From the moment he launched his presidential bid, conventional wisdom said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wouldn’t even get close to becoming president. This week Cruz won the Iowa Caucuses, and got a little closer to the White House. Here’s why that should scare you.
Cruz’s win surprised a lot of people, especially (former?) frontrunner Donald Trump. It’s tempting to breathe a sigh of relief, and count Cruz’s win as the beginning of the end of Trump’s candidacy. But let’s not kid ourselves. Cruz is every bit as bad as Trump — if not worse. Let’s take a moment to remember what Ted Cruz wants to do to America.
Ted Cruz’s Agenda
As a senator, Cruz has had a lot to say about the Affordable Care Act. He’s compared failing to fight the laws implementation to appeasing Adolf Hitler. He’s pledged to repeal “every single word” of the law, and claimed the GOP could even do so while Obama is still in office. He led a Republican effort to defund the law, that shut the government down for more than two weeks, and cost the economy over $24 billion.
What does Cruz have in mind over 16 million Americans who would lose their coverage? Cruz’s health care plan is basically the same conservative ideas that we already know won’t work.
Cruz wants to allow people to buy insurance across state lines, giving insurers a “Get Out of Regulations Free” card, and starting a race to the bottom. Cruz wants to expand health savings accounts that favor the well and the wealthy, leaving those who can’t afford to save much, can’t use tax breaks, and have huge medical bills no better off.
A Republican Congress would almost certainly repeal “every single word” of the Affordable Care Act, and “President Cruz” would absolutely sign it.
Cruz wears his climate change denialism as a badge of honor. He told late night host Seth Meyers that the earth is not getting warmer.
Still, Cruz wants to have it both ways. He voted for a resolution saying that climate change is real, but stopped short of specifying whether human activity was the cause. He said that people who believe that global warming is real are “the equivalent of the flat-Earthers.” Not even 35 trillion gallons of water falling on Texas, washing away homes, and killing 28 people was enough to get Cruz to consider the climate change implications of floods in his own state.
Cruz is on record as wanting to beef up oil and gas production in the name of “energy independence.”
I will embrace an energy policy that utilizes the bountiful resources in this land – from oil to natural gas to ethanol – producing abundant and affordable gas and electricity resources. We are on the verge of an American energy renaissance, and I will lift the regulations that are prohibiting exploration, the Keystone pipeline, and job creation.
Cruz has less to say about fossil fuel independence. There’s at least one reason why. Cruz holds about $850,000 worth of stock in oil- and gas-related companies. So, he would make out like a bandit under his own plan, thanks to his investments.
As if shutting down the government and costing the economy $24 million wasn’t enough, Cruz nearly drove the economy off a fiscal cliff when he filibustered against raising the debt ceiling, and he’s already hinted that as president he might drive us right into default. Cruz also supports legislation requiring the Federal Reserve to “fully open its books,” and let politicians like him get into the mix of setting interest rates.
- A flat 10% tax on individual income (labor and investments)—down from top rates today of 43.4% on labor and 23.8% on capital gains and dividends
- No payroll taxes (15.3% for most people today), corporate income tax (average rate about 13% today), or estate tax
- A 19% value-added tax (16% of gross business receipts, including the tax)
That’s a big chunk of tax revenue gone — $3.6 trillion over 10 years — and 60 percent of the tax cut goes to the top 1 percent.
What do we already know about tax cuts for the wealthy? They don’t stimulate the economy. They don’t create jobs, because the wealthy don’t spend their tax cuts. They don’t increase revenues. They reduce revenues, and the rest of us end up paying more taxes.
With the support of a Republican Congress, “President Cruz” could accomplish what Republicans have been dreaming of for decades: end Social Security. In an interview with CNBC’s John Harwood, Cruz praised George W. Bush’s second term “Social Security reform” efforts, and said that he would increase the retirement age, cut Social Security benefits, and privatize the system. Not for current seniors, whose votes he still needs, but for younger workers.
Given his own billionaire sugar daddies, high-dollar donors, and ties to Wall Street, Cruz is quite happy with what Citizens United has wrought. It’s no wonder Cruz claimed that Democratic efforts to amend the Constitution to give Congress the power to regulate campaign financing wanted to “repeal the first amendment.” Not only that, Cruz said that “Fahrenheit 451 Democrats” would end up banning books and movies, and land “Saturday Night Live” producer Lorne Michaels in jail.
As president, Cruz would revert back to the “cowboy” foreign policy of the most recent Bush administration. Following the terrorist attacks in Paris, Cruz practically called for a nuclear apocalypse at the Rising Tide Summit in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. “We will carpet bomb [ISIS] into oblivion,” Cruz said. “I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out.” Cruz’s poll numbers rose immediately after his remarks. Not only would “carpet bombing” and “saturation bombing” regions in Iraq and Syria that are controlled by ISIS be a war crime, but Cruz doesn’t seem to know what either term actually means.
