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mygif

But Cruz was born in Calgary. If any of his primary opponents brought that up, especially comparing it to the Obama Birther movement (except it’s actually documented he was born in Canada), wouldn’t that sink all his chances with the far right base that he’s cultivating?

It’s not like he was only here for a week or anything either. It was four years before he moved to the US.

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But Cruz was born in Calgary. If any of his primary opponents brought that up, especially comparing it to the Obama Birther movement (except it’s actually documented he was born in Canada), wouldn’t that sink all his choice with the far right base that he’s cultivating?

No, because he’s not black. That was all that ever mattered to the birthers, regardless of anything else they said.

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I agree that Cruz could win the primaries, particularly if the money candidate is Bush and “old familiar faces” fatigue is stronger than the “Bush = Jesus” meme. Walker might end up the money candidate just because people are tired of the same two families coming up all the time. (My nightmare scenario is Hillary vs Jeb; that will be the lowest turnout presidential election in a generation, barring some miraculous event.)

And honestly, I’d welcome it. It would give Democrats a chance to highlight the right wing craziness and maybe get enough momentum going to make some changes in the House (still an uphill battle, even in a scenario where a Dem presidential candidate gets 60%+). Also, if Cruz manages to beat even an overcooked piece of Spaghetti, it will finally prove that the country is irredeemably fucked and I can move to Canada with a clear conscience.

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Troyliss said on March 23rd, 2015 at 1:38 pm

Obama certainly got more flack for being born in Hawaii than McCain did for being born in the Panama Canal Zone.

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No, because he’s not black. That was all that ever mattered to the birthers, regardless of anything else they said.

Minor addendum: He’s a black liberal. A black conservative (e.g, Ben Carson) with a similar background would not face those allegations, because he’s on the right team.

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mygif

I have a couple of points of disagreement:

1) I think that Cruz being Latino will provide him less insulation than a lot of people believe. To the extent that you can measure a demographic’s voting bloc, the Latino demographic is not nearly as stupid as Republicans think, and they are not going to vote Republican as a matter of identity politics when one of the cornerstones of the Republican Party platform is “piss on the brown people and tell them it’s piss.” (They haven’t even gotten to “tell them it’s raining” yet.) Cruz will be expected to put his money where his mouth is on the DREAM Act, if nothing else, and he won’t do it.

2) Walker will siphon votes from Cruz. He has just as much credibility as Cruz when it comes to being an ideological asshole…hell, he’s over in Wisconsin trying to abolish weekends right now. He is proving his conservative cred, and while that’s rapidly turning the state next door into a hellhole that people and businesses are fleeing at an alarming rate, it only makes him more of a Republican rockstar.

3) I’m not sure I’d say Cruz has no scandals. He has no scandals in the sense of “secrets he’d have to apologize for”, but it’s pretty easy to box him in as “that crazy guy who wanted to set fire to America”. (Metaphorically speaking, although his terrifying a small child by telling them it already was is hilarious.) That’s a scandal to me, even if Cruz won’t run away from it. (Possibly even because Cruz won’t run away from it.)

Other than that, yes, I agree with everything said here.

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Jack-Pumpkinhead said on March 23rd, 2015 at 2:39 pm

It’s interesting getting an outside perspective on our politics. For my money, I do wish someone besides Hillary would run, but if she does I’ll vote for her because Ted Littlefinger Cruz would probably burn down the country to rule the ashes.

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mygif

This is the most depressing thing I’ve read in a while.

That being said, there’s one thing I wanted to nitpick:

The wackaloon psychotic base of the GOP is still the one tried and tested route to potentially stealing the nomination from the money men.

Really? Tried and tested when? It didn’t work for Santorum, obviously. In 2008, the psychotic wackaloons went for either Huckabee or Ron Paul (depending on which specific flavor of wackaloon you mean)(not counting some even loonier candidates), not McCain, the nominee in the end. Earlier than that, I’m pretty sure GWB, Dole, and GHWB weren’t the wackaloon psychotic base’s preferred candidates. Earlier than that I can’t comment on from memory, but the point is, I think you have to go back quite a way to find a psychotic wackaloon winning the nomination. Which, if I’m right, is a bit reassuring. Goldwater, sure, but lots has changed since then.

(My nightmare scenario is Hillary vs Jeb; that will be the lowest turnout presidential election in a generation, barring some miraculous event.)

I’m actually hoping he wins because it seems to me like another Bush is the one thing that could make the choice easy. He completely neutralizes any concern about Hillary being “entitled” to the office, and leads to an easy slogan/joke/rebuttal: “Which era do you want to go back to, the 90s or the 00’s?”

