Senator Ted Cruz is a reactionary, right-wing politician who is in many ways a 21st Century cross between Richard Nixon, Joseph McCarthy and Barry Goldwater. Cruz we know was born in Canada to parents one of which was Cuban and the other of which was American. Is Cruz constitutionally eligible to be President of the United States? I really don’t know honestly, but right now I don’t care.
What I do know is that Donald Trump is using this issue to cynically remind Republican voters that Ted Cruz is NOT like them in the most basic and fundamental way – he is Cuban and was born in another country. He doesn’t look like them and isn’t one of them no matter how hard he might try with his Texas accent and his right-wing positions. Trump’s subtle racism on this issue is more respectably cloaked than his previous open racist comments about Mexican-Americans and Muslim-Americans. But the intent is similar and perhaps even more cynical because it is directed at one of his GOP Primary opponents.
Considering Trump’s raising of this issue was a well-orchestrated attempt to race bait against perhaps the individual who is going to rival him to gain conservative votes in the primary, it has been disappointing to see Democrats and liberals join the chorus. Irrespective of what you think of Cruz, and trust me, my opinion of him is about as low as can be this isn’t the time to be aiding Trump in his quest.
Strangely, Florida’s own Alan Grayson has jumped into the fray and is aiding Trump’s cause by talking about lawsuits regarding Cruz’s eligibility to be President. Grayson is never one to shy away from public attention, but I must admit even this was a bit much for my tastes. Progressives don’t need to behave like conservatives by slaying our enemies by any means necessary. If we engage in the same sort of cynical behavior the other side does, and in this case cynicism based around racial undertones, how can we credibly claim we are more compassionate than the other side? How can we as liberals jump into a a Republican snake pit taking Donald Trump’s side on a racially-charged issue, no matter how legitimate it may appear legally?
My hope is that Grayson’s embrace of this “cause” is not replicated by other Democrats. We don’t need our own birther-type movement (though Cruz’s eligibility is certainly more questionable than Obama’s was, but again I stress this has been raised to try and remind GOP voters that Cruz doesn’t look like them or share their background) that tries to use roundabout arguments to race-bait or to take down our opponents in a fashion unbecoming of true liberalism.