Showtime’s The Circus is absolutely the best television coverage of the 2016 Presidential Campaign, loaded with behind-the-scenes access, frank candidate interviews, and swift-footed editing with an artful filmic quality to it. (Though it’s a weekly show airing on Sundays, they’ll often incorporate important events occurring the day before.)
Last night’s episode explored the state of the underdog campaigns after being deflated by strong wins by Trump and Clinton last Tuesday—Kasich, Cruz and, to a lesser degree, Sanders. (Rubio’s dead campaign refused to leave their headquarters. Sad.) In a clip that exemplifies why The Circus is so excellent, so fascinating, here’s journalist Mark Halperin (who hosts the show along with his co-author, John Heilemann) interviewing Jeff Roe, the campaign manager and senior strategist for Ted Cruz, over margaritas at a cantina in Houston.
The setting feels intimate—a candlelight dinner, no less—but the main reason we feel like we’re getting an unprecedented inside look is the candidness with which Roe speaks, characteristic of this show. (Halperin and Heilemann could host a master class in getting defensive subjects to let their guards down.) In the interview, Roe is adamant, almost painfully so, that if/when Kasich drops out of the race, Ted Cruz will all but secure the nomination. At the end, Halperin subconsciously executes a perfect “thinking face” emoji, which is a reflection of how we’re all feeling.
Politics is brutal.