Cruz was the underdog going into the race in 2012. He defeated the Texas GOP Establishment, then smashed the Democratic contender, even though Republicans faced setbacks throughout the rest of the country that year.
Yes, Obama won with fewer electoral votes, but he still won, and Republicans actually lost US Senate seats and House seats.
2014 was a welcome restoration for the Republicans, but we also need to make sure that Cruz wins again next year.
So, Cruz hosted a town hall hosted through his re-election campaign, and invited questions from viewers and listeners from all over the country.
This telephone town hall took place on May 8, hosted by his campaign.
Here are the four issues that the US Senator considered most pressing:
1. Ensuring another Constitutional SCOTUS nominee.
2. Repeal Obamacare, driving down cost of premiums, make health care more affordable
3. Regulatory reform, reduction burdens of Washington on job creation. Most optimistic about this issue with the Cabinet. Reg reform, reduce the burdens
4. Tax Reform, simplify the tax code. Simple Flat Tax, abolish the IRS
I was really upset that he did not mention immigration as one of his four priorities.
That should be the top priority, or at least one tied with repealing Obamacare.
The first uestion Cruz received touched on immigration.
First Question-- Border Wall
Cruz just sponsored legislation to tax cash sent out from Texas to Mexico
Mexico collects $14 billion a year because of remittances sent to Mexico.
Now there's an idea.
1. Surcharge on remittances going out of US
2. El Chapo Civil Asset Forfeiture
Cruz then outlined the cost to build the wall -- $14 to $20 billion. Why not seize all the money from cartel leaders?
Great idea, I say! That's why $1.6 billion in the latest budget appropriation is not enough!
Throughout the telephone town hall, Cruz reminded the audience that he was not interested
We didn't do as well as we thought we should have.
Trump carried Iowa better than Texas.
"Would you consider a national sales tax to abolish IRS and repeal 16th Amendment?"
The US Senator then commented that a lot of time will have to elapse before the Fair Tax. "A lot needs to be done in terms of persuasion, and then discussions on how the program would operate."
"What I want as an interim -- a simple flat tax, going in the right direction."
When he was running for President, Cruz laid out a simple flat tax plan:
- 10% for families and Big families would have a large standard deduction -- fair and uniform apply to all income.
- There would be a 16% business flat tax, big and small. Deduct all capital gains immediately.
- Eliminate all the other taxes, including the death tax and the payroll tax.
- Put your taxes on a post card, and abolish the IRS.
Cruz summed up his plans for taxation: "Bold Reforms."
Then he added "I stand side by side with the President to shut down the IRS."
Focus on making things better for Texas rather than worrying about raising money.
Lots of people making donations -- small donations - a la Bernie Sanders?
Third question from Ohio
This caller suggested that Congress pass a bill that would require the members of Congress to participate in our health care system ,just like the rest of us.
I had a question when I heard this part. I thought that Congresswoman McSally from Arizaona already took care of that. Oh well.
Congressmen apparently voted for themselves to get subsidies for themselves. That is illegal. Corruption in Washington is endemic from politicians in both parties. They all live lives exempt from the rules they pass. How much longer will this go on?
Cruz then added: "I ran for US Senate because I was fed up with that corruption. I fought for freedom for all of us and to end the corruption."
The Texas US Senator then segued into a discussion on term limits:
"I am a passionate advocate for Term Limits -- we need to mandate them - let's press for a vote on this. How do you prevent corruption politicians? Limit their terms and toss them out!"
Pastor from MacCallan suffering from Obamacare. I do not want Obamacare lite -- I don't want to pay high premiums and deductibles?
Cruz did not mince words. Obamacare is a huge disaster, one of the biggest job killer in the country. It now costs millions of Americans their doctors. Health insurance programs have been canceled. Their premiums skyrocket.
The whole Obamacare fallout focuses on the heart of the issue. Why are people unhappy with Obamacare? Premiums have blown up -- they have increased over $5000 under Obamacare.
"We need to carry though on our promise to repeal Obamacare, and not with Obamacare lite.
"We should not keep whatever drove up premiums.
"The test-- "Did we lower premiums?"
I agree with the senator on this principle. The premiums are driving people away. Enough is enough. It's time to make insurance personal, portable, and affordable, with more options and more competition.
