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Ted Cruz announces bid for 2016 Presidential Election

Elizabeth Miller

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By Mia Fatuzzo ’15, News Section Editor

Ted Cruz, a junior senator from Texas, announced his intent to run for the Republican presidential nomination on March 23. Cruz has almost no chance of winning the Republican primary, much less the nomination; he’s not only incredibly conservative and ideological but also intensely opposed by his own party.[i] Cruz’s campaign, however, points to a larger problem within not only the GOP but also the American political system: mainstream candidates first embrace extremely conservative / liberal platforms in the primaries to trump their more radical opponents in primary elections, then swing towards the middle to win the approval of an America that is primarily moderate.

The GOP is currently a better example of the phenomenon largely because no democrat has sincerely offered to challenge Hillary Clinton for the nomination. But, if Senator Elizabeth Warren, largely considered the strongest potential contender, joins the race, Clinton will likely be pushed further to the left than she would have liked.

For the 2016 election, Scott Walker, the governor of Illinois; Jeb Bush, the former governor of Florida; Chris Christie, the governor of New Jersey; and Ted Cruz emerge as likely candidates for the GOP nomination. It’s obviously far too early to be making any sort of prediction, but, for the sake of argument, let’s pick Jeb Bush.

The son of George H. W. Bush, he is well-known and likely to be well-funded. But he might be too moderate. As governor of Florida, he reduced taxes by $19 billion, reduced the size of state government by 6.6 percent, and vetoed $2 billion in new spending. But his far-right opponents, without context or common sense, will skewer his efforts to preserve the Everglades, his commitment to common core, and his attempt to issue drivers licenses to illegal immigrants. Bush has stated that he’s willing to “lose the primary to win the general.[ii]” In other words, he won’t run to the right to counter the Tea Party’s attacks.

But if the conservative faction of the GOP gets their way – if they nominate a candidate who vehemently opposes gay marriage, abortion, environmentalism, Obamacare, climate change, raising taxes, and any other remotely democratic initiative – they will likely lose the general election spectacularly. According to recent Gallup polling, conservatives compose seventy percent of the Republican Party but only thirty eight percent of the general population.[iii]

Ted Cruz recently blasted his party for courting the “mushy middle.” But American politicians, the GOP in particular, should understand that elections aren’t won by the thirty-eight percent of Americans who consider themselves conservative or the forty-two percent who identify as Republican[iv]. They’re won by undecided and independents – “mushy middle.” If the GOP can’t bring itself to appeal to moderate America, it will struggle to win on a national level.

 

[i] http://fivethirtyeight.com/features/lets-be-serious-about-ted-cruz-from-the-start-hes-too-extreme-and-too-disliked-to-win/

[ii] http://www.politico.com/story/2014/12/jeb-bushs-policy-minefields-113624.html

[iii] http://www.gallup.com/poll/180452/liberals-record-trail-conservatives.aspx

[iv] http://abcnews.go.com/ABC_Univision/Politics/poll-americans-lean-democratic-republican/story?id=18180336

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Ted Cruz announces bid for 2016 Presidential Election