After many months of following the 2016 GOP race and following both the candidates and the issues closely, I’ve decided to switch my support from Rubio to Cruz. I’m not 100% behind Cruz yet, but he’s my #1 choice as of now. Here is my explanation and the things that caused me to change my mind:
-Cruz hasn’t had any major flip flops, whereas Rubio’s done so on immigration multiple times
-Cruz doesn’t have any personal or political baggage as far as im aware. Rubio, on the other hand, has connections to shady characters like David Rivera and Norman Braman, one of whom he’s been close to his entire political career, the other is funding his campaign.
Worst of all, there at least appears to be a conflict of interest between Rubio and the owners of a sugar company, the Fanjul brothers. They’ve been supporting his political campaigns since he ran for the senate in 2010, and he’s been supporting sugar subsidies throughout his time in the senate. If this wasn’t bad enough, it turns out these brothers are friends with the Clintons and donated to Hillary’s senate campaign, along with other democrats.
-Cruz has successfully led groups of people, both as head of the FTC in the Bush admin, as the head lawyer for the Bush team’s recount battle, and as solicitor general of Texas. Rubio was speaker of the Florida house but it seems he didn’t do anything significant while he was in that position.
This is a big one for me. Rubio’s foreign policy is basically Bush 2.0. He hasn’t learned anything from the Bush administration, and couldn’t even answer the question of whether or not it was a mistake to invade Iraq, and if we should or shouldn’t be in the business of “nation building“.
He also wanted to invade Libya just like Hillary, which means if he was president we would’ve ended up with the same mess that we have now which has destabilized the region and led to the migrant crisis in Europe, along with increasing the area and ability of terrorist groups to fight us.
This decision showed bad judgment and that he hasn’t learned the lesson of the Bush admin, which is that when we topple secular dictators we always created a vacuum that’s filled by radical jihadists who make things even worse for that country. What’s worse is that he refuses to acknowledge this mistake and doubles down on it, saying that if we kept Gaddafi in power things would’ve been worse, which is pretty much impossible at this point.
This position would effectively neutralize any attack Rubio could make against Hillary on one of her weakest points in the debates.
Cruz, on the other hand, has a more reasonable foreign policy. He was against invading Libya, and didn’t want to arm the Syrian rebels. He’s also said he’s against the idea of nation building.
The reason I supported Rubio instead of Cruz up to this point is mainly because I thought he was more likely to win in the general. The policy differences between the two are minimal from my point of view, especially compared to some of the other candidates, like Trump for example.
But now I realize that although electability should be a factor in my consideration of choosing a nominee, it shouldn’t be the main factor. As long as a candidate isn’t completely unelectable, which I don’t think is the case with Cruz, they should be considered for all the other reasons I’ve outlined above.
Only if two candidates are essentially equal in their leadership abilities and experience should electability come into play, kind of like a tiebreaker. But I now believe that Rubio and Cruz aren’t equals when it comes to both experience and leadership abilities.
I had based a lot of my opinion on Cruz on his time in the Senate, where it seemed like he was just grandstanding and creating a national profile, essentially using his position as a platform for his future presidential run. And there is some truth to that, but that’s not the whole story. He was also standing up for what he believed in, even if he had little to no chance of success.
But beyond that, before he ever got to the senate, in his past positions he’s not only been a strong leader, but a successful one who has gotten results and has been able to win over people who didn’t agree with him at all, as these articles show.
He also was very successful as an appellate litigator, both in gov’t and in the private sector. I see no evidence of Rubio having that kind of success or doing anything noteworthy in his time in gov’t or in the private sector.
Finally, we can compare their time in the senate and see once again who led and who just gave speeches. We can compare how many bills they’ve authored and what issues they’ve chosen to fight for or against. Rubio decided to lead on immigration reform with the gang of 8 bill, but then once it became a dealbreaker among grassroots conservatives, he ran away from it and stopped talking about it altogether. That’s not leadership, that’s being a typical politician who’s trying to save his career.
Besides that, I’m not aware of any bills Rubio has authored while in the senate, or any major battles he’s fought where he opposed the establishment of his own party. Cruz, on the other hand, has fought on some significant issues in his brief time in the senate, such as Obamacare, the Iran deal, and probably biggest of all, defeated amnesty and the gang of 8 bill, which Rubio was a co-sponsor of and fought for until he realized it was a ticking time bomb that was doomed to fail.
I admit that part of the reason I haven’t supported Senator Cruz until now is because I don’t particularly like his style of speaking, at least at campaign rallies. I still don’t. He comes off as a televangelist instead of a president, and I think that has the potential to turn people off in the general election.
Also, I think he’s focused his entire campaign on rallying the base and hasn’t made any attempt to expand the reach of the party and to bring in new, fresh faces to the conservative movement. I hope he will change that strategy at some point, cause you can do both, those things aren’t mutually exclusive.
However, I realize that these things are secondary concerns and are superficial compared to the main factors we should be using to decide who to vote for as our nominee, which are the policies, principles, and character of the candidate we’re evaluating. I can’t let my personal distaste for Cruz’s style at times or my disagreement with him on campaign strategy and tactics distract me from what’s really important.
We can’t choose our nominee based on polls or who’s the MOST electable. As long as the candidate of our choice is able to win a general at all, that should be enough. We should be shaping the polls with our support for the most conservative candidate rather than being led or influenced by them. So that’s what I’ve decided to do in switching my support to Cruz.
As you might have noticed, unlike many conservatives, my support for Cruz over Rubio has almost nothing to do with immigration, except for the fact that Rubio flip flopped on it several times. But in making this decision that issue was at the bottom of the list for me because what matters is what their positions are now on it, and if you look at what they’ve put out, there’s hardly any difference between them.
The main differences are that Cruz wants to restrict H1b visas, at least until the unemployment rate comes down, and is against a pathway to eventual citizenship, whereas Rubio is open to such a pathway after a 10 year process. But on everything else they’re essentially the same.
So it’s not about immigration for me, it’s about the bigger and broader issue of leadership.
The simple truth is that Ted Cruz has been a leader throughout his life and has stood up for his principles, even though that has often meant making many more enemies than friends. I just don’t see the same evidence of leadership from Rubio, both in his past, or in his present role in the GOP. He’s given some great speeches, but we already have a president who gave speeches and had no leadership experience to back them up.
Cruz is a proven leader who’s gotten results in every task he’s set out to achieve in life. I can’t say the same for Rubio, which is why I’m switching my vote to Cruz.