Written by Ian Millhiser (ThinkProgress)
he following list is updated from a 2013 ThinkProgress post responding to reports that Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) was considering a presidential run.
Shortly after midnight on Monday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) released a video announcing that he will seek his party’s nomination for the presidency in 2016. He will deliver his first speech as an announced presidential candidate at Liberty University, a conservative Christian school founded by the late Rev. Jerry Falwell, Sr. According to the New York Times, student attendance at Cruz’s speech in mandatory.
Cruz, who famously led a 2013 fight to shut down the federal government in a failed attempt to defund the Affordable Care Act, could resonate with the segment of the GOP electorate that is inclined to believe outlandish conspiracy theories about global cabals, communists, and liberal billionaires. After all, Cruz is a member of this segment himself. Here’s a list of five conspiracy theories that this senator who wants to be president actually believes:
- George Soros leads a global conspiracy to abolish the game of golf. In a January 2012 article published on Cruz’s senate campaign website, the future senator argues that a twenty year-old non-binding United Nations resolution signed by 178 nations including the United States under President George H.W. Bush, is actually a nefarious plot to “abolish ‘unsustainable’ environments, including golf courses, grazing pastures, and paved roads.” Cruz attributes this plot to a common tea party boogieman — “[t]he originator of this grand scheme is George Soros, who candidly supports socialism and believes that global development must progress through eliminating national sovereignty and private property.”
- Communists infiltrated Harvard Law School. Almost three years ago, Cruz gave a speech to the tea party group Americans for Prosperity in which he claimed that revolutionary communists were a major presence on Harvard’s law faculty. According to Cruz, “There were fewer declared Republicans in the faculty when we were there than Communists! There was one Republican. But there were twelve who would say they were Marxists who believed in the Communists overthrowing the United States government.” Cruz’s claims came as a big surprise to Harvard Law Professor Charles Fried, a Republican who served as President Reagan’s solicitor general, who says that “I would be surprised if there were any members of the faculty who ‘believed in the Communists overthrowing the U.S. government.’”
- Islamic law threatens the United States. Echoing a common fear among very conservative politicians that Sharia law is somehow creeping into American life, Cruz told a senate candidate’s forum last year that “Sharia law is an enormous problem” in the United States. In reality, there are barely any examples of Islamic or Sharia law even being mentioned in American legal proceedings, and when it is mentioned it is typically because a contract, will or other document drafted by a private citizen invokes Sharia law, not because the court wishes to replace American law with something else.
- Obama wanted immigration reform to fail so he can campaign on it in 2016. Cruz claimed that “the reason that the White House is insisting on a path to citizenship” in an immigration bill that once seemed likely to pass Congress “is because the White House knows that insisting on that is very likely to scuttle the bill” giving Obama an issue to campaign on in the future. In reality, a path to citizenship was a key prong of the immigration bill President Bush supported in 2007. It was also a major prong of the Gang of Eight bill — a gang which included Republican Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Marco Rubio (R-FL), Lindsay Graham (R-SC) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ). So if the path to citizenship were actually an Obama plot to give himself a campaign issue, Obama had some unexpected co-conspirators in this scheme.
- George W. Bush led an assault on Texas’ “sovereignty.” Cruz’s first campaign ad touted his victory in a Supreme Court case permitting the state of Texas to execute a Mexican national, despite the fact that Texas violated America’s treaty obligations by not permitting this Mexican citizen “to request assistance from the consul of his own state.” President Bush objected to Texas’s effort to flout a treaty that even North Korea had honored when it detained two American journalists for five months in 2009. Cruz dismissed Bush’s objections as an intrusion on “the sovereignty of the States.”
Cruz is the first 2016 candidate to officially announce their entry into the race, although others have taken preliminary steps.