Ron Paul: Ted Cruz is Not an Option for Libertarians

Paul Urges Liberty-Minded Voters to Go Third Party

by Josh Guckert

Following the suspension of Rand Paul‘s presidential campaign, libertarians have been left in disarray. With very much invested into the 2016 race, most now wonder who should be the next option for liberty-minded voters. According to Ron Paul, that candidate is not competing in the Democratic or Republican primaries, and more specifically, it is not Ted Cruz.

Upon the fairly unexpected news of Rand Paul’s campaign suspension, Ted Cruz’s team almost instantly began attempting to reach out to the Kentucky Senator’s former supporters and associates. The Cruz campaign has already reached out to at least 31 “liberty-minded” legislators in New Hampshire, according to Cruz state co-chair Bill O’Brien. None have yet decided in favor of Cruz.

In response to these overtures, Ron Paul has spoken loud and clear: “I sort of resent the idea of Cruz claiming he can get the liberty vote. . .I think he’s a real libertarian fake.” The former Texas Congressman solidified his thoughts, telling Fox Business’ Stuart Varney that Cruz is “owned by Goldman Sachs” and that Cruz has more in common with Hillary Clinton than either of the Pauls. He also told Kennedy that libertarians “should just forget about the Republican primary. . .because they’re all interventionists.”

While Ted Cruz began the 2016 primary season as a healthy second choice for most libertarians, his actions over the past year have given those in the liberty movement much pause.

He has taken steps to distance himself from his previously more pragmatic foreign policy, stating that he wants to “carpet bomb” ISIS and to find out whether “sand can glow in the dark.” This was after Cruz had in 2015 voted against a Rand Paul budget amendment which would have raised defense spending at the amount which Cruz (and Marco Rubio) had wanted, but differed in also providing for offsetting cuts to reduce overall spending. On defense, the “issues” portion of his campaign site reads no differently than any other Republican,  stating the need to “exert leadership on the global stage” and “rebuild our military.”

Cruz has also eased his position on warrantless collection of data, voting in favor of the USA Freedom Act, which reauthorized expiring portions of the USA PATRIOT Act. Cruz then even took the opportunity to attack Rand Paul for not compromising and voting in favor of the bill; Paul had wished to altogether eliminate the USA PATRIOT Act. This posturing by Cruz coincides with his statement in January that Edward Snowden is a “traitor” and should be “tried for treason.”

Another important issue to libertarians is an audit of the Federal Reserve, which, after years of attempts, finally made it to the Senate for a vote in January. While Cruz was a cosponsor and on many occasions praised the legislation, he was campaigning when the vote came, and the bill failed by seven votes. Though his vote would have not made a difference on its own, Cruz’s absence was seen by many as a statement of priorities.

In addition, Cruz’s attempts to appease libertarians have coincided with his same gestures toward other segments of the Republican Party, including those whose goals are directly adverse to liberty voters.

His site contains irking, socially conservative statements like that “marriage is a sacrament between one man and one woman, it has strengthened societies for millennia, and we must uphold the truth of marriage.”

He has also espoused a fairly strict border policy, promising to build a will and triple border security. His site also states that he will “suspend and audit H-1B visas and halt any increase in legal immigration so long as American unemployment remains unacceptably high,” a patently protectionist position.

Cruz has additionally abandoned previous efforts at criminal justice reform, in January calling a bill authored by Mike Lee and Chuck Grassley “dangerously lenient.”

For all of the above reasons, it would appear that there is plenty of sense in Ron Paul’s trepidation in naming Ted Cruz as the most libertarian candidate remaining. While it appears that Cruz is likely to re-brand himself to appeal to liberty voters over the coming days and weeks, libertarians should tread with caution.

Ron Paul was seemingly fooled once by Cruz when he endorsed him in 2012 for the Senate; it doesn’t appear that he’s prepared to be fooled again.

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