On Jan. 8, 2016, PBS NewsHour’s panel included David Corn, chief of the Washington Bureau, and New York Times columnist David Brooks. The show was hosted by Judy Woodruff, who asked Brooks about the latest in the snide remarks between Texas Sen. Ted Cruz and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio. In the midst of his answer, Brooks referred to Cruz as dark and satanic. He stated his speeches contain angry, combative, and apocalyptic rhetoric.
Brooks also stated that the Texas senator is pulling ahead and gaining momentum. Now, he believes, other candidates are following his lead, using similar undertones in their speeches.
Corn added that he believed the evangelical pastor Rafael Cruz, the father of Ted, is also satanic. Corn maintains this belief because Pastor Cruz once said that Satan was the reason the Supreme Court legalized gay marriage.
Brooks withdrew his satanic comment about Cruz on the show but restated that he is dark, combative, and harsh when he speaks. He then commented that Rubio was running “a youthful optimism campaign.” Brooks believes these extreme outlooks could be the reason for any discourse between the two Republican presidential candidates.
Brooks also stated, on PBS NewsHour, that the campaign for Dr. Ben Carson was falling apart and the Republican frontrunner, Donald Trump, has hit his “ceiling” in this campaign. Seeming to state his belief that Carson and Trump will not be able to maintain their status in the presidential race.
As of Jan. 9, 2016, the Los Angeles Times reported that Cruz is the favorite in Iowa, due to his appeal to members of the Tea Party, evangelicals, and many other conservatives. Trump may be the Republican frontrunner in national polls, but he is developing a strategy in an attempt to keep the Texas senator from winning the Iowa caucus on Feb. 1, 2016.
It is unknown how Iowans will respond to Brooks’ comments about believing Cruz to be satanic, even though he withdrew his comments. The presidential hopeful is currently appealing to Christians in small towns. Pastor Cruz has proved to be a strong and popular proxy in this area.
According to Matt Strawn, the previous Iowa Republican chairman, the Texas senator has formed an alliance with the traditional Iowa Republicans, who faithfully caucus every four years. Strawn is not aligned with any of the presidential candidates at this time.
Brooks’ remarks may not have any impact on Cruz’s Iowa campaign, as he is focused on being where the people are and talking personally with them. He has also chosen small towns to visit, as he talks with people in bookstores, diners, and coffee shops.
That being said, Trump has publicly questioned the faith of Cruz. He stated that not many evangelicals come from Cuba, referring to his father, Pastor Rafael Cruz.
Cruz has already been attacked by the ethanol industry and several other opponents. He has avoided engaging with Trump in a strategic move to not alienate Trump’s supporters, who may choose to back a different presidential candidate down the road. He told MSNBC, “Politicians behave a certain way when they’re panicking, and they engage in … personal attacks. That’s human nature. I understand that. I’m not going to get drawn into that muck.”
However, the Financial Times reports that Cruz hired a firm to investigate social media for any voters that show signs of neuroticism. Moreover, he is also creating an assessment of refugees from war-torn countries who are currently residing in the United States. The Financial Times believes the Republican candidates are taking advantage of America’s fear of terrorism.
It is entirely possible that voters will not acknowledge Brooks’ words. However, there are things that can draw one’s mind back to the satanic position. The questioning of Cruz’s religion and the trawling for neurotic people might cause voters to wonder if Brooks could be correct in his assumptions, withdrawn or not.
By Jeanette Smith
Edited by Leigh Haugh
ArcaMax: Trump, Cruz Take Different Paths to Iowa Voters
The Blaze: Watch PBS Panel of Journalists Call Ted Cruz and His Father ‘Satanic’
Financial Times: America’s election year terror risk
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