A 'shadow campaign for the presidency': How Ted Cruz’s 'lame' theatrics point to another presidential run

A 'shadow campaign for the presidency': How Ted Cruz’s 'lame' theatrics point to another presidential run
United States Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) (screengrab/Eric Dolan/YouTube).

Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas has long been a highly performative and theatrical politician, annoying not only liberals and progressives, but also, older conservatives who long for the days of Sen. Barry Goldwater, President Ronald Reagan, Sen. Bob Dole and National Review publisher William F. Buckley. And the far-right Republican senator has certainly been performative during the 2022 midterms, whether he’s stumping for fellow Republicans, trolling Democrats with inflammatory tweets, or appearing on his favorite media safe space, Fox News.

Never Trump conservative Jim Swift, in an article published by The Bulwark on October 26, argues that Cruz has a major reason for his recent midterms antics: He’s planning another presidential run.

“The Cruz-aligned Truth and Courage PAC has been putting on events for the Texas senator throughout the country, driving a decked-out, two-story bus on which fans can write whatever they want,” Swift explains. “On the surface, the goal is to help try to elect Republicans and take back Congress. In reality, though, the tour is Cruz’s shadow campaign for the presidency in 2024 — aimed at boosting his profile among the Republican base, having various officeholders owe him favors, and getting everything ready for the possibility, however remote, that Donald Trump won’t run again and Cruz can try to snatch the nomination.”

READ MORE: Why 'hack' Ted Cruz epitomizes the worst that American politics has to offer: conservative

Swift adds, “Cruz’s 2016 campaign logo of a flame is cleverly incorporated into a new logo on the side of the bus, the face of a lion that looks vaguely like the bearded Cruz. But ‘Truth and Courage’ hardly seem like the right words to describe a guy who spent four years abasing himself to stay relevant after Donald Trump lied about his loved ones.”

The conservative journalist describes Cruz’s recent visit to Virginia, where he was campaigning for Yesli Vega — the Republican who is trying to unseat centrist Democratic Rep. Abigail Spanberger. That race has found a deputy sheriff, Vega, running against a former CIA agent: Spanberger.

Cruz’s speech, Swift observes, was full of “lame quips about inflation” such as “Look, it’s so bad, Antifa can’t afford bricks” and “It’s so bad Hunter Biden can’t afford crack cocaine.” Cruz, according to Swift, not only gave a speech — he gave a performance designed to fire up his MAGA base, and that performance demonstrated that Cruz “clearly does not want to be a senator anymore.”

“In private,” Swift notes, “Cruz can be very different from how he is in public — he can be a whole lot more honest and likable. But when he’s in front of reporters, Cruz tends to be like one of those children’s toys where you squeeze its palm and he blurts out a canned line about (Nancy) Pelosi and planes, or (Joe) Biden and the Easter Bunny, and nothing else.”

READ MORE: Ted Cruz admits to hiding in a closet during the January 6th insurrection in new book: report

Swift points out that “one thing” he “didn’t hear” at the rally in Virginia “was any mention of Donald Trump.”

“As best as I can tell, no one at the Virginia rally, not a single speaker, uttered the former president’s name,” Swift writes. “Not even once. But he remains the most important figure in the Republican Party, and if he decides to run again for the presidency, then Cruz will presumably be in for four more years of subservient abasement. There’s no getting away from that fact, whether you try to escape by bus or plane.”

READ MORE: 'Bad legal analysis': Cato libertarian dismantles Ted Cruz’s opposition to averting a 2024 'election crisis'

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