As soon as news broke Sunday that Ted Cruz was going to be the first high-profile candidate to enter the 2016 presidential race, the focus turned to his Canadian birth, and whether or not he is actually eligible to run for president. Depending on what source people turn to, the answer varies, but an objective look at the issue suggests that it is not as clear cut as some make it sound.
“[T]his issue is a complicated mess,” IVN independent author James Spurgeon wrote in a 2013 article. “The Framers left it vague when they wrote the Constitution. Did they do it because they couldn’t foresee our future situations or was it so we could make such a determination as our nation progressed? One can only really speculate on that.”
“By these very definitions of the law, it would appear that Cruz is a natural-born citizen and thus meets the qualifications to run for president if he decided to do so. This also does one more thing, as well.
In regards to President Obama, if the “birther” theory had been proven correct (and I’m not saying that it is) in that he had been born in Kenya (instead of Hawaii) to his U.S. mother and his Kenyan father, he would still qualify as a natural-born citizen.” – James Spurgeon, IVN Independent Author
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Looking to the Founders: Determining Citizenship
Controversy is not new to Cruz, however. He has been a controversial figure since he entered the U.S. Senate in 2013.
From advocating a government shutdown over the Affordable Care Act, to his hardline stance on immigration, to suggesting that President Obama should be impeached, Cruz has become a champion to the conservative members of the Republican Party’s base — the same voters who gave him an edge in the 2012 primary to win the Republican nomination in the Texas U.S. Senate race.
“Although it is early in his career, grand gestures, outlandish statements, and impassable alternatives have been more accurate descriptions of Ted Cruz’s first year in the Senate than policy innovator,” IVN independent author Carl Wicklander wrote in January 2014. “In the short term, this has made Cruz a political celebrity who cannot be ignored. While the last page of his story has yet to be written, he has the markings of a politician who could rise too high too soon.”
It is not entirely clear how successful Cruz’s campaign for president will be at the moment, though recent history suggest that he probably won’t make it far. His biggest success in 2016 may be boosting the brand he has built over the last two years.