Cenk Uygur, founder and outspoken host of the progressive Young Turks TV show, said he could win the Democratic nomination for president despite obstacles including his own overseas birth in Istanbul seemingly rendering him unqualified under the US constitution.
Joe Biden “is not going to win”, Uygur, 53, said on his show on Wednesday, announcing his extremely long-shot primary campaign to challenge the sitting president.
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“It should not have been me, it should have been somebody else, but unfortunately it was not anyone else. There’s only four months left [until the primaries begin]. We must change course. He has at best a 10% chance of winning. I’m running as a proxy. I am running to win. But I am also running as a proxy for any other candidate.”
Majorities of Americans think Biden is too old, at 80, to serve an effective second term in office. But even though the president seems likely to face a re-match with Donald Trump – his 77-year-old, twice-impeached, 91-times charged, adjudicated rapist, alleged fraudster, election-denying predecessor – no serious candidate has emerged to challenge Biden for the Democratic nod.
This week, the environmental lawyer and conspiracy theorist Robert F Kennedy Jr switched his Democratic nomination campaign into an independent run for the White House. Marianne Williamson, a self-help author who has denied allegations of bullying from campaign staffers, is still seeking the Democratic nomination.
Uygur said he had “nothing but respect for [Williamson’s] courage and her policies but at this point we’re not at ‘progressives versus establishment’. We’re at four months left, and things must change. Otherwise, we’re almost definitely going to lose to Trump.”
Uygur came to the US from Turkey at eight years old. Article II, section I, clause 5 of the US constitution says only “natural born citizens” – defined by the Harvard Law Review as “citizen[s] from birth with no need to go through naturalisation proceedings” – can be president.
Uygur said he could beat that standard in court.
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“I have lawyered up,” he said. “I have the same lawyer [Bernie Sanders] used in both of his presidential runs [in 2016 and 2020, mounting strong progressive campaigns].
“I’m going to the supreme court. Either I’m going to win or I’m going to lose. Now this case is on our side. The precedent is definitely on our side.”