On Tuesday, January 12, Ted Cruz attacked Donald Trump on a talk show with the line, “Donald comes from New York and he embodies New York values.”
Naturally this led to a bit of a squabble between the two candidates, with Cruz clarifying that “the rest of the country knows exactly what New York values are, and I gotta say, they’re not Iowa values and they’re not New Hampshire values,” leading to Trump bristling with New Yorker pride and invoking 9/11 as a rejoinder.
At the Republican debate on Thursday, January 14, the two came to a head about it. Cruz clarified that “everyone understands that the values of New York City are socially liberal, are pro-abortion, are pro-gay marriage.” Trump again responded with a defense of New York’s courage during the terrorist attacks of 2001.
Per this article, New York City has 3.7 million registered voters, and of those, 13% are registered Republicans. Cruz chosing to alienate close to half a million of your potential supporters (who are likely wealthier than average) seems like a suicidal gambit to begin with.
Additionally, it’s odd that Cruz would call out both gay marriage and New Hampshire, since New Hampshire leads the nation in support of gay marriage, at 75%. New York is 11th at 63%. Iowa is in the middle of the pack at 57%. (Mississippi is lowest, at 32%.) [Source: Wikipedia]
Similarly, New Hampshire residents are a bit more Pro-Choice (67%) than New Yorkers (66%), although Iowa is a lot less supportive of abortion (56%.) [Source: Survey USA]
But I actually think Cruz’s attack is much more insidious and divisive than most of the media coverage has discussed. I agree that a stereotype of New Yorkers is that they tend to be liberal, but generally one thinks of New Yorkers as:
* tough, brash, outspoken
To me, Cruz comes off as anti-Semitic. He’s blowing a dog whistle and hoping no one calls him out on it.
However, it’s not like Trump is better. In December his racist attack on Cruz (“I do like Ted Cruz, but not a lot of Evangelicals come out of Cuba, in all fairness”) is disgusting. But it did lead to the best one-liner of Thursday’s debate, Cruz’s callback: “Not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan, I’m just saying.” (Transcript)
I’m not a New Yorker. But I’m dating one! I like New Yorkers. It’s the biggest city in the U.S. More than 8.4 million people live there (2.6% of the U.S.’s population). If the Republican candidates are at the point where they’re saying we shouldn’t elect anyone from New York, they should bring it up with Martin Van Buren, Millard Fillmore, Chester Arthur, Grover Cleveland, Theodore Roosevelt, and Franklin Roosevelt.