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Ted Cruz vs Donald Trump on Policy

Most reasonable people, including myself, have been appalled by the possibility that Donald Trump could be the next president of the United States. He is currently way ahead in the delegate count and there’s a mathematical possibility that he’ll reach the 1237 delegates required in the primaries to win the Republican party nomination for president. However, almost all polls have so far shown that both Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton would beat him head-to-head in the general election. Game over.

There is another scenario that is becoming a greater possibility though that is far scarier – that of a Ted Cruz presidency. Regular readers will know I’ve always maintained this would be far more dangerous for both the United States and the rest of the world than Donald Trump in the White House, and it looks like it’s time to go into greater detail to explain why. It’s becoming increasingly less likely that any of the Republican candidates will achieve the required 1237 delegates to win their party’s nomination before the convention and thus there will be an open convention in which party delegates will vote in a series of ballots until a victor emerges.

Trump will have the most votes, but I don’t think he’ll have 1237, especially if he doesn’t win in Wisconsin tomorrow. Coming in second will be Ted Cruz, and if he’s within a couple of hundred votes of the Trump, and Trump isn’t close to the magic number, all bets are off. Party delegates are elected at state level, and while they’re generally “bound” to vote initially according to the results of their state’s primary, their votes then become “unbound” and the horse-trading begins. Ted Cruz in particular has already been working hard to get delegates’ votes after their initial “bound” vote. The Republican party has had ten open conventions in its history and at seven of them, it wasn’t the candidate that initially had the most votes who became the party’s nominee. This is one of the reasons Cruz has been going out of his way to present his as the unity ticket.

And in head-to-head polls, Cruz appears to have a chance of winning the general election, especially against Clinton. If Cruz is the nominee, he has a chance of being president.

Abortion Morality USA 2013Abortion
Over the last few days, the focus has been on Trump’s stance on abortion and the obvious fact he hasn’t thought deeply or formulated a clear policy on the issue. I wrote about it myself here. When his position finally emerged after a series of statements and retractions, it was that he’s anti-abortion, with exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother. Whether Trump would use his ability to nominate people to the US Supreme Court to change the current law is less clear, and I suspect he would not. Trump is a public animal and would be driven by public opinion, and the opinion of the people of the US, despite what the squeaky wheel of Christian conservatives says, is to retain the current law. According to the Pew Research Center, 51% of USians think abortion should be legal all or most of the time while only 43% think the opposite.

Throughout all this, Cruz has been appearing as the reasonable candidate who respects women. He’s even developed a new initiative – “Women for Cruz”, consisting of his wife Heidi (a senior executive with Goldman Sachs), Carly Fiorina (former CEO of Hewlett Packard, former candidate, and the best debater to emerge on either side), and his mother Eleanor Darragh (a successful computer programmer who had the sense to divorce Cruz’s father). The best Trump could do in return was bring Sarah Palin back out.

However on abortion, as on so many issues, Cruz is actually a more dangerous prospect than Trump. Unlike Trump, Cruz does not support exceptions for rape and incest. The only exception he supports is “life of the mother, ” and as we see in other countries like Ireland where this is the only exception, it’s invoked extremely strictly. Further, his personal convictions are such that he will nominate Supreme Court justices who support his own position on this – a fact he has already made clear. The availability of abortion in the United States would be far more at risk under a Cruz presidency than a Trump one.

Death Penalty
Despite his stance that even zygotes should have personhood status and thus protection under the Fourteenth Amendment, Cruz is an enthusiastic supporter of the death penalty. He stated:

I believe the death penalty is a recognition of the preciousness of human life.

He’s clearly one sick puppy, and I don’t say that lightly. When Cruz was solicitor-general of Texas, he defended the use of the death penalty for the mentally ill and a man with an IQ of 78. In January, the New York Times published an article by Jason Horowitz about Cruz’s time as a Supreme Court clerk. Horowitz spoke to many of Cruz’s colleagues. What became clear was that, “… he was most remembered by his fellow clerks for his fervor for capital punishment cases …”. At the same time, Radley Balko of the Washington Post added his opinion:

Cruz considers himself a limited-government conservative, and it’s worth noting that he has bucked his party to take principled positions on issues such as torture and National Security Agency spying. He also calls himself “pro-life.” Yet when it comes to the most profound power we grant to the government, the power to take a life, Cruz has an inexplicable unshakable faith in the government to get it right, even when he has ample personal experience to prove that the government often doesn’t.

