With Iowa and New Hampshire behind us, the race for the next President of the United States has narrowed slightly. On one side of the aisle, the Democratic Party has put up two candidates with questionable chances of winning. Bernie Sanders, the east coast socialist, has garnered the attention of millions of youth with promises of free stuff and making the rich pay. But several political pundits question if a declared socialist will do well with the general populace. His main competitor for the Democratic ticket is Hillary Clinton, someone who is being investigated by the FBI for serious crimes that threaten our national security. Ladies and gentlemen: a socialist and a potential felon.
The Republican ticket is perhaps just as bizarre. Celebrity billionaire/reality tv star Donald Trump won the New Hampshire primary and is polling well in several early states. His brand of say-what-he-thinks, political-correctness-be-damned is an attractive trait in a field full of Washington insiders and sitting governors. However, few candidates have a more suspect past than the real estate tycoon. Trump has used eminent domain laws for private development; has a long list of political donations to very liberal politicians; was once supportive of partial birth abortion; and even recently acknowledged how universal health care has its merits in Canada and Great Britain.
At this point, the savior of the conservative movement appears to be the man who won the Iowa caucuses. Ted Cruz has had an impeccable record fighting for limited government and free markets as a Senator from the Republic of Texas. He scores a 98% voting record with FreedomWorks and is probably the most notable fighter in Washington against the destructive ObamaCare program that is raising health care costs and harming millions of Americans.
Cruz seems to have a lot going for him. He’s a good debater; has raised solid funds for his campaign; received support from large Super PACs; and has built an admirable ground game in several states. But one question lingers above his head that could be an issue down the road: is he constitutionally eligible to be President of the United States?
Ted Cruz was born a Canadian citizen to one parent with U.S. citizenship. Article II of the Constitution requires that the President be a “natural born citizen”. The definition of “natural born” is hard to deduce because there is no real evidence of what the Founders meant by it at the Philadelphia convention. But several Constitutional scholars question Cruz’s eligibility.
Marco Rubio has emerged as the establishment’s candidate of choice. The viability of the Jeb Bush campaign is dwindling away, and the power brokers in Washington and the campaign consultancy class see Rubio as a good bet to keep the status quo. Marco’s rise to the national scene was quite noble. He beat Florida’s former governor Charlie Crist to secure the Republican endorsement riding the tea party wave of limited government values. Crist went on to make the election a 3-way race by getting on the ballot as an independent. Rubio beat both Crist and the Democrat candidate ensuring that the Republicans kept Florida in the red.
Since taking office, Rubio has let down his base support by joining the Gang of 8 in the Senate who crafted amnesty legislation. Rubio has also supported TPA, continuing resolutions that led us more into debt, and the NSA mass surveillance program. Although his overall voting record is more conservative than the majority of the Republican caucus in the Senate, his conservative credentials as the potential POTUS come into question.
Some believed 2016 would be the year of the “outsider” and no candidate represented that better than Dr. Ben Carson. Carson finished a solid 4th place in Iowa, but couldn’t gather much support in New Hampshire. In November, Carson briefly topped Donald Trump and the rest of the candidates in national polling. But when the media turned its attention towards the former neural surgeon, the public found a candidate who inspired little energy, which is heavily needed in order to compete against the Clinton machine.
The Iowa caucuses proved to be a war, picking up casualties like the campaigns of two former Iowa caucus winners Rick Santorum and Mike Huckabee. Unfortunately for the liberty movement, it also claimed Rand Paul as its victim. Paul for years was considered a top contender for the White House in 2016. His brand of libertarian/conservative politics was unique in the Republican Party. On the debate stage, Rand was the only candidate representing a humble, non-interventionist foreign policy. He also attracted the youth vote better than any other candidate on the stage. However, his campaign failed to garner the attention and mass support that his father drew in 2012.
Minnesotans have the opportunity to weigh in on the upcoming election on March 1st at their precinct caucuses. The state is part of an event known as “Super Tuesday” which includes a myriad of fourteen state primaries and caucuses, with 689 delegates up for grab. Super Tuesday will likely narrow the field of candidates to a few top contenders, making things on the debate stage more interesting.
For those interested in learning more about the candidates, we encourage people to attend Action 4 Liberty’s Pre-Super Tuesday event on Friday, February 26th at the Mermaid in Mounds View. A representative from each campaign will be there to answer questions and participate in a debate against the other campaigns.