But I admit that I don’t have my finger on the pulse of the average American.

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mygif

He’s going to get hammered for his dual citizenship (which he eventually abandoned to become 100% USAmerican). Still, facts are he was born Canadian and acquired US citizenship only later by his parents registering his birth w/US consulate. That’s going to haunt him the whole campaign, especially since opponents will use it to link him to illegal immigrants.

Yeah, it’s all bullshit, but the people who are going to be swayed by it won’t be voting for him and that’s a sizeable slice of the GOP

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@Cyrus: The problem in 2008 (and 2012) wasn’t that the whackaloon pyschotic base didn’t turn out, it’s that there were too many different candidates from which to choose. Especially in 2012, where a lot of people stood up for a doomed candidacy simply for the soapbox it gave them. This time out, you may see some of the marginal candidates like Huckabee and Santorum give up much earlier, which will make it easier for the whackaloon psychotics to rally around a single flagbearer.

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Here’s the thing about Cruz, though: he’s DEEPLY unlikeable. And I’m not even talking about his policies. EVERYONE hates him. Even his ideological allies. And that holds true for anyone who’s heard him speak. So Gingrich probably is a suitable comparison.

He’s only just now getting to the point where a large audience will hear him talk, and furthermore, I don’t believe he’ll be able to go through the media attention of a campaign without a few Romney-esque moments of obnoxiousness. (And Romney’s obnoxiousness was “just” clueless privilege. Cruz’s has a note of outright mean-spiritedness.)

In the last few decades, the more likeable, have-a-beer-with candidate has always won the general. You can maybe make an argument about Bush Sr. but even then, he was up against the equally pencil-necked Dukakis. If Cruz lands the nomination, Hillary (who for a variety of reasons is not exactly a lovable candidate) will be up against someone who makes her look like a cuddly grandma. I wish this wasn’t such a major factor, but yeah, it is.

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@Cyrus: GWB was liked enough by the religious wackaloons, especially compared to McCain, who let’s not forget was a presumptive frontrunner in 2000 for a while. Bush had to fight super-dirty to pull ahead of him in the primaries. No, he wasn’t the go-to religious loon candidate but he was close enough for (ha ha) government work.

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@Cyrus: Yeah, I agree about Bush vs. Clinton being Hillary’s best bet for getting elected and have been ruminating on this for some time. It’s a deeply depressing situation, because I also think they’re right when they say it will be the lowest-turnout election ever — and that could, possibly, maybe let Jeb win anyway.

My preferred analogy for the situation is that supporting Hillary feels like rooting for the Patriots. This works on an amusing number of levels.

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Anonymous said on March 23rd, 2015 at 11:46 pm

Cruz won’t win the nomination. Listen, it’s all well and good to talk about the power of the base, but at some point, you need to have SOME kind of insider backing, if not actual big-money backing, to get the nomination. And Cruz’s problem is that everyone in the Republican Party hates him for screwing things up.

The other problem he has, I think, is that he’s not actually that much more appealing to the base than Scott Walker is, whereas Walker is much more acceptable to the establishment. On the other hand Walker seems to be an idiot, unlike Cruz. But I think that probably matters somewhat less.

Well, anyway, the specter of a Walker presidency is hardly less terrifying than that of a Cruz presidency.

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He didn’t think to buy tedcruz.com before announcing it, though.

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mygif

Okay, you have a lot of good points and a few misreadings in here, MGK.

We talk a lot about how Obama’s victories in 2008 and 2012 over John McCain and Mitt Romney were mudhole-stompings and about the new Democratic coalition and demographic truths and what have you, but the truth is Obama only won each of those elections by a few percentage points.

I’m not sure why you think your latter point serves as a rebuttal to the former one.

The absolute ceiling of support for any modern American Presidential candidate is around 55%, which Obama achieved in 2008. It was less in 2012, but it was still above 50%, which is enough to qualify as “a curbstomping.” It is entirely possible to win by only a few percentage points and still be having a blowout if it means you were winning an enormous amount of the votes actually in play.

The two biggest postwar Presidential blowouts were Reagan in ’84 and Johnson in ’64. Both of those were only 60/40 splits.

Now, granted, Bush or Walker – probably only one of them becomes the GOP money wing’s candidate, and I would bet on Bush because Walker’s money and popularity is in much more direct competition with Cruz – will try to outspend Cruz and win the primaries that way, and of course it might well work.

The way this ends up working, I think is this: if the banksters back Walker, he wins. If they back Jeb, he loses to a snake-handler.

