The Lobby Observer

Barbecue Might End in Texas, and it’s Ted Cruz’s Fault


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By: Alex Badger ’20

       “If Texas elects a Democrat, they’re going to ban barbecue across the state.”

       That was former Republican primary runner-up Ted Cruz, at a recent speech in Columbus, Texas. On the way in, protesters from People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) were handing out barbecued tofu to try and promote vegetarianism, prompting Cruz’s statement.

       He followed up by raising his voice,  “[Democrats] want us to be just like California, right down to tofu and silicon and dyed hair.”

       This is Cruz’s first run at reelection to the senate, and his opponent, democrat Beto O’Rourke is doing better than expected. As of last week, O’Rourke was within five points in the polls although it seems that in this week’s polls Cruz is spreading the gap. Even so, competition in the deep red of Texas is all the proof we need of the major shift occurring in the Republican Party, and Cruz’s struggle with a changing base.

       When President Trump won the Republican primary, it sent a shockwave throughout the right wing that is still being felt. The quick-witted billionaire wasn’t expected to come near the top with upstarts Marco Rubio and Cruz.  At the time, Mr. Trump began by taking the Republican Party of big business, and promised to create American jobs, going against the common ideas of the party.

       Next, he began to argue about a corrupt system in Washington, claiming that we needed to drain the swamp. This gained him popularity within the ranks of average citizens who felt like they had been neglected or hurt by the government. Lastly, he revolutionized the art of speaking in debates and at speeches. He exaggerated all of his ideas, and threw cheap one liners at other candidates in order to get a quick chuckle out of the crowd.

       In doing all of these things, Trump shifted the base of the right and established a new base. A new base that men like Ted Cruz are struggling to adjust.

       When you think about deep red states, Texas is often one of the first to come up in the conversation. So the fact that a strong republican candidate like Cruz is even taking part in a competitive race in a state like Texas speaks directly towards the shifting right wing. Cruz’s big business support, and religiously prevalent viewpoints that defined the Republican party a decade ago are waning, and with it candidates like Ted Cruz.

       O’Rourke is a more than viable candidate for the Senate, gaining national attention and his success has highlighted a unique rift in the Republican party. We all knew it existed, but the gap between the new “Trumpist” Republicans and the former far right is increasing with each day that passes. Although Cruz has opened up the race a small amount, his difficulty in getting a lead within his own right wing state, especially after almost being the Republican nominee for president, is beyond unbelievable.

       Weak shots at the left wing like the aforementioned seem like a desperate attempt by Cruz to appeal to a shifting base. His views are suddenly suboptimal, and in his hasty retreat back to the center of the Republican constituency, Cruz has lost his values.

       Ted Cruz is the consummate professional, representing a unique aptitude and respect for his position. It’s a shame to see him slowly fade into the right wing Trump has created, and know that many Republicans will soon follow suit.

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Barbecue Might End in Texas, and it’s Ted Cruz’s Fault