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The Tragedy of Ted Cruz


Is any victory great enough for the man we all love to hate?

In one of the most closely watched races of this midterm election cycle, Ted Cruz narrowly defeated Beto O’Rourke to gain reelection to the Senate for a second term. Unpopular among Democrats and Republicans alike, Cruz has been a target of national derision since his election on a Tea Party platform in 2012. In “The Tragedy of Ted Cruz,” published in the November issue of Harper’s Magazine, Ana Marie Cox goes in search of the Texas senator, hoping, perhaps in vain, to find some common ground with the man for whom she has an unlikely “soft spot.” Cox joins web editor Violet Lucca to discuss her article, Cruz’s self-made caricature, what she thinks drives the senator, and whether some of the mockery of Cruz and his family goes too far.

This episode also deals with the aftermath of the midterm elections: Cox and Lucca discuss their hopes for the future of progressive politics post-Beto, both in Texas and across the country, the roles the media and politicians like Cruz have played in amplifying white nationalist voices, and whether there are any Republicans left to temper Trump’s impulses.

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