Indre Altman is a member of the Junior State of America (JSA), a student-run political awareness organization for high school students.
Last Wednesday night, during the presidential debates that so many Americans couldn't keep themselves from watching, another debate was taking place between Ted Cruz and Paul Sadler to take Kay Bailey Hutchison's current seat as Texas senator.
Cruz, a former Ivy League debate champion and son of a Cuban immigrant, remains the Republican candidate for Senate after defeating Dewhurst's heavily funded campaign. Cruz wins support from the grassroots, and proves himself as a rising Tea Party star, even speaking at the Republican National Convention.
Sadler, the Democratic nominee, represented East Texas in the state House and worked side-by-side with Republicans to reduce property taxes while increasing teacher salaries. Sadler faces obvious challenges in his campaign. Cruz is criticized for not taking Sadler seriously, and Sadler is also faced by the fact that a Democrat has not won statewide office since 1994.
Hours before the debate, Texas Lyceum released a poll that showed Cruz leading Sadler 50 percent to 24 percent, with 26 percent of participants undecided.
The debate on Wednesday highlighted both Sadler's frustration and Cruz's confidence about the race, beginning with Sadler attacking Cruz for not agreeing to more debates (a complaint that Cruz had placed on Dewhurst when fighting for the Republican nomination). Sadler stated, "I agreed... even to the Tea Party debate." Cruz denied evading debates, repeating that he has been "crisscrossing the entire state of Texas" to talk to Texas citizens, thus not having enough time to debate.
The debate progressed with Cruz and Sadler viewing leaked clips of controversial statements by Barack Obama and Mitt Romney. After being asked whether Cruz agreed with Romney's comment on 47 percent of Americans being dependent on government, Cruz responds, "Of course not, and I agree with Mitt Romney when he said that his comments were poorly phrased." The candidates then discussed the individual American's growing dependency on government, with Sadler calling Cruz crazy all of three times.
Sadler, attempting to provoke offensive statements from Cruz, even asks him, "Do you support our commander in chief? Do you believe that he is a U.S. citizen? Do you accept the fact that he is a Christian?" To which Cruz replies, "Of course Barack Obama is our commander in chief... I wish he were a stronger commander in chief." Sadler interrupted Cruz before he could even answer the other two questions.
The rest of the debate consisted of Cruz and Sadler discussing the debt, tax cuts, health care, and illegal immigration, in which each candidate promoted different approaches, such as Sadler supporting a path of citizenship for illegal immigrants and Cruz arguing for stronger border protection. Cruz comments: "Well I'm glad there's a clear contrast between us."
The debate came close to its end when Sadler accused Cruz of lacking proper legislative and business experience, calling him a "troll," and Cruz responding, "I'm sorry, Mr. Sadler, you believe I'm a troll," to which Sadler interjected, "I think you lie, Ted."
Despite their disputes, both Sadler and Cruz advocated compromise. Cruz claimed, "I am perfectly happy to compromise and work with anybody," Cruz said. "Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians. I'll work with Martians. If" -- and the if is critical -- "they're willing to cut spending and reduce the debt."
Well said, Cruz. Hopefully the upcoming senator, whoever he may be, will display the same attitude when working in the Capitol building.