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Tuesday, January 05, 2016

Trump's Best Attack On Cruz Is....Birtherism?

by JASmius

Not a good sign for the Donald if he can't successfully tar Senator Cruz as an immigration squish.  Maybe he'd have more success at it than the self-hamstrung Marco Rubio did, but I'd think that's the avenue Trump would have taken as soon as Cruz started his rise and overtook him in Iowa a month ago.  Not that he hasn't taken a swing in that direction here or there, but it's been ineffective and he hasn't stuck with it, and as I've observed on previous occasions, Cruz has employed the Scott Walker method of not tit-for-tat engaging Trump and giving him the sort of publicity-whoring public pissing matches off of which he thrives and from which his rivals suffer.  Instead, he just chuckles and makes a passing joke out of it - which, in reality, is all Donald Trump really is.

And so....birtherism:

“Republicans are going to have to ask themselves the question: ‘Do we want a candidate who could be tied up in court for two years?’ That’d be a big problem,” Trump said when asked about the topic. “It’d be a very precarious one for Republicans because he’d be running and the courts may take a long time to make a decision. You don’t want to be running and have that kind of thing over your head.”

Trump added: “I’d hate to see something like that get in his way. But a lot of people are talking about it and I know that even some States are looking at it very strongly, the fact that he was born in Canada and he has had a double passport.”…

In the interview with the Washington Post, Trump said he was providing a candid assessment of his leading opponent rather than initiating a personal attack and reviving the “birther” debate that he once led against Barack Obama. He repeatedly said he is hearing chatter on the topic among voices on the right. “People are bringing it up,” he said.

Yeah - people like him.  I haven't seen or heard it coming from anybody or anywhere else of any prominence.  It's a non-issue that he's trying to make into an issue because he can't campaign on substance or a set agenda, because he doesn't actually believe in anything, and thus all he's left with is what he's ridden all along: spectacle.  "Success is the best revenge".  "I'm ahead".  Except Trump is not ahead anymore, and Senator Cruz won't give him any spectacle to which to cling.  The billionnaire slumlord is almost literally helpless.

First, for the record, let us look at the question constitutionally.  Article II, Section 1, Clause 4 states:

No Person except a natural-born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty-five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.

Thereafter the time of citizenship eligibility determination is the candidate's birth, and what determines whether a person is a natural-born citizen is NOT where they're born but whether both of their parents were American citizens at the time they were born.  That's what the Birthers always got wrong about Barack Obama; it didn't matter how many versions of his birth certificate there were or what any of them said regarding where he was born; Barack Obama was always constitutionally ineligible for the presidency because his father, Barack Hussein Obama, Sr., was a Kenyan and therefore, in August of 1961, a British subject.  That's all that mattered.

Ted Cruz, wherever he was born (Canada, for the record), was the son of an American mother and a Cuban father.  Therefore the Texas junior senator is, indeed, constitutionally ineligible for the presidency.

Now we turn to the political outlook on the question: So f'ing what?  The federal courts swatted away the eligibility question eight years ago during Obamania, just as the Democrats expected; if there had been any chance of a judge throwing up that obstacle, The One would presumably have never been nominated in the first place.  I'm not suggesting for one single solitary second that the Left wouldn't be shamelessly hypocritical enough to file such a legal challenge as a last-ditch final resort, but the Obama precedent is so pervasive that it is inconceivable to me that even the SCOTUS would overturn it in so nakedly partisan a fashion.

And let us remember the political breakdown within the GOP electorate.  Trump rose to prominence in the Republican race by exploiting Tea Party anger over illegal immigration, and some (not all) TPers are still a significant portion of his base support.  Now that Mr. Tea Party himself is beating him, can Trump really afford to resort to such a blatantly dirty, low-ball Democrat tactic as birtherism?  Especially since so many Tea Partiers have thrown aside constitutional fealty in favor of seeking tit-for-tat revenge against the Left (i.e. They want their own Obama)?

I know, I know, we've spent over six months laying down phantom markers on Donald Trump's political demise, and each and every time he has gotten even more popular.  But that gets back to the spectacle factor, and the fact that a significant portion of Trumplicans don't have a good record at all of actually showing up to vote.  How much of Trump's polling is hype and how much of it is real?  What good is leading by double-digits in the polls if a third or a half of those numbers don't translate into votes?  And Tea Partiers most certainly DO vote.

Plus, don't forget that intrinsic to Trump's appeal was his pissing in the faces of the GOP "establishment," personified by Jeb Bush.  That's been Ted Cruz's gimmick for the past three years.

This was Senator Cruz's lone, chuckling riposte to Trump on the birther question:

My response to @realDonaldTrump calling into question my natural-born citizenship? 

Nothing more, I think, needs to be said.

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