Cruz’s approach is more measured and calculated but his views are just as extreme. He’s the establishment Trump – an insider meticulously catering to outsiders.
Last week it was reported that Texas Senator Ted Cruz had pulled ahead of Donald Trump in certain Iowa polls, and for those who believe Trump to be xenophobic and extremely right wing, Cruz’s rise should be even more concerning. Now, it would still be a long shot for a candidate that is as conservative as Cruz to obtain the Republican nomination, but these are very uncertain times in the tempestuous and rocky land of the GOP. The party -being as fractured as it is- is highly unpredictable, it’s a swirling caldron of traditional and fringe conservatism, a mishmash of wild ideas and a centric moderacy that is being continually dragged further and further to the right. In the last few elections the republican nomination has gone to the more moderate candidates -eg. John McCain, Mitt Romney, but the rise of libertarianism and the Tea Party has changed the landscape considerably since 2012.
Whether he seems like it or not, based upon his stances Ted Cruz definitely has both feet firmly planted on the fringe. According to analysis by fivethirtyeight.com, which took into account voting record, public statements, and who a candidate receives donations from, Cruz is the most conservative candidate that has ever made it to this level. While when compared to Trump, Cruz has stayed relatively quiet on certain hot-button issues, the statements he has made have basically been right in line with Trump’s – just said with a slightly more succinct and measured delivery. It is still the common belief that Trump will flare out, and with Carson’s recent drop, the race remains wide open with the top three prospects being Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and maybe -even still, somehow- Jeb Bush. Bush’s performance in the debate -tomorrow night- will likely seal his fate if it is anything short of transcendent.
So it seems as though Cruz, despite being generally disliked in Washington and beyond, may have a legitimate shot at obtaining the nomination. And if he does, he will be the most extreme candidate to ever make it to the big stage. Back in April, Cruz filed a constitutional amendment to ban gay marriage, he’s called the Plan B pill abortion -and of course- believes that all abortion should be illegal. He wants to completely abolish the IRS, the DOE, the DOC and basically any other government program with an acronym, and he favors a flat tax and a massive sales tax increase to 19%. He believes climate change is primarily a myth and compared Obamacare to Nazi Germany. Although he did not receive the same amount of coverage, Cruz proposed only letting Catholic refugees into the country from Syria, a position that is just as xenophobic and tyrannical as Trump’s.
Cruz’s campaign knows exactly what they’re doing. Unlike other republican nominees, Cruz has yet to condemn Trump’s comments to give Muslims special ID cards and to flat-out ban all Muslims from entering the US. He’s waited to do this in part due to his likely agreement with -at least- a portion of the sentiment, but also because he’s positioning himself to grab those who will eventually flee from Trump. The New York Times obtained audio of Cruz speaking at a fundraiser last week and in it he stated the following about Trump and Carson,
So my approach, much to the frustration of the media, has been to bear hug both of them, and smother them with love… (cont) People run as who they are. I believe gravity will bring both of those campaigns down and the lion’s share of their supporters come to us.
So by Cruz artfully playing this middle ground -living within it in fact- he is appealing to the fringe while still -at least somewhat- maintaining his stature above the true outsider candidates. He’s portraying himself as a more professional and reasonable Trump – he’s Trump light. Or, at least, that’s what he’d have the public believe. It’s a smart move and one that makes the highly religious, Texas Junior Senator a legitimate threat to secure the nomination. But it is still unlikely; if the GOP wants to have a real shot at taking down the democratic nominee, they would be far better off with Rubio, Bush or even Kasich. Cruz is too far to the right to shuffle to the middle for a general election. However, this doesn’t mean it won’t happen, Cruz winning the nomination may still be a long shot, but it is far less of a long shot than a Donald Trump win – and just as scary.
by Jesse Mechanic
Jesse Mechanic is the Editor-in-chief of The Overgrown.