Jeb is, no doubt, the favorite of the banksters right now. The biggest priority of the banksters is someone who is good for business. By which I mean, someone who will facilitate their continued looting of the country in as painless and quiet a way as possible. That means keeping the culture war at a simmer, not a boil. It means no pie-in-the-sky insanity like auditing the Fed or a for-real push to get back on the gold standard. They want a known quantity, someone they trust.

Jeb Bush is that man right down to his toes. The problem is that he has that toxic Bush name and he has a long, long list of problematic actions that can be hung around his neck due to having an actual political career.

The snake-handlers have been growing in power for years and years now. They’re itching to put in another Goldwater, a true believer. And believe you me, they never stop harping on the fact that Goldwater’s nomination and the takeover of the Republican Party by his acolytes got them Reagan fifteen years later. They’ve been getting angrier and angrier every time the banksters steal a march on them, and their power grows while that of the banksters diminishes, because the banksters are not actually all that good at inspiring passion at ground-level.

Moreover, the snake-handlers control the early calendar. They REALLY control it. If Bush is the big money boys candidate, here is how that plays out: he gets utterly ruined in Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada and South Carolina, we’re talking a strong third place at best. And after those states the calendar heads for the deep south, what’s being called the “SEC Primary.” The story will be all about his complete lack of momentum. He’ll implode, and a snake-handler will finish him off.

If the banksters are smart, they get behind Scott Walker, the Goggle-Eyed Homunculus himself. Walker has a lot of drawbacks, the fact that he’s not personable and is apparently weak at retail being the foremost among them. But Walker is liked and trusted by the snake-handlers in a way that Jeb is not and can never be, and he has a wonderful narrative, which is “won re-election a bunch of times in a blue state by being a crazy man and really stuck it to all those liberals.” Base loves that, it validates everything about their own beliefs. But Walker has also proven he can be bought-and-paid for, that he won’t actually rock the boat in unacceptable ways. Walker isn’t going to actually try and abolish the IRS or bring the Senate to a halt for months on end pushing useless and unconstitutional gay-bashing legislation when he could be cutting taxes and union-busting on a national level.

If the money men are smart, they back Walker, not Jeb. Walker has enough crossover appeal and a non-toxic enough family name to not draw dead against Cruz or any other snake-handler. Jeb does not.

Finally, something that has to be noted in any discussion about the GOP primary: unlike the Democratic Primary, which is structured around proportional allocation of delegates because sometimes the Democratic Party actually doesn’t suck, the GOP primaries are winner-take-all; you assemble a plurality, you get all of the delegates, all of them. This is the only reason Mitt Romney got the nomination; the not-Romneys won a lot of states with a collecting 60+ percent of the vote, but Romney had the plurality and so got all the delegates.

This dramatically weights the calendar towards someone who 1) isn’t having their votes siphoned off by other people trying to crowd their niche, allowing them to assemble a plurality much more easily, and 2) whose chose segment of the GOP electorate has dominant numbers in the early calendar, letting them build momentum.

Said early calendar is dominated by libertarian enclaves and the deep south.

So, yeah.

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mygif

Sadly, I think Murc is right. Hillary could very easily loose to Walker. She’ll trounce Bush or Cruz. Cruz is Latino, but he’s Cuban, and most American Latinos aren’t. They’re Mexican, Colombian or from other central American countries. The Cubans are largely in Florida. And Florida is still an important state, but more and more, the second generation Cubans there are trending liberalish, and like things like the noises that Obama’s been making regarding more normal relations with Cuba. They know Castro’s on the way out, and once he (and his brother) join the Choir Invisible, that Cuba will stop being communist.

Also, people have a fond memory of the Clintons of the 90’s. Hillary’s going to have some trouble. People who hate her, really hate her. But they weren’t going to vote for the dem no matter what anyway, and how much or how little you like the candidate you vote for just doesn’t matter. Having tepid support of 51% of the electors is better than having rabid support from 49%. It just is. At the end of the (election) day, what matters is how big a coalition you can make, not how batshit crazy they are how much they love you. Just that the love you just enough to say, “Meh” and pick you. I think Walker might be able to get 50.1% to say “Meh.”

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mygif

One thing I don’t think has been pointed out is that “being on the right team” only matters in the general. The Republican primary gets really nasty (John McCain has a black baby!) and the base doesn’t forget about that when the general comes along. That doesn’t mean that the base will vote Democrat, but it does mean that it will be harder to mobilize.

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Re: nominating whackaloons: the big counterexample is 1980, in which the whackaloon won the primary and then the general too. God knows Reagan wouldn’t be on the whackaloon right of the GOP these days (:S) but he was certainly the outlier in the primary he actually fought (GHWB? Harold Stassen? Bob Dole, for goodness’ sakes?)