And that’s the problem with limited government conservatives – their readiness to use the government when it suits their cause.

Texas trans vaginal probe

Donald Trump also supports the death penalty. In his usual react to the headlines way, in December he stated he would introduce a law mandating the death penalty for the killing of police officers. However, he does not appear to revel in the idea of being able to apply the death penalty in the way Cruz does.

Climate Change ImportanceClimate Change
They’ve taken longer than the rest of the world, but the US public are finally waking up to the fact that man-made climate change is a real thing and something needs to be done about it. The majority of those still in denial are conservative Christians, who seem to believe that this isn’t real because God said he wouldn’t destroy the world by flooding it again and rainbows are the proof. The fact that there’s no evidence whatsoever for a worldwide flood ever occurring, and that it’s actually not even possible, is denied by them.

The upshot is that as a majority of USians are no longer Climate Change deniers, they don’t support the Cruz position. This would not stop Cruz going ahead with his denier policies. His position is supported only by his religious beliefs, but he not only denies this, he accuses Climate Change scientists of being “religious” in their behaviour. He said:

Look, we have to follow the science on this, and the science isn’t clear. Even the language these people use isn’t science. “Denier.” That isn’t science, it’s religion.

Look who’s talking.

Cruz’s policy platform includes eliminating 25 agencies, bureaus, and commissions. Ten relate to Climate Change:

Climate Ready Water Utilities Initiative
Climate Research Funding for the Office of Research and Development
Climate Resilience Evaluation Awareness Tool
Global Methane Initiative
Green Infrastructure Program
Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program
Regulation of CO2 Emissions from Power Plants and all Sources
Regulation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Vehicles
Renewable Fuel Standard Federal Mandates
UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

There is reason to be hopeful that Trump wouldn’t behave in this way. Firstly, it would be against the wishes of the majority. Secondly, most top companies worldwide are now positioning themselves to be ready for an environment where things like carbon taxes are the norm and are actively presenting themselves as a friend to the environment as a marketing technique. The whole country of New Zealand has been doing it for years via the Pure New Zealand campaign.

Tax Policy
Cruz advocates a flat tax of 10% for personal income and 16% for business. There are some deductions for the lowest earners e.g. a family of four earning less than $36,000 would pay no tax. His tax policy is based on tithing, and the Republicans who advocate them politically all say that the Christian Bible is the foundation of that policy. Other advocates of a flat tax in the current primary election were Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson who were also notable for their religious conservatism.

However, flat taxes are not fair, despite being presented as such. They impact most on the poor and middle class and least on the wealthy. Along with all the other taxes Cruz plans to abolish, his plan increases the wealth of the top ten percent significantly. Perhaps it’s just a coincidence that 95% of donations to his super-pac are US $1 million or more. Cruz insists that his tax plan will drive economic growth, creating employment. As I’ve posted here and here, in the current economic climate, giving money to the already wealthy is not the way to create jobs. In fact, it’s more likely to have the opposite effect. In addition, federal income will fall, driving up the deficit and government debt levels.

Donald Trump’s tax policy is progressive and calls for higher taxes for the wealthy.

Cruz IsraelIsrael
Cruz’s support for Israel is fanatical. With Prime Minister Netanyahu already relying on right-wing parties in his own government to retain power, the situation there is likely to get more unstable. Cruz believes we are in the mythical Biblical End Times, and a ramping up of tension in the region will not scare him like it does people not infected by the same extremist views. A war between Israel and Palestine (which he states doesn’t exist) is something that would privately excite him. He’s likely to see himself as going down in legend as ushering in the Second Coming. It’s not only we atheists who think Cruz’s views are stupid and dangerous. Most Biblical scholars interpret the Book of Revelation as referring to Rome in early Christian times. Despite that, it’s possible Cruz’s extreme fundamentalism could create a self-fulfilling prophecy. In reality, Cruz has a closer resemblance to the mythical Anti-Christ.

Trump’s support for Israel is more balanced, and he has even stated he would like to make peace between it and Palestine via a two-state solution. He started his campaign almost completely ignorant when it comes to foreign affairs but after a series of major gaffes recently, he has started to meet with advisors. Those advisors are mainstream Republican and while there is much they say that I do not agree with (in particular, they are too hawkish), they are far more reasonable than Cruz.

