On the eve of another pivotal primary in the present election cycle, in fighting continues among influential Republicans, including the recent salvos fired against one of the top GOP candidates, Senator Ted Cruz. Ron Paul, father of former presidential candidate Rand Paul, and a former contender for the nomination in years past, denounced Ted Cruz on Friday in comments made during an appearance on Fox News.
Ron Paul juxtaposed Ted Cruz with chief Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, suggesting that Cruz’s ties to big business run contrary to his public image as an independent-minded outsider.
“They think he’s for the free market, and he’s owned by Goldman Sachs,” Paul said in comments re-published by the Washington Post. “He and Hillary have more in common than we have with Trump or anyone else.”
Although Ted Cruz would undoubtedly like to win the support of Rand Paul’s supporters now that the Kentucky Senator is out of the race for the nomination, Ron Paul’s sentiments suggest that an explicit pro-Cruz endorsement from the Paul camp – which has utilized Ron Paul as a standard-bearer – is hardly forthcoming. In fact, the comments noted above are the second repudiation of Ted Cruz by Ron Paul in the past week, with the harsher of his critiques coming during an interview with the Washington Post.
“I sort of resent the idea of Cruz claiming he can get the liberty vote … I think he’s a real libertarian fake.”
For what it’s worth, while Ron Paul himself is generally associated with the libertarian movement, Rand Paul has opted to use different terminology in describing his political philosophy.
“I consider myself a constitutional conservative, which I take to mean a conservative who actually believes in smaller government and more individual freedom,” Rand Paul explained in an Op-Ed piece for USA Today in 2010. “The libertarian principles of limited government, self-reliance and respect for the Constitution are embedded within my constitutional conservatism, and in the views of countless Americans from across the political spectrum.”
Nevertheless, the very public criticisms leveled by Ron Paul are part of a larger narrative scrutinizing Ted Cruz’s move to court voters from that particular school of thought. Politico recently dubbed Cruz as a “born again libertarian” in an article outlining the candidate’s efforts to win over supporters from the Paul camp by depicting himself as libertarian true believer.
Indeed, Politico noted that despite reservations from Rand Paul’s now defunct campaign, many of his former supporters appear to be receptive toward casting a vote for Ted Cruz. Although no specific data is available to indicate how many Paul supporters have opted to support Cruz, sources told Politico that the number of those who have made the switch already is “significant.”
Ted Cruz still remains a long shot to win the New Hampshire primary, which will take place on February 9. An aggregate of polling data by Real Clear Politics presently shows Ted Cruz in third place, behind Marco Rubio and the GOP front-runner Donald Trump. Over 18 percentage points separate Trump from Cruz. Polling data for the South Carolina primary, which follows shortly thereafter, shows a comparable gap between Trump and Cruz, with Ted Cruz trailing Trump in second place by about 16 points. Ron Paul still garners a comparative small amount of support in the polls, but not enough that a complete transfer of those votes would ultimately bring Ted Cruz into significant contention with Trump for the nomination at present.
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