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Commentary: With Radical Views, Ted Cruz Is Worse Than Donald Trump

Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition spring leadership meeting on Saturday in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)
Sen. Ted Cruz speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition spring leadership meeting on Saturday in Las Vegas. (John Locher/AP)
This article is more than 3 years old.

Nominating Texas Sen. Ted Cruz to save the GOP from Donald Trump is like throwing an anchor to a drowning man.

Republicans such as Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina have, in desperation, decided Cruz is their only hope to stop Trump. But Cruz is despised by his Senate colleagues, and he has taken radical, right-wing positions that are at odds with Americans in a general election.

Cruz launched his self-righteous campaign at Liberty University, founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell in 1971. Cruz urged those at the nation’s largest fundamentalist Christian school to imagine a country without the IRS, Obamacare or abortion rights -- and to imagine they can make that happen by supporting him.

The best summation of why Cruz’s extreme views are more terrifying than Trump's is articulated by National Memo: “He actually believes this stuff."

Seeing Cruz hunting for votes in New York — which holds its primary on April 19 — is like watching a frog trying to hitch a ride on a motorcycle. You know it won’t work, but it’s fun to watch.

He bashes “the media” almost daily while standing in the world’s media capital. Ahead of the New York primary, Cruz is also stuck facing the consequences of a sneering attack he used just two months ago, condemning Trump for his “New York values.” At least one commentator saw that as thinly veiled anti-Semitism.

It’s no wonder that a recent Fox News poll of New Yorkers shows him in third place with 15 percent, to 22 percent for Ohio Gov. John Kasich and 54 percent for Trump.

Remember the government shutdown of 2013? Cruz was the driving force behind it. His feckless 21-hour filibuster, during which he read from Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham,” earned him the enmity of several of his Republican Senate colleagues. At a heated closed-door session, the senators denounced him for having no strategy and no plan to end the shutdown over Obamacare.

Last June, he penned a screed in National Review that was an all-out attack on the Supreme Court.

“During the past 50 years, the Court has condemned millions of innocent unborn children to death, banished God from our schools and public squares, extended constitutional protections to prisoners of war on foreign soil, authorized the confiscation of property from one private owner to transfer it to another, and has now required all Americans to purchase a specific product [health insurance] and to accept the redefinition of an institution [marriage] ordained by God and long predating the formation of the Court,” Cruz wrote.

Among his many first-day-on-the-job actions, besides ending Obamacare and investigating “the criminal activities” of Planned Parenthood, is to "rip to shreds" the Iran nuclear deal.

To defeat ISIS, Cruz promised to indiscriminately “carpet-bomb them into oblivion. I don’t know if sand can glow in the dark, but we’re going to find out!”

Without cause, he promises to patrol Muslim neighborhoods in the U.S. to ferret out terrorists.

Cruz this summer signed a "personhood affirmation" circulated by the group Georgia Right to Life that commits him to a "human life amendment" to the U.S. Constitution that would define life as beginning at fertilization. It could criminalize abortions even in cases of rape or incest, and could potentially outlaw some common forms of birth control.

While he has since backed off slightly in response to reality, he won backing from anti-abortion absolutists last month in Wisconsin and last year in Georgia.

The public is already not thrilled with Cruz, and they barely know him. A Washington Post-ABC News poll conducted in early March showed that 51 percent of Americans have a negative view of him.

Cruz isn’t even backed by his fellow Texas GOP Sen. John Cornyn, which is said to be payback for Cruz’s turning his back on him last year when Cornyn faced a difficult primary challenge.

“Nobody likes him,” Bob Dole, a Kansas senator for 35 years and the 1996 Republican nominee for president, told The New York Times. If Cruz becomes the nominee, “we're going to have wholesale losses in Congress and state offices and governors and legislatures,” said Dole.

If Cruz faces Hillary Clinton, “she’ll win in a waltz,” Dole predicted.

Dan Payne is a Democratic political analyst and a regular contributor to WBUR Politicker. He tweets @payneco.

Dan Payne Twitter Democratic Political Analyst
Dan Payne is a Democratic political analyst for WBUR.

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