Let’s Knock It Off With the Ted Cruz Birther Stuff

<a href="https://www.flickr.com/photos/jbouie/23035700811/in/photolist-B6zZin-dRij4c-nG7paW-rJL2we-qBFXhM-xK1RSt-rD8QCw-qJCWSH-zW1NFD-zV64AF-zW1Nga-xJVFj3-y2x7jz-x5DkWa-B6zQy8-fyjqEN-B3ifG5-pSnsXt-A8H2SV-zTXkcE-zCtktL-xZdfkL-xZdmDs-y2x3Tr-x5vig7-xJVvtG-x5vnw1-y1DUqo-y3cVV6-x5DNdt-y3cQai-y2x18M-xZdouG-xJUc5w-xJVaaY-xK1VyM-xZdCUy-xK2dq2-y2wK5a-x5v6cN-xK1Z2i-xJUkd5-x5DgRM-y1E3iC-x5vCJA-rf8jWM-A8yUYS-fye9Qg-fye9Uv-fye9Xk">Jamelle Bouie</a>/Flickr

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Over the last few days, Republican front-runner Donald Trump has suggested that Sen. Ted Cruz should ask a court for a written declaration that the Canadian-born Texan is eligible to be president. That’s to be expected—Trump rose to prominence among conservatives by questioning the eligibility of the sitting president. On Wednesday, Sen. John McCain, one of the Republican Party’s elder statesmen, told a talk radio host that he wasn’t sure if Cruz was eligible to be president. That’s less expected but still easily explained—McCain hates Cruz with the fire of a thousand suns.

And now House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi has joined the fray. “I do think there’s a difference between John McCain being born into a family serving our country in Panama than someone being born in another country, but again this is a constitutional issue that will be decided or not,” she told reporters on Thursday.

 

This is absurd. Cruz is eligible to be president because his mother was an American citizen. And as National Review explains, it’s not even an especially unusual situation:

[T]here is nothing new in this principle that presidential eligibility is derived from parental citizenship. John McCain, the GOP’s 2008 candidate, was born in the Panama Canal Zone at a time when there were questions about its sovereign status. Barry Goldwater, the Republican nominee in 1964, was born in Arizona before it became a state, and George Romney, who unsuccessfully sought the same party’s nomination in 1968, was born in Mexico. In each instance, the candidate was a natural born citizen by virtue of parentage, so his eligibility was not open to credible dispute.

It shouldn’t be a hard question for Pelosi or McCain to answer unambiguously—we’ve spent roughly eight years rehashing the constitutional requirements for the office over and over again (in part because of Trump and the kinds of people who support him). The fact that McCain and Pelosi both—for perfectly legitimate reasons—can’t stand Cruz is just not an appropriate justification for Trumpian nativism.

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"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

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