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mygif

This whole thing is sad for the sense that it makes.

God damn, I just want to GOP to implode already. As of now my only hope for their future lies in Charles Baker, the MA governor who is the next best shot we have at seeing a moderate Republican on the national stage.

But yeah…shaping up to be another year of voting for a fictional character, or at least a third party candidate who isn’t completely batshit.

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Watched clips of his speech, changed my mind. The man can’t win because he’s too punchable. He has a resting bitchface, specifically the kind of sneer that makes him look like he’s running for President so he can foreclose on the Goonies’ homes, and he can’t get the condescending tone out of his voice or body language. He looks like he’s talking down to everyone, and that whole “guy you’d like to get a beer with” thing, while overestimated, holds some truth.

As always, Terry Pratchett said it best: The man’s got charisn’tma.

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Here’s the bullet points of what he says his presidency will be like:
1. College graduates are getting half a dozen job offers
2. Regulators and tax collectors are “kept at bay”
3. The country would be energy self-sufficient
4. Obamacare would be repealed, but there would be health care that was “portable” and affordable
5. The IRS would be abolished
6. Borders are secure
7. Gun rights are protected
8. The “sacrament of marriage” would be upheld
9. Common Core would be no more
10. “School choice” would be “the civil rights issue of the next generation”
11. The U.S. would stand “unapologetically with Israel”
12. Iran wouldn’t be allowed to get a nuclear weapon
13. The U.S. would “stand up and defeat Islamic terrorism — and we will call it by its name.”

I think he missed offering me a pony or a dinosaur to ride. Also, he’s clearly batshit from this list. The dogwhistles are loud enough that anyone can hear them.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 25th, 2015 at 11:50 am

Ted Cruz’ chances of winning the Presidency should he win the election are low.

Huh? Not following that. Cruz wins the election (for President, presumably) but doesn’t win the Presidency?

there are plenty of Dem voters who might grudgingly check their ballots for her but aren’t wildly thrilled to vote for her

Yup. I’ll vote against her opponent, but not for her.

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mygif

Well, if we’re talking Hilary, her problem is that her base of support is broad but not deep. Her vote on the Iraq War hurt her more than was immediately apparent, because it strongly reinforced the Left’s perception of the Clintons as people who fundamentally either didn’t believe in or didn’t have the courage to stand up for liberal ideals. To this day, liberals believe that if it comes down to a fight over a point of liberal principle, Hilary will cave. So when she gets a challenger on the left who seems like they can win, Hilary’s support evaporates.

There is also sexism there, because sexism is hard to get rid of, but let me put it this way: Michelle Obama announces her candidacy tomorrow, I’m throwing Hilary to the side of the road and never looking back. :)

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@John Seavey

Yeah — a lot of people want Elizabeth Warren to run, but she seems to be convinced she’s inelectable vs. Hillary, that it would just be a vicious, brutal bloodbath, and is waiting a cycle.

This is a shame, but probably wise; I’d be horrified by a Republican winning in 2016 but if they do, Warren 2020 will probably be the first female president.

My personal favorite off-the-wall female candidate is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, aka ‘President for Life.’ In that she’s unlikely to run for re-election because of certain corporeal concerns. Obviously she’s not going to resign her seat and run, but I wish she would.

I’d also pay good money to watch Oprah derail the Hillary train. It would be a beatdown, and then Oprah would be president, because none of these Republican dudes could hope to match her. Unfortunately I think Oprah values her happiness too much, like most sensible people. President isn’t a fun job.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 26th, 2015 at 11:09 am

@John Seavey:

Michelle Obama announces her candidacy tomorrow, I’m throwing Hilary to the side of the road and never looking back. :)

Double :)

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mygif

“Yeah — a lot of people want Elizabeth Warren to run, but she seems to be convinced she’s inelectable vs. Hillary, that it would just be a vicious, brutal bloodbath, and is waiting a cycle.”

From what I’m hearing, people want Warren to run simply to get the issues into the discussion (meaning the issues that Hilary would likely avoid). Doing so, however, would be folly, as she’d likely get crushed. I’m not seeing how she WOULDN’T get crushed.

Waiting a term is her best option, IMO.

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mygif

I’m pretty sure that Warren doesn’t have a chance against HRC in the primary, due to the imbalance in funding, name recognition, and resumes, for starters. But it’s interesting to imagine her in a hypothetical election without HRC. And I do mean interesting – being a Massachusetts liberal has its disadvantages, but probably not as much as it did way back when. And on the plus side, giving the left an all-too-rare reason to be enthusiastic might make a difference. Who knows.

