He doesn’t dare utter the phrase “Trump” right here however there’s no mistaking the place the blame lies for the sins he’s complaining approximately. How is it, he wonders, that my supposedly hawkish birthday party is now endorsing amnesty now not only for DACA enrollees however for everybody eligible for DACA — 1.eight million folks — replete with a trail to citizenship, which now not even Barack Obama tried to create by means of government amnesty? Wellllll, the solution’s easy: The ones are the 2 key prongs of Trump’s personal immigration idea. And that’s why his invoice went right down to humiliating defeat within the Senate these days, not able to muster even forty votes. The 14 Republicans who voted no on it have been a mixture of softies like Susan Collins, who idea Trump’s invoice used to be too harsh in scaling again chain migration, and hardliners like Cruz, who idea it used to be method too cushy in handing out amnesty sweet. A person who’s up for reelection this yr in a deep purple state isn’t going to throw any roundhouses at our populist Republican president, however make no mistake. This can be a jab.
However why? With Cruz there’s all the time a political calculation taking place but I will be able to’t work out the calculation right here. If he have been dealing with a number one problem in Texas from the proper, this can make feel: In a competition of who can also be extra of a troublesome-ass on pink-meat populist problems, he’s resolved to ensure he gained’t be out-exhausting-assed. However he’s dealing with no problem. In reality, Cruz used to be the only incumbent whom even Steve Bannon stated he had little interest in primarying again while it seemed like Bannon would possibly mount a reputable nationwide attempt towards sitting GOP senators. Cruz doesn’t want to tack proper. If anything else, he wishes to fret approximately his left flank. Beto O’Rourke, the Democrats’ Senate challenger, enjoys a few identify popularity within the state and outraised Cruz within the final quarter. And Texas isn’t *moderately* the foregone end this yr you can assume it’s. Cruz continues to be an overly heavy favourite however neither he nor Trump is phenomenally fashionable within the state. If the nationwide blue wave presentations up, if Trump’s task approval deteriorates, and if Democrats discover a wedge factor to mobilize Texas’s massive Latino minority, Cruz is beatable.
So why move proper in this factor as an alternative of against the middle? A Fox Information ballot out these days has sixty five % of the general public agreeing with the concept all illegals, now not simply DREAMers, will have to be allowed to stay within the united states of america and sooner or later follow for citizenship. (Republicans are best narrowly adverse at forty three/forty nine.) A ballot of Texas taken in October discovered fifty nine % might proceed the DACA software, permitting enrollees to stay right here legally. Cruz is already a hate item for the left, however via getting even to Trump’s proper on DACA and DREAM, he’s handing Texas Democrats a rallying aspect towards him. I don’t get it.
The most productive I will be able to do in guessing his calculation is to mention that he thinks he can bait O’Rourke into overcorrecting. If O’Rourke is going exhausting left in sobbing approximately amnesty at each and every chance at the path in hopes of pandering to Latino electorate, a few Republicans who aren’t loopy approximately Cruz would possibly again him just because they’re repelled through the Democratic choice. There’s a large number of votes in that crowd probably in a purple state like Texas. The opposite imaginable technique here’s that Cruz is wagering that he’s successfully unbeatable in Texas, or no less than that he can’t be crushed from the left on immigration. By which case he would possibly as smartly place himself for 2024 via being King Onerous-ass towards amnesty now. Cruz will have to be haunted through the truth that he spent 3 years within the Senate sprucing his credentials as Mr Conservative in advance of 2016 handiest to have Trump bounce in and blow him up via showing impeccable border-hawk cred. Cruz will have resolved to by no means once more allow somebody get to his proper on immigration, regardless of the possibility that can pose for his reelection bid this yr. He’s operating for president as a populist in 2024 and while he does he’s going to indicate again to this speech and nowadays’s vote as evidence that he out-hawked even Donald Trump while the chips have been down on immigration. Beat that.