Cruz enters election, crashes party

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Cruz enters election, crashes party

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On Monday, March 23, Ted Cruz (R-TX) became the first big-name politician from either side of the aisle to announce his or her candidacy for president in the 2016 election. In his address to students of Liberty University, Cruz stated, “It is a time for truth, it is a time for liberty, it is a time to reclaim the Constitution of the United States.”

According to the New York Times, both mainstream Republicans and Democrats view Cruz as a divisive figure in the Senate, but he is beloved by many in conservative and evangelical circles.

In addition to being considered an “outsider” in the Republican Party (he has likened himself to Ronald Reagan), his announcement presented an interesting conundrum for the GOP. While the Democrats likely only have a few serious contenders running, including Hilary Clinton at the forefront,  the Republicans have up to a dozen serious contenders. Some of these potential candidates include former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Rep. Marco Rubio (R-FL) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY).

One of our editors believed that many of these potential candidates would serve as smokescreens, receiving much of the backlash from the media, allowing the Republican Party to sort out its most viable presidential candidate.  Predictably, the editor didn’t believe the viable candidate was Cruz, either.  This editor believes that Clinton is also getting most of the backlash from the Democrat side, but she also finds herself in a more advantageous position than Cruz finds himself in.

The editorial board agreed that regardless of who runs in the Republican primary, it is assured that Cruz will bring his “über” conservative views with him.  Due to his popularity and more conservative views, he will likely bring the rest of the Republican candidates to the right as they try to capture the Republican primary before the national election.

Some editors believe this is ultimately to the detriment of the GOP.  Unlike the Democrats, who usually prevent the more radical candidates from running (Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) is as liberal as it gets for the Democrats), mainstream Republican candidates are forced to move right to gain the majority of Republican voters, perhaps leaving them incapable of moving back to the middle to get the moderate vote. For the Republicans, the worst scenario would be Cruz’s sustained influence through the duration of the primaries, forcing candidates like Bush, Christie or Rubio farther to the right than they would like. Meanwhile, Clinton may find herself a much easier path to the Democratic nomination.

Finally, we discussed Ted Cruz’s own prospects in his run for president. While we certainly don’t underestimate his ability to capture the fancy of many conservative voters, he seems to rest too far on the fringe to seriously compete with candidates such as Bush, Christie, Rubio or even Walker, let alone the eventual Democratic contender. Despite our own belief in the inevitability of his defeat, we did agree that Cruz counts himself a contender.

If our predictions ultimately come true, and Cruz ultimately recognizes his defeat, what will his plan be? He’s already a beloved senator from Texas; what more could he accomplish by running for president and not ultimately winning it? Some editors contended that he could be pulling political favors so that he is a favorite for a Cabinet position if a Republican is elected president.

Another suggested that he could become a popular conservative pundit,  similar to former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, or former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin. Others suggested a more modest return to the U.S. Senate. Regardless, the editors believe that Cruz will keep being Cruz, trying to shake things up in the GOP.