Sen. Ted Cruz pitched members of the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) for support in his pursuit of the Republican nomination, arguing that Donald Trump as the nominee would ensure an electoral “bloodbath of Walter Mondale-proportions,” a Democratic takeover of the U.S. Congress, economic stagnation and a nuclear-armed Iran.
“Poll after poll after poll” shows Trump losing by double digits in the general election, Cruz argued at Saturday’s RJC meeting.
The poll he chose to highlight was from Utah, a state Cruz won by a landslide, to show Trump losing to Hillary Clinton. “If the Republican can not carry bright, bright red, conservative Utah we’re looking at a bloodbath of Walter Mondale proportions.”
Trump as Republican nominee would lead to the loss of the U.S. Senate and House Republican majorities, he said. He referenced 2012, when former Gov. Mitt Romney was the nominee and lost badly, as evidence. “2012 was a year that on paper should have been a great Senate pickup, but Obama in his re-election won by a sizable margin and we lost just about every one of those races.”
He coupled his criticism of Trump with promises to back policies sought by his audience.
“As president, I will rescind job killing regulations and I will fire job-killing regulators,” Cruz told the RJC crowd gathered at the Venetian hotel in Las Vegas.
Cruz referred to his plan for a flat tax. He pointed listeners to his website to find an example of the postcard that could be used to file taxes. He then reiterated his intention to shut down the IRS.
The Texas senator cited Trump’s comment that he would try to remain neutral in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. “As President, I will not be neutral,” Cruz countered. “America will stand unapologetically with the nation of Israel. And if you can’t tell the difference between our friends and our enemies, if you can’t tell the difference between Israel and Islamic terrorists who want to kill us, that raises real questions about your fitness and judgement to be Commander-In-Chief.”
As president, Cruz would begin the process to move the American embassy in Israel to the capitol, Jerusalem. “It is a fundamental statement on day one, to Israel and to every ally, that America’s back. That statement matters and it is a statement to the Ayatollah Khamenei to ISIS and to every enemy of America, that America is back.”
“The men and women here understand peace through strength. What we’re doing now, weakness and appeasement, inevitably leads to military conflict. This Iranian deal, I believe, is the modern incarnation of Munich in 1938. And history has taught that allowing homicidal madmen to assemble the weapons to be used to murder others does not work out. But in a word of encouragement, it’s worth remembering, this same nation, the nation of Iran, in 1981, released our hostages the day Ronald Reagan was sworn into office.”
“We know how to fix these problems. We know how to rebuild our military. We know how to once again stand with our friends and allies. We know how to defeat our enemies, to defeat radical Islamic terrorism and to utterly destroy ISIS” Cruz said before promising to do all of these as President.
He warned that a Trump nomination would lead to a Clinton presidency, and Americans could “lose the Supreme Court for a generation.”
He warned of continued economic stagnation and debt under Clinton and a nuclear Iran. “I agree with Prime Minister Netanyahu when he described the Iranian nuclear deal, the threat of a nuclear Iran as a ‘existential threat to the state of Israel.’”
Cruz continued, “It is the one threat on the face of the earth that has the potential to murder millions and millions of Jews in the flash of an eye. Those are the stakes. And If Donald is the nominee, it elects Hillary and it makes the threat of a nuclear Iran all the more likely.”
Another audience member said Geraldo Rivera was wrong to call Cruz’s “New York values” comments anti-Semitic. “We don’t think you have an anti-Semitic bone in your body,” he said.
One questioner asked about Cruz’s immigration policy and the issue of building a wall on the U.S. southern border. “As president, I will secure the border and we will end illegal immigration,” Cruz responded after directing the crowd to the full plan on his website.
“On the issue of immigration, I recognize that’s an issue there is some disagreement among the folks in this room.” He explained “the rage we are seeing across this country, immigration is critical to it” because it drives down wages and takes jobs from millions of Americans. “I am the son of an immigrant who came here legally.”
Questioner Daniel Arvis asked Cruz about social issues, given that there were likely a number of audience members that carry liberal stances on social issues. Cruz replied, “If you look through history, in modern times no Republican has ever won without campaigning on all three legs of the proverbial conservative stool … [and] tone matters a great deal.”
