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Resolved: Ted Cruz Was His Worst Self as a Presidential Candidate


slate articleThe following is an excerpt from Dahlia Lithwick | May 4, 2016 | Slate.com |

Yes. It’s true. I was on the college debate circuit with Ted Cruz. I spent four years debating for Yale College on the American Parliamentary Debate Association merry-go-round of yellow legal pads, painfully awkward Friday-night keggers, and the infinite silliness that came with fighting for tiny silver-plated trophies each weekend. This week, watching the flameout of Cruz’s presidential run, I can confidently say that he’d have had a far more effective life in politics if he’d remained in the law.

My whole college debate experience with Ted Cruz can be distilled into a single, visceral, impression: that of being trapped in a too-small classroom in some dusty Ivy League building, with an opponent too big for the space. My memories of Ted are that he was too loud, too umbragey, and too rehearsed in an activity meant to mirror the clubby, off-the-cuff charms of the British Parliament.

Until he made it to a final or semifinal round, every moment of any debate against Cruz was experienced as a mismatch between competitor and venue. You braced yourself to be screamed at by someone who wanted it more than anyone else. And you watched as the judges—usually college students, other debaters, and some faculty—clutched the edge of their long table as Cruz opened the tap on his ambitions and flooded the room.

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