Ted Cruz

Trump Fears A Brokered Convention, With Good Reason

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“Somebody said, ‘Well, there’s a rule and another rule.’ I don’t care about rules, folks… We win, we get the delegates.” ~ Republican presidential candidate Donald J. Trump

That, in a nutshell, summarizes the Trump campaign’s approach to winning the 2016 Republican nomination for the presidency; defying and discarding conventional rules of politics, refusing to abide by the traditional rules of decorum which provide a patina of civility to an often bitter political process, choosing instead to resort to character assassination and open mockery of his opponents (accusing Ben Carson of being a child molester, branding Cruz “Lyin’ Ted”, labeling Rubio “Little Marco”, and mocking Carly Fiorina’s looks, just to name a few).

Trump, with virtually no traditional political organization to start, relied on sheer force of will and a larger-than-life personality to rise in the polls. Trump’s faux pas and unapologetic coarseness seemed only to increase his popularity. Trump has been the front-runner in the race almost from the day he announced.

His non-traditional strategy has worked well thus far, but in recently, like Achilles’ heel, Trump’s lack of grassroots political organization has proven a serious liability. Long before Trump announced his candidacy; indeed, long before he announced his own candidacy, Ted Cruz was working in the political ditches, recruiting grassroots activists and local elected officials at the county and district level to serve as campaign chairs, and eventually, as delegates during the Republican convention cycle. It has paid off well for him. The race has come down to the strength of Trump’s cult of personality, versus the breadth and depth of Cruz’s grassroots campaign organization.

Beating the VAT Horse Until It’s Dead

Originally published at International Liberty ~ Ed.

This is a very strange political season. Some of the Senators running for the Republican presidential nomination are among the most principled advocates of smaller government in Washington.

Yet all of them have proposed tax plans that, while theoretically far better than the current system, have features that I find troublesome. Marco Rubio, for instance, leaves the top tax rate at 35 percent, seven-percentage points higher than when Ronald Reagan left town.

Meanwhile, both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul (now out of the race) put forth plans that would subject America to value-added tax.

This has caused a kerfuffle in Washington, particularly among folks who normally are allies. To find common ground, the Heritage Foundation set up a panel to discuss this VAT controversy.

You can watch the entire hour-long program here, or you can just watch my portion below and learn why I want Senator Cruz to fix that part of his plan.

In 2016, Vision Matters More Than Experience

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Though it seems this election season started the morning after the 2014 midterms, last night marked just the second state to have cast votes for a presidential nominee. Historically, Americans have rarely chosen senators as their presidents, turning instead to governors (or generals) with a leadership record that can be examined. But this is no ordinary election year.

On the Democrat side, the only remaining candidates (not that they had many in the first place, with the DNC telegraphing a coronation) are former Senator (and Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton, and sitting Senator Bernie Sanders. On the Republican side, the current frontrunners are casino mogul Donald Trump, and Senators Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio (though the last is a huge question mark after a disappointing fifth-place finish in New Hampshire).

Cruz Wins Iowa, But What’s Next?

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Who will occupy it next?

 

The results of the Iowa caucuses have shown us several important things; 1) that everybody hates the establishment of both parties, 2) no one trusts the media anymore, and 3) pollsters have no clue how to conduct polling in the fast-paced world of smartphones and social media.

Ted Cruz easily won the Iowa caucuses on the Republican side, despite being behind Trump by as much as 20-points in some polls taken just before the caucus, and despite the entirety of the GOP establishment doing their best to take him down. In fact, it is arguably the low regard among the GOP establishment in which Cruz is held that gives him such popularity among the base. Despite being hated by the establishment, Cruz’s net favorability leads all Republican candidates with a rating of +45% (61% favorable, 16% unfavorable) among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, according to a recent Gallup poll. Establishment favorite Jeb Bush has a net favorability of -1%.

Ted Cruz Trumps Trump In Iowa

This is Y-UUUUGE!

Despite being down as much as 21% to Trump in some polls, despite (or because of?) record turnout in Iowa (which pundits predicted would mean a Trump victory), despite being savaged by the GOP establishment, despite attacks from Iowa’s popular 6-term governor, and despite his principled refusal to bow to King Corn and back away from his calls to end corn subsidies…

Ted Cruz emerged victorious in Iowa, completely changing the dynamic of this race.

 

Last night’s winners:

Ted Cruz – wins Iowa when the odds were against him, and now goes into the South Carolina and Nevada primaries with momentum, the highest favorability ratings of all GOP candidates, and more cash on hand than the next four candidates combined.

Marco Rubio – Rubio surged late and almost beat out Trump for 2nd place, and this can only help him going into New Hampshire. How long will it be before the GOP establishment pressures Bush, Kasich, and Christie to get out so they can consolidate around Rubio to prevent a Cruz nomination?

