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WASHINGTON — U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz said he expects to run for president again in the future, continuing his fight against the left and their “woke” policies.
“I loved running for president in 2016. We came incredibly close. We came within inches of winning. It's the most fun I've ever had in my life and I fully hope and expect to run again at some point,” Cruz said in an interview promoting his new book, “Unwoke: How to Defeat Cultural Marxism in America.”
Cruz said he ultimately did not run for president this cycle because the timing didn’t feel right, and he thought he could be more effective fighting policies driven by Democrats in the Senate.
“The Senate right now is the battlefield for all of these issues,” Cruz said.
Cruz ran for president in 2016 and won the first primary in Iowa. But former President Donald Trump scored big on Super Tuesday and plowed ahead of other GOP contenders. Cruz, who won in Texas, ended his campaign in May 2016 after losing to Trump in the Indiana primary.
For months, Cruz left the door open on another presidential run but eventually opted to run for a third Senate term in 2024. Cruz doesn’t appear to have serious competition in his own primary. He’ll likely face off against Democrats U.S. Rep. Colin Allred of Dallas or State Sen. Roland Gutierrez of San Antonio.
He said running for the Senate during a presidential election would bring a new challenge to the campaign. Cruz’s race was at the top of the ticket in 2018 when he ran against Beto O’Rourke and won by less than 3 percentage points.
“Look, 2024 is going to be different from 2018,” Cruz said. “In some ways, it's more challenging being down ballot because as you get closer to Election Day, more and more of the conversation is consumed by the presidential [race] so it's harder to be heard.”
Through the release of his fourth book and his podcast, Cruz said he hopes to win over “hearts and minds” by explaining the conservative viewpoint.
“I think Republicans generally do a lousy job of explaining, persuading, telling stories,” Cruz said. “Conservatives tend to try to appeal to the brain trying to appeal to logic. They put up a pie chart, they put up numbers and for some people that persuades them. But liberals appeal to the heart.”
The term “woke” was initially used by young liberals and progressives to express a heightened awareness of prejudice and discrimination. It has in recent years been co-opted by conservatives who have sought to fight race and gender equity policies including the teachings of critical race theory in schools and diversity, equity and inclusion practices.
“I believe in a colorblind society, that we should not have government discrimination based on race,” Cruz said.
Cruz has worked to establish himself as a voice against what he calls “Cultural Marxism,” which he defines as the “radical left” implementing the teachings of Karl Marx through policy, education, journalism, technology, business and entertainment.
Cruz said his new book is “highly relevant” to the current war between Israel and Hamas.
He criticized his Democratic colleagues because he said they discriminate against Jewish people by showing support for Palestine. He has also repeatedly called for universities to condemn anti-Israel or pro-Palestine speech and argues that colleges are a breeding ground for the mutations of Marxism.
In an interview with the Texas Tribune, he specifically blamed “The Squad,” a group of progressive members of the U.S. House. That group includes Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Michigan. Tlaib, who is the only Palestinian-American member of Congress, has taken heat from Republicans and many Democrats for voicing concerns about the U.S. role in providing arms to Israel as it retaliates against a deadly Oct. 7 attack by Hamas.
Tlaib has called for a ceasefire on X, formerly known as Twitter: “My work and advocacy is always centered in justice and dignity for all people no matter faith or ethnicity.”
A motion to censure Tlaib, which accused the Michigan Democrat of “antisemitic activity,” failed last week. Another attempt, led by Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, is expected to be introduced again.
“They have coded Jews as oppressors,” Cruz said. “They are the bad guys and they have coded Palestinians as the victim. I think it's the ideology of the far left and as a consequence, the solution they support is violent revolution and forcibly redistributing from the oppressors to the victims.”
Meanwhile in Texas, Republicans are fighting among themselves about their own party’s ties to antisemitism.
The prominent conservative PAC Defend Texas Liberty is at the center of a Republican civil war since its then-president met with white supremacist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes. The main funders of Defend Texas Liberty are Dan and Farris Wilks, billionaire brothers from Cisco who made their fortune in fracking, and who also gave $15 million to a super PAC network supporting Ted Cruz’s 2016 presidential campaign.
Cruz denounced Fuentes’ history, but did not respond to a follow up request for comment about the donation.
“I don't know the guy. Everything I've seen that he said or written is repulsive and disgusting,” Cruz said of Fuentes. “And I think any person of good morals should make clear that those views are utterly repulsive.”
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