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As far as MA politics goes, I’m hoping that Charles Baker does a decent job as Governor. He’s one of the last hopes for a return of something approximating reason to the GOP, and his prominence as a Rep Governor of a blue state would get him on a strong public footing against Cruz and the like.

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William Burns said on March 27th, 2015 at 7:07 am

The polls do not actually show Cruz as the favorite of the Republican base. This whole piece is somewhat low on empirical evidence.

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mygif

I am no Nate Silver but I reckon any candidate for either of the main two parties will struggle to poll below 45% of the popular vote no matter who they are or what they say. *The* battle is for the nomination, after that you are fighting for a very small number of swing/undecided voters ‘cos so many people seem to vote “party” and not “candidate” in the US and nothing – but nothing – seems like it will change that.

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Sean D. Martin said on March 27th, 2015 at 11:33 am

@zippy8: after that you are fighting for a very small number of swing/undecided voters

Yeah. It really is sad that ultimately it really all comes down to a very small segment of the population this is the least engaged part.

Those “swing” voters tend to be the ones who don’t pay any attention to elections and candidates until he actual election is imminent, and then make an almost spur-of-the-moment decision.

Between that and it all really depending on a few counties in Ohio, Pennsylvania and (maybe) Florida, our elections really get decided by almost literally a handful of people.

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Sisyphus said on March 27th, 2015 at 2:21 pm

Actually, it’s not even “swing” voters. “Independent” voters are really partisans in all but name. Almost all of them vote for the same party in each election. Given the demographic realities of the U.S., the real issue has to do with turnout. The minorities and youth that vote Dem don’t go out of their way to vote like the aging white men who vote GOP.

That’s the real issue in the U.S., and why all those laws that make it just a little harder to vote are so important to the GOP. It’s not voter fraud. It’s not to ensure that only citizen’s vote (and by the way, that’s a pretty poor dogwhistle argument for “only white folks.”)

http://www.electproject.org/national-1789-present

That shows the data. Interestingly, the “Republican tsunami” of 2014 was the result of the lowest voter turnout since 1926.

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mygif

Some random points:

1) Ted Cruz is Latino to the same degree Taco Bell is Mexican food. The GOP will crow about it as a sign of their progress, but it’s a non-factor for Latino voters (who voted for Bush because Bush actually tried to attract their vote by considering what was important to them).

2) Does anyone else think Hilary’s “Maybe I’ll Run, Maybe I Won’t” strategy is getting too dragged out at this point? I’d love for Warren or someone to step up, and the Dems tell HRC “sorry, we want a more decisive leader”.

3) Sad thing about Jeb is that there’s some consensus that he would’ve made a better president than W., but the brand name is too damaged now.

4) The Dems held the office for two terms. History indicates the Reps will win next (Reagan/Bush was an outlier). On the upside, this trend could also likely result in a Democratic controlled Congress. On the downside, a Democratic controlled Congress supported W.’s War on Terror, so…..

5) I’d be curious to see if the big money folks in the GOP donate less or more this time around. I speculate more than a few of them looked at their options in 2012 and said “Romney’s my best option, and his odds suck”. On the flipside, even a billionaire has to look at dropping tens of millions in support of a failed candidate as a losing prospect, so I wonder if the Koch brothers and others will hang back this time.

6) I’m with MGK: winning by a few percent more than the other guy is not a smashing victory. But in this game, it sure does seem like it. I think it’s a “stakes to numbers” situation: when something is really, really important to a person, even a small win (or loss) is a huge deal. And there’s also perceived issues of being the underdog, or outspent by the other side, etc. The psychology of the observers, combined with the backstory of the actual competition, inflate the impact of a small number. Kinda’ like how the Patriots crushed the Seahawks in the Superbowl… by 4 points.

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socraticsilence said on April 11th, 2015 at 1:19 pm

It should be noted that while Cruz’s ethnicity may shield him in the GOP Primary (especially given he’s anti-DREAM and basically any other workable immigration reform– contrasting him with say Rubio who would be a scarier general election candidate) it doesn’t mean he’ll get a meaningful segment of the Latino vote– the sheer hypocrisy of a the child of a Cuban immigrant (for non-US readers, Cuban immigrants have a unique immigration status– one foot dry, essentially if you make landfall you can stay and begin the process to citizenship–a relic of Cold War politics) chastising immigrant communities not lucky enough to get a free pass doesn’t exactly play well.

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mygif

@buzz: Teddy Krayzee is still a Canadian citizen last I checked, and if he did have his birth registered, where’s the FS-240 to prove it?

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