Islamist Terrorism
Cruz has made several statements meant to show he would be tough on Islamist terrorists. Unlike Trump, he hasn’t made the headlines with appalling comments about torture and forcing the military to do it if he says to, so he appears more reasonable on the surface. However, Cruz’s constant statements that he would, “… carpet bomb [DAESH] into oblivion,” are just as much war crimes as Trump’s calls for torture. And if you want to get into degrees of bad, while Trump wants to torture terrorists for information, Cruz wants to murder literally millions of innocent civilians and write them off as collateral damage.

Racism
Trump has received a lot of attention for his racism. He failed to disavow the support of former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke and even lied about knowing him. Some robocalls in support of his campaign had a racist message. We even had the bizarre story of some snowflakes at Emory University who were “traumatized” just by seeing his name written in chalk around their campus. Personally I’m not sure that Trump is a racist so much as he’s ignorant and inexperienced at political patter.

His greater political savvy has seen Cruz able to again seem like the reasonable one when it looks to me that he’s far more racist than Trump, and his racism is a risk to future policy development.

In a speech to the Heritage Foundation three years ago, he said:

The very first political contribution I ever made in my life was to Jesse Helms. When I was a kid, I sent $10 to Jesse. … and my allowance was only 50 cents a week.

And:

We need one hundred more like Jesse Helms in America.

Cruz didn’t like that Helms was being “beat up on.” But what was he being criticized for? His appalling racism. Watch Rachel Maddow, in her usual brilliant way, point out the problem with being such a devoted admirer of Helms:

Dominionism
It’s part of Cruz’s belief in, and adherence to, the doctrine of Dominionism that’s the problem:

Christian Reconstructionism (CR) has been called “the American Taliban.”

Its ideology calls for the institution of a government under Biblical law. This mandate is called “Dominionism.” Christian Reconstructionists believe that the authority to exert political control in the material world is provided in Genesis, where it is written that: “Let them [man] have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, over the cattle and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” According to CR, this dominion is also to be executed over nations, specifically the American nation, which is seen as the instrument for God’s plan to rule the world.

It is something we’re all going to hear a lot more about if Cruz becomes the GOP candidate. Back in 2004, Joan Boaker of Theocracy Watch, concerned about how much President George W Bush allied himself with Dominionists (who are powerful in Texas), made this YouTube video. It’s long – 43:31 – but worth watching. Her description of Dominionist policy twelve years ago is a blueprint of what Ted Cruz advocates. Part of Cruz’s (Dominionist) policy is to abolish the IRS (Internal Revenue Service, the equivalent of our IRD). Most USians recognize this for being the ridiculous notion it is, but he would at least try and go ahead with it – his policies come from his extreme religiosity and therefore he only recognizes evidence that supports them.

Heed the words of Jeffrey Tayler (Salon, 25 October 2015):

Religion is, after all, implicitly arrogant. It assumes it knows the truth, that its followers are saved and that the rest of us are deluded and even damned. Are we really going to sit by as faith movements demand “tolerance” for such views, and try to make us to submit to their wills? Whether religion offers solace to some isn’t the issue. The submission and control it seeks to impose is. Toss out the Supreme Being and we’re left with one set of humans striving to dominate another, and justifying themselves with ideology based on nothing but myth.

43 Responses to “Ted Cruz vs Donald Trump on Policy”

  1. Ken says:

    Is this a good time to point out that national polls have Bernie easily beating Cruz, while Cruz and Hillary are in a dead heat?

    • Bernie has always done very well in polls against Cruz, and he does better than Clinton against Trump.

      The reason I haven’t mentioned the actual numbers so far is that while Fox and other GOP supporters have been attacking Clinton for months, they present a largely positive view of Sanders. I believe it’s part of their attack on Clinton to not attack Sanders.

      So whether Sanders’ numbers would stand up if he became the candidate, I’m not so sure of. Obviously they could, but once he became the target of GOP attacks things could change very quickly. He has his weaknesses.

      • Ken says:

        Sure, no poll now is a perfect predictor of the result in November after the nominees have been attacking each other for several months. But while Bernie may have some weaknesses, they don’t compare to the baggage Hillary is carrying. Her candidacy could conceivably implode, and not just because of her emails, while it’s hard to imagine anything of the sort happening to Bernie.

