Ted Cruz’ call to patrol “Muslim neighborhoods” in the United States following Tuesday’s terrorist attacks in Brussels is the latest in a long line of outrageous proposals that should disqualify the Texan from high office.
With Donald Trump leading in the Republican Party’s presidential contest, some are willing to overlook the fact that Cruz, who is in second place, is a hardliner.
Jeb Bush, the former Florida governor and a relative moderate in the party, threw his support behind Cruz on Wednesday. So did the pro-business Club for Growth, a powerful conservative lobbying group.
Cruz may be preferable to Trump, but that is only because the latter is a personally insecure crypto-fascist who has no discernible principles nor demonstrated even the slightest grasp of policy. Cruz would still be the most right-wing presidential candidate in living memory and almost certainly lose the general election in November against the Democrats’ Hillary Clinton.
Cruz justified his proposal to patrol Muslim areas on CNN, saying, “If you have a neighborhood where there’s a high level of gang activity, the way to prevent it is you increase the law enforcement presence there and you target the gang members to get them off the streets.”
“I’m talking about any area where there is a higher incidence of radical Islamic terrorism,” he added.
The comparison doesn’t fly. Cruz conflates actual crime (gang violence) with thoughtcrimes (radical Islamism). Terrorists do not usually target the areas where they live. How is Cruz going to identify the “Muslim neighborhoods” at risk of radicalization? Or indeed Muslim neighborhoods at all? Unlike in European cities, Muslims in the United States do not cluster together on the outskirts of historical cores.
Even if he could find such areas, boosting police presence in them would understandably and needlessly aggravate ordinary American Muslims whose neighborhoods are then singled for the only reason that many Muslims live in them. It is outright discriminatory and abject on so many levels.
It is also vintage Cruz.
If it weren’t for Trump, we would all be talking about the crazy things Cruz is willing to say to get elected.
The Texan represents the culmination of a conservative quest for purity in which every Republican who is willing to give an inch to the Democrats for the purpose of governing the country is immediately outcast as a traitor to the cause.
Whether it is comparing colleagues who refused to support his doomed effort to defund President Barack Obama’s health reforms to Nazi appeasers, suggesting that Chuck Hagel, a Republican defense secretary, got money from North Korea or accusing Arab Christians of not “standing with” Israel even when they did, Cruz’ tirades have been hyperbolic without exception.
His speeches, which he rehearses with an eerie precision, tick all the right boxes for an audience that gets its information from fringe right-wing media.
The country, he will say, is heading off “the cliff to oblivion.” Freedoms are “taken away every day.” In the Democratic primary, Clinton is competing with Bernie Sanders for “who would wear the jackboot most vigorously.” Obama cannot distinguish between America’s friends and foes, nor “between the nation of Israel and Islamic terrorists who seek to murder us.” The West is surrendering to radical Islam out of “fear” and “political correctness”. If only evangelics turned out in greater numbers could they “take the country back” and start making everything right again.
It’s utter hogwash, which makes it all the more depressing that Cruz is now probably the only one who can still deny Trump the nomination.