This Anti-Ted Cruz Ad Probably Won’t Flip Many Votes, But It’s Pretty Funny

“Come on, Ted.”

FTC PAC/YouTube

For indispensable reporting on the coronavirus crisis, the election, and more, subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter.

Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz, running for reelection after a bruising 2016 presidential bid, has embraced a campaign slogan that could also be used to sell trucks or, I don’t know, asphalt—he’s “Tough as Texas.”

This was a decent, if characteristically overwrought, persona for Cruz to embrace prior to 2016, when he’d gained a reputation as a Senate rebel who spearheaded a shutdown of the federal government. But if there’s a fulcrum on which his career has seesawed, it was two incidents in the spring of 2016, as the senator tried to catch up to Donald Trump in the GOP delegate count. First, Trump promised to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, Heidi, then retweeted an unflattering photo of her. Then Trump suggested that Cruz’s dad, Rafael, who is Cuban American, was involved in the plot to assassinate President John F. Kennedy. Cruz ultimately responded, as one does, by campaigning for Trump, by bringing his daughters to the White House for a photo op, and finally, by welcoming Trump and the first family to Texas to help him fend off Democratic Rep. Beto O’Rourke in this year’s Senate race.

This is, anyway, the basic idea behind Austin-based director Richard Linklater’s new campaign ad, on behalf of a Democratic super-PAC called Fire Ted Cruz PAC:

The added context, for Linklater diehards, is that the ad features a character from a previous Linklater film, Bernie:

As Linklater characters go, they probably could’ve done worse.

With O’Rourke mounting the first competitive Democratic statewide campaign in Texas in years, it’s been all hands on deck for the state’s liberal celebrities. The congressman did an interview with the actor Ethan Hawke. He rallied in Austin with Willie Nelson. And now we’ve got Linklater. Whither Beyonce?

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

DEMOCRACY DOES NOT EXIST...

without free and fair elections, a vigorous free press, and engaged citizens to reclaim power from those who abuse it.

In this election year unlike any other—against a backdrop of a pandemic, an economic crisis, racial reckoning, and so much daily crazy—Mother Jones' journalism is driven by one simple question: Will America move closer to, or further from, justice and equity in the years to come?

If you're able to, please join us in this mission with a donation today. Our reporting right now is focused on voting rights and election security, corruption, disinformation, racial and gender equity, and the climate crisis. We can’t do it without the support of readers like you, and we need to give it everything we've got between now and November. Thank you.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate