Ted Cruz fantasizes about locking up U.S. leftists

by | Sep 8, 2020 | Politics, Protests

Sen. Ted Cruz shared a rightwing article over Labor Day weekend calling for U.S. leftists to be imprisoned in response to ongoing protests against police killings of Black people.

“This needs to happen,” Cruz wrote while sharing the article which urged Trump to “ignore the street thugs who make up the shock troops” and round up “middle class SJWs and the dedicated Marxist cadre” backing the demonstrations. 

The article goes on to say that sending in the military would be too politically costly for Trump (they might shoot someone) and the White House should instead use federal anti-mob laws to round up and prosecute the commie intelligentsia supporting the protest.

The idea that a small number of leftists around the U.S. are organizing and logistically responsible for ongoing protest against police brutality exists only in the demented imagination of rightwingers like Cruz, who are for some reason transfixed by demonstrations several states away that have no bearing on the livelihood of their own struggling constituents. 

An overwhelming majority of protest, 93 percent according to one recent report, have been peaceful. Those that do result in clashes between police have been almost entirely localized in Portland and New York (two places where authorities have escalated the situation by routinely deploying tear gas and other “non-deadly” methods of crowd control on protesters). Texas hasn’t seen violent clashes between police and demonstrators or anything else that could come close to being described as a riot since May. 

Despite all that, Cruz is salivating at the chance of locking up political opponents who have actually yet to commit a crime. It’s the same strategy historically used by dictators like Augusto Pinochet to crack down on domestic unrest: label the unrest a communist phenomenon and arrest or disappear anyone you think is the enemy of the state. Anyone who remains after the purge gets the message and is too scared to speak out.

It should terrify Texans that Cruz is willing to forgo basic civil rights and take advantage of laws used to prosecute cartels on people who coincidentally want him and the Trump administration out of office. To put it mildly, it’s a fascistic fantasy. 

As Cruz misplaces his purported hatred for big brother and welcomes the idea of state terror, Texans continue to suffer from the economic consequences of the pandemic. A deal in the GOP-controlled Senate where he works has yet to be reached to provide relief for the millions of Texans that are struggling house or feed their families. 

In August, a U.S. Census survey found 39 percent of renters in Texas said they weren’t sure they could pay for rent. A new CDC rule will halt those evictions until December but it will not prevent landlords from charging or collecting of fees, which means America is sitting on a looming homelessness crisis that is set to explode after December when evictions resume. Quickly finding some peace for Texans facing this type of financial ruin and emotional agony should be the chief concern of anyone who works near Capitol Hill. 

In Trump Land, that barely registers as a concern amid endless talk of law and order and the so-called Biden Riots. 

While Republicans like Cruz and Trump view these violent clashes between police and demonstrators as a way for Democrats to sink the president at the polls, the truth is no one talks about these protests more than Republicans. It’s a political talking point that completes them, and as Cruz demonstrated over the weekend, brings out their most disturbing political fantasies.

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

fernando@texassignal.com | + posts

Fernando covers Texas politics and government at the Texas Signal. Before joining the Signal, Fernando spent two years at the Houston Chronicle and previously interned at Houston’s NPR station News 88.7. He is a graduate of the University of Houston, Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, and enjoys reading, highlighting things, and arguing on social media. You can follow him on Twitter at @fernramirez93 or email at fernando@texassignal.com

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