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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SIX TRUTHS

Reclaiming power from those who abuse it often starts with telling the truth. And in "This Is How Authoritarians Get Defeated," MoJo's Monika Bauerlein unpacks six truths to remember during the homestretch of an election where democracy, truth, and decency are on the line.

Truth #1: The chaos is the point.

Truth #2: Team Reality is bigger than it seems.

Truth #3: Facebook owns this.

Truth #4: When we go to work, we're in the fight.

Truth #5: It's about minority rule.

Truth #6: The only thing that can save us is…us.

Please take a moment to see how all these truths add up, because what happens in the weeks and months ahead will reverberate for at least a generation and we better be prepared.

And if you think journalism like Mother Jones'—that calls it like it is, that will never acquiesce to power, that looks where others don't—can help guide us through this historic, high-stakes moment, and you're able to right now, please help us reach our $350,000 goal by October 31 with a donation today. It's all hands on deck for democracy.

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