We are all still processing Ted Cruz's predictable, but depressing, win last week. The margin is no more encouraging than thinking of six upcoming years of Senator Ted Cruz: he won with 56.63%, to Paul Sadler's 40.45%. That's a larger margin than Mitt Romney's win over Obama in the state, 57.20% to 41.36%.
Some of that is due to some voters making a selection only in the presidential race, but it appears that Cruz won at least some Hispanic voters. Blogger Charles Kuffner notes that there appear to have been a handful of Obama/Cruz voters in some heavily Hispanic counties, but this should not necessarily be attributed to Cruz's personal appeal to Hispanics:
[T]he Senate race was mostly below the radar, with Cruz avoiding debates and not running many ads, while Sadler barely had the money to do any advertising - so it's not too shocking. Because of all this, I'd be careful about drawing any firm conclusions regarding Cruz and Latino voters. Latino voters have a stronger belief in the role of government and by a sizable majority support the Affordable Care Act and believe that the federal government should ensure that all people have access to health insurance. Needless to say, these views are incompatible with those of Ted Cruz. Unfortunately, we'll have to wait till 2018 to see how these voters will behave when they have a fuller understanding of what Ted Cruz is about.
I believe very strongly that Ted Cruz is about to get a national reputation for being a divisive, do-nothing, corporatist senator. Except Cruz will be more grating than most, since he's so damn smarmy. He's a bad candidate for a 2018 Texas much more friendly to Democrats.
Even Cruz acknowledges his, and his party's, grim path. "If Republicans do not do better in the Hispanic community, in a few short years Republicans will no longer be the majority party in our state," he said this week. He continued:
"If that happens, no Republican will ever again win the White House," he said. "New York and California are for the foreseeable future unalterably Democrat. If Texas turns bright blue, the Electoral College math is simple. We won't be talking about Ohio, we won't be talking about Florida or Virginia, because it won't matter. If Texas is bright blue, you can't get to two-seventy electoral votes. The Republican Party would cease to exist. We would become like the Whig Party."
Take it from Ted Cruz: Texas is turning blue - and soon. His party has no plans to woo Hispanics other than to trot out Hispanic candidates like Cruz and Rubio who are viciously anti-immigrant and have (corporatist) economic views utterly objectionable to most Hispanics. Some have pointed out that the Tea Party has actually fostered more victorious minority Republicans than the establishment Republican Party did before 2010. That's true, but those candidates are Uncle Tom's like Mia Love and Allen West who grow very unpopular very quickly because they're terrible and hold views anathema to American progress. How strange it must be for Cruz to be a big victor in a party that is both losing and dying.
On Friday (ridiculous), Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler sat down for their final televised debate because Cruz is a scaredy cat. He only agreed to two debates with Sadler because he doesn't want to risk this becoming, you know, a race for Senate.
Anyway, it was less confrontational than the last debate, but had notable exchanges nevertheless. When asked about how they would solve the "problem of doctors not seeing Medicaid patients," Cruz said he wants Americans to purchase insurance "across state lines" which would "lower costs" and "allow more people to be covered." What that means, if you don't know, is throw Americans to the wolves and let insurance companies run roughshod over them. Sadler pointed this out and said he was "not afraid" to look at raising some taxes because "some services are too important."
That's great. It really is. People worried about Sadler not being a progressive in the primaries, and he's not, but he is willing to take unusually strong (and necessary progressive stances). The Sadler team may have seen polls showing that Americans are actual in favor of raising taxes - especially on the rich - to keep certain services like Medicaid and Social Security. It's smart policy and it's smart politics. Sadler is making a contribution with his willingness to stick his neck out to say the common sense and popular things...the Democrats too often don't say.
When the candidates were asked about a life event that displays their character, Cruz acted like Cruz and cited that time he challenged the Bush Administration for permission to execute a Mexican national in Texas. Oohh, bold, you malicious loser. Cruz may have well said, "Despite my heritage, I hate Hispanics and love state killing, so vote for me." Sadler gave a great answer about the car accident that put his son in a four-and-a-half day coma. He said it solidified what's important in life.
Check out the Texas Tribune's liveblog for more details.
Cruz's New Ad
Cruz has a positive direct-to-camera ad called "American Dream" out this week. He sounds just like his primary self, so confident that he'll win that he's making the same conservative pitch about "limiting government" to the general electorate. His campaign is asking supports for $100,000 to air the ad.
Libertarian John Jay Myers Releases First Ad
John Jay Myers has been completely under the radar for the whole campaign. Not entirely his own fault - the mainstream media mostly ignores third party candidates, and when they're discussed, they're joked about as quixotic or loopy.
