Today, Texas Republicans go to the polls to decide whether Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst, tenther Ted Cruz, or one of a handful of dark horse candidates will emerge as their nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison. Dewhurst, who needs to earn at least 50 percent of the vote today to prevent a runoff, decided to close his primary campaign with an ad suggesting that his Cuban-American primary opponent supports “amnesty” for “illegal immigrants”. The ad cites Cruz’s board membership on two conservative Hispanic groups as evidence for this claim.
Cruz responded to Dewhurst’s ad by immediately accusing his opponent of racism — claiming that it’s real purpose is to communicate to Texas Republicans that “anyone with a ‘Z’ in their name is unelectable.” Cruz, however, would have much more credibility as a crusader against anti-Hispanic bigotry if he had not launched his own television campaign with a racially charged ad touting his efforts to ensure that Texas could execute an “illegal alien”:
When the UN and World Court overruled a Texas jury’s verdict to execute an illegal alien for raping and murdering two teenage girls, Ted Cruz fought all the way to the Supreme Court, and he delivered. . . . Politicians cut deals, principled conservatives deliver.
As ThinkProgress previously explained, the case Cruz flags here had nothing whatsoever to do with whether Texas is allowed to kill Mexican nationals who commit capital offenses. Rather, the case presented the very narrow question of whether Texas must comply with America’s then-existing treaty obligation to inform foreign nationals who are arrested in the United States of their right “to request assistance from the consul of his own state.” What Cruz won in the Supreme Court is Texas’ right to ignore an international legal obligation that even North Korea has honored.
Nevertheless, Cruz chose to open his campaign with an ad suggesting that he was all that stood between poor, vulnerable Texas Republican families and a marauding Mexican “illegal alien.” He hardly has the moral high ground to protest against someone else’s attempts to inject race into this campaign.