The Primary Race
“I suspect on policy, on substance, we’ve enormous agreement with how to fix these problems,” he continued. But “the best policy positions in the world don’t mean squat if you lose. So how do we win?”
“This is a sophisticated political audience … [it is] a room of people who are players in the political process … [and] veterans of many battles before,” he said.
“I am very, very optimistic right now for this election,” said Cruz before mentioning the 17 most prominent candidates that have battled it out in race for the Republican nomination.
Cruz referred to his recent wins. He won all 40 Utah delegates with 69 percent of the vote, 18 of the pledged delegates in North Dakota where Trump won one and a considerable victory in Wisconsin. In the past week Cruz swept all of the 30 pledged delegates that were elected in Colorado. Four elected, but unpledged Colorado delegates were also slated to vote for the senator.
“What Wisconsin means is Donald’s path to 1,237 is almost impossible. It means the odds of going to a contested convention in Cleveland become much, much higher,” said Cruz. He spoke of Trump and himself going into the convention with a bunch of delegates. “It’s going to be a battle in Cleveland to see who can earn a majority of the delegates that were elected by the people.”
“I believe the first ballot will be the highest vote total Donald Trump receives and on a subsequent ballot we’re gonna win the nomination and win a majority.” He labeled Donald Trump as the Republican nominee “an absolute disaster.”
The November Election
“Can Cruz win?” he asked. “I’m gonna get a a little wonky here and in the weeds,” said Cruz before speaking of some swing states.
“Ohio, about three weeks ago a poll came out in Ohio showed me beating Hillary Clinton 47 to 45. Critical swing state, you cant win without Ohio.” He also referred to a Marquette University poll in Wisconsin, another state that Cruz won by a considerable margin, “that poll showed Donald Trump losing to Hillary Clinton by 10 points. It showed Hillary and me in Wisconsin tied at 44-44.”
“What a contrast,” Cruz said contrasting the “wild-eyed socialist” Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders with the Republican field while making a joke of his description of Clinton.
Cruz made the case that he won Hispanics in Texas in 2012 at the same time Romney “was losing the race with Hispanics.”
“Three weeks ago Fox News had a poll showed me beating Hillary Clinton by 3 points, 47 to 44. The most interesting result in it though was young people.” Cruz spoke of how President Obama has carried the youth vote in prior elections 70-30.
“Fox’s poll three weeks ago showed me beating Hillary with young people by 14 points.”
Cruz said his campaign has built a grassroots army.
Speaking to the room Cruz said, “Many of you, we started this race with 17 candidates, many of you started with somebody else.”
Cruz asserted that “65-70 percent of Republicans recognize that nominating Donald Trump would be a disaster and hand the general election to Hillary Clinton. If we can unite those 65 to 70 percent of Republicans we win, and if we can’t, we lose.”
Cruz said he can bring Trump voters, including those new to the party, into the fold. The common thread to Trump voters is a sense of anger toward Washington. “If you look at the blue-collar, working-class voters, the Reagan Democrats, that have comprised the heart of the Trump coalition, the one candidate in this field who has been consistently competing well and effectively for those voters has been us.”
If you think about the last contested convention. It was ’76. It was Reagan, Ford. There are people in this room who are veterans of both sides of that battle. And by the way, you want to talk about upsetting Republican leadership? When Regan primaried the sitting Republican president in 1976 he was loathed by Washington with the heat of a thousand white-hot suns. But if you look at how Reagan did it in ’76 and then moving forward to ’80, he didn’t make it personal. Reagan didn’t stand up and insult Ford personally, call him nasty names. He instead focused on issues and substance that enabled Reagan in 1980 to stitch together and build the Reagan coalition and bring together the people who four years earlier had been fighting tooth and nail.
He then listed the former candidates for the Republican nomination that have left the race and are now listed as supporting Cruz: former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker and former Hewlett Packard CEO Carly Fiorina.
“You throw in Mike Lee and Mark Levin and we have quite literally the entire spectrum of the Republican party,” said Cruz. “We are standing together behind shared values and shared principles.”
“We have to achieve that unity and we’ve got just over a hundred days to do it.”
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