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

“Come on, Ted.”

FTC PAC/YouTube

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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?

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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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