Cruz-ing to the Presidency: A Look Back at How It Might Have Happened
Courtesy Reader Supported News
“Reader Supported News is the Publication of Origin for this work. Permission to republish is freely granted with credit and a link back to Reader Supported News.”
By William Boardman, Reader Supported News
“I’m running for president, and I hope to earn your support!” –Tweet by Senator Ted Cruz, Texas Republican, on March 23, 2015
wo years from now, conceivably, President Ted Cruz could be nearing the end of his first hundred days as the 45th and second consecutive not-completely-Anglo president of the United States. He would also be the first foreign-born American president since Henry Harrison died in 1841 and the first-ever Cuban-American president born in Canada.
Considered a long shot by conventional wisdom, Cruz spoke of raising an unprecedented amount of money, $40-50 million for the primary campaign alone, twice what others expected to spend. Cruz has long opposed limits on political campaign spending, on the principle that “Money absolutely can be speech.”
Looking back from April 2017, the turning point might well be seen as April 9, 2015, when the news broke that Ted Cruz had been promised $31 million from a four-PAC consortium devoted to “conservative” causes operating under the name Keep the Promise. Other campaigns had thought they would need only $20-30 million for the entire primary campaign, which ends officially in mid-July 2016 when the Republican convention names its nominee (though the race might be effectively decided well before then).
“It is the time for truth. It is the time for liberty. It is the time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.”
– Announcement speech by Ted Cruz at Liberty University, March 23
One of the PACs in the consortium supporting Cruz is reportedly controlled by Robert Mercer, a hedge fund billionaire who rarely gives interviews. His spokesman declined to comment on Keep the Promise in the New York Times, which said Mercer was “one of the most significant conservative donors in the country” and had given more than $15 million since 2012 to support a Mitt Romney PAC and a political fund controlled by the Koch Brothers.
According to the super-PACs’ press release on Business Wire, the treasurer of Keep the Promise is Dathan Voelter, an Austin-based CPA and attorney who has strong personal and family ties to Senator Cruz. According to Voelter:
We’re just getting started. We are committed to raising the resources necessary to promote Senator Cruz in his effort to win the 2016 Republican presidential nomination…. Our goal is to guarantee Senator Cruz can compete against any candidate. Supporters of the Senator now have a powerful vehicle with the resources necessary to aid in his effort to secure the Republican nomination and win back The White House….
The Keep the Promise network of PACs is here to make sure the common-sense, conservative message of Senator Cruz reaches as many ears as possible across America. Keep the Promise can provide the ‘appropriate air cover’ in the battle against Senator Cruz’s opponents in the Washington establishment and on the political left. We plan to support the effort of millions of courageous conservatives who believe 2016 is our last opportunity to ‘keep the promise’ of America for future generations.
“Instead of a federal government that works to undermine our values, imagine a federal government that works to defend the sanctity of human life, and to uphold the sacrament of marriage. 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.”
- Announcement speech by Ted Cruz
Recent U.S. Supreme Court rulings, especiallyCitizens United, have turned the country’s somewhat democratic political process into what amounts to a political free market in which fewer and fewer bidders are rich enough to bid the amount needed to take possession of the national government. For the Supreme Court, money is speech and their creation of an open auction to outsource political office represents their idea of a triumph of free speech. Without really noticing the transition, the United States now lives and breathes in the Supreme Court’s brave new world of privatizing U.S. government.
In the spring of 2015, the future President Cruz was held in low esteem by his Senate colleagues. Senator Harry Reid called him a “schoolyard bully.” Senator John McCain called him a “wacko bird.” This turned out to be an advantage. Cruz was inoculated against being a Washington insider and even his two years as a senator would not be held against him. He was accepted as a real outsider, he was a barbarian at the gates, he was the only candidate with the experience of having actually shut down the government for 16 days.
And for the doubters, there was his father, Rafael Cruz, the evangelical Christian pastor whose story includes his escape from tyranny in Castro’s Cuba, his demand to send President Obama “back to Kenya,” his warning that the media have “an agenda for destroying what this country is all about,” and his exegesis of the plot to use homosexual marriage to establish socialism:
Socialism requires that government becomes your god. That’s why they have to destroy the concept of God. They have to destroy all loyalties except loyalty to the government. That’s what’s behind homosexual marriage. It’s really more about the destruction of the traditional family than about exalting homosexuality, because you need to destroy, also, loyalty to the family.
The elder Cruz, widely perceived as a liability to the presidential Cruz by political sophisticates, turned out to be another inoculation. Cruz’s father helped people see Cruz as moderate, reasonable, someone who had evolved, someone whose past excesses could be forgiven. And forgotten. The messiah effect that so helped Obama into the White House would now help Ted Cruz arrive at the same Oval Office, against all odds.