Conservatives – last night proved that having a conservative candidate who is unapologetic in his conservatism, optimistic in his outlook for the future, and who has a history of standing on principle is a great draw at a time when politicians in general, and the GOP brand and establishment in particular, have favorability ratings just below hemorrhoids.

Strange Bedfellows Lead to the Iowa Caucus

With the Iowa caucuses less than a week away, on the Republican side this is shaping up to be one of the strangest nomination processes of my lifetime. Late last year, Scott Walker was the presumptive front-runner until he declared, after which his campaign imploded in a rapid and spectacular way. Jeb Bush was likewise a favorite, but having spent well over $100 million he is almost within the margin of error in most polls. Marco Rubio was the next hope for the establishment, palatable to them and most of the base, but his participation in the Gang of Eight immigration amnesty effort has damaged him. Ben Carson is imminently likeable and moral, but his near-comatose demeanor does not inspire confidence that he is ready for a dangerous world.

Chris Christie has been dogged by his anti-gun stance and his post-Sandy tarmac bromance with Obama. Rand Paul has not been able to recreate the fervor among his base that his father was able to. Carly Fiorina has great debate performances but is invisible in between. John Kasich comes across as an angry scold having a seizure. Rick Santorum? Mike Huckabee? No chance for either, but maybe they’ll get a good book deal for their efforts.

Some 2016 Candidate Responses to the Marriage Ruling are Absurd, Even for Conservatives

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Not a single Republican candidate for president in 2016 agrees with the Supreme Court ruling overturning state laws barring same-sex couples from marriage rights. That much is unsurprising, with the reactions ranging from “That’s terrible, but it’s the law now” to “WHARGARRBL THE END IS NIGH” to the (sort of?) refreshing “Fine, but let’s depoliticize marriage.” But some have gone even further, calling for everything from judicial term limits to defunding the Court. These kind of reactions are absurd, anathema to conservatism, and should disqualify their proponents from serious consideration for their party’s nomination.

Rand Paul and Ted Cruz are Staking Out the Same Ground, Just Not Exactly in the Same Way

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While there are varying opinions about just how much support Texas Senator Ted Cruz and Kentucky Senator Rand Paul may — or may not — have in regard to running for president in 2016, those opinions begin to coalesce when it comes to what kind of policy position both men may be staking out in the run-up to that contest. Mostly because the men themselves are already taking a stand:

In the brouhaha last week over Sen. Rand Paul’s defense-spending amendment (with offsetting cuts), an interesting dynamic got a bit overlooked. And that is: Outside of the blatant trolling exercise of the budget-amendment process, when it came time to pass a budget resolution for 2016 and the next decade, the only GOP senators voting “no” were Rand Paul and Ted Cruz.

Apparently Cruz would like to see a long-term reigning in of entitlement spending, Paul is more interested in making sure that whatever defense spending we alot funds toward, we are responsible in actually paying for it, rather than just kicking those costs down the road.

Radical stuff, folks. Making sure we can afford what we’re buying and actually paying for it. What madness is this?

Get ready for a showdown over free speech: Harry Reid will push partial repeal of the First Amendment next week

When the Senate returns to Washington next week, Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) is expected to bring up S.J. Res. 19, a constitutional amendment proposed by Sen. Tom Udall (D-NM) that would effectively repeal political speech protections in the First Amendment.

Reid filed a motion to proceed on the constitutional amendment on August 1, just before the chamber adjourned for its summer recess. Although the original text of the amendment gave Congress the sole power to regulate political speech, including campaign finance regulations, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved the measure with substitute language to allow states to implement their own rules and regulations, in addition to those passed by Congress.

The measure, however, is an attempt to diminish the influence of issue-focused nonprofit organizations and political action committees, which, Senate Democrats say, are often funded by corporate interests. Section 2 of the amendment would allow Congress and state legislatures to prohibit “corporations or other artificial entities created by law…from spending money to influence elections.”

Sorry, Washington Republicans, but it’s absolutely acceptable to criticize candidates who want grow the federal government

Voters are often told that conservatives should not challenge Washington-backed big government Republicans, because doing so could lead to Republican defeat. Yet it often seems that Washington Republicans don’t follow their own advice. It prompts the question, when does the Washington class really view it as appropriate to criticize Republican candidates?

Mississippi is one example. Washington Republicans asked Democratic voters to support their candidate, Sen. Thad Cochran, in his primary election. This was a violation of Mississippi law, so conservative state Sen. Chris McDaniel is challenging the result.

This prompted Ann Coulter to write that Chris McDaniel was a “sore loser” whose supporters “don’t care that they’re gambling with a Republican majority in the Senate.”

This is not the first time Ann Coulter has complained about conservatives from the South or other locations around Middle America. Last October, she complained that conservatives in Minnesota had not done enough to help Sen. Norm Coleman win re-election against Sen. Al Franken, writing, “The inability to distinguish Coleman and McConnell… from Obamacare-ratifying Democrats is…insane.”


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