I think most people knew that it was only a matter of time before Donald Trump used the “birther card” against his closest challenger, Ted Cruz. While I wouldn’t call Cruz a real threat to Trump nationally (at least not yet), it’s clear the GOP frontrunner went “birther” in response to Cruz polling better than him in several polls out of Iowa over the last few weeks.
Personally, being that Cruz’s mother was an American citizen and Cruz was naturalized at birth, I don’t see any reason why he wouldn’t be eligible to run for president. There has been some debate over the details on whether or not his mother might have had dual citizenship when he was born, which could be a factor. To be honest, I don’t really care all that much. Unless there’s some concrete, ironclad proof that says he’s ineligible, I’m not willing to entertain random hearsay or linguistic gymnastics on the Founding Fathers’ intent.
That being said, trying to compare what Cruz is dealing with to what President Obama dealt with are two entirely different things.
When people discuss Cruz’s eligibility, it’s based on nothing more than the simple fact that he was born in Canada – a fact he doesn’t deny. However, when people doubt President Obama’s citizenship, it’s clear that it’s because he’s half-black with a foreign-sounding name. The “birther” nonsense in relation to President Obama is almost entirely based on racism and bigotry. It was driven mostly by southern and rural whites who didn’t like the idea of an African-American being in charge of “their country.”
There were already records in Hawaii concerning his birth announcement, as well as a copy of his “certificate of live birth,” on file at the state’s vital records office for anyone to come look at – but that didn’t matter. Even after he released his long-form birth certificate, many “birthers” claimed it was a forgery.
Even today there are still a good chunk of conservative voters who either think he’s not an American citizen, he’s a Muslim, or both.
Heck, there was a survey done just a few months ago that showed more conservatives believe Ted Cruz was born in the United States than President Obama. In fact, according to that survey, only 29 percent of Republicans believe the president was born in Hawaii versus 40 percent who believe Cruz was born here. It’s a testament to how misinformed millions of conservatives are about simple, indisputable facts.
Because the truth is, even if the “birthers” were correct and Barack Obama were born in Kenya (he wasn’t), like Cruz, his mother was still an American citizen which made him an American citizen much in the same way Cruz is granted his citizenship. Yet, while there’s some talk concerning Cruz’s citizenship, it’s not nearly to the extent that conservatives went after President Obama.
The bottom line is, there’s a huge difference between what’s driving the birther questions about Ted Cruz and what drove them (and still does for many) concerning President Obama. For Cruz, it’s questions based on the factual reality that he was born in Canada. For Obama, it was about nothing more than a bunch of racists and bigoted white conservatives who didn’t like the idea of a black male being the leader of “their country.”