John Jay Myers, the Libertarian candidate for Texas's Senate seat, released his first ad yesterday in conjunction with the first day of early voting in Texas.
"We need to end crony capitalism in Washington... We need to end the wars and bring our troops home, we can no longer afford to be the world's police," Myers says in the ad. "...You should be able to eat, drink or smoke whatever it is you like and it's certainly not the government's business to tell you who you can marry."
Amen, mostly. Myers is calling out the major, fundamental problem in America while speaking about social liberties. Despite his limited stature in this race, that's a very good thing.
The San Antonio Express-News, the city's largest newspaper, has endorsed Paul Sadler for Senate. Here's their endorsement, with the best points in bold.
Paul Sadler is the right choice for Texas
Former state Rep. Paul Sadler is unequivocally the right choice on the Nov. 6 ballot to represent Texas in the U.S. Senate.
Sadler has a strong record as an effective legislator who understands the need to work with both sides of the aisle.
The Democrat is best known for his impressive work teaming up with former Republican state Sen. Bill Ratliff to rewrite the state's education code in 1995 in a bipartisan effort.
A legislator for six terms from 1991-2003, Sadler rose in the Texas House to be chairman of the House Public Education Committee and was named one of Texas Monthly's 10 best legislators four times.
Sadler is a pragmatic problem-solver, who advocates a balanced approach to ending the national deficit and comprehensive immigration reform that includes a pathway to citizenship for law-abiding immigrants, a work visa program and the DREAM Act.
Republican nominee Ted Cruz, a tea party favorite and a former state solicitor general, is touting troubling policy proposals that would not serve the state well.
Cruz voiced support for building a wall along the Texas-Mexico border and opposition to any citizenship plan for illegal immigrants, unrealistic policies that would be harmful to the Texas and national economy.
Cruz also is advocating the abolishment of the Department of Education, the Department of Commerce, the Department of Energy and the Internal Revenue Service.
The federal government undoubtedly is bloated and spending cuts are essential, but Cruz's proposed remedies are too extreme.
Despite the fact that Democrats have not won a statewide race in Texas since 1994, the party's nominee is a strong, able candidate.
Texans would be well served by sending Sadler to Washington. Sadler is a serious candidate who is prepared to address the serious problems facing our nation in a sober, clear-headed fashion.
On Tuesday night, the two Senate candidates faced off in Dallas for a very intense and cutting debate. Ted Cruz was ridiculous as usual, making two especially ludicrous claims, and Paul Sadler attacked as well as he could. You can watch the debate here. It's in four parts.
The beginning of the debate was fairly hilarious. Sadler, sitting right across from Cruz and looking him in the eye, asked why the Koch candidate wouldn't agree to six debates with him. Sadler is a self-confident candidate who stared him down and made Cruz look shifty during the beginning. But Cruz is a supremely self-confident - well, smug - being. He clearly considers himself the ultimate debater, and his rare campaigning these days proves that he's gone from a sprint to, at best, a power-walk.
There's also this: Ted Cruz is completely crazy.
When talking about Romney's 47 percent comments (9:30 in part one), Cruz accused the president of keeping people on welfare so they keep voting Democratic. "That's the craziest thing I've ever heard," Sadler responded. Remember Newt Gingrich's "food stamp president" comments? Same racially charged vein. Cruz tried pathetically to deny making the accusation of manipulation after Sadler took him to task for it.
Cruz also wouldn't admit that the president is an American or a Christian (at the end of part one). That's a dog-whistle - actually, no, just a regular whistle - to all the birthers and racists out there whose support Cruz needs. It's despicable. But his base is so crazy that if the Canada-born Cruz ever ran for president, they probably wouldn't even question his actually foreign birth certificate.
It was a good debate for Sadler. It's hard to know how many undecided voters watched it, or whether there's any chance for a solid Sadler showing in November, but we can say this: Sadler is holding down the fort for Democrats and soon enough, Texas Democrats with his tenacity will win state-wide elections.
Austin-American Statesman has more debate details here. The next debate will be October 19th.
Anyone else notice a significant uptick in the number of Sadler bumper stickers and yard signs? I have. Maybe it's because Sadler is working his tail off to introduce himself to Texans.
On Monday, the Houston Chronicle profiled Sadler's campaign and his decision to forego the DNC to keep campaigning:
In Victoria on a recent Saturday afternoon, the candidate for the U.S. Senate had the crowd on its feet, the shouts and applause washing over the meeting room like waves on the nearby Gulf. As he wrapped up his 15-minute jeremiad warning of the havoc his opponent would wreak on the Lone Star State and, as he began making his way to the back of the room, shaking hands and posing for photos along the way, an older woman in a red pantsuit sought to recapture the crowd's attention.
