Open Letter to Ted Cruz from Challenger Neal Dikeman

Published 3:37 pm Wednesday, October 24, 2018

By Neal Dikeman

Dear Senator Cruz,

I am the Libertarian Nominee you face on the ballot in November.  You and I largely agree on issues like local control, small government, fiscal responsibility, and the Second Amendment, which represent the majority views in Texas.  But that’s where a Libertarian vision of a positive world breaks with yours.

I started this race to make the world a better place for my preschool age girls as I was tired of our elected officials kicking the can down the road on issues from healthcare, immigration, and the debt.  Today I speak for voters who do not vote, and voters who do not feel heard.  I speak for those whose concerns about our future, are the same as mine about my children’s future.  And those tired of the finger pointing from politicians. 

Consider this your formal invite to debate you alone.  I had previously offered to debate Beto as he has brought new, positive energy to Texas politics.  But after I filed a $10 million campaign finance violation complaint with the FEC against CNN and Beto for Texas, it seems unlikely that Congressman O’Rourke will be joining me on the debate stage any time soon.  That’s ok.  Money should not drive politics.

But Texans, especially the independent voters and moderate Texans who are voting to decide this race as we speak, deserve to hear a discussion of the nuances of real issues and solutions, not just left and right talking points.  They want a debate of substance.  I propose a debate like I did to O’Rourke at UT, A&M, or Sul Ross State.   However, since you seem prone to wrangling about details as a debate delay tactic, here’s the formal challenge Texas-style:

I will debate *you* anytime, anywhere, any format, any questions, given 36 hours notice. 

I don’t need six debates to wipe you out.  One will suffice.  I don’t need a timed debate, we can go for as long as you spoke the day you read Green Eggs & Ham on the Senate floor.  We don’t need a major network covering it.  It’s 2018.  Youtube or Facebook live will do.  I am happy to include Congressman O’Rourke if you think you need air cover.

These are my proposed topics:

Fiscal responsibility – Here we have common ground, but under your watch, every year, every category of Federal spending has gone up.  And now that Republicans are in control of the executive branch and both houses of Congress we borrow 20% of every dollar spent, have record debts and record debt/GDP and our fastest-growing category of government spending is … Interest on the debt.    We used to borrow more during recessions and pay down debt during recoveries.  Now the economy is booming and so is the deficit.  Texans would like to know why you’ve been unable to improve this situation given your strong talk about your voting record, and how I would do it differently.   You have stated you believe we can grow our way out of our debt with the tax cuts.  But after the irresponsible combination of Republican led spending increases and tax cuts, your own Congressional Budget Office says that over the next 10 years, the Federal government will borrow $12 Trillion and the entire economy will only grow $10 Trillion.  I say one can’t grow one’s way out of debt when one is out borrowing the entire economy’s growth. 

Climate change – You told the Texas Tribune you convened a hearing in 2015 to study facts and now you don’t think there is a real problem, and implied any solution would be cost prohibitive.  I founded a company in 2006 to reduce the cost of cutting carbon, one of 6 companies I founded leading us profitably into the next generation of energy.  I’ve written and spoken on the best ways to deal with climate change with the least economic impact.

Energy – Unlike you, I come from the private sector.  I started in oil & gas, have worked in finance and technology in both the largest and smallest companies in oil & gas, and also founded 6 startups in clean energy.  Energy is Texas’ cornerstone industry.  Texas needs a Senator who understands the details of the global energy industry, what it takes to keep both our fields and petrochemical plants competitive, has a vision for how Texas will lead the renewable energy future, and knows how to deliver environmental benefits to have the least impact on our economy. 

Reproductive Rights – Your position is a big government solution involving the Federal government in personal decisions in a woman’s body.  Mine is that abortion is a brutally hard personal decision between the individual, their conscience and God, and the Federal government has no business intervening in that or any other social issue.  Christ himself never enjoined nor used secular authority to enforce his Word, even to the cost of his life, and Christians should follow his example.  Texans deserve to hear that you don’t have to vote Democrat to have a pro-choice position and that pro-choice doesn’t mean anti-Christian.

Immigration – Congress has been kicking the can down the road on comprehensive immigration reform since before I could vote.  Our current policies hurt Texas’ economy, especially the border towns.  You’ve called for a big expensive wall built on land taken by eminent domain from Texas’ citizens in order to keep Trump and your primary voters happy.  I’ve said that an actual wall was a great 14th century idea in China, but it’s 2018 in America, and we need a modern approach that doesn’t spend tax dollars on a politically expedient bandaid, won’t hammer our Texas border country even more, and actually fixes the root causes of our immigration issues so they work for both Texans, and the Texas economy.  Washington should not tell Texas border towns they can’t trade with their neighbors, and chop block the Texas ag industry because of DC’s failure to work across the aisle.  Let’s discuss.

Healthcare Reform – This is a top issue for Texans.  The Democrats gave us their ACA program that failed to stop spiraling costs.  On your watch, when the Republicans had control of both the executive and legislative branch, they gave us … nothing.  Our current system which still has healthcare tied to your job and spiraling costs, is indefensible.  If you don’t believe me, ask your voters if they think healthcare should be tied to their job.  If you don’t believe me, ask yourself how a technology based industry like healthcare keeps seeing costs grow at 2x the rate of GDP, when all other tech-based industries are deflationary.  Or why “elective” health services like fertility treatments and Lasik, which are outside of our indefensible quasi-governmental funding model, have seen costs fall and outcomes improve.  And yes, we know single payer is a bad idea.  So what’s your actual solution?  Mine is our Million Payer Plan.  Let’s debate.

National Defense and Foreign Wars – Like Libertarians, most Texans are generally pro defense.  What they are not pro is bankrupting our government with defense spending, overseas bases in 85 countries with no plan, and massive spending and 17 years of foreign wars with absent Congressional oversight.  You’ve been singularly quiet on the issue of accountability for 17 years of failed overseas wars.  I am not.

Drug War – You said you lean libertarian on this issue in your first debate with Democrat Congressman O’Rourke.  Care to debate it with an actual Libertarian?

Senator Cruz, I’ll admit, you surprised me.  You have done the unthinkable, single-handedly turned Texas purple in a year where your candidate for Governor is polling 20 points ahead, and even though you are following John Cornyn’s 26-point 2014 beat down of the Democrat in the last Senate race.  No Republican has made a Democrat a contender in Texas since my freshman year at A&M.  This should not be a horse race.  Voters are supporting Congressman O’Rourke who would never normally support his policies, because he talks positively about the way world could be and outlines new policy prescriptions for important issues, while you don’t offer a positive vision.  And frankly moderates and independents don’t trust you or your one size fits all talking points.

You could politically afford to ignore O’Rourke’s call to debate for months, despite the best polling of any Democrat in decades in Texas.  But as I laid out last week, you ran to confirm a debate with him without me within hours after O’Rourke threatened to take up my challenge to debate together without you.  That’s why I am challenging you directly.  Your debates with Beto are done. Out debating a Democrat in Texas with good intentions and a positive vision, but ill thought out economic ideas, is one thing.  Beating me face to face, that’s quite another.

You run ads styling yourself as Tough as Texas.  Any Republican can beat a Democrat in Texas.  Let’s see how you handle a real fight with a real Libertarian.

Neal Dikeman

6th Generation Texan

3rd Generation Aggie

Libertarian Nominee for US Senate