The difference between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz

So what’s the difference between presidential candidates Rand Paul and Ted Cruz?

Ted Cruz is running against Barack Obama.  Rand Paul is running against Hillary Clinton.  One represents the past.  The other represents the future.

Both men are U.S. Senators running for president in 2016.  Rand Paul is from Kentucky, Ted Cruz is from Texas. (Rand Paul is expected to announce on April 7, 2015.)

Both men are conservatives whose careers were launched during the rise of the Tea Party.  Both are born again Christians. And both signed the controversial Senate letter supporting Israel.  So if they have the same base of support, what’s the difference?

Rand Paul excites that base and motivates them to action.  Ted Cruz has all but given up on that base and is focusing exclusively and only on born again Christians.  He is betting that he will take that vote, and only that vote, and win it all.  It is a high stakes gamble that counts on driving out of the way born again Christians such as Rick Perry, Mike Huckabee, Marco Rubio and yes even Rand Paul.

Bottom line, Rand Paul can win a national election.  Ted Cruz cannot.  Early polling bears that out.  Polls can be fickle and don’t always reflect reality this far in advance but most polls show only Rand Paul close to Hillary Clinton in any of the battleground states.  Not Bush, Christie, Rubio, Perry, Huckabee and not Cruz.

There is more bad news. Ted Cruz, like Rand Paul, once championed the cause of the growing Libertarian wing of the GOP, taking on the corruption of the free enterprise system with its corporate welfare and calling for an audit of the Federal Reserve.  Now Libertarians charge that after arriving in the U.S. Senate Ted Cruz sold out fast and cheaply.  It seems that his wife was hired by Goldman Sachs.  It is the banking firm that has become the poster child for insider, establishment, power. Goldman Sachs was the major donor to both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney in the last election.

The day after announcing for president, Ted Cruz openly attacked Goldman Sachs and said his wife would take a leave of absence from her job to help on his campaign but the damage was done.  Whatever hope Ted Cruz had to lead the Libertarian Wing of the Republican Party is now dead.  “Mrs. Cruz,” a Libertarian leader told me, “Is the Claire Underwood of this campaign cycle.”  She will leave behind Hillary Clinton’s son-in-law who works for the same Goldman Sachs firm.

Meanwhile, the Ted Cruz announcement brought fierce reaction from Hispanics who see the Senator as having betrayed his own roots.  “His family got their freedom,” said one Hispanic evangelical leader, “Now they want everybody else to do it strictly by the book.”

Rand Paul has real, organic support from the young, from Hispanics from African Americans and from Liberal Democrats.  The latter care about civil liberties.  African Americans care about Rand Paul’s criminal justice reform.  Many Hispanics who support Paul care about insiders gaming the system and the loss of the American dream for the new American.  Under both Democrat and Republican presidents the poor continue to get poorer and the rich richer.  The young now see “free markets” as “fixed” by advantages created by powerful lobbies.  The young care about a free Internet and Rand Paul has become the guardian of the Internet.

The Ted Cruz presidential launch at Liberty University last Monday may have been a metaphor for the coming campaign.  Cruz, who cannot attract the crowds of a Rand Paul, choose the only forum that could guarantee a large audience, a university convocation with mandatory student attendance.  Nevertheless, sitting very visibly behind the Senator, in their red shirts declaring, “Stand with Rand”, were quietly defiant students.  They were not rude like the Libertarians one sometimes sees online.  They represent the new Christian Liberty Movement. This week RandPac will mail out thousands of their videos with Senator Rand Paul’s born again testimony.

The Cruz machine was careful to point to spectacular fund raising after his event.  It was a calculated attempt to shore up a very real weakness.  “Evangelical only” candidates cannot raise money.  Ask Mike Huckabee.  Christian leaders will give verbal support but they need their people’s money for their own projects.  Sorry.  Meanwhile, Rand Paul with his diverse, motivated base will have money and a ground game.

The message is clear for Ted Cruz.  His path is fatally blocked by those young people in the red shirts standing before him.  They can be made to hear him speak but they will get to vote the way they want.

Here is the video produced by the American Liberty Association, going out this week.


Published by Doug Wead

Doug Wead is a New York Times bestselling author whose latest book, Game of Thorns, is about the Trump-Clinton 2016 election. He served as an adviser to two American presidents and was a special assistant to the president in the George H.W. Bush White House.

13 thoughts on “The difference between Rand Paul and Ted Cruz

  1. Love the first question, “Are you a born-again Christian?” The Bible says that there is no other kind of Christian. Verily, verily I say unto you, you must be born again.

  2. Hes a born again christian and hes says the family unite has been around for tens of thousands of years. What bible does he follow? The holy bible King James states the earth is 6,000 years old. Every christian knows this. Not a very good flubber to have. Ron Paul supporters are loyal on an ideology not any particular party. That is right. Rand Paul blindly support the republican nominee is follow a party no matter what it stands for. Romney is and was a white Obama. What if Hitler won the nomination would he be endorsing him too. I understand hes walking a fine line and he had to kiss butt in order to get their backing in this race but in doing so he loss the respects of many libertarian. Im not sure if it was his endorsment of Romney that made me cry for two days straight or if it was realizing right then on the Hannity show that it was all over and we had just lost. The was the most saddest day i have had in a very long time.

  3. Doug, can you guess what analysis I would most like to see from you next? Well, here it is. I would like you to contrast the differences (both in campaigns and in the White House) between a Rand/Ron ticket and a Ron/Rand ticket. Really. Please?

  4. Ted Cruz is great and he will be a welcomed ally on the debate stage. However Doug, you’ve done an excellent job in laying out the reality that many of us have realized for quite some time. Ted Cruz doesn’t have a path to victory in a general election. He has alienated the African-Americans, has frustrated Hispanics, and the preacher-style swagger that makes him attractive to Evangelicals is what turns the more moderate and independent voters off.

