By Alexa Angelus
In 2012, Ted Cruz became the thirty-fourth elected U.S. Senator of Texas. In 2015, he announced that he was running for president. During this election season, Cruz has become one of the front-runners in the Republican race. Many know Cruz as a grassroots Tea Party activist. But, why is that?
First, let’s start with his trade policies. Cruz has been referred to by The Wall Street Journal as a “free trader.” The senator’s initial stance on trade was in support of trade promotion authority in order to speed up the approval of the Trans-Pacific Partnership free trade agreement. In June of 2015, up until the night before the Senate vote on “fast track,” Cruz favored this plan. However, he eventually opposed the fast track plan.Regarding taxes, Cruz sought to abolish the IRS and the implementation of a flat tax. Cruz was quoted by The Washington Post, saying that he desired to “abolish the IRS and end its abuse of power and violation of American’s constitutional rights.”
In reference to minimum wage, Cruz has been quoted saying that he is “adamantly opposed to a higher minimum wage” in the article “What a Ted Cruz White House could mean for businesses.” In January of 2015, Cruz opposed President Obama’s objective to raise the minimum wage to $10.10 an hour. The senator stated his opposition was due to the fact that he believes it would cause large-scale job loss.
In terms of social policies, Cruz’s religious background is a large influence when it comes to his approaches. He is anti-abortion and would permit abortion solely in cases where the mother’s life was in danger. His religious background also comes into play in LGBT issues. Cruz opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions. In an interview on The Tonight Show, Cruz said, “I support marriage between one man and one woman” (Ted Cruz talks guns, same-sex marriage, Obamacare with Jay Leno).
Cruz is a gun-rights supporter. In 2013, the Senator said he would filibuster any legislation that would propose gun control and/or more extensive background checks for gun sales.
Cruz started the race proving that he can raise a great deal of funding, which was a strength to allow for a big kick start in his campaign. Another strength is his likability with the conservative party. Many conservatives flock to him because of his “Tea Party” ideals.
Cruz’s race to the White House has revealed some of his greatest weaknesses as well. At forty-four, he would be one of the youngest presidents elected. Cruz has far less experience than most opponents. In 2012, he was elected to the Senate, but never ran for office prior to this. He is one of the most unpopular candidates in the playing field. This is mainly because in 2013 he campaigned to defund the Affordable Care Act and nearly forced the country to default on its debt. This one move made his favorability plummet.
As of now in the race, Cruz’s positives seem to be outweighing the negatives because he is one of the leading Republicans in the race. Cruz was neck-and-neck with opponent Donald Trump, and came out with a big win. In New Hampshire, Cruz placed third behind Trump and John Kasich, but is hopeful to do well with religious conservatives in South Carolina.