By forcing Senate Republicans like Mitch McConnell to vote in favor of advancing the debt limit bill, Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) helped Democrats, while sabotaging McConnell’s reelection campaign.
Ted Cruz insisted on filibustering the clean debt ceiling bill that the House passed yesterday, so this meant that the top two Republicans in the Senate, Mitch McConnell and John Cornyn were forced to vote for advancing the bill. After McConnell and Cornyn voted in support of advancing the bill to a final vote, ten other Republicans switched their votes from no to yes, making the final total 67-31.
Mitch McConnell is not only facing a tea party challenger in the Republican primary for his Senate seat back home in Kentucky, he is also dealing with a conservative electorate that already believed he was compromising too much with President Obama. By forcing Senate Republicans to vote to overcome a filibuster, Cruz made Mitch McConnell’s prospects for keeping his Senate seat a whole lot worse.
Cruz’s motivations became clear after the vote.
In a statement, Sen. Cruz said:
Today’s vote is yet another example that establishment politicians from both parties are simply not listening to the American people. Outside the beltway, Americans of all political stripes understand that we cannot keep spending money we don’t have.
Some members of Congress care so much about being praised by the Washington media that they’re willing to mortgage our children’s future. They pretend we don’t have a problem and can just kick the can down the road.
Let’s be clear about the motive behind this vote — there are too many members of Congress who think they can fool people and they will forget about it the next week. But sometimes, come November, the people remember.
Ted Cruz intentionally screwed McConnell, because he is trying to get him out of the Senate. Cruz is also using this stunt to boost his 2016 presidential ambitions. Cruz has aligned himself with the Senate Conservatives Fund, which has already been running ads against Mitch McConnell in Kentucky. The Senate Conservatives Fund also supports McConnell’s primary challenger, Matt Bevin.
President Obama is more popular than Mitch McConnell in Kentucky right now. Thirty three percent of the state’s Republicans say that they disapprove of McConnell because he compromises with Obama too much. The last thing McConnell needed was to be forced to take a vote that will be viewed as another compromise with Obama by many of the conservatives in Kentucky.
Once again, the tea party has done Democrats a big favor. McConnell already trails his Democratic general election challenger Alison Grimes by 4 points. Cruz’s stunt will only make McConnell Republican support even weaker.
Ted Cruz is the gift that keeps on giving, but his greatest gift to Democrats may end up being getting Mitch McConnell booted out of the Senate.
Mr. Easley is the managing editor. He is also a White House Press Pool and a Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association