Texas Senator Ted Cruz was the first to declare candidacy in the 2016 presidential race with his address given on March 23 at Liberty University, in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Cruz encouraged the audience to imagine a new direction of future America, providing his presidential ambition during a 30-minute speech filled with claims that need to be put into factual perspective regarding issues of second amendment rights, voter demographics, Obamacare and education.
2nd Amendment Rights
Claim #1: Cruz blamed the Obama administration for seeking “to ban our ammunition.”
Cruz seems to be exaggerating the White House’s current efforts, an idea confirmed by FactCheck. His accusation paints the administration as removing second amendment rights of citizens by forbidding all ammunition. In reality, the only action as of late has been the proposal of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to ban a certain type of armor-piercing bullet, commonly used in an AR-15 rifle, according to the National Rifle Association.
On March 9, Cruz was one of 53 senators to sign a letter opposing the proposal, arguing “if law-abiding gun owners cannot obtain rifle ammunition, or face substantial difficulty in finding ammunition available and at reasonable prices because government entities are banning such ammunition, then the Second Amendment is at risk.”
A day later, the Bureau postponed issuing their final decision on the removal of the exempted “M855 green tip ammunition.” The committee suspended its efforts after receiving more than 80,000 comments regarding the exemption and prospective amendment of the 1986 Gun Control Act, which already prohibits certain types of ammunition except that which the Attorney General approves as “intended for sporting purposes,” according to an ATF.
Claim #2: Cruz claimed that “today roughly half of born-again Christians aren’t voting,” which PolitiFact quickly dubbed as “mostly false.” According to research conducted by Akron University, this claim may have been more accurate in regards to the 2000 election. Although definitive numbers of voting demographics are nearly impossible, the Washington Post found through the research of 2012 American National Election Studies, more people claimed to vote than actually did and researchers then estimated that 62 percent of evangelicals went to the polls.
Politifact reports similarly, claiming how born-again Christian voters ranged from 58 to 63 percent, implying at most, 42 percent stayed home during the most recent election. The Cruz campaign responded to the challenge on Politifact arguing numbers were based off past election surveys and estimated numbers for the upcoming election.
Affordable Care Act
Claim #3: “Millions…have lost their health insurance,” stated Cruz in his ploy to repeal Obamacare.
This misinterpretation of has been common among Republicans and is rooted in Obama’s false promise that citizens could choose to keep their original health care plan. In 2013, Obama was under attack as millions received cancellation notices, forcing an upgrade, but not a loss of coverage found FactCheck and various news outlets.
Urban Institute reports over 10 million Americans gained coverage from September 2013 to December 2014. Further, this research shows the uninsured rate of adults dropping to 4.9 percent between this three month period, not matching Cruz’s claim.
Claim #4: Cruz stated that because of the law there is “skyrocketing health insurance premiums.”
Premiums are primarily determined on individual insurance and American coverage has increased, just slower than that during George. W. Bush’s presidency found FactCheck. The Kaiser Family Foundation’s annual survey regarding employer health benefits defies the “skyrocketing” accusation by showing premiums to have raised to 5.9 percent with the implementation of the Affordable Care Act in 2010 as five years prior averaged a 4.8 percent premium increase a year.
Claim #5: He announced because of the Affordable Care Act, “millions … forced into part-time work.”
Although unsubstantial evidence supports this claim, the Kaiser Family Foundation explains how this past January, the Obama Administration implemented a new plan of “employer responsibility,” enforcing penalties for employers with more than 100 workers who do not provide affordable health care.
Cruz gives an illustration of the American story and more so, his own personal testimony stating “he took over $100,000 in school loans, loans I suspect a lot of ya’ll can relate to, loans that I’ll point out I just paid off a few years ago.”
Besides the question of a 44-year-old state senator just being able to pay off student loans, many critics argue Cruz’s support and empathy of student debt does not match his recent actions. Market Watch reports that Cruz opposed the bill last year called “Bank on Students Emergency Loan Refinancing.” Cruz’s campaign responds to the opposition of this bill to be consistent with the pursuit to remain grounded in the conservative thought, minimizing the tax of the higher-class, later noted in his speech as a “flat-tax rate.”
Cruz’s claim could be just an attempt to connect with younger voters as 40 million Americans have student loans totaling $1 trillion, found The Wall Street Journal.
Claim #6: Cruz challenged the audience: “Instead of a federal government that seeks to dictate school curriculum through Common Core… imagine repealing every word of Common Core.”
The Common Core is managed by the National Governors Association Center for Best Practices and the Council of Chief State School Officers which “the implementation of the Common Core, including how the standards are taught, the curriculum developed, and the materials used to support teachers as they help students reach the standards, is led entirely at the state and local levels,” according to the Common Core website.
According to FactCheck, Cruz has made similar false claims regarding this issue in the past and it remains true that its enforcement is not dependent on White House efforts.
The Common Core states that “federal funds have never and will never be used to support the development or governance … or any future revisions of the standards.” The National Review addresses this false claim of “ObamaCore,” explaining how the president is taking credit for efforts which began before he claimed in office in 2009.
Federal funding is only applied to efforts affiliated with the No Child Left Behind Act, re-implemented during the presidency of George W. Bush, which Common Core claims no allegiance to.
Cruz made more claims that remain questionable including “economic stagnation,” border control, record deaths of small businesses and hopes of abolishing the IRS.