        • j.a.m. says:

          Oh yeah, please please let the Dems run a senile commie nutjob with a metal-grinding accent. That’s way better luck than the GOP deserves this cycle, and a sure sign of divine favor.

          • Ken says:

            Ha, sorry, your side most definitely has the nutjob market cornered and no gods were needed to achieve the feat!

          • Mark R. says:

            “…run a senile commie nutjob with a metal-grinding accent.”

            This plainly shows your utter ignorance. Why don’t you try writing something substantive like Heather’s piece and compare candidates using facts? This ad-hominem, baseless attack just exemplifies your hate and meanness and only degrades this thread.

  2. j.a.m. says:

    Talk about the pot calling the kettle black: “Religion [a term so hopelessly overbroad that whatever follows is almost certainly false] is, after all, implicitly arrogant. It assumes it knows the truth…” Actually that’s a fair description of the arrogant hateful ideology in Tayler’s unhinged rants.

    Anyway, for years and years now, going back to Reagan if not well before, the moonbat left has amused itself trying to stoke fear about “theocracy”, “American Taliban” etc. After the race card, it’s one of their favorite hobbyhorses. Of course, as per usual, they’re just preaching to the choir.

    Sen. Cruz will make a superb President — or an even better Supreme Court appointment by President Ryan.

    • You are capable of making reasoned arguments without ad-hominem attacks, and when you do it we’ve had a proper discussion. I wish you’d do it more often instead of the sweeping generalizations and right-wing talking points that get us nowhere.

      The American Taliban is a real fear. There are a large number of people on the far-right who advocate the death penalty for homosexuality for example. Ted Cruz spoke at a convention one such group gave just a few months ago. (Mike Huckabee was there too.) Gay people are multiple times more likely to kill themselves, especially in the parts of your country (and mine) where the religious right dominates, because of the attitudes of such people. This is not OK. A majority of Christians these days understanding, because of modern science, that people are born gay, have decided that this is the way God made them and stick to the Golden Rule – treat others as you’d like to be treated yourself. Unfortunately, conservative Christians wish to continue to find others they can consider themselves better than in their typically self-righteous way. Even that would be OK except they go out of their way to force their opinions on others by getting control of the legislation process, and that’s what Dominionists are all about. The first thing to go if they were in charge would be the First Amendment. It’s wrong and it’s dangerous.

      • Ken says:

        Jam doesn’t like Trump, not because he is crazy, but because he is not crazy enough. Cruz’s ideological extremism, fueled by irrational religious certainty, is just what needed to qualify Cruz.

        Not to worry too much though, as jam is only trying to scare us. He knows Cruz has little to no chance of attracting the crossover vote needed for him to become president, and that there is no way at all he will ever be on the Supreme Court.

        The Reps are really screwed at present. There are only two ways they can win. One is if the Dems make the wrong choice and she implodes by being indicted or some other part of her past explodes in her face. The other is if the Rep’s voter suppression schemes are successful. We shouldn’t forget that these are being planned on a huge scale and could make a difference in key states.

        • I noticed one of their voter suppression schemes got scuttled 8-0 in the Supreme Court yesterday: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/scotus-evenwel-decision Let’s hope the trend continues.

          Like you, I can’t imagine Cruz ever being nominated for SCOTUS. No-one likes him, and there’s no way he’d be offered a job for life like that whether not he was qualified.

          Most of his political supporters are holding their noses as they do it – you’ve pointed out Lindsay Graham’s response before.

          • j.a.m. says:

            That case had to do with apportionment, not voting, and thus would have nothing to do with a presidential election, this year or in the future. “Voter suppression” is just another far-left fantasy calculated to divert attention from leftist voter fraud.

          • It would have changed electorate boundaries in such a way as to increase the number of people in any given electorate who are demographically likely to vote Republican. It is to do with voting.

          • j.a.m. says:

            It has nothing to do with numbers of voters, voting procedures or qualifications, much less so-called suppression. It would base apportionment on the voting population and would treat all voters equally.

          • If you have convinced yourself of that, even after reading the article, there’s nothing I can say to change your mind. However, surely the fact that even all the most conservative justices voted against your point of view should give you pause. 8-0 is a pretty emphatic decision.

