I have been preoccupied these past few days with personal medical issues that have drawn my attention away from the political scene, so it was with some surprise, indeed astonishment, that I discovered that while I had, as it were, been away, the Republican Party had taken a large step toward self-immolation. I refer, of course, to the burgeoning support, among contenders for the Republican nomination, for repeal of that portion of the Fourteenth Amendment that grants automatic citizenship to anyone born in the United States.
For those whose knowledge of the Constitution, like mine, is sketchy at best, here is the relevant text:
Section 1. All 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. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.
The aim is to deny citizenship to Hispanic children of undocumented [or indeed documented but not naturalized] residents.
It was Donald Trump who brought this idea to prominence by advancing it during his helicopter interview with MSNBC's Chuck Todd, and one by one, other contenders for the nomination have been getting on board. Short of calling for concentration camps and instant mass deportations, it is difficult to think of a proposal better calculated to depress the Hispanic Republican vote below the dismal 23% of the 2012 election. This will, I should imagine, strengthen the already widespread paranoid belief that Trump is actually a modern-day Manchurian candidate, foisted on the Republicans by crafty Clinton operatives to drive them mad and guarantee Hillary's election.
On the other hand, as one commentator to a different blog suggested, Trump may actually have been aiming at Section 4 of the Fourteenth Amendment, which says, among other things, "The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, .... shall not be questioned...."
I imagine that the next target of Republican hopefuls will be the Nineteenth Amendment.