House of Reps pass an O-care repeal. House Freedom Caucus made significant improvements.
Lowering premiums was the focus of the House Freedom Caucus' efforts--and it worked.
Of course, Cruz understood the need for more improvements. There is still so much that needs to be done!
He outlined the goals to pursue in order to make health care great again:
- Working group of senators will work together to honor our promise to repeal Obamacare and lower premiums
- Allow purchase of health insurance premiums across state lines.
- Expand association health plans
- Allow purchase health insurance and pay premiums from Health Savings Accounts, through pre-tax dollars
- Tort reform -- reduce cost of health care-- and thus lower premiums
- End insurance mandates, which are driving up costs.
Kim from Irvine, California--I was greatly surprised that the senator took a call from California.
California has become a wasteland for progressive failure.
Cruz countered: "First we win the argument, then you win the vote."
California has a tough challenge facing them.
Among young people in the state, 50% think socialism is a good idea.
For Cruz, the vast number of youth who have fallen for the siren song of socialism--that represents a failure on the part of conservatives to make their case for freedom.
If you want to lift people out of poverty, the best way is through the American free enterprise system.
So, what can we do to set the minds of young people straight? "Let's use anecdotes, stories, having fun with people to spread the message." He then acknowledged that prayer makes the difference too. "We need a shield of prayer and protection--with lovers of liberty."
He offered up a prayer to see America return to Founding Principles.
Do you want to risk not haing Cruz' leadership in the US Senate?
Texas is not as red as it used ot be. We can't take anything for granted.
EEK! This is pretty scary!
"Is there going to be an changes in Social Security? I paid in since I was 12 years old. I would hate to see something happen to it."
Cruz emphasized the needs o seniors and near retirement. we have to honor our promises, carry through on our commitments. There should be zero cuts for seniors ad those near retirement.
"At the same time, I think that it is irresponsible what politicians are doing, allowing the entitlement programs to careen long-term toward bankruptcy and in
SS and Medicare are fundamental bulwarks are for our society, we need to strengthen them -- make them stronger for the next generations.
SS reform should follow the following Steps.
Ted Cruz shared the following:
1. Keep promises for those on the system. No changes
2. For younger workers, my generation believe that it wont be there. We need reform to preserve it going forward.
3. Younger workers increase retirement age - because people are living longer.
4. For younger workers, let's change the rate of growth of benefits to match inflation rather than exceed it. Those reforms will bring solvency
5. Younger workers:allow them to keep their SS tax payments in a personal account that they control, like a 401k. They can use it to supplement their retirement and pass onto their kids and grand kids
This question came from Dennis:
"Respect to 9th Circuit, any plans to address what is going there? Excessive overturns
The US Senator recognized that the Ninth Circuit is too large and lawless. They are the most overturned circuit in the nation.. They are the most liberal, repeated defying the law. They have reversed by SCOTUS over and over, often unanimously.
"I have supported breaking up 9th Circuit, so that the western states can be freed from California judges packed with liberals."
Cruz then reminded the audience by telephone that then President can improve this situation by filling up the vacancies on the court.
In the next uestion, a called asked Cruz about George Soros, and how he is financing the violence associated with opposition to conservatives.
"Can't be brought up o charges? Can't we use civil asset forfeiture against Soros for the wall?"
The US Senator talked about the millions flowing toward these radical groups funding violence against conservatives. He then brought up another hot issue which Republicans need to pay more attention to: liberal Democratic candidates who become district attorneys, who abuse criminal indictment power.
Think of what happened to Tom Delay, the former Majority Leader in the House of Representatives.
Soros is a sore issue for Cruz, too, because the Hungarian Nazi sympathizer/collaborator wants to turn Texas blue. Cruz was adamant about one thing: violent protesters should be held accountable -- whoever is paying for this violence should be held accountable, too.
This telephone town hall was the first one that I had reported on--and the first one that I listened to which featured a sitting member of the US Senate who was also preparing for his re-election bid in Texas.
I was really impressed that the moderator took calls from all over the country, not just Texas, and that he was willing to answer questions on different issues.
It also gives us a glimpse into the diverse challenges which elected officials face on a whole host of issues, especially within their own state.