          • j.a.m. says:

            It’s not about my personal opinion, it’s about the actual legal case and decision, which had to do with the criteria for apportionment. The court held that the plaintiffs had not shown that the current practice (apportionment based on total population) is unconstitutional. The court however did NOT rule out the possibility that a state could voluntarily decide to use other criteria (e.g., based on eligible voters), and Justice Thomas explicitly said that a state does have that latitude.

          • Ken says:

            It’s true they didn’t rule it out, but the majority certainly frowned on it. A definitive ruling will have to wait until some state tries it out.

            And I don’t know if there is a link in this case, but the idea that combining different criteria for apportionment with voter suppression could be effective for Republicans is blindingly obvious. They are a minority party, becoming ever more so by unfavourable demographic changes. They have always needed to appeal across the political divide to win. But because they won’t soften their extremist policies – in fact becoming ever more extreme – they have to find other ways to retain power, and “legally” rigging the game obviously appeals. They have a majority in the House despite more votes being cast for Democrats due to extensive gerrymandering. And their voter ID schemes just happen to negatively affect students, minorities and the poor. No honest person can seriously say they’d be pursuing these schemes with such gusto if Rep supporters were the ones who were being disenfranchised.

          • j.a.m. says:

            Sounds like a lot of bogus rationalization and excuse-making for the Democrats’ pathetic performance under Obama (the putative lightworker), including the loss of both houses of Congress, ten governorships, and 816 state legislative seats.

            Wealth and freedom are irresistible forces, and each successive upwardly mobile generation (regardless of ethnic origin) inevitably ends up questioning and rejecting the power that politicians and bureaucrats hold over their lives. That’s not a trend that favors the outmoded nanny-state ideology espoused by Democrats over the last eighty years.

          • No j.a.m., what they do is get greedy, forget about where they came from, and the government support that enabled them to get where they are today. Wealth gives you freedom, and the more equal a society is, the more free and wealthy people there are.

            $1,000,000 in the hands of 1,000 people rather than one person is better for the economy and better for society. It enriches everybody, people spend, and there are more opportunities for entrepreneurs and business people. That’s just simple logic. There comes a point where you just can’t spend all the money you make. And some people actually care about their fellow planet-dwellers. That’s why atheist Democrats like Bill Gates give most of their money away.

            And it’s the Republican Congress that’s known as the do-nothing congress, and has done less work than any other in history. And it’s the Republican Senate that shut down the government completely. And it’s Republicans that kept wasting time by doing things like presenting Bills to repeal Obamacare more than 60x despite knowing it’s a waste of time. It’s fair enough to do something so you can say to your constituents you tried, but more than 60 times? FFS! There are plenty of things that Dems and Reps agreed on that they could have gone forward with, but no, they were too busy throwing their toys out of the cot.

            They lost the election. Get over it. How about proving they deserve to get back in charge.

          • Ken says:

            It may indeed sound that way to a true koolaid drinker, but even a comedian’s take on the matter as below shows what a charade you and your fake and often racist “freedom warriors” present when it comes to voting rights. And I make no excuses for Democrats, who have indeed been pathetic in not preventing such people to gain so much power.

          • j.a.m. says:

            Actually, it is Obama who needs to get over the fact that the US has divided government because his party lost both houses of Congress in the last election — as it has lost every House election since he took office. Obama’s apologists also need to own up to the fact that his misguided ideology and incompetent leadership have left the country more polarized and the world more dangerous. As for the economy, Obama has managed to produce both stagnation as well as wider inequality, a neat trick. Obama has evinced no willingness or ability to find common ground, so the Republicans’ mandate for now is to minimize the harm he can do.

            By all means, I’m all for voluntary private philanthropy. Of course it would be impossible on the scale of the Gates Foundation if whiners like Obama and Sanders get their way, since people like Gates would not be allowed to get rich by creating new industries in the first place. Note that the Gates Foundation makes its own decisions about allocating its resources — it didn’t sign over billions to the government, because everyone knows what a colossal waste that would be. To Gates’s credit, a significant share of his generosity goes to help students escape government-run schools.

            Socialism doesn’t make everyone a millionaire — it enriches the politically connected, and makes everyone else a pauper.

          • Ken says:

            I’m feeling mellow tonight, so rather than even trying to decide where to start on jam’s latest steaming heap of bullshit, I give you another comedian’s take, this time on the Republican’s chances of winning in 2016.

          • That was good Ken!

