Star Trek Fan and Presidential Hopeful Ted Cruz: “Kirk Is A Republican”


Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz spoke out today on what is surely the only real question we should be asking candidates for the highest office in the United States: Kirk or Picard? In a New York Times interview, the Texas senator picked Kirk as the best captain, stating, “I think it is quite likely that Kirk is a Republican and Picard is a Democrat.”

The Conservative Political Action Conference

You’re also a fan of ‘‘Star Trek.’’ Do you prefer Captain Kirk or Captain Picard?

Absolutely James Tiberius Kirk.

Leave it to the New York Times to ask the truly pressing questions of our national leaders. And leave it to Trekkies to parse every syllable of any public rhetoric on their favorite franchise (that’s where you come in, commenters!).

Senator Ted Cruz stated that a man like Kirk (himself perhaps?) is what America needs in the White House.

The original ‘‘Star Trek’’ was grittier. Kirk is working class; Picard is an aristocrat. Kirk is a passionate fighter for justice; Picard is a cerebral philosopher. The original ‘‘Star Trek’’ pressed for racial equality, which was one of its best characteristics, but it did so without sermonizing.

Cruz argues that Picard was designed to represent two sides of one man: the passive Picard and the passionate Riker.

Let me do a little psychoanalysis. If you look at ‘‘Star Trek: The Next Generation,’’ it basically split James T. Kirk into two people. Picard was Kirk’s rational side, and William Riker was his passionate side. I prefer a complete captain. To be effective, you need both heart and mind.

Of course, many would be quick to argue that Kirk himself was actually split into three entities: Kirk (the Id), Spock (the Ego), and Bones (the Superego). When the interviewer suggested some character traits shared between Kirk and Cruz, the senator had this to say:

Well, thank you. I can affirmatively say that I have made out with far fewer space aliens.


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Great. So Cruz is basically saying he has made out with at least one alien.

Regrettable as this news is, it must have been an illegal alien. Right?

Oh good idea, a politics post with a comments section.

William Shatner’s response.


William Shatner @WilliamShatner

Star Trek wasn’t political. I’m not political; I can’t even vote in the US. So to put a geocentric label on interstellar characters is silly

“Cruz argues that Picard was designed to represent two sides of one man: the passive Picard and the passionate Riker.”

That’s not what Cruz said. Re-read his quote.


Cruz and Reagan, Trekkies?? Get me through the torment, Great Bird.


In any case, Cruz is a complete and utter idiot, so who cares what he says? Clearly, if he thinks Kirk was a Republican, he’s never seen the show.

Kirk a Republican?


(wipes tear)

Oh, that is TOO funny!

I always viewed Kirk as a reflection of a JFK, piece through strength type and Picard more as a U.N Ambassador type.

Whatever, I guess we all see what we want to see.

@5. BatlethInTheGroin,

“In any case, Cruz is a complete and utter idiot, so who cares what he says? Clearly, if he thinks Kirk was a Republican, he’s never seen the show.”


I would never vote for this guy. Or any other corporatist politician of any political stripe for that matter. Just sayin’

So he thinks Kirk is a Republican, eh? Well, two can play the insult game. Cruz is a Klingon, I say! So there!

Don’t insult Klingons, Hat Rick.

Cruz is clearly a Romulan: treacherous, deceitful, untrustworthy, a two-faced backstabber.

At least Klingons are honest about what they do.
With a Klingon you get what you see and you know where you stand.

So Cruz’s been with at least one alien? Perhaps it could be an alien Latino hooker.


@3 Ahmed: Nice to know the Shat spoke out on this. I find the notion that Star Trek “wasn’t political” sorta debatable though. It was QUITE political, albeit on an extremely high level, an entirely non-partisan level if you will. So that’s where I’d wholeheartedly agree with Shatner again: Putting a geocentrical (actually merely NATIONAL) label on the show and its characters is indeed silly.

