Texans just elected one of the most conservative senators in country in Ted Cruz, who used his first floor speech ever to advocate for defunding of Obamacare Wednesday and made his first bill a measure that would repeal the unpopular health care reform law in its entirety.
"Obamacare hurts the economy, it hurts jobs, it hurts young people, it hurts Hispanics, it hurts African-Americans, it hurts single moms—it hurts everybody struggling to climb the economic ladder," said Cruz, during his maiden address.
The anti-health law crusade, while attracting Cruz support from the far right, is widely seen by his GOP colleagues as a waste of time, considering President Barack Obama will never acquiesce to vanquish his signature law even if the Democratically controlled Senate somehow passes a repeal measure. (Cruz's defunding proposal failed to pass, 52 to 45.)
Cruz will also star at the Conservative Political Action Conference this week.
And yet, Democrats say they are poised to make a comeback in a state they used to hold sway in but have failed to win a statewide race in for years.
"Republicans in Texas have gone off the rails," said Rep. Joaquin Castro, D-Texas, during an event at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank. "More folks are waking up and realizing these folks have gone too far."
Castro, a freshman who represents the district by San Antonio, where his twin brother is the mayor, said Republicans on the state level have begun to alienate business with their push for extreme austerity.
He pointed to Gov. Rick Perry's refusal to expand Medicaid as part of the Obamacare legislation in a state with the highest percentage of uninsured in the country, even as other GOP governors across the country reluctantly do, an example of useless extremism that is turning off voters.
He also specifically pointed to Cruz, who ran an insurgency primary campaign against Perry's own lieutenant governor to win his Senate seat.
"Ted is a very bright guy, very smart, speaks up for what he believes, but what he believes, what he represents, are not the values of everyday Texans," Castro said. "He's badly out of step and badly out of position with the people of Texas and in the coming years I believe there will be an even bigger gap, a noticeable gap between the state's leaders like Rick Perry and Ted Cruz and the politics of the state."
Both Cruz and Castro are of Hispanic descent, but Castro argued that Texas, now with a population that is 56 percent minority and increasingly so every year, is more a center-right state as opposed to a tea party one.
By increasing voter turnout and recruiting credible Democratic candidates to run for state and local office, Castro says Texas could turn blue in eight to 12 years.
But for now, it's the firebrand Cruz and the Republicans running the show in the Lone Star State.
"If we want to turn around the train wreck that is the balance sheet of the federal government, that is our perennial occurring deficits and debts—that can't be done without restoring growth," Cruz thundered on the Senate floor.
"At a minimum, in my judgment, Obamacare should not be funded or implemented at a time when our economy is gasping for breath, at a time when our economy is struggling to such a degree that implementing it right now could well force us into a recession."