Texas Sen. Ted Cruz said the collapse of manufacturing in Detroit was a result of years of left-wing policies during Thursday’s Fox News Republican debate. The moderators asked Cruz how he would bring jobs back to America, and his answer mostly revolved around criticizing regulations supported by Democrats.
“Detroit is a great city with a magnificent legacy that has been utterly decimated by 60 years of left-wing policy,” Cruz said Thursday night. “And then for 50 years, left-wing Democrats have pursued destructive tax policies, weak crime policies, and have driven the residents out.”
When pressed by the moderators on an answer to their question, Cruz replied that he would lift regulations like Obamacare and eliminate regulators like the Environmental Protection Agency. He argued that his “business flat tax” plan would attract companies back to the United States and make them want to do more manufacturing here.
His tax plan has come under fire from some critics who say it is basically a value-added tax (VAT tax), which is a consumption tax added to purchases for goods and services. Many countries rely on VAT taxes but they are unpopular in the U.S. Cruz has argued that his is a business flat tax, and he repeated that his plan would be good for businesses on Thursday.
“American ingenuity can beat anyone but right now the government isn’t giving us a level playing field,” he said.
Thursday’s debate was expected to be an important moment for Cruz. During the last Republican debate, he and Florida Sen. Marco Rubio spent most of the evening attacking Donald Trump, but to little avail. Trump still swept both senators on Super Tuesday this week, taking home wins in seven states, while Cruz pulled out three states and Rubio earned his first win by carrying the Minnesota caucuses.
Cruz has tried to position himself as the only viable alternative to Trump, despite the fact that many in the Republican establishment dislike him at least as much or more than they dislike The Donald. Still, the Texas senator called on the other GOP candidates to unite behind him on Tuesday.
“For the candidates who have not yet won a state, who have not racked up significant delegates, I ask you to prayerfully consider our coming together, uniting,” Cruz said after winning the primary in his home state of Texas. “That is the only way to beat Donald Trump. Our campaign beats Donald Trump resoundingly. For that to happen we must come together.”
In national polls, Cruz still sits in second place behind Trump, with Rubio in a close third and Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Ben Carson — who did not attend Thursday’s debate and has said he will likely drop out of the race soon — at single digits. The question for Cruz ahead of Thursday’s debate was whether he would focus his attacks on Trump once again or use the opportunity to take out his opponents for the non-Trump spot.
The debate marked the candidates’ last chance to make a public appeal before another round of voting takes place on Saturday. With Trump continuing to accumulate delegates, the other candidates have felt increasing pressure to stop him before the math becomes too difficult and Trump has legitimate claim to the party’s nomination.