Ted Cruz: An Advocate for “Common Sense,” not “Political Correctness”

by Madeline Ramaley

Before Ted Cruz’s Town Hall in New Hampshire even began, the atmosphere in the Peterborough Town Hall was vibrant and patriotic. A giant American flag was set in the middle of the stage and large screens on either side flashed through commercials and ads endorsing Cruz. Dramatic music swelled in the background and surprisingly no one seemed to be phased by the fact the ads were addressed to “The People of Iowa.” As the political ads faded and country music began to play, the New Hampshire Speaker of the House and co-chair of Cruz’s presidential campaign, Bill O’Brien, came onstage to rally the crowd and introduce Ted Cruz. But before he did either, he led the entire audience in a pledge of allegiance. As everyone stood up and began to recite the pledge, it was very obvious that extreme patriotism and “Judeo-Christian values” were going to be a major focus of this event.

“God bless the Great State of New Hampshire!” Ted Cruz exclaimed as he strode onto the stage wearing a denim shirt tucked into his jeans, cowboy boots, and a dark leather belt. He began by praising the Republican Party for having so many “young, talented candidates” running for the presidency. He then immediately contrasted these candidates with the “crazy, socialist” contenders from the Democratic Party, which was very well received by the audience members, who cheered in agreement.

Cruz based his speech on returning to the “common sense principles” of America. He asserted that America is in a state of crisis because our Constitutional rights are being jeopardized. He claimed he wants to take America back to its “free market principles” and the “common sense principles;” he promised to do this through the application of his three main points, which he outlined very carefully. This made the speech very easy to follow and everyone in the audience was able to fully invest in what he was saying.

One of the core principles was providing jobs for the American people, which he claimed he would make his first priority as president. As he continued to speak on this subject he referenced a meme he saw recently, which I found especially interesting considering the majority of his audience were middle aged and not the sort of people one would expect to know about memes. The meme to which Cruz referred explained “Reaganomics” as starting a company out of your parents’ garage, and then decried “Obamanomics” as moving into your parents’ garage. This, of course, received great laughter from the audience. While everyone may not have understood exactly what a meme was, Cruz’s message came across clearly: he would be completely different from Obama as the second coming of Reagan.

Many times throughout the course of his speech Cruz compared the present political climate to the time before Reagan took office. He proclaimed that today’s America is very similar to that of the 1970s, and much like America then needed saving from Jimmy Carter, Cruz is the Reagan who will rescue us from Obama. In equating himself to Reagan in this giant metaphor Cruz appealed not only to voters who dislike Obama, but also to an older audience of voters who favored Reagan and strongly disliked Carter.

As his speech progressed, Cruz touched upon defending constitutional rights, notably the second and tenth amendments, adding “or as President Obama calls it, ‘the what?.’” He touched upon reserving power to the state governments, rebuilding the military, securing our borders, and repealing Common Core. His final point before turning to audience questions was the need to restore America’s international authority. He focused on the military, specifically citing the issue of women serving on the front line of the armed forces. He called it “dangerous” and “immoral,” claiming the United States has had enough with “political correctness,” especially within the military. He ended his speech by saying we needed to get away from political correctness and back to “common sense” in order to return to the “Judeo-Christian values” on which this country was founded.

Cruz then took a good portion of his questions from small children, who were seemingly planted by their parents. When asked by a child his views on improving America’s infrastructure, Cruz responded that all such decisions should be left to state governments and went even further to say that the entire Department of Education should be abolished. From here he said that the power should be given not only to the states to decide what should be taught in schools, but to local governments to decide what their specific region should teach. When asked by Emerson’s very own Ana Tenewitz on the “inequality of racial groups, the LGBTQ community, and women,” Cruz sidestepped the question and took the opportunity to discuss economic inequality again: “How do we deal with inequality? Number one, we end all the corporate welfare, all the subsidies, all the bailouts, all the mandates. But number two, we create an environment where small businesses are growing and advancing and there’s opportunity.” So, yes, while Cruz did talk about inequality, he ignored Ana’s actual question and morphed it into something he wanted to answer.

To conclude the Town Hall, Cruz asked the audience to “commit to lift this country up to continue this awakening and spirit of revival” and to bring America “back from the abyss.” Cruz was able to sway the Evangelical voters in Iowa with his Evangelical values, and it was made clear in his Town Hall that he planned to continue using this tactic throughout his campaign.

