Kissimmee, Fla. — When Ted Cruz looks forward to 2022 and 2024, he can’t help but glance back to the past.
The midterm elections in 2022 are lining up to look a lot like the those in 1994 and 2010, years when Republicans won massive victories after Democratic presidents overreached.
And to the Texas senator, the upcoming 2024 presidential election bears a striking similarity to the “Reagan Revolution” of 1980 that saw a conservative realignment of American politics.
“It took Jimmy Carter to give us Ronald Reagan,” Cruz said. “And I think Joe Biden is Jimmy Carter 2.0, and is setting the stage for an incredible conservative revival.”
And who, exactly, would play the role of Reagan in this Back to the Future–like script?
“That will be for the voters to decide,” said Cruz, a politician not known for being unambitious.
Cruz spoke to National Review after his fiery speech Friday at the Faith & Freedom Coalition’s Road to Majority conference in Florida. In the speech, Cruz had two messages: that the country needs to be defended from an unprecedented and relentless assault from the radical Left, and that a conservative revival is on the way. He joked that “the Left is like the Terminator. They never sleep. They never stop. They’re soulless, have no heart, no brain and red eyes.”
With its control of the corporate and the entertainment industry, the Left has succeeded in making it controversial to note “obvious truths,” like “America is great,” that George Washington and Abraham Lincoln are heroes, or that “an unborn child is a child,” he said.
“The greatest trick the Left has ever played is to convince millions of Americans we are alone and that the American people aren’t with us,” Cruz told the crowd.
Cruz told National Review that there is a significant political shift underway that is changing what it means to be a Republican. The Republican party is increasingly the party of working men and women, Cruz said. It’s a realignment he hopes will continue.
“We’re the party of truck drivers and construction workers and steel workers and cops and firefighters and waiters and waitresses,” Cruz said. “The Democratic party, conversely, has become the party of wealthy coastal elites looking down and dripping condescension on the union members who used to form the backbone of the Democratic party.”
This realignment has the potential to diversify the party, which is often criticized for being too white. Cruz points to the election earlier this month in McAllen, Texas, a blue border city that is 85 percent Hispanic, that voted in Javier Villalobos, its first Republican mayor since 1997.
“Many minority voters, both Hispanics and African American, are culturally conservative,” Cruz said. “As Democrats become radicalized, as Democrats decide their most important issue is to make sure biological boys must be able to compete against our daughters in high school sports, I think an awful lot of Hispanics and African Americans and just Americans of all stripes are looking at that and saying this doesn’t make any sense, and your priorities are out of step with the vast majority of Americans.”
Republicans could even make some inroads in the country’s biggest cities, where the party is in many cases nearly extinct, Cruz said. Far left-wing policies are failing miserably, he said, pointing at a recent vote in Austin, Texas, where residents overturned a city policy enacted by Democratic leaders that made it lawful for homeless people to camp in most public spaces.
And parents in American cities have legitimate concerns about schooling and crime, Cruz said.
“If you look at any poll done of Hispanics or African Americans, 60, 70, 75 percent support school choice, and yet the Democratic party is adamantly opposed to choice,” Cruz said. “If you look at crime, Democrats have handed their party over to the crazies.”
Looking ahead to 2024, Cruz said it’s unclear what former president Donald Trump will do. Trump has been mulling a run, but he’ll be 78 years old in 2024, and some Republicans think he’d be better positioned to serve as a party kingmaker.
“I don’t think I’m going to influence that decision, Cruz said. “I don’t think anyone else is going to influence that decision. He’s going to do what he chooses to do.”
Cruz said it’s clear that many people in Washington want to erase Trump from the political scene, and to try to pretend that his four years in office never happened.
“I think that’s delusional,” Cruz said. “I think when Americans look at the Trump presidency, what we value most about president Trump is that he demonstrated backbone, he demonstrated courage to stand up to the corrupt corporate media, he demonstrated courage to stand up to Washington and the swamp. And I think we need and want that courage, that strength of will.”