"This campaign costs money," she shouted into the microphone several times, but only those within a few feet of her were listening. One of them eventually doffed his straw hat, which became a makeshift collection basket for a statewide campaign tossing nickels and dimes at an opponent awash in money and nationwide ardor.
The Victoria experience represents the Paul Sadler campaign in miniature. Little-known statewide and underfunded, the lawyer and former state representative from Henderson is a capable campaigner, an experienced lawmaker and a credible candidate for a party desperately in need of new faces and arresting ideas.
Sadler is actually a pretty good candidate - he is likable if boring, and has a vision he clearly believes in and one the silent majority of Texans wants executed. But American politics is all about $$$ right now.
The Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee is not even returning Sadler's calls. Cruz has an undeniable aura of undeniable inevitability and is so flush with cash, that national Democrats don't think this race is worth investing in.
But what if they did? Would Sadler's chances really be so improved as to put him in real contention? The Chronicle continues:
Sadler's problem, in addition to money, is that his political accomplishments are more than a decade old. He had to remind listeners that he was co-sponsor in the Texas Legislature of the Ratliff-Sadler Act, a comprehensive rewrite of the Texas Education Code in 1995.
Well, promoting Sadler alone might not do it. But how spending millions on ads telling everyone about Cruz's crazy conspiracy theories and questioning his mental eligibility for office? The Young Turks host Cenk Uygur riffed recently on how Sadler could effectively attack Cruz:
As Ted Cruz prepares to address the Republican National Convention in Tampa tonight, Texas Latino PAC 'One Texas' has a strong video message for Ted Cruz. From Texas Latinos. The real ones, not the hypothetical ones that the mainstream media will talk about tonight being in awe of Ted Cruz.
The crisp video highlights Cruz's opposition to so many important to Texas Latinos - a grocery list, really - like the Dream Act, Medicare, and Social Security. OneTexas also slams Cruz for playing racial politics in the primary, when he fired up Republican crowds by talking about his efforts to ensure that Texas could kill illegal immigrants, and deny citizenship to "illegals" - a racist term for a category that has included some of America's soldiers at some point in their lives.
"Even though your supporters say you're not engaging in racial politics, we have some news for you - we're not just a "race" - we're 38% of the population and we're growing by the day! We want leaders who will hard decisions and smart decisions for the future. Clearly, you're not that leader. Latinos know a mentira [liar] when they see one."
Good news in the first days of the general election: Cruz will debate Sadler. On the night of the runoff, Sadler challenged Cruz to a debate - and Cruz accepted.
After learning that Cruz accepted the invitation, Sadler said, "Good. The people deserve a debate. Ted Cruz doesn't belong in the United States Senate and I'm glad I will get the opportunity to show why. I'm prepared and excited to discuss the important issues that are affecting Texans' everyday lives. Now we have to set a date."
Coming out swinging is always a good look, and Sadler's doing just that. In a statement, Sadler explained, "Ted Cruz sees a future controlled by giant corporations and the super wealthy. If Ted Cruz gets his way, the wealthy will control jobs, the capital, and health care. The rest of us will be left to fend for ourselves."
This is a smart attack on Cruz, pointing out that he's a fraud who claims to represent Texans but is really vying to be the lapdog of his corporate donors. It is Sadler's responsibility in the coming months to show Texans that Ted Cruz can't be trusted because he doesn't have their best interests at heart. There are other ways that Sadler can go after Cruz - like pointing out that he's crazy and his conspiracy theories indicate that he could be mentally unstable.
Getting Cruz to agree to debate is a very good start. Rick Perry successfully avoided debating Bill White for the entire 2010 gubernatorial campaign. Maybe Cruz doesn't think Sadler poses the strong challenge that Bill White did, but he might be wrong. It's up to Sadler to prove it, and he's off on the right foot with statements like these that combine smart politics with smart policy:
"Unlike Cruz, I'm a seasoned legislator. I also support the Dream Act, Medicare, and a fair tax system designed to make sure that huge corporations and the super wealthy pay their fair share. Cruz, on the other hand, doesn't support the Dream Act, wants to destroy Medicare, and has been bought out by the super rich."
It's over. Ted Cruz defeated David Dewhurst tonight.
Let's pretend for a moment that both of these candidates are running to represent Texans, not the corporations that paid for their campaigns and that will make them rich after leaving office. Let's pretend David Dewhurst is actually sad because he believed Texas needed his views in Congress.
