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Ted Cruz in NY: 5 things he needs to do to make inroads

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and his wife

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz and his wife Heidi arrive at the restaurant Sabrosura 2 on April 6, 2016, in the Bronx. The Texas senator was visiting New York in advance of the state's Republican primary on April 19, 2016. Credit: Getty Images / Bryan Thomas

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz made campaign stops in Brooklyn and upstate Thursday. Here are five things the Texas senator needs to do to make inroads in New York:

1. Get relatable fast: He’s a senator from Texas and a Princeton and Harvard Law grad who sometimes looks like the miffed customer in an Arby’s who just sent his order back to the kitchen. Changing style is an uphill climb. Still, Cruz should smile and chat. He should play the tourist, the concerned stranger.

2. Farms and guns: In regions north and west, he can make a connection, perhaps unlike rival Donald Trump, by talking about the Second Amendment and the needs of those in agriculture.

3. Play the system: Under state GOP rules, every congressional district gets three delegates — whether in Republican-rich Nassau or in Republican-starved Bronx. So a couple of hundred voters in a mostly Democratic burg are as valuable as thousands in a GOP stronghold. That hints at a cheap way to pick up delegates, and delegates are Cruz’s goal.

4. Keep punching: Slamming Donald Trump the right way can break through to Republicans immune to the star power of real-estate celebrities. Cruz doesn’t need a majority to gain some delegates. He needs to ride the Trump backlash enough to close the vote gap between them. Not much Cruz can do should John Kasich rise; the main target has to be Trump.

5. Keep the faith: For lack of another obvious connection, religious communities offer a cultural conservative a fair hearing, which is why he’s met Bronx ministers and Orthodox Jewish leaders, who may also be put off by Trump’s more vulgar antics. By contrast, any photo ops with current or former Republican pols really won’t help much.

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