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Why America Needs Donald Trump to Win the Nomination

The Huffington Post logo The Huffington Post 22/02/2016 Jason Fuller

Writing that headline shocks me as much as it probably shocks some of you.
There's no mistaking the fact that, since announcing his candidacy last summer, Donald Trump has been a loose cannon who has not only stirred up tremendous controversy, but has also shaken up the entire political process.
Trump has managed to alienate most ethnic groups living in America, insult women with his sexist comments, allow violence against protesters at his rallies, insult journalists and restrain freedom of the press at his rallies, and even now is engaged in an ever-escalating feud with fellow Republican candidate Ted Cruz.
I share the views of many, more moderate and even liberal voices: The possibility of a Trump presidency is a scary thought just based upon how he handles day-to-day campaigning. What kind of restrictions on Muslims is he willing to support should he actually be elected? Will he curtail First Amendment protections on free speech, the press, and religious freedom as his actions on the campaign trail suggest? These are very serious questions which need equally serious consideration by those considering giving Trump their vote in the upcoming primaries and especially in the general election.
But as scary as the possibility of the Trump House may be to the majority of the American public, there is an even scarier possibility hot on Donald Trump's heels: Ted Cruz. Cruz has managed to turn around a previously lackluster campaign by narrowly winning the Iowa caucuses earlier this month and is now trending generally second only to Trump in most polling. Trump, in fact, seemed destined to win Iowa, but the voters shook up those results. What will be most telling is how accurate the polls are, or if the voters will upset Trump yet again as primary season wears on.
What Americans need to be clear on is that, regardless of Trump's antics and misguided politics, he is still a relative lightweight compared to Ted Cruz. What we are going to explore for the rest of this article, then, is just why a Ted Cruz presidency could end up fundamentally changing America for the worse and for a significant period of time.

Ted Cruz: A Proven Track Record of Cruelty

This is the absolute most important reason why Ted Cruz must be stopped from attaining the presidency. Unlike Donald Trump, who has never held public office, Cruz has a documented, proven, and indisputable track record of being a crass, mean, and outright cruel human being whenever it suits his own political interests.
Ted Cruz is a former Solicitor General for the state of Texas, having served in the position in 2003. Prior to this, he worked as a lawyer and even served as a law clerk for Supreme Court Justice William Rehnquist. He also served as a policy adviser for George W. Bush's presidential campaign and, in 2001, served as director of the Office of Policy Planning for the FTC before ultimately launching his Senate bid (Source).
During his tenure as Solicitor General of Texas, an old case involving a man named Michael Wayne Haley came to Cruz's attention. In 1997, Haley had been arrested for stealing a calculator from a Wal-Mart in Texas. Under the law, Haley should have been sentenced to no more than two years in prison, even with prior convictions. However, another statute reserved for habitual offenders was mistakenly applied to his case, resulting in a sentence of sixteen years.
Somehow, neither Haley's defense attorney, the prosecutors, nor the judge involved in the initial trial realized that this mistake had been made. CNN explains that the reason Haley should not have been charged under this law was because of timing; his previous convictions did not fit the requirements under the "three strikes" law ultimately used in the sentencing.
Once Haley learned of the mistakes in his sentencing, he filed a writ of habeas corpus, claiming that he was innocent of being a habitual offender under that specific statute and petitioning for his release. This is where Ted Cruz now became involved. As solicitor general, he led the charge in Texas' fight disputing Haley's claims. The official argument used by the state of Texas effectively amounted to, "Because you did not bring up this mistake during your official trial or on appeal, you can't do it now. So you have to stay in prison for your entire sentence":
The State of Texas conceded that Haley's criminal record made him ineligible for habitual offender treatment. But the State still wanted Haley to serve the extra 14-plus years on the ground that he had waived the argument he now was making -- having failed to raise the objection at trial or on direct appeal from his conviction and sentence. Using one of those lovely obscurities of the law, the State argued that Haley's claim was "procedurally defaulted" -- which is another way of sticking your tongue out and screaming "Hah-hah, too late!"

The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals agreed with Haley, setting the stage for his release -- or, at least, it should have. However, Ted Cruz fought on; the Haley case actually worked its way all the way to the US Supreme Court, Cruz refusing to allow a hardened criminal like this petty thief out of prison just because the court screwed up. Even Justice Anthony Kennedy was taken aback by Cruz's determination to keep a calculator thief behind bars for literally eight times the normal maximum sentence:
"Is there some rule that you can't confess error in your state?"