Well, Dew, you've got nothing at all to worry about. Ted Cruz winning is like having your ideological identical twin brother run against you for the Republican senate nomination. You guys have the same views. Cruz won because he was able to capture conservative grassroots titillation because he's "Tea Party"...and you've already served several terms in elected office. That makes you the "establishment" and him the "real conservative" prepared to "shake things up"...by doing exactly what you would do. So rest assured, your crazy ideas will be executed - but it'll be Cruz lapping up the special interest money for years to come.
Well, there is one difference, Dew. Cruz is going to be a rockstar senator. People are going to talk about him as a future presidential candidate, they're going to compare him to Marco Rubio, and he's going to be on television constantly. In spite of the fact that Cruz is not charming, he is a good speaker and clearly can fire up already-angry conservatives.
But his hot streak won't last forever. The problem with Tea Party candidates is that they run on extreme platforms they can't possibly live up to once in office. Their extremes are in constant conflict; if they vote yes to a defense bill, they may also be voting for an earmark in another state. Next election, the new "Tea Party" candidate can accuse him or her of "selling out" to the "GOP establishment" and screech about the need for a "real conservative." That's the problem with being really conservative...it's an ideology, not a governing mechanism.
And Cruz is going to fall into that bind real quick. The only positions he lists on his website are
Pass a Balanced Budget Amendment
Reduce the Size and Spending of Government
Defend the Constitution
Jobs and Growth Plan
At some point, one of the bills he votes for will increase the size of government in some way conservatives don't like. Boom: Tea Party challenge. There is no nuance left in the Republican Party. Most of Cruz's supporters truly believe he's the genuine conservative in the race against a fake conservative. Just like many of them will believe he sold out in some way.
So, enjoy it while it lasts, Cruz. Tonight is the purest you'll seem for the rest of your career. If only you were in a party that cared more about what you can do for your country.
The day has finally arrived after a long, drawn out, really lowbrow campaign. Tonight, Texas Republican primary voters are probably going to put us on Cruz Control for the next six years. A third poll came out on Sunday showing Cruz ahead...this time by ten points.
Cruz's victory is driven by 4 things: the Tea Party, the enthusiasm of his supporters, a generational divide within the Texas Republican ranks, and the lack of regard the party base currently holds for Rick Perry.
Cruz is ahead by a whooping 75-22 margin with Tea Party voters, more than making up for a 56-39 deficit to Dewhurst with voters who don't consider themselves members of that movement. There has been too much of a tendency to ascribe any Republican primary upset over the last few years to Tea Party voters, but this is one case where it's well justified.
So there you have it, folks. Ted Cruz is going to win (apparently) because of the Tea Party. Cruz likes to frame the race as the answer to the question of whether the Tea Party still matters. While it may matter in terms of who wins the race - as it also did when Richard Mourdock beat Dick Lugar in the Indiana primary - it matters only for the purposes of political posturing. Truth is, if Cruz had been Lt. Gov. for ten years and Dewhurst were a never-elected former solicitor general, Dewhurst would be the surging and likely victorious Tea Party candidate. It's a formula: if you're in office, you're suspicious. If you're out of office with no real record, you're "Tea Party" - that is, until you run for re-election.
Just check out the #txsen hashtag on Twitter. Texas Republicans are going buckwild over a guy who was basically a lawyer-robot, arguing whatever Texas's Attorney General told him to argue. The fervor of these Repubilcans cannot be understated, and there's no question that Cruz has run a very impressive campaign.
Today, crazy less-than-one-term former governor Sarah Palin will be in Texas to support her chosen runoff candidate Ted Cruz. The two will appear together at an event in The Woodlands, where they will be joined by Republican Senator Jim DeMint.
Is Dewhurst Gay-Bashing Cruz?
Seems that way from Dew's web ad "Timeline." The (honestly brilliant) ad takes us through Cruz's Facebook Timeline, starting with his birth in Calgary, Canada. It highlights his years at Princeton and Harvard - and later years in Washington D.C. During the Harvard segment, the ad shows a picture of Dewhurst in the "Harvard Hijinks" - with "YMCA" playing the background. Though reading about it makes it seem like an insignificant moment, watching the video proves that the "gay" association is inevitable.
The commercial then moves to his college timeline where we learn that he went to Harvard and Yale, a twofer of effete Ivy League insiderdom that smacks of questionable acts of book learnin' and clearly explains the commercial's next image, highlighted by the double take of record scratch. We cut to an image of a young Cruz photographed with a few shirtless men. "YMCA" plays in the background in place of the villany string section, presumably to help the viewer who hadn't yet done the math of Canadian + Ivy League = homosexual.
Dewhurst has also been slamming Cruz for his biggest donor: Peter Thiel. You know, the GAY man who's the GAY founder of PayPal who, by the way, is GAY.