate mogul is "the easiest candidate for Hillary to beat."
Unlike the Democratic National Committee and its chairwoman, Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, the Republican National Committee did not prearrange delegates for the Trump campaign. While Wasserman-Schultz withheld the Sanders campaign's access to a crucial voter database, talked up Hillary Clinton on cable news, and did not discipline another top DNC official who openly campaigned for Clinton, RNC chairman Reince Priebus sought to remain neutral despite enormous pressure from groups within the Republican party that sought to deny Trump the nomination.
Still, Cruz told Politico he sees himself as a victim of a media conspiracy that targeted him and Sanders.
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“I think Hillary’s nomination and I think Donald Trump’s nomination, I think the media played decisive roles in both of them,” Cruz said. “We saw media as decision makers in primaries in a way we have never seen before.”