Donald Trump is going to get the Republican nomination. I know. I know. But let’s take a trip down memory lane and consider once more just how rotten a president Sen. Ted Cruz would have made. For though we may not be able to celebrate the presumptive nominee, we can at least revel in schadenfreude for and disappointment of one Rafael “Ted” Cruz.
Indiana spoke and gave all of its Republican delegates to Trump. In one day Cruz’s wife told the press he wasn’t the Zodiac Killer, Cruz told the press his father wasn’t pals with Lee Harvey Oswald, and then Cruz’s campaign was done. Ouch. It’s amazing he managed to sound as classy as he did in his evening campaign suspension (yeah, they always suspend, they never drop out) speech.
Cruz seemed OK once. He seemed like a less libertarian Rand Paul, which might have at least meant he was an improvement over the Republican Party at large. The party despised him, and anyone despised by the GOP establishment is potentially an individual of merit. However, the more powerful Cruz grew and the more the media lights hit him, the more loathsome he became.
After Obergefell v. Hodges made gay marriage a national right in 2015, it felt for a minute like the social cons might shut up. They lost, and we could all go back to eating Chik-fil-A together without guilt. But Cruz wanted to take things back to 2004 when social issues were the great conservative chew toy. He wanted states to pray and to ignore the ruling. He confused religious liberty with “screw you, gay people.”
He didn’t have the time machine necessary to make things quite as bad for the LGBT community as they were during Bush, but Cruz was going to do his best. He was going to let preachers who want to kill gays introduce him at rallies. He was going to spend as much time as possible acting like the hordes of homosexuals had good Christian America against the wall and were about to deliver the coup de grâce.
Hell, when Trump stumbled into a good answer on the whole transgender bathroom debate (namely, that this is an invented problem that people foolishly are demanding laws to fix), Cruz pounced. Trump wants adult “men” in the ladies room with your children and your woman, menaced a Cruz campaign ad. That’s Cruz. Every social issue is a blunt object, and the people being hit may be his political opponents, but they are also marginalized groups aplenty.
Unsurprisingly, Cruz is vehemently anti-abortion and hungry to prosecute Planned Parenthood for any and all crimes. He also managed to alienate moderate Republicans when he trashed them for not voting on whether or not to defund Planned Parenthood. He’s awful on this, like nearly every Republican, but he’s more peeved about it than some. He’s got that evangelical rage about reproductive choice for women that makes him extra dangerous.
SOLD OUT WHERE HE WAS GOOD
And let’s not forget that when Cruz the senator appeared decent on an issue, he often left it behind or at least stopped talking about it the closer he got to the GOP nomination. Criminal Justice Reform Cruz became Let’s Not Be Too Hasty in Letting Baddies out of Prison with Reduced Sentences Cruz.
Boringly, again, for a Republican, Cruz is also pro death penalty and thinks the desperately flawed sex offender registry is a good thing. That’s more tough-on-crime bullshit that can be clung to safely, even if wanting the death penalty for weed sellers is no longer in right-wing fashion. Cruz could be worse on drug reform, but he landed at “federalism good,” “Colorado bad” on legalizing marijuana, and there it seems he will stay until it is safe to move.
Oh, and the Cruz who has said that nation-building is ill-advised is also the one who threatened war against Iran if it ever again briefly detained American sailors who wander into their waters. He’ll make the sand glow and carpet-bomb ISIS. He also doesn’t seem to know that the definition of carpet-bombing is indiscriminate bombing. It’s not just a macho way of saying “bomb a lot.” And remember, he’ll tear the Iran deal to shreds on his first day in office.
IMMIGRATION IS VERY SCARY
OK, so we’re not getting an improvement with Trump, but Cruz was plenty vile about immigrants. He was ready to build a wall, and he wanted to triple the number of border patrol agents. Trump gets rightly hated for making people chant about how swell his wall is going to be and for obsessing over it endlessly. But Cruz isn’t really much better. He wanted police to be granted more powers to investigate immigrants, which would involve harassing immigrants and also Americans (who are more important, obviously.) In February Cruz came out in favor of deporting everyone who was undocumented and in the U.S.
There is more to celebrate than the party’s panicking about the fact of Donald Trump is the presumptive GOP nominee. Trump is not good, but Cruz is a nasty, cynical, socially conservative creep who has become significantly worse during his mere four years in office. Though six more months of Donald Trump is not a good thing, let’s not forget to count our blessings and revel in the joy that there will be no President Ted Cruz. At least until 2020.