Tuesday night, after hard-fought statewide victory was finally his, Republican Sen. Ted Cruz considered the narrowness of his re-election — specifically, the fact that 49 percent of Texans voting cast ballots for someone else, primarily Democratic dynamo Beto O’Rourke. And uncharacteristically, the junior senator showed some humility regarding that 49 percent: “I am your senator as well.”
Empty campaign rhetoric or sincere outreach? Let’s hope it’s the latter. For six years, Cruz has not only dismissed, condemned and belittled the beliefs and principles of many fellow Texans on everything from immigration to climate change to health care but shown more interest in positioning himself as a patriotic presidential contender beyond all political compromise. His personality was such that a Democratic campaign commercial this fall showcased the many nasty things President Trump has said of him. These don’t include all comments of disdain by other fellow Republicans.
That’s the pity about Sen. Cruz, 47. He’s an intelligent individual familiar with the Constitution and complicated issues. During an Oct. 19 Trib interview, for instance, we were impressed by his grasp of fiscal issues. But as 58-year-old Republican voter and Iraq war veteran Dan Goodman of Moody remarked outside a Hewitt voting center, many of us — Republicans and Democrats — want to see our elected officials spend less time politicking, more time crafting solutions, even if it means working with, yes. the “enemy.”
For instance, Cruz spoke of his work with Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein on legislation to add more immigration judges so immigration applicants seeking, say, asylum, can see cases more promptly and properly adjudicated — a just and worthy solution, given the mass of Central American emigrants headed our way. The bill, Cruz explained, also “mandates families must stay together but stay together in a secure, stable facility.”
Our Republican congressman Bill Flores, 64, whose district includes Waco, heads back to a House that in January will be run by Democratic leadership. While he has suggested to Trib staffer Tommy Witherspoon that the House typically falls to the party opposite the president’s in the midterms, we believe Republicans in Congress contributed mightily to their own defeat by too readily forfeiting their Article I powers in standing up to President Trump on obvious constitutional transgressions and conflicts of interest. The American voter finally cried foul.
Just as we hope Cruz can demonstrate some bipartisan effort in the Senate, we urge the same of our congressman, whose Twitter feed continues to showcase divisive posts from dubious sources that collectively suggest he’s part of the problem in our country, not part of the solution. Flores is another man of great intellect. But if he remains true to his pledge to serve only two more terms, we fear his congressional legacy will be a series of ugly tweets unworthy of a sincere patriot and serious policymaker. The nation demands more. Far more.