The 2016 election is frightening a lot of people.
Many are fearful, and rightfully so, of the effect that a Trump presidency could have on the country and the world. His offensive and incendiary rhetoric has already led to violence at his rallies against protestors. He has insulted nationalities and religions and has the unwavering support of white supremacists.
The thought of Donald Trump in charge of the most powerful fighting force in the history of the world is enough to give anyone pause. However, despite the danger inherent in President Trump, there is strong evidence that indicates Ted Cruz would be much worse.
There are many reasons why the prospect of a President Cruz should scare you. Trump’s policies may seem crazy and radical, but Cruz is looking at them in the rear view mirror. Take immigration, for example. Yes, of course Trump is more vocal about the “wall,” why Mexicans are the worst and how we are going to deport the 10 million illegal immigrants living in the country. Cruz agrees with all of this, but takes it a step further. He believes we should halt any increases in legal immigration because he fears it suppresses wages. He brags about this distinction, crowing that he is “harder” on immigration than Trump.
It’s not just immigration that Cruz is more extreme than Trump on. He believes climate change is a liberal hoax manufactured to constrain American businesses. He want to “rip to shreds” the Iranian Nuclear Deal, and he is obsessed with eliminating several federal agencies to reduce government spending. These include the Internal Revenue Services, Department of Education, Department of Energy, Department of Commerce and Department of Housing and Urban Development. As much as people may not like some of these departments, especially the IRS, they provide beneficial services essential to the upkeep of our society.
But to Cruz, it’s worth cutting these departments to protect the people from their malevolent government and to prevent overreach. However, he is hypocritically supportive of government regulating the reproductive rights of women. He led the fight to defund Planned Parenthood, coming very close to shutting down the government, which would have been his second time doing so. This behavior is reckless and irresponsible. He also opposes same-sex marriage and frequently advocates against equal protection under the law for LGBT people. He voted no to the Violence Against Women Act because it provided extra protection to gays, lesbians, Native Americans and immigrants. He masks this bigotry by claiming that decisions such as marriage should be left to the states, which is the same argument used by slaveholders and segregationists before him.
In many cases Trump is actually more “sensible” - in the loosest sense of the word - than Cruz. Trump is intelligent enough to recognize that Planned Parenthood provides valuable services for women, although he opposes abortion. It is not too difficult to imagine Trump conceding to a more moderate view on issues such as same sex marriage and LGBT rights. Trump has said that while he opposes the nuclear deal he will not destroy it, but instead get everything he can out of the current agreement and try to strengthen it. But Cruz has made it abundantly clear from his behavior in the Senate that he will fight for any extremist policy he believes in and never compromise. He led the shutdown of the government over Obamacare and vows to repeal the law. He doesn’t care that it would throw 20 million people off their insurance; he only cares that his own goals are accomplished, and he is willing to go to frightening extremes to achieve them.
The key difference is that Trump often says outrageous things, and he says them loudly, but his history shows that he has held more moderate views in the past. He might not be committed to his rhetoric, and he is willing to negotiate. Ted Cruz is firmly committed to his radical beliefs, and he has proven he’s willing to go to any lengths, no matter how destructive, to achieve them. He negotiates by holding the government hostage. As Trump lacks subtlety, Republicans may be less willing to openly support his ideas. Cruz’s ideas are more radical than Trump’s, but at the same time he would have a better chance of them succeeding due to the control the Tea Party has shown over the Republican establishment. Because of this, it is likely that if elected, Cruz could do more harm to the nation than Trump. Just to be safe, let’s not elect either of them.
Jacob Kowalski is a staff columnist for The Daily Campus opinion section. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.