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The 2016 presidential election is already one for the Silly Season record books. 

We've seen a candidate encouraging violence against protesters (and getting it); we've seen another candidate who once argued in court against the sale of dildos and artificial vaginas; we've seen the candidates debating penis size on national television; we've seen Democrats arguing over hot sauce; we've seen the anti-corporate socialist candidate defending gun-manufacturing corporations against lawsuits; and now we're witnessing the Republican candidates fighting over who should and shouldn't use public bathrooms.

Regarding that last thing, it looks like Donald Trump has mysteriously tapped into the open-mindedness cortex of his orange brain. This week, the GOP frontrunner (a Silly Season item in and of itself) shocked his fanboys by voicing his support for non-discrimination laws as they pertain to transgender citizens using the bathroom that's appropriate to their gender identity.

Trump told NBC News:

“North Carolina did something that was very strong, and they are paying a big price and there’s a lot of problems,” responded Trump.

“North Carolina, what they are going through with all of the business that’s leaving and the strife– and that’s on both sides. Leave it the way it is. There have been very few complaints the way it is. People go, they use the bathroom that they feel is appropriate, there has been so little trouble,” he said.

Of course, as we've all discussed recently, Trump is almost exactly right here. "Almost" because there have been exactly zero complaints throughout the 225 cities where non-discrimination laws are on the books.

But, as usual in the GOP, rationality has to be met with complete and total fucking hysteria. This time, it's Ted Cruz who's pushing a Real Solution To A Fake Problem. The fake problem is, naturally, the myth that guys are exploiting these pro-LGBT laws by dressing up like women, then infiltrating women's restrooms and perving out on girls while they urinate. This problem doesn't exist, but the Republicans seem weirdly obsessed with the idea as if they possess an insight into the minds of child molesters. Someone should ask them.

Anyway, Ted Cruz released what could by the Daisy ad for the GOP primary cycle, in which he attacks Trump's admittedly rational opinion on the matter. Watch:

The entire opening question, "Should a grown man pretending to be a woman be allowed to use the women's restroom?" is obviously not the question on the table since no one's doing that -- but thanks, Republicans, for injecting the idea into the heads of molesters and rapists. Thanks again. Thanks... thanks a lot. Smart move!

Indeed, this isn't a problem, and not only does it manufacture a fake problem, it's also insulting to transgender people by conflating them with pervs and criminals.

In terms of Cruz's promise to stand up to the "PC police," this isn't a matter of political correctness -- at all. No one's passing any laws curbing language, no matter how offensive. What's truly at issue here are civil rights. Cruz's ad might as well ask whether African-Americans who get to sit with white people at a diner will rape our white women

The reality here is that dressing up like a woman solely to spy on young girls while they're peeing is -- and always will be -- against the law. If such perpetrators are caught, they should be punished to the fullest extent of the law. Non-discrimination laws or not, this is still illegal. Duh. If literally anyone is caught doing this -- either gender, either bathroom -- they're punished. 

What's the problem, then? Obviously this is all about holding back the tide of civil rights with exactly the same brand of fearmongering as was heard in the 1920s, when women fought for the right to vote, and during the civil rights movement of the 1960s -- not to mention the 1860s as well. Cruz, like so many before him, is nothing more than a doughy-faced transphobe disguised as a law-and-order, anti-PC warrior. If only he was actually supporting harsher penalties for convicted child molesters, bathroom or not, perhaps his ad wouldn't be as awful. But he's not. He's all about the bathrooms, and we have to begin to question why so much fuss over fantasy crimes?