Haley was ultimately released after serving six years. The CNN article referenced above has a very good, detailed recounting of the saga, though it fails to mention Cruz's involvement.
But a far more recent example of Ted Cruz's basic lack of humanity comes directly from the campaign trail, when he looks a young woman brought to the US as a child in the eye and says that he would have her deported:

Let's just put aside for a second what the actual law says, and the broader immigration debate. You are basically talking to a child! This brief exchange alone shows that Ted Cruz is an emotionless, empty shell without a soul. Coupled with the fact that he would work tirelessly to keep someone locked up for longer than the law even allows over a petty crime shows without a doubt that Ted Cruz has no compassion, no sense of integrity, and absolutely no sense of humanity. This is arguably the most dangerous type of person you could ever elect to one of the most important leadership positions on the planet.

Religious Lunacy, Not Liberty: In Cruz We Trust?

But if we need yet another reason to not elect Ted Cruz as president, it would be his religious lunacy. Ted Cruz is fighting a war against Christianity that does not exist. In fact, Cruz is such a fanatical Christian that even his rallies virtually turn into revivals:
"And I don't want occasions like this to end without realizing that God is in control and Ted Cruz is committed to not only conservative philosophy but with conservative theology as well," he continued. "He's going to make us a great president to make our nation a great nation again."

At another rally in January in Iowa before the caucuses, Cruz had heavy-hitting evangelicals in attendance, including James Dobson and Bob Vander Plaats of The Family Leader and continued soliciting prayers for his campaign:
"If we allow non-believers to elect our leaders, we shouldn't be surprised when our government doesn't reflect our values," Cruz said to widespread applause.
Cruz called for increased voter turnout among evangelical caucus-goers, using the type of overtly religious rhetoric that has galvanized support from social conservatives and propelled family-values candidates such as Mike Huckabee and Rick Santorum to first-place Iowa finishes in 2008 and 2012.
Cruz asked that attendees pray for him by asking for peace for his campaign, for the wisdom granted to the Biblical Solomon and for the well-being of his daughters, Caroline and Catherine.

Remember that the Constitution of the United States possesses no religious litmus test for the presidency. From Article 2, Section I:
No person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Let's see: Must be natural-born (Cruz is fighting hard on this one!), 35 years old, and a resident within the United States for 14 years. No, I don't see anything stating, "shall be of the Christian orthodoxy and versed in the ways of Christianity and Christianity alone."
But for Ted Cruz, this seems to be the only qualification that matters. Answering questions about his loyalty to the Republican party and recent attack ads questioning both that loyalty and his commitment to Christianity, he responded (emphasis added):
"I'm a Christian first, American second, conservative third and Republican fourth," said Cruz, who is currently a distant second place, behind Trump, for the GOP nomination in several national polls. "I'll tell ya, there are a whole lot of people in this country that feel exactly the same way."

Cruz also seems willing to put his money where his mouth is. At an event in New Hampshire recently, he announced his intention to trample both on the First Amendment and the Constitution's call for a separation of church and state by decreeing that he will make school prayer mandatory. He subsequently doubles down on this:
"Education starts with God," said Cruz. "From there, all else can be taught. It will increase test scores, stop teen pregnancy, and make America a better place."

Full disclosure: I have never read the Bible and have no intention of doing so. I believe it is a work of fiction. This is my right under the United States Constitution. Ted Cruz, while simultaneously chanting that we need to observe the Constitution of the United States, wants to do away with this aspect of the Constitution. I'm going to let Cruz's own Web site highlight this hypocrisy:
Ted Cruz has spent a lifetime fighting to defend the Constitution -- our nation's founding document and the supreme law of the land -- which was crafted by our founding fathers to act as chains to bind the mischief of government and to protect the liberties endowed to us by our Creator.

But while Ted Cruz likes to talk a good game about religion and good Christian values and constitutional principles, he is certainly not above twisting those beliefs to suit his own political agenda. Recall that when the northeastern U.S. was devastated by Superstorm Sandy, Cruz was a very vocal opponent of giving its residents any government assistance:
"This bill is symptomatic of a larger problem in Washington -- an addiction to spending money we do not have. The United States Senate should not be in the business of exploiting victims of natural disasters to fund pork projects that further expand our debt."

But Cruz also promised God-fearing Texans all the aid they could get when Texas was hit with devastating floods last summer:
"Today, Texans are hurting. They're hurting here in San Marcos. They're hurting in Wimberley. They're hurting in Houston. They're hurting all across the state. Democrats and Republicans in the congressional delegation will stand as one in support of the federal government meeting its statutory obligations to provide the relief to help the Texans who are hurting."

