Cruz is one of the biggest opponents of "net neutrality" — a policy enacted in 2015 guaranteeing the public access to all online content regardless of the source, and not allowing internet providers to favor or block particular websites. This policy was repealed Thursday by the Federal Communications Commission — allowing major internet providers like AT&T, Comcast, and Verizon to control what content their customers see online (and don't) and how fast it loads.
Based on most analyses of the FCC's repeal, these corporate internet providers are the only entities benefitting from net neutrality's demise. That's why Cruz, who's accepted more than $115,000 in campaign donations from these companies, is such a net neutrality nay-sayer.
But unlike most policies in Congress, net neutrality is not a partisan issue — both Republican and Democrat voters have flooded the FCC's website with requests to keep the net neutral.
Which is probably why Cruz's Thursday night tweet wasn't the best idea.
Cruz's tweet appears to call all voters in favor of net neutrality "snowflakes" — an insult made popular by the alt-right leading up to Donald Trump's election (another one: "cupcake"). Here, have a look:
Snowflake, believing online propaganda: "OMG w/o net neutrality, the Internet is gone!" Informed observer: "You know, the FCC issued that rule in 2015. The Internet grew up wonderfully free from govt regulation & this restores the status quo ante." Snowflake: "Uh, never mind..."— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) December 15, 2017
In his taunting tweet, Cruz has also made it painfully clear that he doesn't really understand net neutrality's complex history. No, it didn't suddenly appear in 2015, and no, the internet didn't grow up "free from govt regulation."
Look, the government is definitely the last to understand new technology, but it has been regulating the internet since it's infancy. Even before the internet was a thing, the FCC has been regulating companies that offer customers communication networks (like the telephone or those massive 1970s-era computers) under these rules called the Computer Inquiries. Tim Wu, the guy who coined the tern "net neutrality" calls Computer Inquiries the "first" net neutrality rules.
It only was until the late 1990s, when internet services providers stopped relying on already-regulated telephone lines to connect to the internet (remember that??) that the FCC had to come up with a new kind of policy.
Since the new high-speed DSL and cable-broadband networks weren't included in the Computer Inquiries, companies began using their newfound freedoms to block or slow down competitors' products.
But when a phone company outright blocked Vonage (an app that allows users to call people through the internet) for taking away its customers in 2005, the FCC sued — and was able to order the company to stop blocking its competitors.
Thus, net neutrality became a legally-binding rule. In 2005.
These rules were upheld by the FCC throughout the Bush Administration and well into the Obama Administration — but were officially cemented into law in 2015.
So, no, Ted Cruz, repealed net neutrality is not the "status quo ante." It is, however, likely to be the number one reason conservative Texans (the ones who don't call people "snowflakes" online) will reconsider re-electing you in 2018.