Ted Cruz, Texas Senator, successful son of a Cuban immigrant, Tea Party ideologue, darling of “The Blaze,” and lover of Green Eggs and Ham, bravely took the plunge and was the first candidate to officially jump into the 2016 Presidential race. Rather uniquely, he chose Liberty University, a Christian school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell to announce his run for the Presidency. Evidently, the idea is to try and mobilize evangelicals to get out in greater numbers.
Liberty University describes itself as a Christian academic community. Its roots are deeply founded in the Baptist Church and offers learning in the Liberty Baptist Theological Seminar. With a father who is currently a Baptist preacher and belonging to a Baptist congregation, I am fearful that Senator Cruz is going to be labeled too tightly to one denomination. Nothing wrong with faithful Baptists, I’m just not sure there are enough of them to carry the election. In being so tightly constrained to one denomination, others of different congregations, may be more interested in looking elsewhere for a good Christian candidate.
Of interest in the election is that Ted Cruz is one of only three Latinos currently serving in the U.S. Senate. He was born to a Cuban father and an American mother of Irish decent. The hope is certainly that Senator Cruz can claim some of the Hispanic vote to augment a good showing from evangelical Christians.
Senator Cruz is an avowed Tea Party candidate and is well respected within that group. His political ideology is ultra conservative and should find support from the Tea Party vote. But once through the primaries, should it happen, his ultra-right leaning political beliefs will be a hard sell to an America constituency that has been successfully schooled in Global Warming, Feminism, the evils of Colonialism and similar neo-liberal ideologies for decades.
In an earlier article, Thoughts on Presidential Candidates for 2016 I wrote that Senator Ted Cruz had “excellent academic preparation and that his record as a lawyer has been exemplary.” Indeed, his bonafides are impressive. As a junior senator with just over two years of experience, he is still relying on his pre-senate experience as a foundation in federal politics. Senator Cruz was elected to the Senate in 2012 and therefore has only two years of experience. What a two years they have been though. During the last two years, Senator Cruz has become a household name. However, most of the things that have vaulted him to the forefront have been highly controversial. A good example is the twenty-one hour filibuster that help shut down the Federal government.
The Moral Middle test, a look at the values that provide the foundation for his political ethos, would seem to have a solid foundation rooted in nationalism and Christianity. Both seem to be in the forefront of his political posture. Indeed, his announcement for the Presidency could just as well of been a run at being elected National Chaplin, a position secured by Rick Santorum two years ago. While good manners would say that he is a bit too vocal in expressing his personal beliefs in a political/public forum, he does come across as being sincere and thus passes the Moral Test.
Glenn Beck loves him and seems to be actively campaigning for him, but I think it is still a little premature to be talking about Senator Cruz as President. His ultra-right Tea Party stance makes him an unattractive candidate to independents, other minority groups and more moderate Republicans. Capturing the conservative evangelical/Tea Party base and snitching a few Hispanics is just not going to get the job done. However, you should look for him at the debates where he is said to be one of the best.
Samuel Waen Jensen