James Williamson guest blog post: The disruptor of the disruptors

Editor’s note: James Williamson is a native and former resident of Ohio who currently lives in Nevada.  He is also one of the brothers of yours truly, Daniel Jack Williamson, the owner of this blog.  He has written many other guest blog articles for Buckeye RINO, and for that, I am grateful. –DJW

The Disruptor of the Disruptors

Following announcements by Ted Cruz and John Kasich that they have suspended their campaigns [and with the unofficial delegate count for Trump exceeding the 50% mark before reaching the end of May], it appears that Donald Trump will be the Republican nominee. Much to the chagrin of the Republican old guard they are going to get a candidate that broke all the rules (never ran for office before, didn’t spend large sums of cash in the primary, ignored political correctness… … … … list goes on) as the de facto leader of their party. You might call it a coup. You might call it a collapse. Many are heralding the end of the Republican party. I don’t think it’s any of those.

I’ve read numerous op-eds by pundits that Trump became the presumptive nominee because no one took him seriously. What precisely do they mean by “taking him seriously?” Are they suggesting that they weren’t trying hard enough to get the public’s attention early on in the race? All the Republican candidates were trying to get media attention and Trump sucked all the oxygen out of the room. I think they all knew that even if they thought his ideas were a joke they could not ignore his persona. Trump has spent the last 40 years in front of a camera and he knows how to get attention. I don’t think they underestimated him there. I think the operative word here is frustration.

Maybe they are suggesting the other candidates should have spent more money? Some of the candidates spent much more money than Trump (most notably Jeb Bush before he bowed out) to no avail. Apparently money can’t buy what Trump has to offer. Or perhaps, Trump recognized that people really don’t want to see political ads for 18 months straight? Maybe Trump will start a new trend in politics: Save your money early in the campaign. Even though Trump spent very little money I don’t think that was a factor in the other candidates taking him seriously.

Perhaps what these pundits mean is that they should have attacked Trump more? If negative attacks would be effective on Trump he would probably get more of them. Unfortunately that is the name of Trump’s game. Even Hillary Clinton learned the hard way that Trump has an amazing ability to take a negative statement and turn it on you. (Remember what happened when she said he was sexist?) I’m not sure what taking Trump seriously would have done to change the other candidate’s campaigns. Can someone help me here?

I’m also not sure how Hillary and company taking him seriously is going to make a difference.I read that Reid (who is obviously supporting Clinton) is already starting the criticism and gearing up for a fight. So what does he bring on in the first round of the fight? Trump is a sue happy tax cheat and a hater… You’re going to have to come up with a better one than that Harry. Maybe you need to revisit what happened when Hillary called him sexist. If you did you’d be putting your armor on because if you get his attention you just might end up in the line of fire. Oh, and make sure you protect your whole body because Trump apparently doesn’t have any issues with hitting below the belt….

I have a news flash for the Democrats: Negative attacks won’t work, spending more money won’t work, ideological arguments won’t work, even charm won’t work (if Hillary had any…).

Unfortunately for politicians you can change your views and you can change your rhetoric but you can’t change who you are and that’s what they would have to do to defeat Trump. People are voting for Trump because of who he is, but more importantly because of who he is not. He is not a career politician. He is not an apologist. He is not a sell-out (well so far…). He’s not hiding who he is or what he believes (just changes his mind a lot). He’s not a pushover and probably most important he’s never been a resident of Washington DC.

I saw this coming late last year.The event that convinced me that he was going to be the nominee is when he suggested blocking all Muslim immigration and his numbers went up… his numbers went up!!!! Labeling him as a xenophobe has not worked at all. That’s because I don’t think he is a xenophobe. I think what is happening here is that Trump is the only one who is listening to the key swing voter constituents that are going to decide the elections. Yes, you heard that right: Trump is the only one listening. Cruz appealed to his base, not swing voters. Sanders is doing the same. Hillary is making an appeal but with the media in her back pocket she is still thinking she can shape public opinion rather than listen to it.