But not content to shame only the citizens of the Northeast, Cruz saved one of his most biting, targeted remarks for New Orleans, which you probably recall was almost wiped out by Hurricane Katrina in 2005:
"It's not a secret that Texas is one of the states where kids get the strictest upbringing and are taught to follow the letter of God. And look at New Orleans, for example -- it's a city of sin, where the Devil has a home. It's almost a no-brainer, really."

What we have in Ted Cruz, then, is the most sanctimonious, religiously maniacal hypocrite perhaps to have ever been elected to public office. Ted Cruz is a Bible-thumping lunatic who expects every person to live by his own version of what Christianity means and will seemingly stop at nothing to enforce his vision and deny every right given to us under our own Constitution which doesn't fit his vision, while simultaneously touting that the Constitution is the supreme law of the land and must equally be defended. I would challenge anyone to find a way to mesh these hopelessly contrasting dynamics!
Even more frightening: Imagine if any of our remaining Supreme Court justices either dies or retires while Cruz is in office, giving him the opportunity to further tilt the balance of the Court. There will be an assault on abortion rights, overall women's rights, and LGBT rights like we have never before seen in America. An America run by evangelicals dictating the laws of our country in biblical terms would then be possible -- basically enacting a Christian version of Sharia law.

Just Like McConnell: Scaring the Electorate

And if even this isn't enough to discredit Ted Cruz from claiming the presidency, there is also his attempt to effectively rig the Iowa caucuses with a mailer accusing potential voters of election violations for possibly not having voted in previous caucuses and elections.
Cruz's campaign attempted to shame Iowans into caucusing for him by revealing the full names and addresses of voters to their neighbors, purportedly also with publicly-available voting records. For some, as indicated in the previous link, this backfired and actually cost Cruz at least some votes and support. More telling, though, is that at least some of the data Cruz included in the fliers was fake. The mailers were even denounced by Iowa Secretary of State Paul Pate, who said in part:
"Accusing citizens of Iowa of a "voting violation" based on Iowa Caucus participation, or lack thereof, is false representation of an official act. There is no such thing as an election violation related to frequency of voting. Any insinuation or statement to the contrary is wrong and I believe it is not in keeping in the spirit of the Iowa Caucuses."

The Cruz mailers are reminiscent of those sent out by Mitch McConnell's campaign during the final days of his 2014 campaign against Alison Lundergan Grimes, one of which I personally received:

In these fliers, the McConnell campaign declared that anyone who voted for Grimes would themselves be committing "election violations." This was nothing more than a scare tactic to not only keep Kentuckians from voting for Grimes, but likely to prevent those who did not support McConnell from going to the polls altogether. The psychological force behind such a tactic is immense, especially as voting rights as a whole have become such a critical issue in America over the last few years with the Supreme Court's neutralization of the Voting Rights Act. So explain to me how Ted Cruz's version of Mitch McConnell's voter intimidation in any way defends the rights given to us under the Constitution?

Analyzing the Election Math

The trick, then, is whether or not Trump can maintain his overall lead against Ted Cruz (BREAKING NEWS: Literally as I write this, Trump has just been declared the winner of South Carolina's primary today by major media outlets). According to The Hill, Trump is even projected to beat Hillary Clinton in recent polling! Should Cruz overtake Trump, it would be logical to assume that if Hillary is indeed the nominee, she could be crushed by him in November -- which would be the absolute worst-case scenario for America.
The onus, then, is actually on the Democrats to pick the right candidate to fight not only Donald Trump, but also Ted Cruz. With Cruz more popular in evangelical circles than Trump, this could end up being the swing group which moves the election needle towards Ted Cruz should he somehow overcome the Trump juggernaut.
With over eight months to go before election day, there is still plenty of time for the ghosts of Benghazi, Wall Street, the E-mail scandal, and even her husband to haunt Clinton's campaign. The Republicans over the years have shown themselves to be very adept at manipulating the narrative of divisive Democratic candidates. S
hould the Democrats choose Hillary Clinton, the question then becomes whether or not the prospect of the first woman president is enough to overcome all of her controversies to avoid putting Donald Trump or Ted Cruz into the White House. But however the Democratic side of things shakes out, Ted Cruz's record makes it crystal clear that he cannot be allowed within striking distance of the White House. And for this reason alone, America needs Donald Trump.

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