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Ted Cruz Explained For Confused British People

What's a Ted Cruz, and why should we care?

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Because while we've been distracted by the tangerine apocalypse of Donald Trump, this man (with his deeply unsettling face) has become the only person left who might be able to keep Trump from winning the Republican presidential nomination.

He's managed this EVEN THOUGH most establishment Republicans – and by "establishment" we mean basically every Republican in Washington – hate his guts.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

Here he is grasping his wife (but leaving space for Jesus) in celebration of his victory over Trump in a "crucial" Republican presidential primary in Wisconsin.

And now, people are beginning to shout about whether he's "worse" than Trump.

Ted Cruz defeating Donald Trump is cholera triumphing over tuberculosis. He is just as bad. If not worse.

Basically, the US presidential election is so crazypants that the guy who wants to abolish the American equivalent of HMRC is only the SECOND-most controversial Republican candidate.

We laugh at Donald Trump's insane policy comments but Ted Cruz talks about ABOLISHING THE IRS every day and we're like, "lol whatever"

Ted Cruz was born Rafael Edward Cruz to an American mother and Cuban father in a lovely, mountainy, cheerful bit of Canada in 1970.

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Now, you might be saying to yourself, "Canada?!" But you can still run for president if you were born abroad to at least one American parent, like how John McCain was born on an army base in Panama, and Obama was born on Jupiter's most Muslim moon.

Here's Cruz at 18 describing what he wanted to do when he grew up: "Take over the world. World domination, rule everything. Rich, powerful, that sort of stuff."

View this video on YouTube

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Same.

He then went to university at Princeton, where he shared a dorm room with his biggest fan, the screenwriter Craig Mazin.

Getting emails blaming me for not smothering Ted Cruz in his sleep in 1988. What kind of monster do you think I am? A really prescient one?

Ha ha, did we say fan? Mazin actually hates him more than anyone. As Mother Jones put it: "Ted Cruz's College Roommate Can't Stop Talking Smack About Him."

While at Princeton, Cruz gained a reputation for being "creepy", no doubt thanks in part to his "habit of donning a paisley bathrobe and walking to the opposite end of their dorm’s hallway where the female students lived", according to the Daily Beast.

Here's young Ted at Harvard Law celebrating Republican victories in the 1994 midterm elections, pictured here making every orifice in your body clench.

In what seemed to be an emerging pattern in Ted Cruz's life, his classmates at Harvard apparently considered him a bit of a cock.

In 2000, he went to work for the presidential campaign of George W. Bush, who once said of Cruz, "I just don't like the guy."

Before his rise as outsider, Ted Cruz played inside role in 2000 recount https://t.co/LrkCmzL0uD via @mattfleg

That's a pretty sick burn coming from an ex-president, especially given that Cruz took part in the legal fight to win Bush the presidency in Florida.

A fellow Bush campaigner told Mother Jones that Cruz "would send memos on everything to everyone. He would come to meetings where he wasn't invited — and wasn't wanted...People wouldn't go to a meeting if they knew he would be there. It was his inability to be part of the team. That's exactly what he was: a big asshole.”

OK, so at this point you might be wondering, "How does a guy with so many enemies get so many votes?"

Darren Hauck / Getty Images

Well, that's kind of the point. When Cruz ran for the Senate in 2012, he beat the very well-established Texan Republican David Dewhurst in a huge primary upset by selling himself as an outsider, riding the tide of the insurgent right-wing Tea Party movement (remember them?).

It's a line he's touting again as he runs for president – that he's not just a Washington outsider, but that other Republicans hate him. He's just a ~man of the people~, like when Nigel Farage drinks a pint down the pub in front of the assembled British press.

Ted Cruz also has some very strong beliefs adding to his appeal among conservative voters, which can be summarised quite simply.

Scott Olson / Getty Images / BuzzFeed

Ted Cruz is a big fan of the following things: guns, religion (well, mostly his own), the constitution (like, unless it disagrees with him), the death penalty, and having a massive wall on the border with Mexico.

Ted Cruz really does not like the following things: equal marriage, abortion, taxation, the city of Washington, D.C., politicians who are not Ted Cruz, and government.

As both a lawyer and lawmaker, Ted has spent a lot of his political career fighting against government efforts to regulate guns or establish a healthcare system.

Scott Olson / Getty Images

He also lost his shit when the Supreme Court ruled to legalise gay marriage across the country last year. He called it “the very definition of tyranny”.

But the thing Ted Cruz is probably best known for is repeatedly trying to shut down the entire government of the country.

Win Mcnamee / Getty Images

This might seem like a weird thing to have on your “why I’d make a good president” CV. Let's try to explain:

Basically, every year, Congress has to vote to let the government keep spending money on doing government stuff. In 2013, Tea Party Republicans – with Ted Cruz at their head – got so pissed off with Obama’s healthcare law (which had already been passed) that they refused to let the government have ANY money unless they defunded it.

This meant that all government stuff completely shut down for 16 days, which didn’t achieve anything and was incredibly unpopular, because (it turns out) most people actually like having some government stuff happening.

So, for some reason, Ted Cruz tried to do it again in 2015 over government funding of Planned Parenthood. This time, almost all his fellow Republicans were like “fuck that guy”, and it never happened, the end.

Also you may have noticed that lots of people keeping on mentioning the fact that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac killer.

Interesting that Ted Cruz has yet to speak out and deny being the Zodiac Killer

The Zodiac was a notorious, never-caught serial killer in California in the late '60s and early '70s, who taunted the police with a series of puzzles and codes. At the time of the Zodiac's first murders, Ted Cruz (born 1970) was not even a little Canadian foetus.

Some people claim that this makes it impossible for Ted Cruz to be the Zodiac killer! But consider the following evidence:

* Ted Cruz has not denied being the Zodiac killer

* A time-travelling serial killer is even creepier than a normal serial killer

* Lots of people keep saying that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac killer

* Ted Cruz is the Zodiac killer

So far it seems fair to say that the jury is out on the issue of Ted Cruz being the Zodiac killer.

So what makes somebody a Cruz fan instead of a Trump fan? Basically, Cruz’s supporters consider themselves the proper, diehard small-government conservatives.

Kamil Krzaczynski / Kevin Kolczynski / Reuters

According a big survey conducted in December and January this year, "Cruz outperforms Trump by about 15 percentage points among the most economically conservative Republicans. But Cruz loses to Trump by over 30 points among the quarter of Republicans who hold progressive positions on health care, taxes, the minimum wage and unions."

The same survey found that Trump also draws greater support among voters who scored higher in the categories of "racial resentment", "immigrant resentment", and "white ethnocentrism".

The next Republican primary isn’t until 19 April in New York, where Trump is expected to do well. Trump is still in the lead, but in terms of their delegate counts (which actually decides the party’s nominee), Cruz is catching up:

With plenty of delegates still up for grabs in upcoming primaries, the nominee probably won't be decided until the Republican National Convention in July.

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