Election 2020

Cruz Hits Trump on Eminent Domain

Texas Senator Ted Cruz released his first negative ad against GOP frontrunner Donald J. Trump, hitting the real estate tycoon over his support for eminent domain, and showing the widow whose house Trump tried to turn into a limousine parking lot. Trump shot back Sunday, calling the ad “false advertising,” but PolitiFact stood by the ad’s message.

The ad starts with an ominous background and a definition. “Eminent Domain: Fancy term for politicians seizing private property to enrich the fat cats who bankroll them — like Trump,” the narrator explains. Then the ad cuts to an image of Trump, playing his words, “I think eminent domain is wonderful.” Trump has held to this position as recently as October.

The narrator continues, “It made him rich, like when Trump colluded with Atlantic City insiders to bulldoze the home of an elderly widow for a limousine parking lot at his casino.” The footage turns from newspaper clippings about Trump’s push for eminent domain, to the elderly widow herself. Damningly, she says, “he doesn’t have no heart, that man.”

The ad concludes with a strong quip, “Trump won’t change the system, he’s what’s wrong with it.”

As the New York Times’ Ross Douthat explains, Trump seems inevitable, because the attacks most thrown  against him — “that he’s an unserious creep who’s temperamentally unsuited for the presidency” and that he’s not a real conservative — haven’t turned off his base. But making Trump out to be the heartless soul using big government to profit from other people’s miseries — that attack just might stick.

As Douthat explains, Trump is a salesman. “How do you flip a salesman’s brand? You persuade people that he’s a con artist, and they’re his marks.” Cruz’s poll numbers have fallen in Iowa recently, but maybe this attack will have traction.