Now that Ted Cruz is the front runner in Iowa, he is wasting no time reminding voters that Donald Trump isn’t the only one who can dish out racism, sexism, and xenophobia. He rounded out his most recent week of campaigning by telling voters that they should “spank” the former Secretary of State.
Cruz accused Clinton of “lying” to the American public about the Benghazi attack. Never one to let his colleagues get in the way of a good opportunity for grandstanding, Cruz continues to highlight Benghazi as a tool for discrediting Clinton as a candidate. Clearly, the statements of multiple Republican congressmen attesting to the fact that the Benghazi hearings were entirely political in nature, created with the goal of damaging Clinton’s candidacy, aren’t as important as an opportunity to continue to mine the topic for anti-Clinton sentiment.
Calling the attack in Benghazi a “national disgrace” in response to a question from the audience, Cruz went on to draw from his own experience disciplining his five year old daughter to suggest the appropriate punishment for this alleged wrong.
“In my house, if my daughter Catherine, the 5-year-old, says something she knows to be false, she gets a spanking,” Cruz said, according to the Huffington Post. He continued, “In America, the voters have a way of administering a spanking.”
In a matter of seconds, Cruz managed to reignite thoroughly discredited charges against Clinton regarding the Benghazi attack and compare a presidential candidate, former Senator from New York, and former Secretary of State with his five year old daughter, effectively infantilizing one of the front-runners for the highest office in the country.
This isn’t the first time Cruz has taken aim at a high ranking Democrat. It is the first time he suggested that one of his peers deserves a spanking akin to the kind he delivers at home. And there’s only one reason he feels comfortable doing that to this particular candidate.
Hillary Clinton is a woman. To Cruz, all women are fair game when it comes to patriarchal and violent discipline – whether it’s a candidate for the presidency or his young daughters.
In the not-so-distant past, images of men spanking grown women to punish them for the smallest of household infractions were used to sell legitimate items to the public in mainstream advertising. Though we have thankfully moved away from this blatant imagery in the public eye, Cruz’ statement – at a public event as a presidential front-runner – makes it clear that this kind of patriarchal sexism is alive and well in the kind of America Cruz would represent.
Cruz recently blasted the “mainstream media” for an editorial cartoon depicting his daughters as monkeys, saying that the children of candidates are never “fair game.” Unless, that is, inserting his daughters into the conversation helps to discredit a potential opponent in the race for the presidency.