Now the WaPo chimes in: Ted Cruz is not eligible to be president. We’ll see how this all plays out, but at this point Cruz’s strategy of laying off Donald Trump in the hopes of scooping up Trump’s followers appears to have been a terrible mistake. Trump’s main sales pitch has been increasingly nativist/racist in nature. It is unlikely now that those who are drinking the Trump Kool-Aid will ever rally around Cruz unless they found the nativist/racist rhetoric offensive to begin with, and they don’t. Indeed, from a policy standpoint, institutional racism has been Trump’s only real draw thus far (against Hispanics, Chinese, Arabs, etc.). Meanwhile, Trump has given an opening for Democrats to attack Cruz on the citizenship issue. After all, if people in Cruz’s own party are attacking Cruz for not being a “natural born citizen”, then why should it be off the table for Democrats?
Cruz should have struck early and hard against Trump regarding the real eligibility issue: Trump is not remotely qualified to be president, and as a Democrat he is not eligible to run in the Republican primaries. If Cruz had been on the attack from the beginning instead of playing footsie with Trump and his supporters, he would not be in this situation now. Cruz made the basic mistake of assuming that because presidential eligibility was legally a non-issue, charges that he wasn’t a natural born citizen wouldn’t be made to begin with, and if they were, they wouldn’t stick because the charges are transparently false and racist. Now these charges are likely to dog him for the rest of his political career.