Um, Kirk is Canadian!!!!!!!!!!!

I really hope that by the time the 23rd and 24th centuries get here, our leaders will be working “to better ourselves and the rest of humanity” rather than what we are seeing today from politicians of all stripes.

Mr Spock on Trump :)

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What a revolting development.

Pointless being a republican in the federation. No money.

Kirk was for helping the miners share the benefits of their work with the elite people of Stratos in The Cloud Minders. That doesn’t sound like Cruz’s platform.

Let’s not forget, this is the same guy who completely failed to understand the moral of Green Eggs and Ham.

I wish they would not bring politics in to Star Trek. I watch Star trek to escape all that political BS. Our political system is more science fiction than Star Trek ever was !

# 7. Harry Ballz – July 23, 2015, 20. the dogfaced boy – July 23, 2015

” Kirk a Republican?” — Harry Ballz

On general prinicples I agree with you guys, but then when I recall his “solution” at the end of a A PIECE OF THE ACTION, I have to wonder if just maybe he could have pulled off a converted Reagan Democrat Republican?

Maybe we should try coming at this from another angle: what political persuasion was Mirror Kirk? Fascist?

Obviously this says more about Cruz than Kirk, about the kinds of heroism Cruz values and the way he sees Picard. He likes the ass kicking, ‘working class’, passionate hero from the heartland, and sees Picard as an effete European. How very Republican.

@Disinvited, 23,

Yes, I think that the Terran Empire was very close to, if not the same as, being fascist. It worshipped power and dominion over others. The ethics of survival centered around achievement of personal status. The principles of leadership were essentially those of the conqueror, the imperator, and with such society there were only leaders, plotters, syncophants, and slaves. Ideals of republicanism (with a small “r”) or democracy (small “d”) were anathema and punishable if not de jure, then de facto (by failure).

I think the fascism of Italy under Mussolini as well as of Nazism — both of which were very fresh in the memories of the writers of that era — guided the characterization of the Mirror Universe in TOS. In addition, there were the despots of ancient times — Ancient Egypt and the Orient, perhaps, especially as popularly depicted in movies of that era.

It may be that there is to some extent degrees of fascism; I will say that I think that as awful as “routine” fascism was and is, Nazism took fascism one step further — towards what might be termed institutionalized genocidalism. Not since the worst of the ancients or at least pre-Medieval times or cultures was it the systematic ideology of powerful states to exterminated entire peoples.

To the extent that Mirror Universe ideologies contemplated the genocide of entire planets, I think that the term “fascism” taken to modern extremes.

In Star Wars, the Empire could certain be deemed a species of Nazi fascism as projected in fascism.

I will venture that the U.S. Republican Party, however, is not fascistic in any real sense; it is “merely” cis-capitalistic, relatively intolerant, atavistic, opportunistic, egoistic, often misguided, and a bit fearful — all of which is, for our purposes, quite enough, thank you.

# 19. Cygnus-X1 – July 23, 2015

” What a revolting development.” — Cygnus-X1

I saw what you did there. Good one!

Well, judging from this admittedly small sample of comments, it seem IDIC is dead among Star Trek fans.


“syncophants” — “sycophants”

“exterminated entire peoples” — “exterminate entire peoples”

“the term ‘fascism’ taken to modern extremes” — “it was the term ‘fascism’ taken to modern extremes”

“as projected in fascism” — “as projected in science fiction”

26. Disinvited

Not as bad as Quinto’s! : D

#25. Hat Rick – July 23, 2015

Thank you for that well thought out response which was far beyond anything I had dared hoped it might stimulate in reply.

I want to be clear that I don’t equate Republicans to Fascists, either. I was merely indicating that there are more political factions than just the two.

Here’s another one that I don’t have a clear answer for: what kind of political system did Kirk leave the Iotians with in A PIECE OF THE ACTION?

