Ted Cruz is fucking with the Republican leadership in a big way, and at the potential expense of the American people.
as reported a couple of days ago, Republican leadership said they were not going to hold the debt ceiling hostage, as they have the last couple of times it came up. (In fact, the Republicans lost every single one of those showdowns will ill effects for all.) However, they were not really going to vote for it either — they were going to let the Democrats pass it with a vote of 51. It would go through, and Republicans wouldn't get hit from the right during their local primaries for voting to raise the debt ceiling. Win-win.
Instead, Ted Cruz forced a cloture vote by threatening to filibuster. In theory, this brings an end to a filibuster so that a bill (i.e., the debt ceiling increase) can be passed. Previously, Republicans used the filibuster as a means to hold the debt ceiling hostage.
Clotures require 60 votes instead of 51. That means that Cruz forced fellow Republicans who wanted to raise the debt ceiling, but didn't want it on their vote records, to vote for the cloture in order to reach those 60 votes. And some of them, including Mitch McConnell (who I gather is blocking Cruz' path to the omnipotence Cruz believes to be rightfully his), are being attacked from the right in ongoing primaries.
The idea seems to if Cruz could have held the ceiling vote hostage AGAIN, he would get his Eyebrows of Self-Regard plastered all over the media and make himself some kind of rallying point for the far right (not to mention, whatever psychological gratification he gets from feeling like he can control the world - bwahahaha).
But — and I think this is the REAL purpose here — even though that didn't work, he forced McConnell and others to vote for the cloture (but not for raising the debt ceiling, technically). Now, the Republican Old Guard, the leaders, the power brokers, the McConnells and the McCains are threatened by people whom Cruz thinks he can lead — i.e., right fringe nut-jobs. He gave those primary opponents ammunition. Backers of McConnell's challenger are ALREADY going around saying that McConnell voted to give the president a blank check.
Meanwhile, he's pissed off a lot of establishment Republicans. Of course, he can probably afford to do that thanks to new funding systems like the Madison Project and the Jefferson Project — funding systems that bypass the RNC and make it ever more obsolete. Still, this may backfire or push him into an even tighter corner, politically. He seems to ever so slightly, and disastrously miss the mark, but yet he's still standing.
It's worth noting that the Republicans only needed five votes to hit the Cloture, but leadership went for the maximum number of votes they could muster. Presumably, this was a show of strength against Cruz' machinations.
Oh, and fuck you, Cruz, for making me root for McConnell, et al., in any context ever.