Political Profile for Week Five: Senator Ted Cruz

5. Ted Cruz, Junior Senator from Texas:
Basic Background Information

  • 44 years old
  • Graduated from Princeton University
  • Received law degree from Harvard University
  • Was a law clerk for Chief Justice William Rehnquist
  • Briefly practiced law
  • Served Governor George W. Bush as a domestic policy adviser
  • Served as associate deputy attorney general in the US Justice Department
  • Solicitor General of Texas from 2003-2008
  • Practiced law again briefly
  • Became the junior senator from Texas in 2012

5. Ted Cruz Political Profile

  • Well suited for the states that have early primaries/caucuses

–Iowa-yes, New-Hampshire-No

  • Skeletons in the closet (that we know about)

–Canadian citizenship-probably a non-issue, but could be used against him.

–Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, associates with extreme right wing figures and has a propensity to make incendiary and sometimes insane comments. Rafael Cruz has also shown a willingness to get involved in political matters/endorse candidates that could cause further embarrassment (http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2013/11/07/the-six-craziest-quotes-from-ted-cruz-s-father-rafael-cruz.html).

  • Candidate’s Weaknesses: Ties to unpopular positions or politicians?

–Unpopular politicians: Cruz has embraced being one of Sarah Palin’s favorite politicians.

–Cruz’s role in instigating the government shutdown has made him many enemies amongst “establishment” Republicans.

–Unpopular positions for the Republican primary:

  • Nothing major.

–Unpopular positions for the general election:

  • Pro-life with the life of the mother as the only exception.
  • Personally opposes same-sex marriage; let individual states decide.
  • Opposes gun control.
  • Opposes a path to citizenship for illegal immigrants (opposed the Senate’s immigration bill)
  • Supports privatizing social security.
  • Face of the government shutdown and Tea Party radicalism.

–No experience governing (not a governor)

–Abrasive personality.

–Largely seen as an unelectable Republican.

Has only served two years in the senate

  • What is this candidate’s selling points?

–The Tea Party may not be the biggest segment of the Republican electorate, but it is the most passionate, vocal, and fastest growing. Many Tea Party activists would support a Cruz bid.

  • The Tea Party adores Cruz. Becoming the face of the movement.
  • The Tea Party’s backing is extremely important in a Republican primary and Cruz seems likely to win it.

–Seems especially beloved by Iowans, which would prove useful in the important Iowa caucus.

–For whatever you think of his politics or his strategy, he is extremely smart. Did not just attend ivy league schools, excelled there.

–Has a history of being an excellent debater. We have seen candidates who were skilled debaters directly benefit from the frequent debates during the Republican primary season (see Newt Gingrich in 2012).

–May just be capable of taking tea party aims and articulating a coherent vision for America.

–At present, Cruz is personally despised by much of the Republican establishment, thanks to his antics and reputation for not being a team player. For many Republicans, drawing the ire of the establishment is an asset not a drawback.

  • Best suited for the general election or primaries? Establishment or outsider candidate?

–Republican primaries and its not close. Still seems far too conservative to be a viable general election candidate. Identifies as an outsider, behaves like an outsider, but in many ways, his background says otherwise.

  • Trending upward, downward , or neither. Why?

–Neither- His role in the government shutdown hurt his chances amongst the general population, but it did make him extremely popular with the Tea Party and dramatically increased his name recognition.

  • On a scale of 1-10 (with ten being certain to run) how likely is he to run?

–Eight. Cruz seems likely to run, but he is relatively young and can afford to bide his time if he doesn’t feel ready. He has not made an announcement either way yet.

Ted Cruz: Key Questions

  • Can Cruz overcome the unelectable argument to win the Republican nomination?
  • Can Cruz inspire a powerful enough grassroots conservative movement to overcome the Republican establishment?

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