Moderate attitudes in the Republican Party are a sure-fire way to “destroy every single reason anyone has to show up and vote,” Cruz said.
Moderate positions in the Republican Party are a sure-fire way to "destroy" voter enthusiasm in the next election cycle, Sen. Ted Cruz warned at a GOP fundraiser Friday.
The Texas Republican brought some of his most popular one-liners and sharp criticism of party establishment to Iowa’s Reagan Dinner GOP fundraiser. “I'm convinced we're facing a new paradigm in politics,” he said, “a paradigm that is the rise of the grassroots.”
In his third visit to Iowa in three months on an electoral off-year, Cruz gave a 45-minute speech stoking the Tea Party movement that ushered him into office. “It is the rise of the grass roots…it has official Washington absolutely terrified." He followed up the event with a pheasant hunting trip alongside Iowa Republican Rep. Steve King Saturday, and will later speak at yet another fundraiser that evening.
Cruz sits squarely in the center of a growing rift between the far-right factions of the Republican Party and the Washington establishment. The wounds were exacerbated this month in Cruz's failed attempt to stop the implementation of President Obama's signature health care law. After staging a 21-hour faux-filibuster in protest of the law, and setting in motion the 16-day government shutdown he was instrumental in bringing about, Cruz became the ire of the more moderate factions of his party.
"Had we stood together, I'm convinced the outcome of this fight would have been very, very different," Cruz said before the crowd of 600 attendees Friday.
Cruz has remained coy about presidential ambitions, but he has ramped up appearances around the country in the weeks since the government shutdown ended. Earlier this week, he received hero's welcome at several events in his home state, where his unrelenting opposition to the political mainstream has reshaped Republican politics.
As the current self-appointed leader of the most radical faction of the GOP, Cruz insisted that the way forward for Republicans is through the conservative base that has already unseated a number of moderate Republicans through primary challenges. With both parties looking to the midterm elections and beyond, Cruz was proudly out of step with other Republicans, including Iowa's governor Terry Branstad, who called for the kind of party unity Cruz has no time for.
"For everyone who talks about wanting to win elections in 2014, particularly in an off year, a non presidential year—nothing, nothing, nothing, nothing matters more than an energized and and active vocal grassroots America," Cruz said. "That's how you get elected."