            I was just going to ignore this one from j.a.m. because it will get us back into the exact same argument we’ve had before about the obstructionist Republicans. When you start off saying that your most important job is not doing the job you’ve been elected to but making Obama a one-term president, you really don’t have a leg to stand on..

          • j.a.m. says:

            Obama spent his entire Senate career doing exactly what you say you deplore, i.e., obstructing the President and not doing his job. This was after he came into the national limelight by delivering the keynote at a convention whose express purpose was to make President Bush a one-term president. So how many legs does Obama have to stand on? The double standards are hard to keep straight.

          • Ken says:

            Do you read the crap you write before pressing send? So the purpose of a nominating convention in an election year shouldn’t be to win the election. And that’s somehow the moral equivalent of an obstructionist Congress too. If you actually believe this, you must be so warped by ideology that you’re losing touch with reality.

            No amount of lying about history can knock modern Republicans off their perch as the most obstructionist politicians. They earnestly claimed the title for themselves and then truly earned it. By comparison, the Democrats main sin is to have cooperated with Republicans too much, from supporting Reagan’s tax cuts, to Clinton gutting the welfare system, and needless to say, there are plenty who wish they could revisit their support for Bush’s biggest legacy, the Iraq war.

          • j.a.m. says:

            I’m still confused. Are you saying that the great Obama outsmarted the opposition and prevailed anyway — or that they outsmarted him?

        • Ken says:

          Republicans lie as much about voter suppression as they do about anti-abortion laws.

      • j.a.m. says:

        Left-wingers consider themselves superior in a typically self-righteous way (none more so, for example, than Tayler and his ilk). They go out of their way to force their opinions on others by seeking control of the legislative process. They often have little regard for free speech and freedom of conscience, let alone property rights, family rights, and other traditional values that make civilization work.

        Carelessly throwing around terms like Taliban trivializes the real deal while indulging a preposterous fantasy. When people hear such baseless hateful (and hypocritical) nonsense from elements on the unhinged far left, they quite sensibly just tune out.

        • There are some on the far left who go out of their way to suppress freedom of speech. That group want to shut down all speech that doesn’t agree with them. I have criticized those people a great deal on this site, as have several other commenters. What they think is not the view of most people who comment on this site, Jeffrey Tayler, or me. If I was one of those people, you would have been cut off long ago. In the US at least, people like me don’t want to control the legislative process, they want to maintain the current law, in particular the First Amendment.

          Dominionists are not the American Taliban, they are a modified form of it. (Watch ‘The Rise of Dominionism‘ to see what I’m talking about.) They are supported by the American Taliban who do exist, but don’t call themselves that of course. They call for things like the stoning of adulterers because that’s Biblical Law. That’s the equivalent in my view of doing it because it’s Sharia, which is why they get called the Taliban.

          I’m not sure exactly what you mean by “traditional values”. I personally would acknowledge that strong families are good for society. It is a reason to support same-sex marriage, for example, and ensure it is well supported by society, as it makes society better for everybody.

          • j.a.m. says:

            No, nobody other than the real Taliban calls for stoning anybody. There’s a great deal of rubbish on the Interwebs, as I would hope you’d realize. Words like Taliban and theocracy are dead giveaways that one has definitively crossed over into the twilight zone.

            If people like you don’t want to control the legislative process, then let them stop trying to elect such odious politicians as Obama and impose such odious laws.

          • Here’s the conference of a few months ago I was talking about in an earlier comment attended by three GOP presidential candidates, including Ted Cruz. Watch it. I am not lying or exaggerating.
            https://youtu.be/GBDbGyv6SIQ

  3. Great write up Heather. I’ve been surprised as this debacle has progressed that Trump seems to be learning. I think he is taking time and becoming more thoughtful and moderate. But this is the common path in American politics – come out as a firebrand and then sidle up to the average voter just before the election. I’m interested to see how Clinton will pull this off with Sanders remaining strong forcing her to differentiate herself by not carrying such a heavy stick. I’ve seen reports that standard bearing dems are as fed up with her as reps are with their pickings.

    I agree completely about Cruz. While Trump is clownish and brash Cruz is a True Believer. I’m afraid that he believes he is doing god’s work and there is nothing more dangerous.

    • Thanks Dennis. Trump does seem to be making the effort to learn. He’s not stupid after all, and he hates the idea that people think he is.

