Super Tuesday is finally here, and Presidential candidates in both parties are battling for votes in a dozen states.
On the Democrat side of the equation Hillary Clinton should all but put away Bernie Sanders thanks to the way the Democrat Party has rigged their contests (and her current 543-to-85 delegate lead), while things are a bit more competitive on the Republican side.
Ted Cruz is fighting especially hard, and is hammering both Donald Trump and Marco Rubio on their Second Amendment records.
At a rally here Sunday night and a day earlier in Georgia, Cruz singled out his two rivals for what he called their past support for banning firearms.
“I will not compromise your Second Amendment right to keep and bear arms,” the U.S. senator from Texas told supporters. “You know, it’s worth noting my two leading competitors have both previously supported banning firearms. Donald Trump supported Bill Clinton’s nationwide ban on many of the most popular firearms in America, and Marco Rubio, when he was on the city council in West Miami, voted to ban firearms in public parks. Let me tell you this: There is no universe in which I would ever support banning guns because I believe in the Second Amendment.”
Cruz’s criticism of Rubio centers on a resolution from 1999 that urged the Florida Legislature “to prohibit firearms in county or municipal parks, recreational facilities, or playgrounds, which are locations where children frequently congregate.” With Rubio present, the West Miami City Commission unanimously approved the resolution, according to minutes from its March 3, 1999, meeting.
Cruz’s remarks about Trump, meanwhile, stem from Trump’s 2000 book “The America We Deserve.” In it, the billionaire critiques “extreme” stances of both parties on gun control and takes a more moderate position than he’s offered on the campaign trail.
“The Republicans walk the NRA line and refuse even limited restrictions,” he wrote. “I generally oppose gun control, but I support the ban on assault weapons and I also support a slightly longer waiting period to purchase a gun.”
I don’t know that Rubio’s decision to support a ban on guns in parks and on playgrounds is going to dissuade many people from supporting him, but Trump’s support for banning an entire class of firearms in common use and for waiting periods is a legitimate concern. Trump has a well-documented history of changing his positions and even parties (five times since 1987, to three different parties) based upon not any firm principles, but on what appeared to benefit him the most at any given moment. Put bluntly, Trump can’t be trusted on gun rights.
Ultimately, I don’t think Cruz’s attacks on his top two rivals for their Second Amendment stances are going to swing a critical number of voters—not enough to swing races in any of the states being contested today—but it might firmly establish him as the best Second Amendment candidate among the “top three,” which he clearly already is based upon being a legitimate “gun nut,” hunter, and staunch defender of the Second Amendment in court with his amicus brief in Heller.