Donald Trump, who once (well, constantly) challenged Barack Obama's eligibility to be president based on his birthplace, is now doing the same thing to Ted Cruz, his rival for the Republican nomination.
"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."
From a libertarian perspective, there are many reasons to object to Ted Cruz becoming president, or even the Republican nominee in the 2016 election. I make a number of them here.
Cruz's eligibility under the law is not one of them. In 2013 at The Daily Caller, Cato Institute legal analyst Ilya Shapiro noted that any person who is a citizen at birth is eligibile regardless of his own birthplace. So the only question is whether Cruz, who was born in Canada and whose father was a Cuban refugee and whose mother was an American citizen, was a U.S. citizen or national at birth.
The Nationality Act of 1940 outlines which children become "nationals and citizens of the United States at birth." In addition to those who are born in the United States or born outside the country to parents who were both citizens — or, interestingly, found in the United States without parents and no proof of birth elsewhere — citizenship goes to babies born to one American parent who has spent a certain number of years here.
That single-parent requirement has been amended several times, but under the law in effect between 1952 and 1986 — Cruz was born in 1970 — someone must have a citizen parent who resided in the United States for at least 10 years, including five after the age of 14, in order to be considered a natural-born citizen. Cruz's mother, Eleanor Darragh, was born in Delaware, lived most of her life in the United States, and gave birth to little Rafael Edward Cruz in her 30s. Q.E.D.
I think that pretty much settles this, though I think Shapiro should have used S.T.F.U. rather than Q.E.D. at the end of his article.
The entire birther meme (thanks, Hillary!) has been an embarrassment of epic proportions, one of those rare-but-telling episodes where the collective unconscious becomes not only visible but unavoidable. The idea of trying to delegitimate the first viable black candidate for president by effectively claiming he is a not a real American is just too Freudian for words. Especially given the fact that regardless of where he was born, his mother was a U.S. citizen.
Let's go even further: The whole notion that only somebody who was an American citizen or national at birth can be president is stupid. Might have made sense in the first couple of years of the Republic, but even then, really?
I would prefer to live in a world without government, or at least the sort of government we have now, but who has the excess psychic bandwidth to give a shit about whether somebody was born here or somewhere else when it comes to presidential elections?
Isn't the whole mythic point of America is that you can come here and become whatever you want and wherever your talents lead you? Why not president then?
And need I point out, even low-skilled immigrants commit fewer crimes and use less welfare than comparable Americans. That's positively aspirational in a president, isn't it?