On the one hand he seemed to have set up an organization that would allow a capitalistic economy to flourish, but on the other he seemed to set up Bela as a benevolent dictator-king? Is that a republic? Kirk told Spock that he would have the Federation’s cut used to educate the Iotians. But how and to what end?

I sometimes think that we ARE living in the alternate Terran Empire universe.

@23. Well, back in the day, it wasn’t an unreasonable expectation that leaders should govern, and I recall reading somewhere that in Kirks Federation, starship captains had some latitude in their decision making processes – so Kirk, in A Piece of the Action, sized up the situation and left them with a solution that best addressed that particular situation, not necessarily a ‘democratic’ or ‘republican’ one.

Here’s the problem with labels – is Kirk a Republican? If we look to Lincoln or T. Roosevelt, once could say yes. Those republicans saw value in personal liberty, the gov’t’s role in protecting without overstepping it’s bounds. Todays republicans, not so much – their ‘one size fits all’ approach rarely does, and an over eagerness to exercise force first is downright Klingon in approach.

I think, from what I remember of APOTA, that Kirk wanted to set up a society that capitalized (pun somewhat intended) on the values the inhabitants had already internalized. There is a bit of “honor among thieves” mentality that we might say guides the Ioatians. It’s a practical, realistic ideology that recognizes power, and also the limits of power.

One might even, at a stretch, see this as a form of act-utilitarianism, recognizing that the greatest good for the greatest number is simply not fighting against a superior foe, but joining them as long as it makes practical sense and solves practical problems.

Unlike the Klingons, who have a code based on “will to power” (using a Nietzschean term), or the Mirror Universe Terrans, who seem to be guided by “will to power” alone, the Ioatians are practical realists who, in their clever adoption of foreign ideologies, brings Kirk to his final sentence in the episode, hinting that pretty soon, the Federation might soon see the Ioatians knocking on its door demanding a “piece of the action.”

I doubt very much that any real society could function on such a mob mentality, as it seems to be intrinsically unstable and chaotic given human limitations and aspirations. And the episode itself seemed deliberately limited to the tropes of the time. But it was an interesting exercise in speculation that brings about thoughts about those limits.

And the episode could be seen as a sly commentary on the greed of modern life as well.

If anything, with respect to the monetary aspect of Iaotian society, the Ferengi would probably have recognized the Ioatians as kindred cousins of sorts, though indubitably double-locking their vaults while doing so.

By the way, there could be an argument made that Kirk was like JFK — a debonair, cultured, and heroic man of action who also appealed to the fairer sex. JFK, of course, was a Democrat.

Some will claim that JFK today would be a Republican, but I would disagree. JFK would have disagreed with the policies of neoconservatives, which policies have guided the Republican Party for the last several decades. JFK would also have placed human progress as priority over fiscal concerns, and would have placed recognition of social change as a priority over some misplaced sense of social contentment. Although a man of action, I doubt JFK would have placed nearly as many Americans in harm’s way as did his successors.

To be fair, Johnson, another Democrat, was subsequently responsible for actions that did ultimately allow Nixon, a Republican, to do things in war and peace that imperiled entire populations (Cambodia) as well as social stability (the war at home). Neither Johnson nor Nixon are highly regarded as Presidents, regardless of party affiliation, by most historians.

Although — again to be fair — only Nixon could go to China. (As Spock once recited.)

Cruz uses Antarian glow water to polish his hair.

In Kirk’s day we have evolved beyond Democrats and Repubs. but Kirk would no more be a Repub. than he would be the assistant manager of a research station and change baby’s diapers, rinsing them out in a tub of cold water at the end of the day.

Stories like this far too often serve as the flame to any of the moths who are overly eager to let their emotions get the worst of them — on either side of the political aisle — and start typing posts along the lines of “I’m going to tear you down because you disagree with me.”

