Imagine a politician so desperate to stay relevant that he runs out and takes the most contrary position possible to any rational argument. We don’t have to imagine, though, since we have Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, now a GOP presidential contender.
Cruz, who asked the American people during his announcement speech to imagine his notion of an ideal future, is in big trouble amid stagnant approval ratings. A February poll in our state showed that even Texas Republicans are split between him and Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker for their party’s presidential nomination.
A year and half ago, Cruz seemed like an unstoppable, albeit polarizing, force among conservatives, successfully bullying his colleagues into a government shutdown and stirring debate over whether his being Canadian-born was a bar to the presidency. All the while, his smirk seemed to promise an end to conservative woes.
Today, Cruz is in a very different place. Now, everything he does seems a little funny, out of step or downright odd.
He spends time lashing out at things that don’t exist, like a federal Common Core law. Even after a week of being corrected on this point by several media outlets, he still included it in his candidacy speech.
There’s his ongoing attack on same-sex marriage, which is starting to seem archaic, considering national support for marriage equality crossed into the majority back in 2010, and has only increased ever since.
He continues to rail against net neutrality legislation, apparently preferring the monopolistic control of corporations over equal access and freedom online.
Cruz has even taken the position of supporting a flat tax rate, something hardly surprising, since he thinks IRS agents are better utilized as a supplement to the Border Patrol.
And his stance on climate change is growing more extreme by the day. In a recent interview, he said that “global warming alarmists are the equivalent of the flat-Earthers” and compared himself to Galileo for upholding scientific truth.
There’s barely an issue where his position is anything other than to shame and berate those who believe in rational, reasoned action. The country is catching on to that fact.
It’s clear the rest of the GOP doesn’t stand with Cruz. Despite all their blustery threats over the past couple of months, Republicans continued funding the Department of Homeland Security, failing to persist with their attempt to tie it to anti-immigrant legislation. For Cruz, this must have come as a slap in the face, even while he himself refused to stick his neck out to stall the bill. Instead, he offered criticism of party leadership, as he has in the past. The problem for America is that this criticism seems to be all that Cruz has.
Even the anti-establishment GOP base that has for so long supported Cruz has begun to look elsewhere for the future of the party. It is increasingly obvious that Cruz has nothing to offer the American people, and we’re barely a third of the way through his term. What future bungling can we expect from my home state senator?
Let’s try not to imagine.
Jose Miguel Leyva is a freelance writer and journalist living in El Paso, Texas. He can be reached at email@example.com.