General Question

flo's avatar

How does the constitution allow a Trump or Carson to run for president?

Asked by flo (13313points) December 9th, 2015

You can’t be promoting hate if you are trying to be president of a company etc but as a president you can? How do you explain that to a child?

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16 Answers

Jackiavelli's avatar

Just because left-wingers think his rhetoric is hateful, doesn’t mean it actually is. Furthermore, hate speech is protected under the first amendment. Companies are privately owned. That is why a site like fluther is allowed to limit freedom of speech. Part of fluther rules is no “Hateful, abusive, or bigoted” Politics, however, is public. A speech that isn’t protected is one that calls of an immediate act of violence.

Cruiser's avatar

You tell the child that anyone who wants to become the president of America must be a natural born United States citizen who is at least 35 years old and who has lived as a resident of the US for 14 years and that means even you can be President and leave it at that.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I don’t mind the hateful aspects of Trump’s tirades. I don’t even mind his ability to stampede frightened people. I might add that it’s a mistake to categorize his little jewels as right wing rabble rousing. My complaint is more about the inanities pouring out of his mouth, the bulk of which are clearly impossible fantasies. Most of the “charm’ his followers derive from the man amount to “that’s tellin em Don”. When you step back and consider such stuff as the Mexican financed wall spanning the entirety of our Southern border or the restricting of civil liberties based on religious and ethnic traits, it’s rather clear that none of the nonsense he spouts is even remotely plausible. It is as though Trump is deliberately setting out to parody right wing absurdities. It’s a mockery that is ABSOLUTELY beating the shit out of the Republican brand, and his mainline Republican companions see his foolishness for what it is, The rush is now on to shun and disavow the blustering pariah, and each denouncement only raises his numbers. It really is delightful to watch as the his competition roils in agony as the Donald employs Republican tactics to stew them in what amounts to their own juices.

Cruiser's avatar

@stanleybmanly Replace Obama with Trump and Democrat with Republican in your comment and you have exactly what I was saying back in the 2007/08 primaries about Barry. It’s a coin toss if a Trump Presidency could make American out to be more of a fool than Obama has.

Strauss's avatar

It’s not so much that the Constitution allows folks like Trump or Carson to run, as it is that the Constitution does not prohibit them from running. Mr. Trump and Mr. Carson are over age 35, have been residents of the US (presumably) for fourteen years or more, and both are natural-born citizens of the US (again presumably, Trump has yet to release his birth certificate).

ibstubro's avatar

Intelligence is not a requirement for a US Presidential candidate.

Sadly, money is. The more, the better chance of success.

Cruiser's avatar

@Yetanotheruser No one is contesting whether the Donald was born in the US…the controversy is over where his hair came from. Birthers are adamant his hair came from Indonesia and disqualifies him from running.

jerv's avatar

As has been pointed out above, there are only three constitutional requirements for being President, and both Trump and Carson pass on all three eligibility tests. Those requirements are pretty simple too; simple enough that most kids should be able to answer by the time they are six.

1) Are they natural-born US citizens? – Unlike McCain or Cruz, there is no need to explain things like “birthright citizenship” or other related complications like the citizenship of the parents. You can simplify this to, “Were they born in the United States?” and skip the complicated part if the answer is “Yes”.
Most children learn about states pretty early on and that New York and Michigan are states that are part of the United States, so anyone who knows where Trump and Carson were born would get the answer to this one. Unless their parents are birthers who think Hawaii is not part of the US, but I digress.

2) Have they lived in the US for 14 years or more? – This one may throw those young enough to still count on their fingers and not know what comes after ten, but aside from the possibility that fourteen is too big a number for them to totally understand, it’s pretty simple.

3) Are they over the age of 35? – Possibly the hardest one to explain to a small child, but very easy to grasp for those that have learned numbers up to 100.

So basically, any kid who has managed to pass the first grade should be able to understand the constitutional requirements. The other requirements are mostly a matter of filing the appropriate paperwork and such, but there are no actual restrictions aside from those three.

It’s worth noting that there are no laws saying that a candidate loses eligibility for election upon becoming deceased either. In fact, there is plenty of precedent for deceased candidates winning elections. True, it often leads to special elections being held in order to replace them with a living, breathing person ASAP, but that is a matter of non-constitutional law. Our founding fathers lacked the foresight to explicitly prohibit the deceased from becoming President when they wrote the US Constitution, and all laws aimed at plugging that loophole were never turned into an actual duly ratified constitutional amendment.

Now that the answer is out of the way, I wish to address a couple of comments.

@Jackiavelli A case could be made that Trump is inciting violence though, or at least is complicit enough with it to warrant scrutiny above and beyond what any public and/or political figure endures. The validity of that case is irrelevant as the court of public opinion has a different set of laws from the US criminal justice system anyways, but given the recent upswing in anti-Muslim violence here in the US, it’s possible that we’ll have new laws soon anyways that may alter the legal definition of “imminent”. As if Treyvon Martin and other fairly recent shootings didn’t already raise a few questions in that area.

The fact that Islamist terrorism and anti-Muslim violence are prominent issues that WILL be addressed only muddies the waters when it comes to what the laws are and what they may be in the future regarding certain types of behavior, with all the implications that has regarding criminal liability. Even WBC’s tapdancing act didn’t really cover it; Snyder v. Phelps may prevent prosecution for making people cry by talking about public issues on public property, but to my knowledge there has been no such ruling for those situations where blood is shed instead of tears. I somehow suspect that SCOTUS would’ve decided a little differently had the WBC exceeded their constitutional right to peaceably assemble and commenced some beatings.

@stanleybmanly The comparison between Donald Trump and Steven Colbert is not entirely without merit, but if that’s what is really going on then I think Trump is the greatest actor that ever lived. The fact that so many Americans take Trump at face value is kind of scary though, and I sincerely think that we need to put the same safeguards in place against them than we have to protect from ISIS.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Unfortunately “saying shit I don’t like” is not constitutionally a disqualifier for the office of POTUS.

elbanditoroso's avatar

These guys are American citizens over the age of 35. (except Cruz, who is Canadian)

That’s all you need. Intelligence, politeness, or even honesty – are not requirements. (remember Warren G Harding and Richard M Nixon)

Rarebear's avatar

If you do not think the Constitution should allow “a Trump or Carson” to run for President, what do you think the Constitution should “allow”?

jerv's avatar

@elbanditoroso Cruz may have been born in Canada, but his mother was born in Delaware. By birthright, the child of a natural-born US citizen is legally a natural-born US citizen regardless of where they were born or the citizenship of the other parent. That was actually settled in 1790, shortly after the US even became a thing.

The fact that the Birther Battalion hasn’t jumped on Cruz and McCain the way they go after Obama only shows that many Conservatives are blatant hypocrites.

Love_my_doggie's avatar

The Constitution allows these men to run for the presidency. Common sense will prevent them from attaining that goal.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Yeah that always works!

Pachy's avatar

The danger that Trump poses is not that so much that he is inconsistent or untruthful or that he lacks a coherent philosophy. It is that he is the reductio ad absurdum of our politics. He is the crude reality TV entertainer, turned leader—without politics, just anger. He is not a Republican or a Conservative—not that it matters to him or his followers. He is a budding fascist using his performance art to mobilize “a monster” that may devour us all.

Strauss's avatar

@Pachy I’m glad to see I’m not the only one who has been thinking about Trump in terms of the “F” word. I think it was Robert Kennedy who once said that Fascism is control of government by business; Communism is control of business by government; capitalism is the narrow path between.

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