When I was looking through Twitter the other day, I was surprised to see #AsATexan trending. Knowing the bastion of joy and kindness that Twitter is, I braced myself for the worst and decided to see what the hullabaloo was. Some posts were unfavorable to Senator John Cornyn and other members of congress, but its main purpose was a call for Texas Senator Ted Cruz to resign.
As the (jokingly) alleged Zodiac Killer and the subject of many memes, Cruz is one of the most recognizable individuals in politics. For whatever reason, he just has a way of staying in the public consciousness.
Recently, the animosity toward Cruz has reached new heights. Democrats have filed an ethics complaint against Cruz for objecting to the 2020 presidential election results. His Democratic coworkers claim Cruz’s actions legitimized the ensuing Capitol insurrection, though he claims no responsibility. Several Texas newspapers have also released statements calling for the senator’s resignation. Moreover, a group of 1,340 Texas Bar members, backed by a petition with 11,000 signatures, are attempting to disbar Cruz.
Cruz’s resignation isn’t just a partisan issue either. The Republican Accountability Project, a conservative anti-Trump organization, has also called on Cruz to resign, claiming that the senator “lied about the election,” leading to the attack on the Capitol. To show how serious they are, the organization even paid for a billboard. Cruz’s popularity has definitely taken a dip this month. After the riots, his approval amongst GOP voters dropped five percent.
Around the same time, Cruz also came under fire for tweeting, “By rejoining the Paris Climate Agreement, President Biden indicates he’s more interested in the views of the citizens of Paris than in the jobs of the citizens of Pittsburgh. This agreement will do little to affect the climate and will harm the livelihoods of Americans.”
I don’t know about you, but in the era of fake news, this tweet did not sit well with me. The Paris Climate agreement has nothing to do with the interests of the people of Paris. Ted Cruz knows that this argument is facetious, and I don’t think he’s making it by mistake. To me, this was proof Cruz did not learn his lesson. The senator is more than happy to invoke patriotism to misinform his followers to get what he wants. In the style of a true politician, Cruz has shown he’s not above peeing on our heads and telling us it’s raining.
Senator Cruz and other politicians have contributed to the erosion of the American people’s faith in our democracy. We don’t even know the future consequences of his actions, but Cruz’s refusal to acknowledge our election’s legitimacy has already resulted in several deaths. As a Texan, I can’t stand for this behavior from our representative. Cruz’s history of misleading voters and working against their interests only exemplifies further damage he could sew if allowed to remain in office.
Throughout his career, Cruz has maintained a facade of populism. Cruz’s childhood as the heir to his parents’ seismic data processing firm, his private school upbringing and Ivy League education make his common-man schtick a hard sell. Cruz’s history in private practice further shows where his loyalties lie. As an attorney, he fought against American workers and small businesses for the profit of massive multi-national corporations.
During Cruz’s time in the 2016 presidential primary, he called Trump a “pathological liar,” unfit for the presidency. Afterward, he became one of the president’s staunchest supporters in the Senate, going on to adopt much of Trump’s strategy and unabashed Twitter-based rhetoric. This shift goes to show Cruz’s willingness to adopt positions he was once opposed to for the sake of political convenience.
Frankly, I don’t trust Cruz’s ability to do right by his constituents. Cruz represents a very dangerous force emerging from the American Right — a force that has already proven its disregard for truth and our democratic processes. Given the unprecedented nature of the Jan. 6 insurrection, Cruz should resign. Many Texans will disagree, but I think this is what’s best for the safety of our democracy. In the event of Cruz’s resignation, Gov. Greg Abbott would appoint a temporary senator and the vote for the seat would fall on the next uniform election day. Texas senators have resigned before, and to preserve what integrity and liberties our system guarantees, it should happen again.
Zachary Freeman is an anthropology junior and opinion writer for The Battalion.