On Friday, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) went on the Tonight Show and said Ronald Reagan would feel at home in today’s conservative movement, comparing the grassroots revolution that has powered his rise with that of the 1970s that Reagan led.
When host Jay Leno suggested Reagan would not fit in today’s conservative movement, Cruz said, “I don’t think that’s right at all.”
Cruz told Leno that “Reagan led a grassroots revolution,” and the country’s economic situation now is awfully like the late 1970s when there was “economic stagnation” and people were “hurting because government policies under Jimmy Carter weren’t working.”
He noted that Reagan challenged an incumbent Republican president in Gerald Ford for the party’s presidential nomination in 1976, coming close to winning the nomination and giving an emphatic address at the party’s convention at Kemper Arena in Kansas City, Missouri. That speech endeared him to his grassroots base that ultimately helped him win the 1980 Republican nomination.
Cruz pointed out that Reagan led a grassroots revolution at a time when Americans were saying Carter’s polices were not working and wanted to go back to the Constitution and free market principles.
Cruz’s assessment of Reagan fits in with what those like conservative talk radio host Mark Levin, who supported Reagan in 1976 and worked in his administration, and Craig Shirley, one of the most preeminent Reagan biographers, have said.