Let’s analyze this for a minute. What has the public liked about Trump? Well, they actually like the idea that he wants to slow down immigration and more thoroughly vet immigrants. I don’t think he ever intended to keep them all out and of course he won’t but the bluster and outrageous promises are his style. I think that for him it’s not important to be precise in what you say but to show passion when you say it. It really seems to be resonating with rust belt voters in particular. Contrast this with the open door policy of the Democrats and even some of the Republican field. The candidates think they are being reasonable but what the public hears is: “We don’t care what you think!”

The public also likes it when Trump talks economics. Why? Because he, and only he, is articulating many of their frustrations. Decrying rising cost of health care, part time work, stagnant wages, dwindling manufacturing resonates with voters in key states like Ohio, Indiana, and Pennsylvania. Obama is crowing about how wonderful things are and Hillary has to follow in that wake because she is, after all, the heir apparent. Voters don’t like to be told that everything is rosy when they think it’s not. Message to voters: “We don’t have a clue what is really going on.”

The last area that Trump is strong on is his America first slogan. Even I’m on the bandwagon there. Bad trade agreements, half-committed involvement in foreign conflicts, offering protection to everyone without getting reimbursement, apologizing for our history, and squandering our hegemony on goals that don’t further America’s best interests have been the fruits of several administrations now and Americans don’t like it. In particular I think that Trump’s message on national security resonates with voters. It’s closely related to the issue of immigration. While I certainly don’t advocate starting wars going around publicly announcing you aren’t willing to get involved in one is precisely the sort of thing that invites it. I think the average American knows this and they get nervous when they hear the doves saying we need to show more love and compassion toward antagonistic nations. Message to voters: “We’ll still be spouting rhetoric while the country burns, just like France in WWII.”

While I certainly believe that war should be avoided, what good does a military do if it’s never an option? How is a nuclear weapon a deterrent if the enemy knows you will never use it? I think Reagan proved that being willing is often all that it takes. Jimmy Carter couldn’t get Iran to release hostages because they were certain he wouldn’t send troops in after them. They weren’t sure that Ronald Reagan wouldn’t. History is rife with similar situations. Unfortunately for us, while our “leaders” have forgotten history the Russians have been learning from it. They are running amok because they know the current administration won’t do anything serious. That may change if Donald Trump becomes president. He said in his America First speech that we need to be more “unpredictable.” Yes, I believe Trump is a poker player. He knows that showing all your cards up front doesn’t help you win. After all that’s what America really wants right now: a winner. Right or wrong I think that there are enough people in the country now that believe that Trump is the winner they are looking for. Can you say, “President Trump”?

Is a “natural born” citizen the same thing as a citizen “naturalized at birth?” If not, Ted Cruz is in trouble.

U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) was born in Canada to an American-born mother and a Cuban-born father.  That Senator Cruz is an American citizen from his birth is not a question posed here.  He was a citizen at birth . . . period.

Senator Cruz is now seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for President of the United States in this 2016 election cycle.  Another Republican candidate, Donald Trump, has called into question whether Senator Cruz, under the US Constitution, is eligible to be President.  Trump warned that if Cruz is not eligible, the Republican Party would find itself in an awkward situation if Cruz were the nominee.

The US Constitution, approximately midway through Section 1, of Article II, spells out the eligibility of presidential candidates:

“No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

The US Constitution, just by itself, in isolation from acts of Congress, confers citizenship to those born on U.S. soil.  For those who may be citizens at birth not born on U.S. soil, one must look to the acts of Congress.  Citizenship by parentage was not an issue tackled until the Naturalization Act of 1790, three years after the ratification of the US Constitution.  See where this is headed?  At the time of the writing of the US Constitution, citizenship by location of birth was fairly well defined.  Birth citizenship through a parent or parents off of U.S. soil was an open question not yet taken up.  Congress, not the Constitution, bestowed Ted Cruz with citizenship at birth.  The 14th Amendment to the Constitution expanded upon who was to be enumerated as a citizen, but that amendment has little to no bearing upon the case of Ted Cruz.

The following passage is excerpted from the Naturalization Act of 1790:

“And the children of citizens of the United States, that may be born beyond sea, or out of the limits of the United States, shall be considered as natural born citizens: Provided, That the right of citizenship shall not descend to persons whose fathers have never been resident in the United States [ . . . ]”

Clearly, Senator Cruz is a citizen of the United States based upon this statute.  His Cuban-born father did reside in the United States for a few years in advance of Ted Cruz’s birth in Canada.  The phrase within the statute that reads “shall be considered as natural born citizens” seems to settle the matter of Ted Cruz’s eligibility to become POTUS, does it not?

