Right now I am leaning toward voting for Cruz in the primary (if I have the option). I was asked (legitimately I might add) “You think Cruz is just going to shut the government down until he gets what he wants? Is that how you envision things happening?”
In a word: No.
Here is what I would expect:
Judicial Nominations:I expect that Scalia and Thomas would be the standard for judicial nominees, that no judicial nominees would be less conservative than those two. I expect that Cruz would allow seats to remain vacant before nominating another Souter. I expect that Cruz nominees will uphold the right of individuals who own businesses to decide which jobs they will or will not take and be willing to overturn Roe v. Wade. I expect Cruz would be willing to have a nasty public fight with Senate Republicans over this issue, but I also expect that a Republican Senate will confirm his appointments. I also expect that he would replace at least 4 Supreme Court justices including Ginsburg and that it would take at least two generations to turn the court liberal again.
Other Nominees: I expect that President Cruz would allow some seats to remain vacant in order to make the body ineffective (NLRB), and put conservatives in other seats (Fed). I expect that Cruz would nominate individuals intent on getting the task done rather than extending the bureaucracy. I expect most of these nominees would be rather non-controversial since the Senate doesn’t seem to care who runs these offices.
Executive Orders: I expect that a President Cruz will issue executive orders overturning things like the EPA carbon rule, DACA, Obama’s immigration orders, relax CAFE standards, and reduce many more unnecessary regulations imposed at the executive level. I expect that he will issue executive orders to clean up the IRS, EPA, Patent Office, and FDA among others. I expect he would use executive orders to enforce the current immigration law by increasing security along the southern border.
Veto: I expect the President Cruz would veto continuing resolutions unless there was a large concession (along the lines of a reduction in spending by 20% for all departments operating under a CR). I expect that he would also veto any bills passed to “improve” ACA. I would expect him to veto the farm bill unless it is pared back.
The only “shutdown” that I imagine happening would be over the budget. I think the shutdown would be limited in that Cruz would sign the funding for one department (Defense) but possibly not another (Agriculture). As a Republican working with a Republican house and Republican Senate it would be difficult to imagine a budget not being passed. Most likely the final budget would dismantle ACA through reconciliation. He may end Common Core the same way. That sort of targeted shutdown would be the exact type of mandate that Cruz would run on.
It wouldn’t be necessary, helpful, or even possible for Cruz to shutdown the government if one of his Judicial nominees was blocked. However a lack of appointing members of NLRB would effectively dismantle the board without him having to do anything. He can fix the porous southern border through executive action without incurring a fight with Congress. He would have a “friendly” senate that would likely keep the “nuclear” option and approve his appointments.
This is what I would expect of a President Cruz. I am not sure I would expect the same from other potential nominees. In other words, I expect the difference in judicial appointments made by Cruz and Walker to be much more substantive than the differences in their treatment of Unions. I would expect the differences in Jindal’s and Cruz’s use of executive orders to dismantle the bureaucratic state to be greater than the difference in their ability to repeal common core. In contrast to the other nominees I expect Cruz to use all the levers at his disposal to pursue a broad conservative agenda.