Another presidential election cycle is spinning up, and some people seem to be having flashbacks to 2008.
No, not because Barack Obama is in the news again, although it’s probably just a matter of time before he sticks his nose in the race. Though the former president has for the time being retired to Hawaii, the “birthers” have once again come out of the woodwork for the 2020 election.
That issue, of course, became a minor controversy a decade ago after some on the right, including future President Donald Trump, questioned Obama’s eligibility to hold the White House.
The 44th president was plagued by questions about where he was actually born and whether his Hawaii birth certificate was genuine, with both honest journalists and tinfoil-hat conspiracy theorists entering the fray.
Now it’s happening again, but not to Obama. After California Democrat Kamala Harris confirmed long-anticipated speculation that she will run for president, some fringe voices launched a “birther” movement directed at her.
“Harris announced her candidacy on Jan. 21,” reported PolitFact. “The following morning, Jacob Wohl … who has been described by media outlets as a ‘far-right conspiracy theorist’ — questioned whether Harris was eligible to run.”
You might not have heard of Wohl, but he has a significant following online. His verified Twitter account, for example, has close to 200,000 followers, and one of his tweets questioning Harris’ eligibility received over 1.6 million impressions, according to stats he shared.
Kamala Harris is NOT eligible to be President. Her father arrived from Jamaica in 1961—mother from India arrived in 1960
Neither parent was a legal resident for 5 years prior to Harris’s birth, a requirement for naturalization
Kamala was raised in Canada
— Jacob Wohl (@JacobAWohl) January 22, 2019
“Kamala Harris is NOT eligible to be President,” Wohl declared in a much-talked about tweet. “Her father arrived from Jamaica in 1961—mother from India arrived in 1960.”
“Neither parent was a legal resident for 5 years prior to Harris’s birth, a requirement for naturalization,” he continued. “Kamala was raised in Canada.”
That’s certainly interesting… but is it true?
It appears not. The central claim against Harris — that she wasn’t an American citizen when she was born and is thus ineligible to run for president — has been disproved by several solid sources, not to mention the Constitution and the U.S. Supreme Court.
“Kamala Harris was born in Oakland, California, which is, was, and presumably will be in the United States of America. End of story,” a Harris campaign spokesman told PolitiFact.
Some people may not like it, but that seems to be exactly right.
“No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President,” the U.S. Constitution says.
Even if Harris’ parents weren’t yet citizens when she was born, the fact that she was delivered in California renders the question moot.
“(A)ll persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside,” the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution makes clear.
Indeed, this is something that conservatives have recently acknowledged as one of the causes of widespread illegal immigration, with so-called “anchor babies” instantly receiving citizenship if they’re born on U.S. soil. Again, the right may not like it, but it’s there in plain English.
“If you are born in the U.S, you are automatically a natural-born U.S. citizen under the constitution,” Harvard Law Professor Einer Elhauge confirmed to PolitiFact, pointing to an 1898 Supreme Court decision as another piece of evidence.
When a claim is nothing but baloney, it should be called out as such, no matter who said it. We have no choice but to differ with Jacob Wohl and say that barring smoking-gun evidence otherwise, Kamala Harris is clearly eligible to run for president.
She just shouldn’t win.
The reason for that, however, has nothing to do with her parents and everything to do with her political views. A breakdown of the candidate’s positions on the issues makes it clear that she’s yet another California liberal who needs to keep her broken policies away from America’s future.
She supports crippling environmental regulations, like the Paris climate deal, which would transfer huge amounts of money from the United States to countries like China and India while impacting our economy.
She demands free college education, while like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez giving vague answers about how to pay for it. It’s the same for her proposed “Medicare for all” government-run healthcare.
She stands against the Second Amendment and wants to ban standard magazines widely used in sporting rifles, not to mention making the ownership of those rifles illegal.
She’s pro-abortion and anti-border wall, having made comments hinting at dismantling Immigration and Customs Enforcement. On and on the list goes.
A sort of Obama-lite who parrots liberal talking points isn’t what the country needs. But instead of questioning her lineage, we instead look forward to watching her be fairly defeated the American way: by the people, making their voices heard on election day.
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