In my four decades of life, I’ve lived in four very diverse places: West Virginia, New York, Oklahoma, and California. I’ve seen the most liberal and most conservative sides of politics and I can tell you with a certainty that Ted Cruz invoking the phrase “New York Values” is important for many reasons.
New York and California are both champions of liberalism, including being the homes of the most liberal Republicans around. When Ted Cruz describes Donald Trump as someone who cherishes “New York Values,” it’s not a knock against all New Yorkers. It’s a real thing. It represents the general sentiment in Manhattan and the boroughs where being barely right of center is like being a right-wing extremist and being left of center is considered mostly moderate. The values are different.
I can also say that invoking 9/11 as a representation of New York values is ridiculous. A city, state, or even nation should never be judged based upon how it handles extreme situations. I commend the responses of most New Yorkers who were plunged into the turmoil of 9/11, but that doesn’t make them pro-life, pro-2nd-Amendment, or pro-border-security. Despite the unity they demonstrated 14 years ago, the values that permeate throughout the communities with their voting records is clearly far from the values that we find in Iowa, South Carolina, and other states.
Outside of immigration, Donald Trump is liberal. His views on foreign relations are to the left of Hillary Clinton. His pro-tariff, progressive economic and tax plans are more aligned with Bernie Sanders than any of the other Republican candidates. He DOES demonstrate New York values through his policy proposals other than the one thing that his supporters seem to cling to regarding immigration.
I’ve seen true conservative values. I met my wife in Oklahoma. I found my faith in Oklahoma. I could walk around school and jobs with conservative values squarely intact and not fear attacks from other students and colleagues. The same cannot be said about my time in New York and California. In these states, we see a left-leaning mentality that makes it challenging to raise children and support a family.
Ted Cruz was correct to distinguish between true conservatism and the one-dimensional conservatism that Donald Trump represents. His liberal tendencies are very much aligned with “New York Values” and Republicans must decide whether that’s really what we want in a President.