I’ve written enough about Donald Trump, and though he is still leading in the polls, he won’t win the GOP nomination. Prospective GOP voters love to flirt with trash talking demagogues, but will eventually come to their senses and go with a more mainstream candidate. Trump’s star faded a little when Dr. Ben Carson began to connect with evangelicals in Iowa and elsewhere. But after the terror attacks in Paris, Carson’s lack of foreign policy knowledge has proven costly in the polls. By contrast, Trump’s hawkish talking rhetoric on how to deal with terrorism and his general disdain for foreigner’s, chiefly immigrants and refugees, has helped him regain some of the support he had lost to Ben Carson, but only some of it because another candidate is now surging in the polls; another demagogue who is more politically savvy than Trump and Carson and just as dangerous, if not more; his name: Rafael, Edward “Ted” Cruz, the Canadian born, Texas Senator and son of a Cuban refugee.
Watch out for this tough talking, televangelist type demagogue who has considerable oratorical skills. His popularity among evangelicals and tea party extremists is on the rise. And while Americans think very little of the “do nothing” Congress, Cruz has positioned himself as an outsider who has tried to shake things up in the Senate. He hasn’t succeeded in doing much except political grandstanding and pissing off the GOP leadership who have frankly had enough of him. Remember, he spearheaded a government shutdown over funding for Obamacare and then more recently threatened a government shutdown over funding for Planned Parenthood. No one wants a government shutdown.
If you think Trump and Carson are extreme, wait until you look at Cruz a little more closely. He makes the outsiders look moderate by comparison. A little known fact is that the Texas Senator is tied with Utah Senator Mike Lee as the most conservative member of Congress as rated by the Heritage Action, a conservative outfit associated with the Heritage Foundation. Cruz and Lee scored 100% on the Heritage Action Scorecard which tabulates how conservative the 535 members of Congress are. I think this qualifies as extreme given that Cruz is to the right of 533 of the 535 members of Congress whose average score is about 64%. Rand Paul, the libertarian leaning candidate rates at 88%, and Marco Rubio, who many have argued would be more of a mainstream alternative to the “outsiders” is actually much more conservative than many think at 94%. For comparison sake, John McCain, the party’s nominee in 2008, scores on the moderate side at 51%.
So what does Ted Cruz believe? That’s hard to say. Actually, it is easier to articulate the many things he does not believe in including:
the federal government, fair taxation, educational standards, affordable health care, a women’s right to choose, marriage equality, climate change, allowing the undocumented to stay in the country, allowing Syrian refugees into the country, the nuclear deal with Iran, sending ground troops to fight ISIS, tax credits for wind production, high speed rail, paid sick leave, unions, gun control, reducing military spending, the separation of church and state, infrastructure spending and compromise.
What we do know is that he favors the death penalty, shutting down the government when he can’t get his way, and a balanced budget. It is not clear how he plans to balance the budget, while increasing military spending and decreasing taxes, but I guess this doesn’t matter as long as big business prospers and the interest of the 1% remain safe and sound.
Cruz may seem to some like a reasonable alternative to the “outsiders”, but what is clear is that when you get a closer look, his viewpoints are shockingly extreme.