When you watch Ted Cruz speak, something seems a bit…off.
Part of it is his face, which Rolling Stone‘s Matt Taibbi recently described as looking “like someone sewed pieces of a waterlogged Reagan mask together at gunpoint.”
It’s not just Taibbi, though. There really is something off about Ted Cruz’s face. Writing in Psychology Today, neurologist Richard Cytowic explained how, at a cognitive level, Ted Cruz has a Backpfeifengesicht, which translates from German as “a face in need of a good punch.” Put another way, when you look at Ted Cruz and feel at a semi-conscious level that you want to punch him in the face — even if you aren’t sure why — it’s not you. It’s him.
Another part of it is his voice. Listen to Ted Cruz talk about anything — anything — and you’ll come away convinced that the Soviets have armed a nuclear missile, and that he alone is our last, best hope to beat back the Reds. Every sentence is the last scene in an action drama — the most important thing you will ever hear. It commands your attention, but not in a good way.
Combine that with the fact that Ted Cruz has a generally abrasive and annoying personality, and you wind up with an all-around shady character. Despite his ham-fisted slogan, people exposed to Cruz don’t default to feeling that he is someone to be, ahem, TrusTed.
Cruz’s off-putting nature probably has something to do with the fact that a recent satirical conspiracy raising the possibility that Ted Cruz is the infamous Zodiac Killer has gotten legs. Cruz was born one year after the Zodiac Killer began his string of as-yet unsolved murders, and grew up 1,300 miles away from where the crimes took place, but that obviously isn’t the point. As Twitter user @Vrunt explained to Esquire:
It makes perfect sense. Maybe not in a “The evidence lines up'”sort of way. But when you first hear that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer you don’t think, “What? How? That’s absurd.'”You think, “Haha, yeah, all right. He is.”
Ted Cruz is a creepy dude. If there were a superlative for “Most Likely to Be a Cryptic Serial Killer” in high school, Ted Cruz would have won. When you hear that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, it feels truer than any set of facts could bear out.
— petty wap (@eyelish_) February 26, 2016
The meme has picked up so much steam that Public Policy Polling, by popular demand, asked Floridians in their most recent survey of the Republican primary what they thought of it. And wouldn’t you know it, Floridians have the same default uneasiness about Cruz as the rest of us. When asked if they believed that Ted Cruz is the Zodiac Killer, ten percent of respondents said they were sure he was. Another 28 percent were open to the possibility. Taken together, nearly four in ten Floridians think it’s possible that Ted Cruz is in fact the Zodiac Killer.
Wake up, America.
— Griffin (@NotGriffinNope) February 2, 2016