      The Clinton/Sanders thing is difficult. I think Clinton has taken some wrong positions in order to appeal to the Sanders supporters – I’m an advocate of Free Trade for example – but she didn’t have a choice either. I dislike the way the US system forces people to stand for things they don’t believe. I think that’s one of the reasons Cruz and Sanders are both doing so well – they both believe everything they say and it shows. People are attracted to that whether they realize it or not.

      Although I haven’t mentioned him at all, if I was a Republican, I’d want Kasich to be doing better. He appeals to the Independents that Clinton is losing, and does great in head-to-head polls with her.

      • Ken says:

        Once again, the TPPA is way more than a trade deal. The ISDS clauses alone make it dangerous. This is why there is so much opposition, even among many free traders. Which is not to say that Hillary is really against it as she’s probably lying about flipping her position.

  4. Plingar says:

    Thank you for this article Heather. Most instructive for one not really understanding the complexities of the US electoral process.
    As an immigrant from the UK the Canadian Parliamentary system seems simple and easy to understand, not so for many immigrants though, whereas the US system seems so convoluted.
    I have to say that I fear a President Cruz much more than a President Trump and Mrs Clinton would be such an insult as the first female US president.

    • Thanks. 🙂 One of the good things about the UK, Canada, NZ, and plenty of other systems around the world I think is that politicians don’t spend so much time electioneering. In our case we’re limited to three months. The rest of the time they’re expected to work at the job they were elected to do. Not so in the US.

      I mentioned in the comments of another post recently that there’s a good reason that laws are decided by select committees and not referenda – it’s because politicians get all sorts of info to help them make a decision. That’s why I also thinks it’s better in most cases for the selection process for politicians and party leaders to be more limited as it is in Canada, NZ etc. We get better people as a result. Look what happened in the UK to the Labour party when it became a free-for-all. The US thinks their system gets them the best, but it doesn’t. The best people often don’t even run and if they do, they are often so damaged by the process they can’t unite the country after the election.

      • HaggisForBrains says:

        I don’t know about Canada and NZ, but the other major advantage in the UK is that politicians can’t spend as much money electioneering, as this is limited by law. The more money a politician begs to fund his campaign, the more in thrall he is to his donors.

        • It’s the same in NZ. Politicians are strictly controlled by law how much they can spend. If they go over even a few cents, they lose the election. The law is very strictly applied and candidates take it very seriously. The money spent in US elections blows me away.

  5. Mark R. says:

    Thanks for this astute comparison Heather. As you already know, I agree with you 100% that Cruz would take this country into uncharted waters. He would be by far the scariest POTUS in American history. Just his smug arrogance alone is enough to scare the crap out of me, let alone his policies. Hell, he shut down the government and cost American taxpayers 24 billion dollars because he didn’t like the ACA. A politician who doesn’t want to compromise is not a politician at all, but rather a bully. If POTUS, he would obviously put his own ideological beliefs before the welfare of the country and its people.

    I’m still hoping for a Trump delegate victory or failing at that, a contested convention where Trump loses and runs independently (that would be even better). He has the exact personality-type that would compel him to run independently if he felt “it wasn’t fair”. His narcissism may ironically save the country from becoming a theocracy. I’ve begun calling his campaign “The Red-neck Uprising”.

    Another point I’d like to make is that Trump seems much more “science-friendly” than Cruz. I’m sure Cruz hates science like Scalia and would do everything in his power to eviscerate scientific programs.

    • That’s a good point you make at the end, and one which I’d forgotten – Trump does seem much more science-friendly than Cruz. For all his intelligence Cruz either doesn’t understand, or chooses not to understand the scientific method. It’s kind weird in the child of mathematicians, but it speaks to the damage religion can do. Hearing Rafael Cruz talk about telling Ted from the age of four that he was chosen by God to do great things is, like so much about Cruz, scary. It would warp the mind of anyone.

      The shutting down the government thing absolutely blows me away. In the rest of the developed world, it’s not even possible, but leaving that aside, the arrogance of one man to do that because he can’t get his way is mind-blowing. As you say, it’s not what being a politician means.

  6. nicky says:

    Yes, Heather, important observations and a good post. As a non-US resident I find Ted Cruz immeasurably scarier than Trump, and that *is* some reference.
    Of the five remaining candidates I fear none would make a great president, but Cruz would definitely be a terrible and potentially disastrous one, for the USA as well as for the entire world.

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