In a debate that had everything from word twisting to personal jabs, Ted Cruz stood there looking true to his debate style. He made a name for himself as a fiery debater with good rhetorical skills to pounce on his opponent’s mistakes.
Last Friday night, Cruz reiterated his political platform and took every opportunity to pounce on Representative Beto O’Rourke’s mistakes. There were several exchanges between the two, but Cruz was far more aggressive when it came to going after his opponent. By the end of the night, Cruz had boiled things down to his stances on economic, immigration, and healthcare policy.
“Legal good, illegal bad,” Cruz stated.
This has been his hallmark stance on immigration and were the first words he used to open his 90-second speech on immigration. As a senator, Cruz has supported legislation that pours more money into border security, and now the border wall proposed by President Trump. Despite his combative views on immigration, Cruz believes firmly that the United States should welcome those who go through the lawful process of immigration. Being the son of immigrants, Cruz appreciates the value of growing up in the United States; he just emphasizes legal immigration.
Another contentious issue of the evening was gun control. Contrary to O’Rourke’s belief in universal background checks, Cruz preaches the merits of responsible gun ownership. He stood by the notion that taking away guns from law-abiding citizens would only make them unsafe as criminals and those with malevolent intentions would find other ways to acquire guns. Cruz also backs plans to give greater body armor to police officers and make sure that they have the tools that they need to do their job properly.
Both candidates got the most heated when healthcare was on the table. O’Rourke stood firmly by the Affordable Care Act questioning how every single word of it could be repealed. Cruz proceeded to shoot off statistics pointing to the reality that the Affordable Care Act was no longer affordable for many Texans with many plans having premiums that have skyrocketed in their cost per year.
“We need to lower premiums for everyone,” Cruz said. He continued, “We can protect pre-existing conditions, but we need more choices, more competition.”
Many Republicans have stood by this notion that free-market healthcare is the solution, which is tenuous for many of them considering the ugly past of healthcare by privilege for many Americans. However, Cruz’s unwavering belief is that we must protect those with pre-existing conditions while making healthcare more affordable for those in the state of Texas.
The final topic of debate for the evening focused on economic policy, specifically the global trade war that President Trump has the United States hurdling into. Cruz argued that he has repeatedly urged President Trump to refrain from putting tariffs on many goods because of the potential backlash.
“We should be expanding our access to foreign markets,” Cruz emphasized.
He pointed to the recent negotiations between the United States and European Union on mutually relaxing tariffs which he believes would benefit many Texans. The most Texas-oriented policy of the night may have been Cruz pointing to his support for India to remove tariffs on pecans which would allow Texas to export more around the world.
Once again, the scrappiness of the debate came through in the closing remarks as each of the candidates were asked to say something positive about their opponent. Beto was genuine with his commendation of Cruz’s sacrifices to pursue a meaningful career in politics. Cruz, already feeling the high of his debate win remained true to his combative style with a typical Ted Cruz response.
“I commend you for fighting what you think is right,” Cruz said in relation to O’Rourke’s belief in advocating for socialism.