By Avrumi Weinberger
With Marco Rubio’s exit from the race, it has become increasingly obvious that the choice for the Republican nomination for President of the United States has come down to a choice between Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. Like the rest of the country, the Jewish community is faced with a choice. Which candidate most reflects our values? Which candidate best serves our interests? Both candidates enjoy considerable support in our community, but we must critically assess the record, character, and temperament of each candidate in order to arrive at an informed conclusion.
Religious Liberty – Over the course of human history, the Jewish People have never enjoyed more freedom and liberty than they do today in the United States. But as Ronald Reagan so rightly observed, “Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn’t pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children’s children what it was once like in the United States where men were free”. We stand at just such a crossroads.
Even in America, bad choices can lead to tyrannical consequences. There is a significant minority in America today, which thirsts for authoritarian protectionism. When constitutional Republicanism is replaced by brute authoritarianism, there can be no hope fo proper liberty of any kind, including that of religious liberty. Donald Trump has shown a callous disregard for the First Amendment to the Constitution which protects religious liberty. He has suggested that he would open the libel laws which would allow him to intimidate members of the press into writing only favorable material. This dangerous precedent would pose a serious threat to religious liberty and freedom of expression.
Senator Cruz, on the other hand, has successfully defended religious liberty when he represented the state of Texas in front of the Supreme Court to argue for the constitutionality of the Texas Ten Commandments monument in front of the state capitol. Ted Cruz can be counted on to protect religious liberty under his administration. With Donald Trump, it’s anyone’s guess. We are not Iran or North Korea. We cherish our right to religious expression and we must do everything within our power to preserve it.
Economy – One of the more potent arguments you will hear from supporters of Donald Trump is that he’s a businessman and that he’ll revive the economy. But as the primary season has progressed, his policy proposals have been scarce and impossibly vague. The little he has said though, is equally disturbing. He has proposed imposing up to a 45% tariff on goods coming from China. Such a proposal would dramatically increase prices for consumers and force companies to lay off thousands of jobs.
Senator Cruz has proposed a flat tax which would not tax the first $36,000 earned and tax 10% of everything above that for every income bracket, a proposal that the non-partisan Tax Foundation estimates will increase wages by more than 12%. These are just samples of the fundamental differences that separate the candidates on matters of the economy and jobs. One believes in the free market, the other is a protectionist.
Israel – Senator Cruz has pledged to suspend tax-payer funding for the Palestinian Authority. Trump has made no such pledge. On the contrary, he said he would be neutral with regard to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a position that has been adopted by Obama and the far left. Cruz has left no doubts about his staunch commitment to Israel, while Trump has been frighteningly ambiguous. Ted Cruz would put an end to the abhorrent moral equivalency we see coming from the current administration while Trump would just be a continuation.
Temperament – The presidency is the most powerful and prestigious office in the world. It requires a character and integrity that is worthy of a job of such magnitude. During the course of this campaign, we’ve seen a disturbing pattern of behavior coming from Mr. Trump. The examples are endless and well known and do not need to be recounted. A man of such character would be an embarrassment to the Oval Office and an embarrassment to our children. We need to support a candidate who will be a pride to the nation, not a shame. Ted Cruz has shown exemplary conduct throughout this campaign and we will know what to expect from his administration.
In sum, on issue after issue, Ted Cruz supports our interests and reflects our values while Trump does not. I urge my brethren to join me in supporting Ted Cruz for President of the United States of America.