His agenda has made him an incredible grand-stander who doesn't really care what the outcome is. He doesn't pursue alliances, and doesn't seem entirely bothered that he even gets boycotted by other Republicans .
Canadian by birth and the son of Cuban immigrant, his stance on immigration is jaw-dropping. As a Harvard graduate you would think he would know better. The problem is, he does know what he's doing, and it makes everyone just throw their arms in the air in frustration (and generates headlines like that one). Even if his agenda comes at the expense of Texans, he might be completely okay with that, as long he speaks his piece.
Anything negatively spun about a character like Ted Cruz gives him more power to fundraise and generally look even better in the eyes of everyone who loves him already. There is no middle ground with a politician like him, and there is no apparent willingness to build coalitions or compromise on the grounds of getting a bill passed.
In the words of Alfred, from The Dark Knight:
Some men just want to watch the world burn.
How do you approach that which has no other interest than to self-serve and to use negative press to fundraise? You need to change the culture around them.
There are a number of contributing factors to the rise of Ted Cruz, such as strong grassroots support and the ability to spin any story to garner more attention. Of course, when the New York Times and the mainstream media criticizes him, it means he's doing something right.
There is hope for the future, though. Despite Texas being a reddest-of-red state, Hispanic immigration could see 900,000 new voters in Texas for 2016, vs. only 185,000 new white voters. It's these kinds of moves that create the need to get out the vote and challenge Cruz. His views on immigration reform, and refusing to allow undocumented immigrants from being citizens are only going to make him less popular by the very Texans he's supposed to represent, and as they become a much better represented (despite every effort to stop that from happening with the latest round of redistricting).
The demographics of voting in Texas are very racial, and Hispanics did vote against Cruz 2-1 in 2012. White voters are slowly becoming a plurality instead of a majority, and will be an estimated 52% of the state by 2016 - and with Cruz up for reelection in 2018, who knows what the demographic dynamics will be by then?
All the signs point towards a Texas GOP that will be losing ground year by year, and could easily be supplanted within this decade.
Ted Cruz, the freshman Senator from Texas, represents everything wrong with politics in America. How far will his crusade of obstructionism and irreverence for compromise go? That could depend on Texas, and the ball starting to roll to stop a politician like him.
Obama beat Romney by 5 million votes. He also picked up 5 million more votes from people under 30 than Romney. So what's the problem? Why is the GOP so bad at getting young people to vote for them? Could it possibly be that they fight tooth and nail against the issues that younger constituents value
The College Republican National Committee released a 90-page report that outlines a few of the issues young people have with the elephant in the room.
1. "Party of closed-minded, racist, rigid, old-fashioned."
The report surveyed young voters and found that when asked about the Republican brand, there were some brutal responses. This almost comes off as the party of stupid, lazy, incompetent, and irresponsible, which is actually what Republicans in the survey said they NEVER wanted people to think of them as. Oops.
2. "The defense budget is the place where cuts should start."
This seems like a common-sense way to cut the budget deficit, but that's hardly happening. The House Armed Services panel just voted to give the Pentagon $5 billion more than they requested, and to top it off they even voted to make it more difficult to prosecute sexual assault in the military, which works as a segway into...
3. The issue of protecting life has been conflated with rape, funding for Planned Parenthood, and contraception
The extremes that the GOP are going to on the pro-life debate are setting up more barriers for young people. When the discussion turns to abortion, Republicans have a reputation of not caring about any issues that women have to confront, from rape, to an abortion being medically necessary. The simple fact that legislation passed around the country demanding transvaginal ultrasounds, which may be one of the biggest physical violations in their war on women, shows how disconnected they are to women's health and progress on these issues.
4. Own up to Bush's failed policies
Young people responding the the College Republicans poll commonly considered the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to be net draws from the US economy, and huge reasons why the country fell into The Great Recession.
5. Lower corporate taxes isn't the same as job creation
Only 1/3rd of respondents thought that they would benefit from the theory that lower corporate taxes would create jobs for young people, and that they would be better off as a result. It's hard to wonder how that perception exists when the salaries of corporate executives are at record highs, which is a major factor in driving up inequality.
6. Increase taxes on the rich
The majority of young people believe taxes need to increase on the wealthy, while 1/3rd want them to rise on everyone. These are hard numbers to ignore, and the reality of rapidly rising inequality is only going to encourage more of this sentiment.
7. Two words: Marriage equality
It's simple. Young people see less and less reason why marriage equality shouldn't be allowed. The report indicates that it may not be the biggest issue, but it represents a massive social disconnect, and a powerful reason why the GOP is strongly disliked.
8. Two more words: Climate change
From the report:
A March 2013 Gallup survey of American adults showed more 18- to 29-year-olds saying environmental protection should take priority (49%) than those saying economic growth should take priority (45%), a striking finding and one that sets young people apart from the older cohorts, all of whom privileged economic growth over the environment.
9. A clear majority want positive immigration reform
The fact that the US faces illegal immigration on the scale that it does indicates that we are, ultimately, a destination for immigrants. The US is a destination for immigrants, and the combative tone against those who come here illegally is something that many young people want to see change.
10. The student loan crisis.
The report cites President Obama's past, and having to live under the burden of student loans. Many Republicans simply say, "Don't take out loans if you can't afford them," which creates a disconnect that gives rise to the "Old Economy Steve" meme. Our society views student loans as being absolutely necessary, but we cannot deny that they are having terrible effects on the economy, which is why we support Elizabeth Warren's plan to lower interest rates to 0.75% (become a citizen co-sponsor!).
