Columnists of the world unite! But first let's get our facts straight. On Thursday last on these pages columnist Dana Milbank begins with the assumption that Hillary Clinton has no opposition in her run for the Democratic nomination for president in 2016. Then Milbank goes on for an entire column lining up proposed opponents not yet in the race, starting with Vice President Joe Biden.
By the time you read this Mr. Biden may have said yea or nay. Sen. Bernie Sanders has already said yea, and is drawing huge crowds. He may very well take the New Hampshire Primary according to the polls. But the columnist from The Washington Post seems to have missed that report.
Other Democrats already in the race include former Baltimore Mayor and former Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley. He is in the race and looking for air time on the Sunday shows.
Others who have filed include former Virginia Sen. and former Secretary Of The Navy Jim Webb. He has the credentials for the presidency but is not yet moving the needle in the polls. The most unlikely announced candidate thus far is former Rhode Island Gov. and Sen. Lincoln Chaffee.
There are steadfast Clinton supporters in the party, but there is also a growing body of Democratic voters who believe Clinton is damaged goods thanks to the steady drumbeat of attacks from the Republicans and her own missteps on the campaign trail. The attacks against her are mostly false and/or irrelevant, but as they say, "Give a dog (or a candidate) a bad name. ..."
A single strong alternate candidate could very well unseat Mrs. Clinton from her high horse as the preselected candidate. Obama did just that in 2008. But with two or more strong candidates in opposition the vote could split three ways and make her selection a certainty and a Republican president possible. For example If her opponents are Sanders and Biden I look for 30 percent for Sanders, 30 percent for Biden, and 40 percent for Clinton.
Beyond Biden, the Milbank list of possible nominees is quite incredible. For example Elizabeth Warren has been asked many times and has said "no" with no reservations every time. Al Gore and John Kerry have been there before and would not like the humiliation of another defeat. The rest lack national stature.
We already have four candidates officially running for the presidency on the Democratic side. Milbank's view that we need more falls of its own weight. Perhaps it was a slow news day when he wrote his column.
On the Republican side I am puzzled by one entry. Sen. Ted Cruz was born in Canada with an American mother and a Cuban father. Therefore he was at birth a citizen of Canada. The Constitution is pretty clear on this point in Article II: "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of at the time of adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President ... ."
This passage says nothing about the citizenship of one's parents. You have to be born here. Reportedly the reason for this rule was to prevent some English nobleman from coming to the United States, establishing residency here, and ultimately running for president.
It is unlikely that Ted Cruz will be the Republican nominee. If he is chosen then a challenge to his right to run based on Article II will surely be mounted.
A more likely candidate, Donald Trump, has an opposite problem. He and others in the Republican field want to deport so-called "anchor babies" born here of non-citizen parents. The 14th Amendment, Section 1 is clear on this point also. It begins: "All citizens born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and the State wherein they reside."
Again parenthood or parent motivation doesn't matter. Born here means citizen here.
Some Republican politicians make a big show of carrying a printed copy of the Constitution in their pocket. Perhaps they should read pertinent passages to their corps of candidates now and then.