Cruz told the audience at the Value Voters Summit in Washington, DC, “If you vote for me, under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons. And if the ayatollah doesn’t understand that, we may have to help introduce him to his 72 virgins.” Things like Cruz’s threat to kill Iran’s Ayatollah set back efforts to find a way of halting Iran’s nuclear enrichment program without launching another, costly, deadly war in the the Middle East.
Despite being the son of a Cuban immigrant, Cruz talks continuously about the need to secure the border, and put an end to sanctuary cities. Though he once said it was a “mistake,” Ted Cruz has said that he “absolutely” supports ending automatic citizenship for children born on US soil. He opposes a path to citizenship for the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the US. He also opposes the US accepting any Syrian Muslim refugees, and says he understands Donald Trumps desire to bar all Muslims (citizens abroad included) from entering the United States.
Cruz is an old school “culture warrior,” who courts religious conservatives the old fashioned way: with homophobic fear-mongering and opposition to LGBT equality.
Even before the Supreme Court heard arguments on marriage equality, Cruz filed two bills to protect states that barred same-sex couples from marrying: one establishing a constitutional amendment shielding states that banned same-sex marriage from legal action, and another barring federal courts from ruling on the issue until the amendment passed.
After the Supreme Court ruled in favor of marriage equality, Cruz told a Georgia audience that he hoped the ruling would spark a “raging inferno” of opposition. (He also suggested that many Republican officials responded to the ruling by “publicly issuing critical statements and privately going in the backroom popping champagne and celebrating.”
Cruz proposed making Supreme Court justices win an election every eight years to keep their spots on the bench. Even Fox News host Megyn Kelly recognized how ridiculous that was. In an interview with conservative commentator Robert George, Cruz claimed that the president can and should simply ignore the Court’s “fundamentally illegitimate” ruling. Conservative attorney and gay rights activist Ted Olson said bluntly, “most graduates of the Harvard Law School know” an amendment to change Article III of the Constitution would be DOA.
- Cruz joined other GOP presidential candidates in backing Indiana’s “religious freedom” law, which would allow businesses to deny service to LGBT people for religious reasons.
- Cruz told an Iowa audience that LGBT Americans were waging a “rainbow jihad” against Christians who wanted to discriminate against them.
- In an interview with Dana Loesch, Cruz said that banning discrimination against LGBT people in public services was like forcing a rabbi to “violate kosher and go consume pork.”
- When the backlash against anti-gay “religious freedom” laws sent states like Indiana, Georgia, and Arkansas scrambling to rewrite their bills to make them seem less bigoted, Cruz blamed Fortune 500 companies for “shamelessly” pushing the “radical gay agenda,” by refusing to do business in states where their employees might face legalized discrimination.
- Without a hint of irony, Cruz accused “the left” of being “obsessed with sex,” for being concerned with LGBT equality.
- Cruz even suggested that Democrats were so “obsessed with sex” that they were actually pushing for “mandatory same-sex marriage.”
- Cruz rushed to defend Kentucky county clerk Kim Davis, who was ultimately jailed for contempt after she ignored a court order and refused to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. “Today, judicial lawlessness crossed into judicial tyranny,” Cruz said.
- Cruz has even contemplated bringing back “Don’t ask, don’t tell,” and has accused President Obama of viewing the military as a “cauldron for social experiments.”
Despite the above, Cruz sat down for a “fireside chat” on Fire Island, with gay New York hotelier Mati Weiderpass. News of the meeting led protests against Weiderpass, and calls for the LGBT community to boycott his businesses. In fact, Weiderpass suffered more than Cruz, who lost none of his evangelical support.
Reproductive choice has always been one of Cruz’s go-to issues to establish his religious conservative credentials.
- In Texas, Cruz worked to make it harder for women to receive abortions. As the state’s solicitor general, he defended a federal law banning late-term abortions. He led the Senate GOP’s effort to defund Planned Parenthood.
- In an interview with right-wing commentator Robert George, Cruz claimed that abortion could be “outlawed” by using legislation to do an “end run” around the Supreme Court, and grant fetuses protection under the 14th Amendment’s Equal Protections Clause.
- Cruz sponsored a Senate version of a House Republican resolution to overturn Washington, DC’s law aimed at stopping employers from firing workers for having abortions or using contraception. So much for democracy.
- When the hoax Planned Parenthood videos came out, Cruz eagerly hopped aboard the conspiracy theory bandwagon and accused the “mainstream media” of doing “everything they can to hide these videos from the American people.” Never mind that many major media outlets covered the videos — and debunked them.
- Cruz even demanded that the National Portrait Gallery remove a bust of Planned Parenthood founder Margaret Sanger from its “Struggle for Justice” exhibit, featuring well-known social movement leaders.