Ted Cruz: The other wildly extreme GOP frontrunner

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What’s up with Ted Cruz, the new GOP flavor of the month? Or should we say, the Latino Trump? With the final GOP debate of 2015 set for tonight in Las Vegas, all eyes will be on Senator Cruz.

Yes  Donald Trump continues to ride the Islamophobic/anti-Latino/bigoted campaign train to glory.

A new poll has Trump widening his lead to 41 percent, while other polls show Trump leading in New Hampshire.  There is a tight race in Iowa, with Cruz showing a strong surge and emerging as a co-frontrunner, with the Des Moines Register placing Cruz in the lead.

Trump is bad news for the GOP, and Cruz is just as wild and crazy as any of the other leading candidates.

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For one, Cruz is promoting a 19 percent federal sales tax that is a conservative fantasy. Rightwing think tanks claim the tax plan will create massive economic growth when, in reality, it would be a disaster. His tax plan would be a boon for the rich, painful for the elderly and retired, and would leave a $3.7 trillion hole in the federal budget.

In 2013, the senator from Texas orchestrated a two-week government shutdown that cost the economy $24 billion.

On abortion, Cruz is vehemently against it.

“Abortion is the stain on our nation’s modern history. We should end it,” Cruz said.

The candidate even supports a constitutional amendment criminalizing abortion, banning forms of birth control, and declaring fertilized eggs and fetuses as people.

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And he is outright homophobic as well.

Ted Cruz stood with Kim Davis, the Rowan County, Kentucky, clerk who refused to sign same-sex marriage licenses, and Pastor Kevin Swanson, who has called for the death penalty for LGBT people and advocated Uganda’s “kill the gays” bill.

And Cruz railed against the decision to allow transgender soldiers to serve in the military, saying “We shouldn’t view the military as a cauldron for social experiments.” And he suggested he would return to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy that excluded LGBT people from serving in the armed forces.

For all of his talk of “religious freedom,” Cruz does not believe that freedom should extend to Muslims. He is against allowing Syrian refugees into the U.S. and embraces Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy, called “one of America’s most notorious Islamophobes” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

And Cruz does not believe in the existence of climate change, arguing it is not science but a religious belief.

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Moreover, Latinos don’t seem to want much to do with the presidential candidate. In the Senate, Cruz has stalled President Obama’s judicial nominations, and now the Congressional Hispanic Caucus is complaining to Senate Republicans for stalling four Latino nominees to the federal bench. During his Senate run, Cruz received little support from Latinos, who overwhelmingly backed his Democratic opponent. Latino and immigrant advocates say that Cruz and Rubio are the same as Trump and in some cases worse on issues that concern their community. Even a group of Hispanic Republicans are criticizing Cruz on the eve of the debate for his support of the self-deportation of undocumented immigrants.

Jorge Ramos of Univision asked Cruz if he has a Latino problem. “Many people don’t understand why, Senator,” Ramos said, “if you’re the son of an immigrant, of a Cuban-American, why don’t you try to help 11 million undocumented immigrants who are in this country and are just immigrants like your dad?”

Meanwhile, a recent poll has Hillary Clinton leading Cruz by 27 points among Latinos (61 percent to 34 percent), and Rubio by 19 points (57 percent to 38 percent). In another survey, Clinton is far more favorable among Latinos than Rubio — who has a 32 percent favorability rating with Hispanics — and Cruz — who has a 24 percent approval rating.  The poll also found that 84 percent of Latinos believe the GOP is hostile or indifferent toward them, and with good reason.

Further, on issues impacting the African-American community, particularly police violence and the #BlackLivesMatter movement, Cruz shows utter contempt for black people. The senator essentially called the black protest movement cop killers: “If you look at the Black Lives Matter movement, one of the most disturbing things is more than one of their protests have embraced rabid rhetoric, rabid anti-police language, literally suggesting and embracing and celebrating the murder of police officers,” the Texas senator said. “That is disgraceful.” Cruz also accused Obama of vilifying law enforcement. And he is making all of this up.

Cruz has a dismal record. He opposes affirmative action in college admissions, Obamacare, the Violence Against Women Act, and all restrictions on gun ownership – including bans on magazines over 10 bullets.

And the GOP hopeful had to return $8,500 that Earl Holt III, the white supremacist leader of the Council of Conservative Citizens, gave to Cruz’ campaign. The CCC provided inspiration to Dylann Roof, who killed nine black people at the Emanuel AME Church in Charleston, South Carolina.

Cruz, who is waiting in the wings to steal Trump’s thunder, and his supporters when the time is right, will have his chance to shine in the spotlight. A Canadian-born Latino who has turned himself into an immigrant-bashing, white supremacist good ol’ boy, he is truly out there.

Follow David A. Love on Twitter at @davidalove

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