Senator Ted Cruz is using voting records and assigning arbitrary grades to Iowans — a peer pressure tactic Progress Texas says can be successful, if you're not on the ballot.
"Social pressure campaign tactics are proven to work - but there is a catch: it is better for a social pressure effort to be conducted by an entity that is not on the ballot in an upcoming election," Progress Texas Executive Director Ed Espinoza says in an email blast. "In 2014, Progress Texas conducted a large-scale social pressure online effort that delivered four million impressions to a statewide audience of 250,000 drop-off voters in Texas. The result was a statewide increase of one percentage among the target audience that saw the social pressure ads, compared to a control group which saw none of the ads."
Cruz defended the mailers, which were sent out with glaring red letters that say "Voter Violation," telling the Associated Press the mailing was routine.
Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate told media there's no such thing as a voter violation for infrequent voting, the Associated Press reported.
"Cruz's second error is that he straight up lied by assigning letter grades and telling voters that they can improve their score by participating in the Iowa caucuses. Iowa's Republican Secretary State said Cruz is misrepresenting election law," Espinoza says. "What Ted Cruz did was more akin to political intimidation, and thus it could very well backfire."
With all eyes on Iowa tonight
, we'll see whether Cruz's rhetoric and tactics can help him maneuver past New York City real estate mogul Donald Trump, who has insulted his way to the top of the polls.