NEW YORK – Donald Trump’s attack on Sen. Ted Cruz’s presidential eligibility is a calculated strategy to take the Texas senator “off message” in an effort to help Trump regain the front-runner position in Iowa, says Oxford Business School senior fellow Theodore Roosevelt Malloch.
“It’s fundamental in presidential campaign politics that you want to attack your opponent in order to force the debate onto terms where you believe you have an advantage,” Malloch explained to WND.
“Presidential candidates forced to defend their positions are losing, simply because they have to spend time recovering lost ground,” he stressed. “Winning candidates stay on theme, advancing their agenda for change, giving the voters a vision that inspires favorable reactions.
Malloch said, “Every moment Cruz spends explaining why being born in Canada does not disqualify him from being president is time lost.”
Trump poised to attack Rubio eligibility
“What makes Trump’s strategy even more effective is that the natural born citizen debate is confusing, even to legal scholars,” Malloch said. “As far as the average voter is concerned, the ‘natural born citizen’ argument is virtually incomprehensible, a complete waste of time.”
Malloch said Trump’s natural instinct to attack makes him an ideal candidate to challenge Cruz on eligibility. If Rubio begins to rise in the polls in either Iowa or New Hampshire, Malloch predicted Trump would begin attacking Rubio on his Article 2, Section 1 eligibility as well.
Rubio was born in 1971 in the United States to parents who were Cuban at the time of his birth.
A Reuters/Ipsos poll on Friday found that 25 percent of Republicans think Cruz is not eligible to be president because he was born in Canada to an American mother, with 27 percent of all voters and 28 percent of independents agreeing.
Trump spoke directly to Cruz about the issue during the GOP debate Thursday in South Carolina.
“I already know the Democrats are going to be bringing a suit,” he told his Republican rival. “You have a big lawsuit over your head while you’re running, and if you become the nominee, who the hell knows if you can even serve in office? So you should go out, get a declaratory judgment, let the courts decide.”
WND reported Houston attorney Newton Boris Schwartz Sr. filed a 28-page complaint Thursday in federal court in Houston asking to resolve the controversy over the definition of the term “natural born citizen.” The complaint, noting there is no U.S. Supreme Court decision or precedent, emphasized that time is of the essence, with the Iowa caucus scheduled Feb. 1.
Rubio also is fighting an eligibility challenge. The case was filed in Florida state court by Fort Lauderdale, Florida, resident Michael Voeltz, a car salesman and a registered Democrat. The complaint argues Rubio was born May 28, 1971, some four years before his parents were granted U.S. citizenship.
Malloch’s advice is consistent with textbook political science.
“One of the reasons candidates go to great length to organize their campaign is to exercise maximum influence over its coverage by the news media,” write political scientists George C. Edwards III and Stephen J. Wayne in their classic textbook, “Presidential Leadership: Politics and Policy Making,” now in its ninth edition. “They wish that coverage to be on their agenda, issues, and policy positions, not the items that the media designated for the entertainment or interest of their audience.”
Trump as Theodore Roosevelt
Writing in Forbes, Malloch, a descendant of President Theodore Roosevelt, argued that Trump “is perhaps best viewed as the 21st century Theodore Roosevelt.”
“The two leaders have much in common – from style and swagger to substance and outlook,” Malloch wrote. “The last century would not have bent along the American arc were it not for our unexpected president, and this century may not go our way without the likes of a Trump. There would be no Panama Canal, no national parks, no trust-busting without Roosevelt. There will be no changes in Washington without the likes of a Trump.”
Malloch argued Trump is “a democratic capitalist” who wants everyone to benefit from its riches. Like Theodore Roosevelt, he “extols the strenuous life, a work ethic and the virtues of spiritual capital.”
Malloch presents an insider’s view of the Davos World Economic Forum in Chapter 9 of his 2016 memoir, “Davos Aspen & Yale: My Life Behind the Elite Curtain as a Global Sherpa,” published by WND Books.
In 1990, Klaus Schwab, the founder and CEO of the World Economic Forum, recruited Malloch to serve on the WEF’s executive committee, taking responsibility for the organization and management of the annual Davos summit, a job Malloch did for years.
Malloch is sanguine in his evaluation of Schwab’s World Economic Forum.
“Today Davos is synonymous with a different kind of cult,” he wrote. “It is the cult of business celebrity.
“Elites from every avenue of life, every industry, every country, leaders and wannabes, will do anything to be seen there, especially during the last week of January, when the World Economic Forum conducts its annual meeting.”
Malloch is a Christian conservative whose expertise in both his academic endeavors and his business career has centered on the theme of “spiritual capital,” arguing that business and government in a global economy must retain an ethical compass to be truly successful.
Malloch is a senior fellow in management practice at the Said Business School at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. He is founder and CEO of the Roosevelt Group, a thought leadership and strategy firm.