While the pundits and the talking heads and political pros of all stripes were busy writing Ted Cruz off as a can’t-win candidate, he and his cadre just busied themselves with winning. Cruz told them what he was doing: he was being “disruptive” in the hot new buzzword use of the term, he was applying the “disruptive app.” And disruption worked. Disruption distracted people form whatever they had thought before and helped them forget it. That will all be clear in retrospect from 2017.
“All of our prayers are with the citizens of Ferguson, that the violence will subside and peace will be restored. Reporters should never be detained – a free press is too important – simply for doing their jobs. Civil liberties must be protected, but violence is not the answer. Once the unrest is brought to an end, we should examine carefully what happened to ensure that justice is served.
- Facebook post by Ted Cruz, August 14, 2014
Two years from now it will be all but forgotten that the senator/lawyer from Houston neglected to register the domain name www.TedCruz.com, with risible results. Neglecting to register the domain name www.TedCruzForAmerica.com produced a similar result. The Cruz campaign also neglected to register tedcruz2016 and tedcruz2016.org, but the owner of these sites has fallen into line with the Cruz crew.
The new president’s frequent failure to tell the truth may well come to be considered just another ethnic eccentricity by 2017. Who will then care that in 2015 Politifact analyzed 44 statements by Ted Cruz and found exactly one to be simply “true.” That was when he said: “We have a federal government that thinks they have the authority to regulate our toilet seats.”
More importantly, in two years it won’t matter that of Cruz’s 44 statements:
- 7 were “Mostly True,” such as “Today the top 1 percent earn a higher share of our national income than any year since 1928.
- 7 were “Half True,” as when he said that illegal immigrants were surveyed and “95 percent said we are coming because we’ve been promised amnesty. We are coming because if we get here, we were told that we are allowed to stay, that we will have apermiso.
- 12 were “Mostly False,” such as “I just came back from New Hampshire where there’s snow and ice everywhere. And my view actually is simple. Debates on this should follow science and should follow data. And many of the alarmists on global warming, they’ve got a problem because the science doesn’t back them up. In particular, satellite data demonstrate for the last 17 years, there’s been zero warming.
- 13 were “False,” including ”Small businesses [are] going out of business in record numbers,” as well as the statement that ISIS is “right now crucifying Christians in Iraq, literally nailing Christians to trees“ and the claim that ”the jurisdictions with the strictest gun control laws, almost without exception … have the highest crime rates and the highest murder rates.”
Only four Cruz statements were “Pants on Fire” as in his claim that Barack Obama “began his presidency going on a worldwide apology tour.” This kind of talk would likely be seen as just more proof that Ted Cruz was equally skilled in misleading the American People or the remaining Iranians.
“American officials should not be undermining the elected leaders of our closest allies, especially when Prime Minister Netanyahu’s heroic – even Churchillian – opposition to a nuclear Iran has done such tremendous service to U.S. national security.”
- Facebook post by Ted Cruz, March 18, 2015
At another time, when Ted Cruz tweeted that “Federal govt has no business sticking its nose in education. We need to repeal every word of Common Core,” it seemed like it might make a difference that Common Core is not a federal law that can be repealed. By 2017, the fact that Common Core was not a federal law would have become a talisman of the effectiveness of Ted Cruz politics.
The little girl that Ted Cruz frightened in New Hampshire in March 2015 was probably not the first and would not be the last to be scared into believing in the Texan-American’s worldview:
It is now or never. I don’t think we’ve reached the point of no return yet. But we’re close. We are close! And I believe if we go four or eight more years on this same path, we risk losing the greatest country in the history of the world. Millions of Americans are realizing this isn’t working. The Obama economy is a disaster. Obamacare is a train wreck. And the Obama-Clinton foreign policy of leading from behind – the whole world is on fire…. The world is on fire! Yes! Your world is on fire!
As soon as he announced his candidacy, Ted Cruz started getting lucky with his adversaries, and not just fellow candidate Senator Rand Paul. Longtime Republican congressman and sometime loose cannon Peter King of New York fired off a tweet: “The Republican party and the American people have to be able to find a more qualified candidate for President than Ted Cruz. Shutting down the federal government and reading Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor are the marks of a carnival barker not the leader of the free world.” When a reporter asked King if he would support Cruz as the Republican candidate, King replied: “I hope that day never comes. I will jump off that bridge when we come to it.”
As we will know in April 2017, that day came and went and Peter King would be gone, but he is not all that would be gone. After President Cruz’s first few months in office, all those pesky immigrants would be gone, Obamacare would be gone, the IRS would be gone, the Export-Import Bank would be gone, the Common Core would be gone, and Iran would be gone.
The war on coal would be over. But the world would still be on fire.
William M. Boardman has over 40 years experience in theatre, radio, TV, print journalism, and non-fiction, including 20 years in the Vermont judiciary. He has received honors from Writers Guild of America, Corporation for Public Broadcasting, Vermont Life magazine, and an Emmy Award nomination from the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.