Ted Cruz: Future of conservatism is populist and libertarian – Washington Examiner

Posted: July 21, 2020 at 1:06 pm

Sen. Ted Cruz said the future of conservatism after President Trump leaves office can be both populist and libertarian.

The Texas Republican weighed on ideological debates among conservatives, saying the future of conservative politics can be a combination of libertarian beliefs and populism during a Tuesday interview with the Washington Examiner about his podcast, The Verdict, co-hosted by conservative commentator Michael Knowles.

"I think properly understood, those concepts are complementary, and they're not antagonistic. So I am a conservative, an unabashed conservative. I'm also a populist. I am deeply a populist," Cruz began. "And I also have deep libertarian principles. Look, if you're protecting liberty, that is the foundation of our country. That is the foundation of our Constitution and Bill of Rights. When it comes to populism, I think the most fundamental and important shifts in the last decade in politics is that Republicans have become the party of the working class."

The idea of conservatism "conserving" libertarian beliefs, or classical liberalism, has recently been challenged by some writers. Sohrab Ahmari, a conservative opinion editor for the New York Post, advocated for a "common good" conservatism in May 2019. In an opinion piece for religious publication First Things, he wrote, "Here is the problem: The movement we are up against prizes autonomy above all, too; indeed, its ultimate aim is to secure for the individual will the widest possible berth to define what is true and good and beautiful, against the authority of tradition."

"There's some people who want to use the word populism to say, 'Well, we should just have socialism.' No, socialism is not populism. That's not good for the workers. Socialism is tyranny of government. Every socialist government across the globe has produced poverty and misery and suffering and death," Cruz said.

Earlier, Knowles said the ideological future of conservatism should focus on "ordered liberty" and unite against those "who want to tear down, not just one policy or another, but actually the symbol of our country itself, the star-spangled banner," echoing his previous essay in the American Mind titled, Its Good to Be Against Things.

Cruz did not answer when asked if he plans to run for president after Trump leaves office but called his bid for president in 2016 the "most fun" he's had in his life.

"We'll see. I probably won't make any announcements on this show. But look, it's no secret. I ran for president in 2016. We came very close. I'll tell you this: It's the most fun I've ever had in my life. And I enjoyed every minute of it," he said, adding he believes the United States needs leaders to defend the country in the future.

When asked, the Texas Republican also said he likes the idea of using his podcast to communicate with people similarly to President Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats.

"I am excited about the podcast as a tool. I like the fireside chat analogy. And look, FDR used that powerfully, used the new medium of radio to connect directly with the American people in a time of crisis," he said.

[Read more: Ted Cruz: Unlikely Samuel Alito will soon retire from Supreme Court]

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Ted Cruz: Future of conservatism is populist and libertarian - Washington Examiner

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