The GOP threw students a bone: an 8.5% interest rate cap.
But they're only 3.4% right now. What gives? That should have read, "threw students under the bus."
House Republicans want to peg student loan interest rates to what the federal government pays to borrow money. Show of hands: who thinks that's responsible? No one? Good. Since the GOP took the House in 2010, GOP extremism has created several crises that have had real impacts on the economy:
The cost of borrowing for the federal government went up by $1.3 billion in 2011 after the debt ceiling crisis. The fight over the debt ceiling also resulted in the country's credit rating being lowered, and overall economic confidence suffered. This makes the House bill a very worrying sign for students looking to borrow money in the future.
Culture of economic showdowns would increase costs for students
Yet, in a move to "help" students, they want to tie Stafford loan interest rates to the cost of borrowing. But wait! Luckily for us, they capped the interest rate at 8.5%, which is two and a half times larger than the 3.4% students pay now. With this plan potentially costing students up to $2,000 more than if rates simply doubled as scheduled, it really looks like the GOP is willing to throw students under the bus. If nothing else, this should be a reason the GOP re-brand isn't going very well.
We already know that we can't trust the GOP with the economy. How can we trust them with our interest rates?
It's going to take action to repeal the Monsanto Protection Act
Monsanto has a long history of getting what it wants, and being able to ignore court orders brings their hold on Washington to an entirely new level.
The agricultural and biotech company that produces herbicides, pesticides, and seeds is at the forefront of this country's food industry, and when the amendment commonly known as the Monsanto Protection Act secretly became law, protections for farmers, the environment, and human health went out the window in favor of making life easier for Monsanto.
The implication of the Monsanto Protection Act spelled out by Sen. Bernie Sanders:
“Essentially, what that Monsanto Protection Act rider said is that even if a court were to determine that a particular product might be harmful to human beings or harmful to the environment, the Department of Agriculture could not stop the production of that product once it is in the ground... So you have deregulated the GMO industry from court oversight, which is really not what America is about.” (Source )
More from Sanders:
Sen. Merkley has also been outspoken on the issue. He has already attempted to introduce an amendment that was blocked by the Senate GOP to repeal the Monstanto Protection Act. From Merkley's website:
The Monsanto Protection Act is an outrageous example of a special interest loophole,” said Merkley. “This provision nullifies the actions of a court that is enforcing the law to protect farmers, the environment and public health. That is unacceptable.” To avoid public scrutiny, the “Monsanto Protection Act” was quietly and anonymously inserted into the continuing resolution passed this March to avert a government shutdown.
We can't take the risk of Monstanto having free reign over our food
Getting people to take risks and spend money is a powerful, fundamental way to spur economic growth, but what if college graduates simply cannot take those risks? There's $1.1 trillion in college debt in the US, and that's leaving millions of new graduates every year with a negative worth that makes access to credit even more difficult.
Huge decisions are often left up in the air, like abstractions that have no place in reality. Decisions like buying a car or owning a home are often put aside by young people, but marriage?
As a society we are encouraged to get married. The tax-code is rigged in favor of married couples, the "nuclear family" of parents with children is supposed to be as important as apple pie, and the entire debate around marriage equality has shown that we, as a society, really care about marriage.
Add in the complications of college debt, and you might as well make marriage as abstract and unlikely as owning a home or a car.
No house, no car, no happy marriage with kids. It's just too expensive, and Nobel Prize winning economist Joseph Stiglitz has pointed out that student loan debt has effectively crushed the American dream.
Curbing student debt is tantamount to curbing social and economic opportunity. College graduates earn $12,000 more per year than those without college degrees; the gap has almost tripled just since 1980. Our economy is increasingly reliant on knowledge-related industries. No matter what happens with currency wars and trade balances, the United States is not going to return to making textiles. Unemployment rates among college graduates are much lower than among those with only a high school diploma. -Stiglitz
The case for a college education is made very clear: in order to stay competitive in an increasingly complex world, we must be educated. We cannot go back to the old means of production and can't rely on cheap manufacturing to stay caught up. Developing human capital is absolutely necessary.
But if we spend so much on college, how can this developed human capital move forward? Marriage, despite being raised to such a high standard and being a valued tradition for everyone to fight for, is representative of what young graduates saddled with debt are incapable of attaining.
Two educated people wanting to get married could share $53,200 in debt before they cut the cake
Assuming they get married after college, and they each share the average student debt, AND they have an average wedding. That's the shared debt before even considering a home, a car, or anything else.
Educated couples have to keep delaying important moments of their life, or take the risk of sharing the debts of a spouse, which can run much, much higher than the average. A med school student can run over $100,000 in debt.
Curtailing the day-to-day repercussions of loan debt is necessary to allow graduates to pursue their lives and enter the economy. Stiglitz again :
"Student debt also is a drag on the slow recovery that began in 2009. By dampening consumption, it hinders economic growth. It is also holding back recovery in real estate, the sector where the Great Recession started."
Stiglitz credits Elizabeth Warren for thinking outside the box on how to tackle the overall problem of student loans, too.
"If the Federal Reserve is willing to lend to the banks that caused the crisis at just 0.75 percent, shouldn’t it be willing to lend to students, who will be crucial to our long-term recovery, at an appropriately low rate? The government shouldn’t be profiting from our poorest while subsidizing our richest."
A Nobel Prize winning economist knows that college students need a fair shake with student loans. Doubling the interest rates on Stafford Loans are only going to add more total debt to students and drag them further into debt, forcing them to put off important economic and life decisions even longer.