From the beginning of Donald Trump’s campaign, he and Ted Cruz have had what seems to be an unspoken agreement between the two not to attack each other. As a result, they’ve managed to isolate the rest of the field as candidates like Carly Fiorina and Ben Carson have soared in the polls, only to sputter out and fade away.
It looks more and more likely that the race for the GOP nomination will come down to Trump and Cruz, which defies the predictions of political experts who believed Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush would be the Republican pick in 2016.
That uneasy alliance looks like it may be slowly unraveling as Donald Trump has begun to launch attacks on Ted Cruz, specifically targeting his eligibility to run for president based on his place of birth.
Donald Trump has been needling his main rival for the Republican presidential nomination, Ted Cruz, about his Canadian origins, suggesting this disqualifies him from the presidency. Many legal scholars disagree (though not all of them do). But the “birther” attack clearly bothers Cruz, and now he’s striking back.
“It is more than a little strange to see Donald relying on as authoritative a liberal, left-wing, judicial activist Harvard law professor who is a huge Hillary supporter,” he said in New Hampshire Tuesday, apparently referencing Harvard Law professor (and Democrat) Laurence Tribe. “It starts to make you think, ‘Gosh, why are some of Hillary’s strongest supporters backing Donald Trump?’” (Source)
Where Ted Cruz was born shouldn’t be an issue, but his extreme platform is. However, this is a conservative electoral base that Donald Trump understands very well, and can manipulate easily. These are people who have bought into years of right-wing media stories and conspiracies about President Obama’s place of birth, as well as his religious beliefs.
Donald Trump has been one of the leaders of the “birther” movement, so it’s no surprise that he would use the same tactics against his main primary opponent. Ted Cruz has also promoted the same conspiracy about President Obama, so it’s a bit of schadenfreude for the left to watch him get a dose of his own medicine from a member of the GOP field.
Ultimately, I think these two understand that they need each other to have a chance against Bernie Sanders or Hillary Clinton, and the birther jabs are both attacks they’re used to dishing out on President Obama. Both Donald Trump and Ted Cruz know that there are enough people in the United States who would vote for a flaming bag of dog feces before they’d vote for a Democrat, which is exactly what they’re counting on.
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