New Line Cinema

Ted Cruz is the Bond villain of the 2016 race.

In addition to their predilection for white cats and killing people in needlessly complicated ways, Bond villains are known for revealing all their diabolical plans at the moment when it seems victory is in their grasp. As my colleague Elspeth Reeve has noted, Cruz can’t stop gabbing about his not-so-stealth strategy to win the Republican nomination, which basically amounts to being the guy who picks up all the pieces once his rivals fall by the wayside. (In another echo of the Bond universe, his approach to the likes of Donald Trump is the political version of Goldfinger’s line, “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to die.”)

Cruz went even further this week, spelling out in explicit detail what political observers have already surmised: that he won’t criticize his rivals, even when they say awful things, because he wants their supporters in his camp. “[M]y approach, much to the frustration of the media, has been to bear hug both” Ben Carson and Trump, he told supporters at a private fundraiser in New York, according to recorded remarks obtained by The New York Times, “and smother them with love.”

So far, it’s working, as Cruz’s recent rise in the polls appears to have come at the expense of the fading Carson. Will other candidates in the race catch on to his obvious scheme? Is there a Bond to Cruz’s Goldfinger?