With the midterm elections approaching, Texas senator Ted Cruz penned an editorial in USA Today this week detailing what he’d like a potential Republican-controlled Congress to prioritize in 2015. As you might expect, the list is full of Tea Party staples: repealing Obamacare, cutting taxes, and slashing funding for federal programs. What makes Cruz’s list of Congressional priorities interesting is that it essentially previews what a Cruz 2016 presidential campaign agenda might look like–and it’s not pretty.
As Ted Cruz’s multiple trips to Iowa have suggested, Texas’ junior senator is all-but-confirmed to be running for president in 2016. Though his latest editorial is seemingly a guide for the next Congress, it reads as a list of Cruz’s own personal ambitions. He even references what he believes a newly elected Republican president will do in 2017.
Cruz’s list hits all the talking points he’s perfected over the last two years he’s spent in the Senate running his pre-presidential campaign. He’s big on cutting taxes, arguing for a regressive flat tax to replace all existing taxes. Cruz also wants to abolish the IRS, instead wanting to make taxes “so simple that they could be filled out on a postcard.” If you’re worried about how the government will be able to fund programs that help millions of Americans under a Cruz tax system, don’t be–he also wants to slash government funding for everything, so there won’t be any programs left to fund.
A Cruz presidency would also leave the environment in total disrepair. Cruz’s big suggestion for revitalizing the job market is to get rid of all environmental regulations and open up more jobs in fossil fuel for everyone. He is in favor of building the Keystone XL pipeline, and wants to open up even more protected land for oil exploration. Additionally, Cruz is a proponent of fracking, which he calls “innovative energy technology,” and he wants to stop fracking from being “handcuffed by the federal government.” And of course, he also wants to get rid of regulations on coal production, too.
The item Cruz spends the most time on is, unsurprisingly, repealing Obamacare by any means necessary. Cruz suggests that Congress should continue to waste time and money voting on bills to repeal the Affordable Care Act, because 40+ failed votes and millions of dollars spent apparently isn’t enough for him. Cruz even acknowledges that President Obama will likely veto all the ACA repeal bills, but argues that Republican electoral success in 2014 will leave Democrats feeling threatened enough to vote in favor of repealing Obamacare.
Cruz’s discussion of Obamacare is also where he hints most directly at what he’d do as president, writing, “In 2017, I believe a Republican president will repeal Obamacare in its entirety.” It’s obvious that the Republican president Cruz is referring to is himself, and that his first priority will be leaving millions of Americans without healthcare.
For those who stand in the way of this extreme right-wing agenda, Cruz has strong words:
We will either pass a serious agenda to address the real priorities of the American people — protecting our constitutional rights and pulling us back from the fiscal and economic cliff — or the Democrats will filibuster or veto these bills. And, if they do so, we will have transparency and accountability for the very next election.
As Rebecca Nelson at the National Journal translated:
In other words, the GOP is ready to paint its opponents as unwilling to compromise or get things done. And that strategy should give Cruz a solid foundation for a presidential campaign.
Cruz’s strategy for his 2016 campaign is becoming apparent, and Democrats should take note. It’s clear that he’ll stop at nothing to achieve his presidential ambitions, embracing all kinds of extremism in his attempts to woo the Republican base. But whether that strategy will actually get him elected remains to be seen, and for everyone’s sake, let’s hope it doesn’t.