Republican presidential contender and Texas Sen. Ted Cruz speaks in New Hampshire in April. (Andrew Cline / Shutterstock)

Clearly, Donald Trump has maintained his stranglehold on the media and certain swaths of the American population since he arrived, all bombast and swagger, on the 2016 election scene back in June. But according to The Washington Post’s Chris Cillizza, Trump is actually not the one to watch — or beat.

It’s also a given that there’s no shortage of big claims about the presidential contest coming from media sources of all descriptions, and that’s not likely to slow down anytime soon. That said, Cillizza comes prepared to this discussion with a series of supporting material to back up his thesis that it’s actually Ted Cruz who’ll emerge victorious in the GOP nomination sweepstakes:

Let me elaborate.

1. Cruz is positioned as the most conservative candidate in the race. Although Trump gets all the attention for his over-the-top statements, Cruz has staked out a position on the far right on virtually every major hot-button issue, including immigration, Obamacare, national security and the fight against the Islamic State militant group. And, tonally, Cruz comes across as aggressively and unapologetically conservative — a less controversial and more electable version of real estate magnate Trump.

2. Cruz has raised the second-most money in the Republican race. Bet you didn’t know that! Yes, former Florida governor Jeb Bush is by far and away the fundraising leader in the race. Not only did we know that would be the case, but we also now know that it has done him, roughly, zero good. Cruz’s money, on the other hand, is — or at least was — unexpected.

[…] Cruz is the best-case scenario for those who want to see a movement conservative nominated: He’s of the conservative movement but has the fundraising ability of an establishment Republican.

3. Cruz is the Iowa front-runner. Recent history makes clear that you need to win one of the first three states — Iowa, New Hampshire or South Carolina — to have a realistic chance of being the party’s nominee.

If this prediction is on point, it’s likely to be reflected in the rhetoric of both Cruz’s Republican cohort and his Democrat opponents in the next round of presidential debates for both parties this week.

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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