Like many Tea Party warriors, Cruz has a significant libertarian streak. It’s most prominent on economics. Unlike many Republicans, he’s not pro-business but pro-market. He opposes Luddite restrictions on the energy industry, but he also regularly weighs in against subsidies and protectionist regulation.

“Crony capitalists are standing in the way of common-sense reforms, whether it’s abolishing the Export-Import Bank or keeping the Internet tax-free forever and unconstrained by job-killing regulations,” he wrote in a Republican agenda for 2015 published in USA Today in October. From auditing the Federal Reserve to simpler, flatter taxes and a balanced budget, there’s little in that agenda to offend anybody who believes in shrinking government intervention in the economy.

The single but very large exception: immigration. Favoring a bigger wall along the Rio Grande and more Border Patrol agents to walk it, Cruz is among the most unrelenting immigration hawks in Congress. He appears to see no contradiction between his close-to-literal war on immigrants and the obvious pride he takes in telling stories of how his Cuban-born father worked for 50 cents an hour washing dishes in an Austin greasy spoon while learning English…

[I]t’s also true that Cruz is uncomfortable with the emerging American consensus for gay equality in the eyes of the law. It’s one thing for Cruz to argue, as he often does, that defining marriage has traditionally been left to the states, and that court decisions to the contrary are “judicial activism at its worst.” It seems unlikely that the 14th Amendment was written to enable same-sex marriages and it just took judges 150 years to read the fine print. But when Cruz declares to a crowd that “if ever there was an issue on which we should come on our knees to God about, it is preserving marriage of one man and one woman”-as he did at Texas’ state Republican convention in Fort Worth in June-it suggests his attachment to the issue is motivated by more than constitutional niceties.