Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) kicked off his California campaign with a rally in Orange County at Hotel Irvine — the same venue where he met privately with his entire state of proposed delegates last month. “This is the birthplace of the Reagan Revolution,” Cruz told the enthusiastic crowd, “and let me tell you, there’s a new revolution brewing.”
“If I’m elected president–” Cruz said, before being interrupted by a fan: “When!” He continued: “If, and when I’m elected president, we are going to repeal every word of Obamacare.” He continued through a familiar set of points outlining his domestic policies, including creating a flat tax, reining in the Environmental Protection Agency, and stopping amnesty for illegal aliens.
Cruz also noted that after the recent passing of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, it was critical to elect a president who would appoint conservatives to the bench.
“Donald Trump has been supporting liberal Democratic politicians for forty years,” Cruz told the crowd, to boos. He attacked Trump for suggesting that Republicans needed to learn to added: “I will not compromise away your religious liberty. And I will not compromise away your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms.”
He went on to attack Trump for allegedly saying that he would be neutral between Israelis and Palestinians (though Trump had actually referred only to a negotiation process between the two).
Cruz then turned to foreign policy and national security: “No longer will our government and our military be governed by political correctness. We will have a president and a commander-in-chief who stands up and tells the world: ‘We will defeat radical Islamic terrorism.’ We will have a president willing to utter the words, ‘Radical Islamic terrorism.'” He also criticized the rules of engagement that applied to the U.S. military in the fight against terror — a criticism also made, albeit more colorfully, by Trump.
Finally, Cruz turned to political strategy. Warm-up speakers had noted Cruz’s recent string of caucus victories, and the campaign’s success in poaching delegates in places Donald Trump had won, thanks to superior organization. Former state Republican Party chair Mike Schroeder reminded the crowd that California had already elected a wealthy celebrity — i.e. former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger — and it had not gone well.
Cruz picked up where Schroeder left off. “In the last three weeks, we have beaten Donald Trump in all eleven elections,” he said, ticking off a string of big victories from Utah, to the Wisconsin primary, through last weekend’s Colorado delegate contest (which was not, strictly speaking, an election).
He mocked Trump for arguing that “when voters vote against him, they’re stealing the election,” noting that Trump had been “cursing,” tweeting and complaining.
Cruz added that Trump would be a disastrous general election candidate, and argued that several polls showed he himself could defeat Clinton in November, including polls of young voters.
Ticking off a string of endorsements, Cruz concluded: “You’ve got the entire spectrum of the Republican Party coming together, united.”
He told the cheering crowd that for the first time in half a century, “California will decide the Republican nomination.” He urged them to call friends, family and neighbors and recruit them to the cause. “The power of this campaign is the grass roots.”
In eight weeks, Californians will know just how powerful — and with whom the grass roots stand.
The post has been updated.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new e-book, Leadership Secrets of the Kings and Prophets: What the Bible’s Struggles Teach Us About Today, is on sale through Amazon Kindle Direct. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.