The fact that Donald Trump has largely dominated the national media coverage of the GOP primaries isn’t all too surprising. The man is big, brash, and bigoted, calling first for Mexicans and then for Muslims to be ousted from the United States as part of his plan to “Make America Great Again.” While it’s largely unclear what exactly this plan entails, other than stirring up as much racial animosity as possible, Donald Trump may actually be the least of our worries. Or at least, less of a worry than the man on his tail, Ted Cruz.

Despite Trump receiving 54 percent of the national media coverage and name recognition of the GOP primary process as of mid-December, Cruz managed to pull out a win at the first caucus of the election cycle. Edging over Trump’s 24.3 percent with 27.6 percent of the popular vote, Cruz won himself eight of Iowa’s Republican delegates to Trump’s seven. Since then, Trump has beaten him handily in New Hampshire and South Carolina (the results of the Nevada caucus are undecided at the time of this writing, though Trump is predicted to win). Trump is also predicted to win the GOP nomination altogether, with a Real Clear Politics (RCP) polling average 13.2 points above the runner-up: Cruz.

Now, the prospect of Donald Trump as one of my country’s presidential candidates is, for me, utterly terrifying. I know I can’t be alone in shuddering at the thought of what the rest of the world will think of America when we, as a voting people, choose such a sexist, racist, classist bigot to represent us. But despite the shame and the embarrassment of having that man get up on stage to debate with the Democratic nominee (whoever he or she may be), I would rather see Trump win the nomination than Ted Cruz.

You read me right. I’ll admit I hadn’t given much thought to Cruz until a few days ago, thinking him rightfully scary in his extremist stances on many issues, but allowing myself to be focused more on the media’s favorite court jester. A recent video by the former US Secretary of Labor under Bill Clinton, however, changed my mind.

Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich published a short video to his Facebook page last Friday outlining four reasons why Ted Cruz would be a more dangerous president than Donald Trump. I believe he touched on most of the critical points, so I will elaborate on them here before finishing off with one of my own.

Reich’s first point: “Cruz is Fanatical.” While Donald Trump makes claims designed to provoke the anger of an American people already disillusioned with the current political system, Cruz holds fiercely to a strict, personal ideology. Instead of poking America where he knows it will hurt, Cruz speaks from the heart.

Some of the issues he holds dear are, I hope, not only problematic for the liberal-leaning readers. To take an example, Cruz denies the man-made nature of climate change, calling the very notion of climate change “religion” and “pseudoscientific theory” while on the campaign trail in New Hampshire. I hope we can all agree that electing a president who is able to so easily deny the preponderance of scientific evidence in favor of an anthropogenic climate change would be devastating not only for the EPA and other government regulatory agencies, but for the very planet itself.

On other issues, he becomes more partisan. He refers to the legalization of gay marriage as a “time of crisis” in America, as well as “fundamentally illegitimate, lawless, and unconstitutional.” He vows to protect white Christians against the “persecution of religious liberty,” such as Obamacare’s contraception mandate, which undercut the freedom of Cruz’s friends at Hobby Lobby to deny contraception to their female employees. He has been lauded as “one of our nation’s leading defenders of the Second Amendment” by NRA executive VP Wayne LaPierre, vows to “tear up” Obama’s Iran deal “on day one,” and rejects any reform of immigration laws.

On the contrary, he claims he will “build a wall that works, triple border security, and put in place the surveillance and biometric tracking to secure the border,” as well as “end catch-and-release, increase deportations, stop sanctuary policies, and strengthen E-verify.” He promises to repeal “every blessed word of Obamacare,” and to abolish the Internal Revenue Service, along with the Department of Education, the Department of Energy, the Department of Commerce, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (Reich, 2016). He embraces a foreign policy rooted in confrontation and intervention, stating on his website, “To preserve our country we need to exert leadership on the global stage, not withdraw from it. We need to fiercely defend our allies and interests. And we need to judge each challenge through the simple test of what is best for America. Because what is best for America is best for the world.”

In essence, Ted Cruz is fiercely and ideologically opposed to any and all progressive reform made during the last eight years of Obama’s presidency, and vows to reverse every hard-won step towards a more open, inclusive, and democratic America.

Reich’s second point: “Cruz is a True Believer.” Trump’s main goals can largely be summed up in Reich’s own words: “making money, getting attention, and gaining power.” But Cruz has held the same radical right-wing political and economic views for years. He is not simply interested in gaining power, but in truly carrying out his agenda as outlined above. His voting record in the Senate attests to the appalling sincerity of his convictions, which can be perused at your leisure at

Reich’s third point: “Cruz is Disciplined and Strategic.” With degrees from Princeton and Harvard Law School, it’s impossible to deny the man’s intelligence. But Cruz is not just book-smart; he’s shrewd and calculating, and knows what needs to be said and done to win the vote. Trump, in contrast, is well-known for saying whatever pops into his head during a given speech. Cruz has a script, delivering the same “silky-smooth stump speech…word-for-word every time” (The Nation, 2016).

He knows his audience, too. He takes no interest in minorities, in women, or in moderates; he targets the straight, white, Christian, conservative males. This strategy is quite evident when he talks about the recent police violence that has shaken our country. He loyally defends America’s law enforcement departments, whom he claims are just doing their job. The words “Black Lives Matter” will pass Ted Cruz’s lips the day hell freezes over. Far more often he quotes Bible verses from the New Testament as part of his strategy to remind his incredibly privileged constituency how oppressed they are by Obama’s tragically secular administration.

Reich’s fourth and final point: “Cruz is a Destroyer.” Ted Cruz has made few friends in his years as a senator. While Donald Trump benefits from the friendships he has cultivated with Republican leaders who represent and defend his business interests, Cruz is largely detested by his colleagues for his radical opposition to any bipartisan cooperation. His demands that Obamacare be cut entirely from the federal budget in exchange for raising the debt ceiling in 2013 effectively ended negotiations on a deal where the GOP had already won some major concessions, and ultimately resulted in the government shutting down. The shutdown itself cost the economy $24 billion and 120,000 jobs, while the uncertainty leading up to the shutdown cost almost a million more (ThinkProgress, 2015). Cruz, meanwhile, touts his strategy of refusing to raise the debt ceiling as one of the primary ways in which he will create jobs and boost the economy.

I hope it is apparent, for the reasons outlined above, that Ted Cruz would be far more of a disaster for the people, economy, and foreign relations of America than showman Donald Trump. Trump is an entertainer, riling up hatred for his own personal aims. Cruz is a believer, riling up hatred out of genuine conviction.

Of course, all of this only matters if the Republican nominee wins the general election, and this is where I become truly afraid. In polls against the two Democratic candidates, Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton both defeat Donald Trump, Sanders by an average of 6 percent and Clinton by 2.8 percent. The Democratic victory is assured if Trump is on the Republican ballot, due to his remarkable ability both to alienate large populations of conservatives and to scare the living daylights out of most (or all) voting liberals. Cruz, on the other hand, does not seem likely to inspire such a terrified voter turnout; while Sanders still consistently defeats him by an average of 4.7 percent, according to Real Clear Politics, Cruz beats Clinton by a nail-biting 0.8 percent. Cruz is the insidious danger. While Trump steals the media attention and inspires fear in the hearts of the majority of the American populace, Cruz quietly gathers support that is, ready, willing, and able to wreak disastrous consequences for the future of America.

All polling statistics from Real Clear Politics. All quotes from, unless otherwise indicated.

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