Sen. Ted Cruz is not just the first major candidate to announce a 2016 bid — he’s also the first to make serious moves in the likability primary.

The Texas Republican has been seeking to soften his sometimes rigid public persona throughout his rollout this week: talking about his family background during his campaign launch at Liberty University on Monday, being candidly photographed with his wife and daughters, and adding non-political TV shows to his post-announcement tour.

Cruz’s moves underline the extent to which likability among voters is crucial for presidential candidates in the modern age — and the degree to which it could be a problem for him specifically.