Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) announced his candidacy for president today, running for the Republican nomination. The first candidate to do so, Cruz decided to forgo the usual exploratory committee to simply run, likely seeking to enhance his prospects by getting early attention. Here are a few things you need to know about him, and his run:
Cruz is as far-right as they come…
His acceptance speech makes his ideals clear: he didn’t even try to appeal to moderation. His ideals have not changed since he entered the Senate in 2013. A comparison of his CPAC keynote speech in 2013 and his acceptance speech makes that clear. Take a look at the major issues:
2013: “The 2nd Amendment provides that the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed. Now what part of shall not be infringed do they not understand.”
2015: “Instead of a government that works to undermine our Second Amendment rights, that seeks to ban our ammunition imagine a federal government that protects the right to keep and bear arms of all law-abiding Americans.”
2013: “We need to repeal Obamacare.”
2015: “Instead of the joblessness, instead of the millions forced into part-time work, instead of the millions who’ve lost their health insurance, lost their doctors, have faced skyrocketing health insurance premiums, imagine in 2017 a new president signing legislation repealing every word of Obamacare.”
2013: “Because Obama didn’t learn the lesson from Reagan that if you want to turn the economy around you cut taxes, you reduce spending, you reduce the debt and you don’t send regulators like locusts to destroy small businesses and jobs.”
2015: “Instead of a tax code that crushes innovation, that imposes burdens on families struggling to make ends met, imagine a simple flat tax…”
Cruz has held fast on other issues as well, including saying no to same-sex marriages, abolishing the IRS, and auditing the Federal Reserve. All ideas that are, indeed, as Republican as they come. But he faces a few challenges in this race.
Birthers, Money, and Primaries: He doesn’t have much going for him…
Ted Cruz is coming out early, but that doesn’t mean he’ll get the first infusions of cash. It doesn’t mean he doesn’t have some controversy in the eligibility discussion. And it definitely doesn’t mean he’ll grab early support.
Cruz is challenged firstly by the question of his eligibility. Democrats, who despaired at the common myth that Obama was born in Kenya and thus not eligible to run for president, are delighted to be able to get back at Tea Party darling Ted Cruz. Born in Canada, there are some arguments that he cannot run for President, as only a “natural-born” US citizen can. While this argument doesn’t appear destined to go far, it is certain to provide for great punditry and humorous jabs at Cruz, who was elected by many of the people who doubted Obama’s eligibility.
Yet another problem is that Cruz is starting at a heavy disadvantage in the primary polls. He is starting less support than anyone since Bill Clinton, in a field that can actually be fairly accurately predicted from a year out.
The biggest problem Cruz faces, however, is that much of the money he’d need to get a solid run in the primaries is already being snatched up by…Jeb Bush. Bush’s formidable war chest has grown exponentially already, as he locked in donors quite early. While Cruz’s Super PAC gave roughly $143,200 over the course of 2013 and 2014 to Republican candidates and committees,Jeb Bush’s PAC handed out $122,800 in the first five weeks of its existence, showing the disparity in fundraising ability quite clearly.
Do we want Ted Cruz?
Ted Cruz paints a rosy picture. He draws on imagery we associate with good times under Reagan, and his idealistic view is helped by his painting himself as a grassroots candidate as well. But are his ideas any good?
Policy Realities: Not Cruz’s Friend
Ted Cruz is in favor of a number of policies that would wreck the U.S economy, if not the world economy. Among them are:
- Abolishing the IRS – This would effectively remove the most effective tax enforcement agency we have. Indeed, for every dollar we spend on the IRS, we get $6 back, according to the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities.
- Abolishing Obamacare – Obamacare is here to stay. Getting rid of it now would leave the markets in chaos, and it would leave uninsured the roughly 20 million people who have gained health care thanks to the reform.
- Securing the borders – This sounds fantastic in theory. However, securing the border wouldcost at least $28 billion more dollars per year, and provide negligible help (not sealing it until 2019). But why would we want to seal it, when immigrants have a positive effect on the economy and employment, if they have any effect?
These types of policies that Ted Cruz pushes go on and on without end. Unfortunately, Cruz represents an ideology that doesn’t quite mesh with reality. And given his other difficulties in eligibility, fundraising, primary support, and the like, he’s got a huge challenge, he refuses to moderate, and those factors will make it extremely unlikely that he will win.
Sorry Ted Cruz, maybe next time. You may want to work on your strategy some first.