Whether you agree with Cruz’s policies or not, you can’t discount his intelligence. He is an extraordinarily convincing speaker, knows policy and the Constitution incredibly well, and was able to answer every question (though perhaps not directly) with knowledge and insight. His Town Hall was certainly interesting, “with liberty and justice for all.”

Kasich in New Hampshire

by Bailey Bouchard

It’s Friday night, and where are the CPLA students? At a John Kasich rally in New Hampshire. Primary weekend had come and twelve of us decided to go up and see what was going on.

Kasich’s one hundredth town hall opened with a speech from former Patriots linebacker Mike Vrabel and, though most of us didn’t know who he was, others seemed very excited. Attendees were invigorated and captivated by Kasich’s ideas and plans for the future. The room was packed and people seemed in awe of Kasich as he answered their questions.

The setup was rather awkward. Chairs and cameras surrounded a small platform and Kasich was spinning around in order to make eye contact with everyone. It looked a bit silly, which was not helping Kasich’s image as he talked about throwing snowballs at the press that morning.

The Ohio governor discussed topics including college affordability, drug reform programs, veteran aid, and his desire to connect with voters. Regarding the first, he encouraged high school students to take as courses for college credit available to them and/or to attend community college for a few years. To that end he said students and their families should look past a college’s reputation and standing and focus on what they can afford. He even compared Bernie Sanders’ views on education to ice cream, saying that we may as well make Ben and Jerry’s free.

“I have lots of democratic friends” Kasich said in an obvious effort to stand out as a moderate among the Republican candidates. He could have pushed away the conservative voters he needs to win the republican nomination, but according to results in New Hampshire he did not. Kasich came in second with 15.8 percent of the vote, beating former leaders Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio, though still falling behind winner Donald Trump by 19.5 percent. This boost was great publicity for Kasich and hopefully won him some donations, as his funds are limited after devoting so much to New Hampshire.

The Cross Cultural Communication Conference: My Introduction to Southeast Asia

by Alexandra Howard

This past January, I attended the Cross Cultural Communication Conference in Bangkok, Thailand along with faculty from Zayed University (UAE), Blanquerna-Ramon Llull University (Barcelona), Bournemouth University (UK), and Chulalongkorn University (Thailand). Although we only represented five countries, those who presented at the conference came from all over the world. It was an incredibly diverse group of extremely intelligent people. The participants presented research on topics stretching from international public relations and social media campaigns to American politics and the presidential candidates.

One presentation that stood out argued the possible connection between conservative beliefs and aggressive behavior. The speaker outlined in detail the numerous levels of aggressive behavior and the subsets of conservative beliefs, such as sexual conservatism. He offered a number of diagrams and maps depicting the various ways to connect these beliefs and actions; one showed the trend of progression from conservative beliefs to verbal aggression and on to aggressive actions and behaviors. Perhaps most interesting about his research, however, was the dialogue it prompted during the lunch following his presentation.

The talk had many thinking of the somewhat radical language and behaviors associated with Donald Trump and his supporters. All throughout lunch other participants went up to the speaker one by one and anxiously asked if he really thought that Trump had a chance of winning the US presidency. Those living abroad were not exceedingly comforted by his answer; although he was skeptical of Trump’s ability to actually win, he thought it was entirely possible for him to secure the Republican nomination. Many were shocked by his certainty, but the professor simply stated that Trump appealed to the anger and frustration that so many conservative Americans have felt for the past eight years. Regardless of this, the conference participants continued to debate Trump’s odds and what his victory would mean for the USA and the international community. People wanted to know how they would be impacted and how their country’s relationship with the US would change if Trump really did have a shot at the White House.

From what I experienced in my short time in Bangkok I found Thai culture to be remarkable. The people were some of the kindest I have ever met and their visual culture was simply beautiful to behold. The close cultural ties with Buddhism created an incredibly vibrant and calming atmosphere that was present in everything I saw. After spending just three days in the city and experiencing a culture and part of the world that most Americans will never see, I find myself all the more intrigued to see who will become the next US president. I want to experience as much of the world as possible and I deeply hope that whoever enters the White House next will respect and honor the rest of the world and all of its people.