On the third evening of his "Cruzin' to Caucuses" bus tour, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) told an immigrant from Mexico something other Republicans might blanche at. Ofelia Valdez, a 30-year-old special needs worker and activist, stated plainly that she'd benefited from President Obama's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. If Cruz followed through on his promise to undo Obama's executive orders, she was in deep trouble.
"I think of myself as a part of this community and you know, first day of presidency, you decide to deport, you know, people like myself, you know, it's just very difficult," said Valdez.
"If you're a DACA recipient, you were brought here illegally, and violating the law has consequences," said Cruz. "One of the problems of our broken immigration system is that it is creating human tragedies and there are human tragedies when people break the law."
The answer became a hit on conservative social media, and demonstrated just how Cruz has become the Republican candidate viewed most favorably by Republicans.
As the "establishment lane" of the party has fought over a shrinking piece of turf, Cruz has made no concessions whatsoever to moderates. He tells audiences, with a nod at "The Usual Suspects" that "the greatest trick the media ever pulled" was convincing conservatives that they did not already constitute a majority. Observe Cruz long enough, and the days of the GOP agreeing to soften its rhetoric and swat away "tea party" candidates seem like some foggy dream.
Cruz's town hall in Webster City, on the tour's fourth day, offered two more case studies. Earlier in the week, a questioner in another city asked Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) about the threat of Islamic sharia law coming to the United States; the senator swiftly pronounced that this was "not going to happen." In Webster City, a man who refused to give his name to the media (and later took pictures of curious reporters' press badges) asked Cruz to react to reports of sharia courts in America.
"What you’re describing here – sadly, there have been instances across the country," Cruz said. "And in my view, under no circumstances should sharia law be enforced in the United States of America. We should do whatever is necessary to prevent that, whether that is state legislation, whether that is judicial reform, whether that is federal legislation. And I have spent decades of my life fighting to protect the Constitution and fighting to prevent international law, foreign law, from being imported into our justice system."
Just five minutes later, a 60-year old local named Alvin Brown asked Cruz a somewhat scattered question about the origins of the Federal Reserve and the idea that a cabal was wrecking America from within.
"If you leave it to the Trilateral Commission, we’re going to have a one world government whether we like it or not, either by conquest or consent," he said. "And David Rockefeller also that said in his memoir -- he’s been working on plans for 40 years. What will you do from stopping these people from taking over our government?"
"It is a very good and very important question," Cruz said. "I would note that it connects to the earlier question about sharia law and international law. I’m proud to tell you I went up to the U.S. Supreme Court twice arguing that Republican president lacks the constitutional authority to give up U.S. sovereignty to any international tribunal. And the Supreme Court ruled 6-3, we won. They ruled, number one, neither the world court nor United Nations has any authority whatsoever in the U.S. justice system. And number two, no president, Democrat or Republican can give up republican sovereignty."