One of the most bizarre accusations made by Donald Trump was that somehow Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael Cruz, was involved in the President John Kennedy assassination. The theory is based on an old photo published in the National Enquirer of Lee Harvey Oswald and a Hispanic looking man that Trump says could have been the senior Cruz. Now, thanks to the Democratic National Committee emails leaked by WikiLeaks, Luis Miranda, the DNC communications director, seemed to agree with the theory and expanded it to include Watergate and the Reagan-era wars in Central America.

Rafael Cruz fought with Castro against the Batista regime in Cuba before turning on the Cuban dictator and immigrating to the United States. One of the favorite JFK conspiracy theories has him being assassinated by a cabal of anti-Castro Cubans in revenge for the Bay of Pigs fiasco. Two of the Watergate burglars were Cuban. Anti-Castro Cubans were heavily involved in fighting the wars in Central America during the Reagan presidency. Therefore, according to Miranda, the elder Cruz must have been involved in virtually every conspiracy in the United States, with the possible exception of faking the moon landing and creating 9/11, in the past 60 years.

Many Republicans pine for the alternate history in which Trump stayed in the Trump Tower and left the game of politics to the professionals. In that scenario, Ted Cruz is now the Republican presidential nominee and is preparing to run a campaign based on conservative issues and constitutional principles.

In that same narrative, it would be the Democrats who would peddle the Rafael Cruz as master conspirator story.

The tactic was expressed by an old story often told about Lyndon Johnson. It seems that LBJ was involved in a tough campaign when he gathered his advisors together and proposed that they accuse his opponent of having carnal knowledge of farm animals. When told that no one would believe such an absurd story, Johnson replied, or so it is said, “I know. I just want to hear him deny it.”

The idea would not have been to make people believe that Rafael Cruz killed Kennedy, was behind Watergate, or did horrible things in El Salvador and Nicaragua, but rather force Ted Cruz to deny the story and not talk about tax cuts, repealing Obamacare, or how awful Hillary Clinton is.

Come to think of it, it looks like Lyndon Johnson would have little to teach Trump on the art of dirty politics. One hopes Hillary Clinton is ready for what’s coming.

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