LYNCHBURG, VIRGINIA – After months of speculation Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) made it official on Monday by announcing his candidacy for President at the bastion of ultra-right wing Republicanism, Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia. During his announcement, the Texas Senator decried the policies of President Barack Obama, vowing to return to a government by the Constitution and ‘Stand for Liberty.’ Hours earlier Senator Cruz made history by becoming the first major party candidate to declare his candidacy on Twitter.
In outlining his vision for a ‘better’ America, Senator Cruz declared ‘imagine a president that finally, finally, finally secures the borders.’ The Senator also turned his sights on Islamic radicals and Iran by declaring he would ‘stand up and defeat radical Islamic terrorism,’ and ‘imagine a president who says I will honor the Constitution and under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to acquire a nuclear weapon.’ Senator Cruz also promised to ‘abolish the IRS.’
Speaking on the fifth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, legislation which he vehemently opposed and Liberty University filed a lawsuit against, the Senator was greeted by enthusiastic cheering.
In talking to Fox News’ Sean Hannity on Monday, the Senator noted ‘it’s time to get in there and it’s time to start making the case that we’ve got to change what we’re doing. I think there is an urgency to what we’re facing in politics that’s unlike anything you or I have ever seen before. I think it’s now or never. I don’t think we’ve reached the point of no return yet, but we are close.’
Raising the urgency for a Republican Party which has struggled in the past two national campaigns, the Senator declared ‘we [Republicans] have to win in November 2016 … we cannot have four or eight more years of going down this road.’
A divisive figure within his own Party, it is uncertain how well the Senator will fare during a prolonged primary battle for the nomination which will pit him against former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, current Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, as well as Senators Rand Paul (R-KY) and Marco Rubio (R-FL).
Senator Paul, who is also a first-term Senator, recently told Megyn Kelly of Fox News that he believes he is more capable of attracting independent voters back to the Republican Party and that he is polling better than Hillary Clinton – the presumptive Democratic nominee at this stage.
With the election still more than 19-months away, Senator Cruz is hoping that announcing his candidacy at Liberty University will help to solidify his claim on the far-right wing within the Republican Party, and the party’s biggest supporters. However, the Republicans have grown increasingly out of touch with demographic shifts in recent elections and Senator Cruz’s stand on immigration and other issues could alienate him from more moderate voters.