By Ian Anderson
After it was announced that Donald Trump lost the Iowa caucus many people, Republican and Democrat alike, breathed a sigh of relief. Americans awoke the next morning to find a different name on the front page, that of the first term senator from Texas: Ted Cruz.
Unlike Trump, who has switched part affiliation several times in his life, Cruz has impeccable conservative credentials. He is a born again Southern Baptist and an ardent Calvinist, as well a Christian Dominionist, one who believes that the government should be based on a Christian Theocracy. He fought tooth and nail to shut down the federal government when it suited his ideological motives. He has ranted ad infinitum about the “judicial tyranny” of the Supreme Court and is seeking to reverse many decisions. He has also stated that he would go to war with Iran. And it is his warmongering for ideological gain that makes him so dangerous.
Trump has not always been xenophobic and hateful. For much of his life he was a Democrat. His campaign is actually based on an old but proven strategy of appealing to people as a populist reactionary, in his own words, he wants to “make America great again.”
Cruz’s plan is far more calculated. He is appealing to the far right in an effort to bring out just enough ultraconservative voters to win. Trump has gathered support from all walks of life, whereas Cruz is appealing to a small but vocal minority of people who see the world in very stark religious terms. But before I go any further, I’d like to stop and say I have no problem with conservatism or the Republican Party. But Ted Cruz is so far out of line with real conservative values that to me it’s a shame we share a few ideological tenets.
Regardless, the real reason for Cruz being such an anathema to me if his unrestrained support for more wars in the Middle East. He has said he would go to war with Iran, he has said he would launch more ground troops into ISIS territory. Tempting as it may be, it is not the US’s role to stop ISIS. Cruz has implied he would invade other Middle Eastern countries as well.
What has Trump done? Well, other than use mean words, nothing. Sure he wants to build a big stupid wall and throw out thousands of people, but many of them technically shouldn’t be here anyway. It’s an awful xenophobic position to say we should ban Muslim immigration to the United States, but there is precedent for such things. Bigoted and narrow minded as he is, Trump has not claimed to want to go to war with any country that even seems to oppose America. Trump has even said that he thinks he could negotiate with Putin, something Cruz would never do.
So when push comes to shove, which would you prefer? A big stupid wall or seeing tens of thousands of American servicemen and women sent to their deaths for the ideological satisfaction of someone who, only a few years ago, wanted to shut down the American government, and who now wants to lead it. Would you rather have someone who went to an Ivy League school and has billions of dollars, but is still willing to raise money for the less fortunate, or someone who while at Harvard Law school refused to study with people who did not go to Harvard, Princeton, or Yale, and who now claims to be opposed to the “Elites”. I may not like Trump, but compared to Cruz, I’ll take the wall.
For further elaboration on this see Ruth Marcus’s December 2015 column on the issue.