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Monday, March 23, 2015

Ted Cruz Will Not Be President


Ted Cruz is not going to become President Of The United States. He's not even going to be the GOP candidate in November, 2016.

When Donald Trump recently starting making his quadrennial noises about running for president, I said I'd be willing to bet that he gets the exact same number of electoral votes that I will: zero. In fact, I promised that if Trump gets even one electoral vote, I will eat his toupee. Although Cruz has officially announced he's running (unlike Trump), I'll extend my prediction to him, and add one more. Having Cruz in the race will force the GOP field to pander to the extreme right-wingers who support him, which will cause them to say things they can't take back if and when they win the nomination and have to attract votes from more moderate Independents and Democrats.

Meanwhile, Cruz will get lots of media attention and spew all sorts of ridiculous statements that won't get much fact-checking. Even when they are proven false (Politifact says he has the second-highest percentage of falsehoods at 56%, behind only Ben Carson), that won't matter to his evidence-ignoring faithful. For instance, this one from Slate's Jordan Weissman:
My personal favorite, which he mentioned during his speech today, is Cruz's oft-repeated conviction that we should eliminate the Internal Revenue Service—or, as he now likes to half-jokingly put it these days, "abolish the IRS, take all 125,000 IRS agents and put them on our southern border.” Cruz says this would be his second priority, after repealing Obamacare (of course). And it's kind of fun to contemplate. The U.S.-Mexico border is 1,954 miles long. Assuming we rotated those 125,000 newly reassigned agents on three separate eight-hour shifts (gotta guard the border 24/7, after all), we could install one agent roughly every 250 feet. That's less than a football field, people. We could basically handle border security like the world's largest game of Red Rover. Weekends would be a little more porous, but that's what overtime pay is for.

Anyway, getting rid of the IRS would still leave the small matter of collecting taxes up in the air. Because, no, Cruz does not want to eliminate taxes altogether. Borrowing from Rick Perry and Steve Forbes before him, he wants to create a low, low flat tax that everybody could submit on a form the size of a postcard. Even that light level of taxation would require some enforcement, and his spokeswoman has previously acknowledged that the senator thinks there would need to be "a small department that would enforce the tax code.”
Right. A small department to handle tens of millions of postcards and then go after Americans who didn't sent theirs in. Good luck with that, Ted. By the way, the IRS has 82,000 employees, and only 14,000 of those are "agents." But, as always, don't let math or reality intrude upon your Tea Party fantasies.

Cruz couldn't even police the crowd at his own campaign announcement today. He spoke at Liberty University, the school started by Jerry Falwell in Lynchburg, Virginia, where the venue was filled with college students -- who were required by the university to be there. Apparently, not all of them are Cruz fans, as evidenced by the Rand Paul supporters standing up with clear-as-day "I Stand With Paul" t-shirts in the CNN screen grab I've posted above.

He and his staff apparently aren't very good at domain claims, either. Take a look at TedCruz.com. Or type TedCruzForAmerica.com into your browser and you'll be redirected to Healthcare.gov, the front page for Obamacare, which Cruz swears he'll repeal immediately upon election, just as Mitt Romney did (and which neither of them would be able to do -- only the Supreme Court will be able to reverse the progress of the Affordable Care Act).

While you're at it, read Kay Steiger on why Cruz won't change the GOP's continuing problem attracting support from female voters.