I have no idea if rumors are true that Ted Cruz has had extra-marital affairs. I don’t really care because I’ve already declared the Republican Primary is done, and Mr. Trump is the winner.
However it is interesting, from a mass influence/propaganda point of view, to see how these charges are building support. To illustrate, here is an old example:
A number of years ago a rumor started that Hillary Clinton was a lesbian. I saw it in the tabloids, I saw it on the internet, and I heard if from a friend who said a friend of his was on the Secret Service detail and he had heard from others that Hillary Clinton was a lesbian. And of course, my friends were talking about it.
So I had half dozen different sources telling me Hillary Clinton was a lesbian, and I started to say “hmmmm…this is probably true!” This is the nature of propaganda, when you hear something multiple times and from different directions you begin to believe it.
The only problem was when I actually thought about it, none of these sources were even remotely reliable. In fact, the sources all had a vested interest in propagating the juicy rumor of Hillary’s lesbianism, not in telling the truth (I have to admit still don’t know that Hillary is a lesbian…).
There are a lot of principles of psychology involved in this, but it that’s how propaganda works in everyday marketing. You see a commercial message many times, branding campaigns repeat a lot on different media. The same was true in classic propaganda states, the old Soviet Union, China, Nazi Germany, etc. If you can finish this jingle “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce…”, or if you are older “please, please don’t be a litterbug, ’cause…” then you understand how powerful this can be.
Ted Cruz has been attacked from multiple directions, the Enquirer has published a story, the hacker group Anonymous has published a video, a variety of news sources have covered it as a “rumor”, and of course Cruz has vehemently denied it (perhaps “he doth protest too much”) and blamed it on Trump, kicking off the next news cycle.
None of these sources have any reliability whatsoever and the rumors were likely made up from nothing. I’ve looked through the coverage, at the time of this writing there is absolutely no proof from any reliable source that Cruz cheated on his wife. I have no reason to believe it, but perhaps I am starting to, because of the chorus that follows it. It’s just human nature.
But Senator Cruz has to deal with it, and deal with it very carefully.
Because perception is reality. If the perception is a cheating Cruz, the reality is a loss of votes, it matters not a whit if the rumors are true or completely false.