Cruz criticism of Trump comparing self to Reagan not entirely accurate

Cruz criticism of Trump comparing self to Reagan not entirely accurate

As the war between GOP candidates Ted Cruz and Donald Trump rages on, each man is finding new ways to attack the other.

Cruz’s latest volley came on Monday, when he challenged Trump’s claim to having given rise to a political upheaval greater than that of Ronald Reagan.

Said Cruz from the stump in Washington, N.H:

I would note that Ronald Reagan spent decades as a principled conservative, spent decades traveling the country sharing his conservative, free-market views [and] defending the Constitution. Ronald Reagan did not spend the first 60 years of his life supporting Democratic politicians, advocating for big government politics, supporting things like the big bank bailouts, supporting things like expanding Obamacare to turn it into socialized medicine.

For the most part, Cruz’s characterization of Reagan — of what he was and what he wasn’t — is on point. But the claim that didn’t spend the better part of his life supporting Democratic politicians is not quite accurate.

As Time magazine reminds us:

… Reagan started out as a registered Democrat and New Deal supporter. An F.D.R. fan, the Gipper campaigned for Helen Gahagan Douglas in her fruitless 1950 Senate race against Richard Nixon and encouraged Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for President as a Democrat in 1952.

Reagan switched party allegiance in 1962, at age 51. He said at the time, as so many converts to the GOP have since, “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”

As president, Reagan did go on to militate against big government, as Cruz implies.

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles

Ben Bowles is a freelance writer.


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