Me …. I’m simply PLEASED that a TV show I love is publicly acknowledged and similarly appreciated by any national newsmaker! And that’s whether it’s Ted Cruz being interviewed, or Barak Obama doing a Vulcan salute in the White House with Nichelle Nichols…!

This is a great story. As a longtime fan, it’s fantastic to see “Star Trek” so broadly understood and woven into our society today.

# 31. Scott Gammans – July 23, 2015

” I sometimes think that we ARE living in the alternate Terran Empire universe.” Scott Gammans


That reminds me of the time I tuned into an episode of ENTERPRISE and they totally blew my mind by having it open with a “Terran” title sequence and totally take place in the terran universe.

Kept me pondering about what STAR TREK would have been like in that universe for weeks.


#32. Phil – July 23, 2015

Not to mention the series established that Lincoln was one of Kirk’s heroes. You made an excellent point.


#33. & 34. Hat Rick – July 23, 2015

Once again, it’s getting to be like clockwork, you have delivered some some very thought provoking missives. Thanks.

I’m holding out for the hope that, in Kirk’s time, the dominant 2 party system we, in the U.S., currently “enjoy” , for lack of a better word, is long gone and there will be a lot more fish in the pool..

There’s absolutely no way to accurately assign that kind of party affiliation on either of them. And I love Kirk and Picard equally, but truth be told: Picard is way more of a socialist so by default, Kirk is the more conservative one.

2 Kevin, LOL

Oh, for God’s sake. Kirk was not Republican. Picard was not a Democrat. They were both enlightened characters far above the limited calling of politics. They were both people of extraordinary talents and means far beyond are inane measure of how we see the world. Let’s keep our ridiculous politics away from our beloved characters.

Of course it was very obvious that McCoy was a Dixiecrat!


They were both Federalists.

I’d have rather had Stewart’s life than Shatner’s. Even with the abusive drunk dad. Stewart is so comfortable in his own skin, has had 2 TV series and 2 movie franchises that would have left a lesser man typecast, and he keeps doing live stage so he can keep his creative fires burning.

So now that Mr. Cruz has lost his “Mad as Hell at the System” base to The Donald, does this mean he’s now trying to pander to the “Live in My Mother’s Basement” vote?

I jest, of course! But in all seriousness (because such a topic should be discussed quite seriously) I don’t think Kirk would affiliate with any existing party. He does his own thing too much. I think Kirk would start his own party! But what would he call it?

Hard as i try to avoid politics, I love every thing about this and how this pops up every election cycle. Kirk/Spock, Picard/Riker, Vote Sisko, Vote Janeway, Yes We Khan! :p

William Shatner’s Tweet saying he’s “not political” is obviously very political. Mr. Shatner went Off The Grid with Jesse Ventura and essentially gave a stump speech and endorsement to Hillary Clinton. I also thought it was common knowledge, especially to Trek fans, that Star Trek is incredibly political- as it should be. Trek is the best form of science fiction that is meant to reflect on the issues of it’s time.

Ted Cruz is a Star Trek The Original Series fan and says Kirk is the best captain at that? Good for him. Cool. It’s a helluva lot better story than anything to do with Donald Trump :D

@45. Captain Jon – July 23, 2015: “Kirk would start his own party! But what would he call it?”

The Undiscovered Party? “This party? It’s about the future!”

Calling Kirk a Republican is interesting.

That is, Kirk is a conservative. I believe there’s something to that, however, Kirk never remains so at the end of the episode.

Take “Arena”. Kirk argues with Spock about what’s happening and what action to take. Kirk insists it’s ‘invasion’ and ruthlessly pursues the Gorn ship. It’s as Kirk is about to kill the Gorn that he wonders if perhaps there’s another explanation. As Spock originally suggested.

In “Errand of Mercy”, Kirk argues furiously with Kor, rationalizing his right to wage war. In the end, Kirk is ’embarrassed’.

Oh, and of course The Undiscovered Country is a great example of what I’m saying about Kirk’s character, and the journey that character often takes.