Or does it?

The use of the helping verb “shall” is binding upon the government, so that bodes well for Cruz, along with the phrase “natural born.”

But why say “shall be considered as” rather than “are?”  If the statute were to read, “And the children of citizens of the United States . . . are natural born citizens,” then no question would remain about Cruz’s eligibility.  But “shall be considered as” might signify that a person in such circumstances is naturalized at birth, not needing to follow the same processes of naturalization that others born off of U.S. soil must go through, but it still falls under the auspices of naturalization law.  Does this statute create a “naturalized at birth” citizen separate from a “natural born” citizen, with the one being “considered as” the other?  Is there a distinction there?  Or does “shall be considered as” equal to “are,” relegating the concept of “naturalized at birth,” in an instance such as this, to mythology?

Clearly, Ted Cruz is convinced that there is no “naturalized at birth” in play concerning his own citizenship.  Donald Trump isn’t convinced otherwise, it’s just that, as he pointed out, questions might be raised.  Any other time this question might have been put to the test in our presidential races, it never was.  Those who might have come under questioning were never the eventual nominees of the major parties, anyway.  Ted Cruz, however, stands a chance to be the Republican nominee.  Though no caucuses have been conducted and no primary election votes counted, the two frontrunners of the GOP appear to be Trump and Cruz. The other GOP candidates appear to be trailing badly.

Trump’s question, in a backhanded way, could be taken as a compliment, for Trump is implicitly acknowledging that Cruz could become the party’s nominee.  Aside from posing the question, Trump has always asserted that he, himself would be the nominee.  But if Cruz does become the nominee, I think Donald Trump is absolutely right that the question over natural born citizenship will loom much larger than the so-called “birther” issue that tried to nip at Obama’s heels.

You may have heard Democrats that have openly expressed a desire for either Trump or Cruz to be the GOP nominee.  Why?  Because they think the election of the Democrat nominee to the presidency is a slam dunk if one of those two happens to be the GOP nominee.  What if the Democrats get what they wished for in a GOP nominee, but the general election picture appears to be much less of a slam dunk?  What if the Democrat nominee is not faring well and the prospect of a President Trump or a President Cruz is becoming a very real one?  Will the Democrats pull out all the stops?  Will they seize at any straw they can?  Of course, they will.  If Ted Cruz is the nominee, and the matter of his eligibility has not been settled definitively, the GOP may have a real mess on its hands because if the Democrats are not faring well, they will seize at that straw.  That’s all Donald Trump is pointing out.

I believe that, if Cruz is nominated and stands a real chance of winning the general election, the Democrats will seize upon this, and it won’t be resolved until after Election Day.  If the Democrat nominee wins, then the question goes by the wayside.  If Cruz wins, I think his inauguration in January will be hijacked by the Democrats and hauled into the courts.  I think they will seek a court injunction barring Cruz from taking office until after the question is settled in court.  If the Democrats’ injunction is granted and, under that scenario, if Cruz wins in court, then how many months will it take to do so?  When would Cruz be allowed to take office?  Who would be acting as POTUS until that point in time?

What if Cruz loses such a suit months after winning an election?  Do we reconvene the electoral college with another GOP nominee?  Does the VP candidate, who won just as many electoral votes as Cruz, the winning presidential nominee, get to take office as POTUS?  Would the electoral votes have to be vacated, leaving no nominee with a majority of electoral votes, and then get decided in the U.S. House of Representatives?  Or, scarier still, does the electoral college reconvene without a GOP nominee?  I think it’s the scarier scenario that would prevail.  Alternate Republican hopefuls will be bombarding electors with sales pitches while Cruz’s case drags through court.  But unless GOP electors uniformly embrace the VP nominee, I think the electoral college vote would be a mishmash, perhaps landing the decision in the US House, or perhaps by flipping the majority of electors over to the Democrat nominee.

If you are a staunch Cruz supporter, steel yourself, because emerging victorious will likely be a rougher ride than you’d ever imagined.