    Rand Paul on the other hand has boldly carried the torch of liberty to new audiences. Howard and Bowie University, Berkley, etc. He understands that freedom and the constitution are not to be shied away from, but that the principles they represent are precisely what unites America!

  5. The Bible talks about how you will know people by “their fruit.” Rand Paul’s honesty and humble demeanor speaks louder than words. I will never forget reading in TIME magazine how the Senator was thankful for a Chibok girl that was recently saved from the Boko Haram terrorist group. He leads himself through Biblical ethics and logical common sense. An example of this would be his view on foreign aid. As a country founded on freedom and liberty we should not be giving money to country’s that kill others based on their gender or religion. Morally this is wrong. He demonstrates his sense of morality in his fight to end the corruption that our government displays by giving some insiders an edge, making the poor poorer and the rich richer. What an amazing Man.

  6. I really appreciate the honesty and the strength Rand Paul demonstrates. He is not afraid to stand up and say what he believes in. That takes integrity, strength and honor. Those riches are much better than fame and fortune.

    Again, Doug you have done an amazing job of looking at both Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, what they have in common and how they differ.

  7. Cruz can articulate as well, if not better, the problems in Government. Rand needed Mitch McConnell to run for POTUS so that kinda negates the Goldman Sachs claim. All I know is we had better get the primaries out of the way early and support one (or both as a team) of these men before Jeb sneaks through due to a divided vote.

  8. Obama’s policies and the residuals from them will continue into the next administration. So saying that represents the past seems to me not fair. I want the next president to put an end and undo damages the current administration has done. I feel that the energy used by both Senators Cruz and Paul targeting both Obama and Hillary are very important for the outcome in 2016.

  9. Lance,
    I make no secret of my support for Rand Paul. I worked for his father, Ron Paul, and that is in my bio for this blog. But I also worked off and on for almost twenty years for the Bush family and I would like to see an end to “crony capitalism” and a return to free markets and free enterprise, so that every American has a chance. This strikes me as an important moral problem for our country. If Rand Paul falters and Ted Cruz wins the nomination I will support him but I was keenly disappointed to hear that his wife took a job with Goldman Sachs.

  10. President Paul’s superb speech to Save America!

    Paraphrasing key points for brevity:

    1) I have a message that is loud and clear — we’ve come to take our country back!

    2) The Washington machine that invades our privacy nonstop must be stopped!

    3) A return to Government restrained by the Constitution!

    4) The truth is when republicans won, we lost more liberties — that’s not who I am!

    5) What future are our grandchildren to have — when both parties and the entire political system are to blame for failing US!

    6) Under Republican watch our debt has doubled — under Obama’s it has trippled and Obama is on track to further place more dept than all other Presidents combined!

    7) Washington borrows a Million dollars a Minute — wake up and stop spending Money we don’t have!

    8) The only worthy President is one who clutches the Constitution in one hand, and the Bill of Rights in the other!

    9) Washington is horribly broken and can never be fixed from within — we, The People, must demand they do what we tell them to do!

    10) Limit terms of Office — ends career politicians!

    11) Our nation is one of a kind, for no other has a Constitution that demands: Government must be restrained, so citizens freedom is maximized!

    12) Freedom is what America is all about — it’s time to return Freedom back to our nation!

    13) Unlike the liberal dogma that work is punishment — work is self esteem, my vision for America is that everyone who wants to work will have a job!

    14) Stop the $BILLIONS bailouts for Crony Capitalists, instead put that money into impoverished communities, so all can a get a job!

    15) Lower taxes for AMERICAN business — so American manufacturers stop doing it overseas, and bring it back home to create jobs for Americans again!

    16) Radical Islam is an enemy — but….
    Listen to Rand Paul’s words here carefully, to see how astutely he covers this (I won’t spoon feed you the answer here — clue: “….that Conservatives inept at home, should somehow succumb to the notion they’ll succeed in nation building abroad”)!!!

    17) No deal with any Nation, such as Iran, as an example (read between the lines…to see which foreign nation will be next) without Congressional approval — after-all, it is the Law!

    18) Our goal must always be Peace through strength, not War from weakness!

    19) Stop China from owing US — bring business back home!

    20) Stop all foreign aid!

    21) To defend our country, we do need to gather intelligence on our enemy — BUT when the Intelegence Director is NOT punished for lying under oath, HOW are we to trust our Government Agencies?!

    22) Warrantless searches of American phones and computer records are un-American and a threat to your civil liberties! The phone records of law-abiding American Citizens are NONE of Their [NSA] Damned Business!

    23) Obama created this travesty of NSA spying on all US Citizens by Executive Order — and Rand Paul will END this Unconstitutional surveillance on DAY ONE when elected President!

    24) I believe we can have Liberty and Security — but I will not compromise your Liberty for false sense of security, NOT NOW NOT EVER!

    25) America strong enough to deter foreign aggression, yet wise enough to avoid unnecessary intervention!

    26) End the IRS eventually (read btw the lines)!

    27) Bring overseas jobs back to America!

    Our message must be clear — Rand, or Revolution!

  11. WOW!! I see all of you are a Rand supporter and that’s your right. I for one as well as MANY MILLIONS are now and will continue to support him financially as well! Do some research on Ted Cruz and his resume and college awards, as well as his professors words about him! College Awards, etc…. Awesome! Winning as a TOP LAWYER in many trails. Anyway Millions in every state are supporting him as I am. Love my Senator I voted for to start with! Thank You, Lydia from Dallas TEXAS PROUD! CRUZ CONTROL BABY!!

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