Ted Cruz & Donald Trump Keep Sex-Shaming Each Other — And It's No Better Than "Slut-Shaming"

The Republican race has been saturated with mudslinging for months, but Donald Trump and Ted Cruz are taking fighting dirty to a new level to win the Indiana primary. Case in point: In a furious and freewheeling rant to a group of reporters on Tuesday, Cruz took aim at the Donald with nearly every insult in his arsenal — "bully," "narcissist," "pathological liar," "Biff Tannen from Back To The Future II" (points for creativity to the last one). Then he veered into the bizarre: Cruz attacked Trump for being a "serial philanderer" and slammed him for his sexual history.

In the wake of Trump's earlier comments alleging Cruz's father was connected to JFK's assassination, Cruz has reason to rail against Trump, but his retort fell apart here. In his rant, he shamed Trump for being such a "serial philanderer" and made accusations about his sex life:

Donald Trump is a serial philanderer and he boasts about it. This is not a secret, he is proud of being a serial philanderer. I want everyone to think about your teen aged kids ... [He] describes his battle with venereal disease as his own personal Vietnam. That’s a quote, by the way, on the Howard Stern show.

The quote Cruz refers to is somewhat accurate, I'll give him that. In a 1997 interview with Howard Stern, Trump said he was "lucky“ to not have contracted an STD: "I’ve been so lucky in terms of that whole world. It is a dangerous world out there. It’s scary, like Vietnam. Sort of like the Vietnam-era. It is my personal Vietnam.” Trump didn't actually say he personally had to "battle with venereal diseases" (read: he never said he himself had contracted an STD), so in a way, Cruz went even further in his attack.

Joe Raedle/Getty Images News/Getty Images

That's a wildly inappropriate boast for Trump to make, especially since he didn't actually serve in the Vietnam War. Moreover, last July, Trump disgustingly took swipes at Sen. John McCain for having been taken as a prisoner of war in Vietnam.

However, Cruz didn't focus on the Vietnam angle. The Texas senator was more concerned with skewering Trump's sex life and, possibly, his sexual health. There are so, so many things Cruz could legitimately rip Trump apart for: His ridiculous policy about "the wall," his (since amended) proposal to punish women who seek illegal abortions, his misleading and muddled foreign policy speech just last week.

Yet, Cruz decided to go after Trump's alleged sexcapades. Really? To me, it echoes — albeit to a much lesser degree — the critical attitudes, stigma, and judgment that sexually active women face when there is nothing harmful or inherently wrong about their behavior.

What's even more problematic is how both Cruz and Trump use sexual history to attack each other. First, it speaks to the low-brow accusations the two still engage in this far into the race. Second, it speaks to the immature mindset both of them — not just Cruz — have about sex.

In March, the National Enquirer, claimed that Cruz had extramarital affairs with five women. Cruz not only refuted the account, but said, “It is a tabloid smear, and it is a smear that has come from Donald Trump and his henchmen.” Meanwhile, Trump said of that allegation, "Ted Cruz's problem with the National Enquirer is his and his alone, and while they were right about O.J. Simpson, John Edwards, and many others, I certainly hope they are not right about Lyin' Ted Cruz."

Ironically, at the time when Cruz was being questioned about the National Enquirer allegation, he countered, "I don't think it is a state secret that Donald's personal life hasn't been immaculate but I have no interest in going there." Oh, how the tide has turned in a matter of weeks (granted, weeks filled with some significant primary losses for Cruz).

Why does each camp blow sex scandals up as such a damaging weapon against the other? Obviously, sex scandals can hurt a politician's career. But I believe sexual history shouldn't be held as such an important measure of presidential candidate. There are honestly more significant things to focus on this election — both candidate have such serious, substantive flaws that their sexual history shouldn't be the concern.