Ted Cruz Makes 2016 Presidential Bid Official: What You Need to Know

Ted Cruz, Source: Scott Olson/Getty Images

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) announced what he called “some news you won’t want to miss” early Monday morning on Twitter, and just as most predicted, the news was of presidential import:

The announcement marks one of the first definitive decisions for 2016, and will be supplemented with a talk given at Liberty University in Virginia. Cruz is distinct from many of the other candidates in his party in that he has been more outspoken and more extreme in his conservatism than other candidates. Likewise, he’s more aggressive in announcing his decision to run, getting a head start over others who have only announced an investigation into the possibility of running, though notably nowhere near leading in the polls or in headlines (a distinction that goes to Jeb Bush). Now headed for an election campaign, let’s take a look at where Cruz comes from and what kind of political influence he would bring to the table.

Policy preferences

As a general rule, Cruz falls into similar positions as others in his party, only more so. Take the average opinion of a Republican, and multiply it by five, and you have Cruz’s stance. Which means not only is he for tax reform, he’s for tax reform that doesn’t help big banks or big business. He’s not just against the common core, he’s in favor of dropping the Education Department as a whole. He isn’t just pro-guns, he defines gun control as “hitting what you aim at,” according to the Daily Beast.

Cruz doesn’t just want to cut down Obama’s signature health care law, he spent 21 hours filibustering over it in 2012, even reading his daughters a bedtime story while on the clock (which makes this domain name snatch that much more unfortunate for Sen. Cruz). In other words, he does nothing halfway, which certainly appeals to a group of voters, but doesn’t always make his fellow party members look so good.

Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Relationship with his own party

Cruz has not always had a smooth relationship with his own party, in large part because he does go so much further than some of the more moderates, or even some of the more conservatives. The Tea Party generally has splintered the party in more ways than one, and especially during government shutdowns, has led to division within the GOP.

Cruz is stubborn. He’s not afraid to incite conflict or throw a wrench in the works for as long as is necessary, which is why he’s been the pen behind more than 80 Supreme Court briefs. However, when other members are prepared to compromise in the name of progress or getting past speed bumps, Cruz isn’t shy about attacking those within his own party. He also takes what sometimes appears to be impossible positions, pleasing the far right, but forcing others within his party to look more moderate when someone has to compromise, or allow gridlock to continue indefinitely.

He’s awfully good at making promises that he knows the GOP can’t keep and pushing for unachievable goals, but he seems very popular with right wing,” said Republican strategist John Feehery to the Associated Press. “Cruz is a lot smarter than the typical darling of the right, and that makes him more dangerous to guys like Scott Walker and Rand Paul.”

Source: ThinkstockIs he American and can he run for president?

Finally, let’s look at one question that keeps cropping up in the news: Can Cruz run given the origin of his birth? The answer is, almost definitely yes. While more legitimate than the birth certificate questions that arose over President Barack Obama’s origins — because Cruz actually was born outside of the United States — the question of Cruz’s American citizenship remains fairly uncontroversial for most reasonable parties.

Yes, Cruz was born in Canada. And yes, the definition of “natural born” isn’t exactly clear in this instance (it hasn’t been explicitly tested in the Supreme Court), but generally the legality of it is fairly obvious. Most are able to agree that the son of an American who happens to give birth in Canada, but who raises her child in the United States, is an American. Cruz spent his youth in Houston, and whether you love him or hate him, it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have a Texas feel to him.

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