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From “they’re criminals; they’re rapists” to “Islam hates us,” Donald Trump has really tested the bounds of what is considered acceptable behavior for a US presidential candidate. His narcissism, lack of experience, and almost daily reversal of views threaten not only the current strength of our nation but also the stability of the entire international community. However, the most dangerous candidate is not necessarily the one who spews the most inflammatory and insolent comments; a candidate who is certain to invest all of his energy into undoing the progress of the past eight years, and into causing profound, irreversible damage to not only the country but also the planet is far more frightening. Ted Cruz was such a candidate.
While Trump was boasting about his wealth, intelligence, and hand size, Senator Cruz was quietly, strategically plotting his implementation of ideologically extreme conservatism. He is undoubtedly the more restrained and astute of the two, but his intentions are more destructive. Whereas Trump was willing to “make deals” and compromise, Cruz was abhorred by his fellow Congressmen and many people he had worked with, largely because of his stalwart inflexibility. Former college roommates called him “creepy ”and “a nightmare of a human being,” while John Boehner, former Speaker of the House, referred to him recently as “Lucifer in the flesh.” Cruz’s remarkable ability to alienate nearly everyone he had worked with would likely be a serious issue for him as a commander in-chief.
Ted Cruz’s true character is illustrated by his record of obstructionism in the Congress. He is perhaps best known for a 21 hour-long filibuster during which he argued vehemently against ObamaCare and at one point read from Dr. Seuss’s “Green Eggs and Ham.” This speech, which was in fact completely unnecessary as the Senate’s resolution was already in motion, led to the government shutdown of 2013.
But perhaps a voter’s greatest concern regarding a potential Cruz presidency should be the Senator’s commitment to big oil. According to the Bloomberg Politics, Ted Cruz has received significantly more contributions than any other candidate from oil and gas industry employees. Throughout 2015, he received almost $700,000, while Jeb Bush came in second with a little over $400,000. At this critical time, the planet frankly cannot sustain the leadership of a man who denies blatant scientific evidence of the damage done to the environment, nor can the human race survive the inaction regarding climate change that a Cruz presidency would ensure.
The Senator’s obsession with his religious beliefs leads him to employ harmful rhetoric towards groups such as the LGBTQ community, unlike Trump. Cruz referred to the day of the Supreme Court decision to legalize same-sex marriage as “some of the darkest 24 hours in our nation’s history,” and vowed to limit the power of the Supreme Court if elected. Not only does Cruz believe and adhere to every word of the Bible and Constitution with complete 100 percent subservience, he also seems to feel entitled to force these beliefs onto other people, as demonstrated by his absolutist anti-abortion policies.
Overall, although Trump may make more provocative and absurd comments, Ted Cruz surpasses him in terms of obsolete, extreme-right beliefs and his stubborn commitment to them. Trump holds at least some moderate and liberal views, and is willing to compromise. Terrible decision as it is, if one were forced to choose, Trump might have to win this one.
Shortly after the completion of this article, Ted Cruz dropped out of the race. To quote the Senator, that may very well have been “some of the brightest 24 hours of our nation’s history.” However, there still exists one only slightly less threatening danger that must be overcome in the general election.