Election year hadn’t even begun when the Supreme Court of Colorado decided to kick former US President Donald Trump off of the 2024 GOP Presidential primary ballot, per a 4-3 vote by a panel of Democratically appointed Justices. Not to be outdone, a week later the Maine Secretary of State – herself a Democrat elected official pictured posing with President Biden on Instagram, and formerly headed up the Maine ACLU – personally removed The Donald from her state’s ballot.
In both cases, the given justification for disqualifying the leading opposition candidate was that Trump’s “participation” in the short-lived capitol riot of 6 January three years constituted “insurrection”, as per the US Constitution.
On January 5, 2024, the United States Supreme Court agreed to weigh in on – at very least – the question of whether the Colorado 7 can dump Trump. In person arguments in the case will be heard February 8, which incidentally is also the date set for the GOP’s Nevada Caucus. This paper and this “reporter” expect to keep a weather eye trained on the whole matter.
The fun horse-race elements of this whole debacle aside, the actual argument that Donald J. Trump “participated in an insurrection,” under Section 3 of Amendment 14 seems weak almost to the point of farce. The 14th Amendment is one of the three Civil War Amendments – the 13th, 14th, and 15th – and the original point of its Insurrection Clause was disenfranchising Confederate soldiers who had literally taken up arms against the USA.
Trump, in contrast, is being accused of somehow inciting a mostly unarmed riot that he almost certainly had no prior knowledge of – after in fact telling the same crowd of rubes to remain “peaceful.” Irregardless of partisan thoughts on the former president’s conduct, it will no doubt prove extremely difficult to reach the evidential threshold for “insurrection”, with all the foreknowledge and deliberate malice the term implies.
These facts aside, it seems fair to say that most of the mainstream, centre-left US media and intelligentsia supports the defenestration of the Orange Caesar. The bland, widely read legal site Jurist.org discusses the whole matter under the header: “States are well within their rights to take Trump off ballots.” CNN’s banner read: “Trump is ineligible for office under 14th Amendment’s ‘insurrectionist ban’” (albeit “Court rules”).
The San Francisco Chronicle rather explicitly called for a California-specific expansion of Maine and Colorado policy, opining on “Why California is fully justified in keeping Trump off the 2024 ballot.” Indeed, per no less a source than Newsweek, some Congressional Democrats want not only Trump but all 130-odd elected Republicans who challenged any aspect of the 2020 election barred from the 2024 slate as “insurgents.”
Democratic politicians and news readers seem to hold these beliefs out of an exaggerated fear that Trump will end democracy in America if elected again, having apparently forgotten to do so the first time around. That’s the message President Joe Biden’s campaign appears to be pushing, with Biden’s communications team evoking increasingly doom-laden images of civil disruption, if not outright civil war. With bated breath, more and more leftists quote an off-hand (and characteristically flippant) Trump remark that he would govern like “a dictator on day one” if placed back in the Oval Office by voters.
There’s a practical problem with the left-bank argument here. Giving one amoral American political faction unprecedented – indeed, dictatorial – powers, such as the ability to disqualify the other team’s Congressmen and top presidential pick in order to prevent the first faction from “misusing powers” is simply ridiculous.
In reality, many current or proposed Democratic policies – President Biden’s de facto open southern border that has let in roughly 2,000,000 illegal aliens each year; the Ibram-Kendi-backed proposal for a federal Department of Anti-Racism to monitor every business in the nation – are more bizarre and dangerous than anything Donald Trump has yet suggested. Whichever party you may happen to think is worse, it’s worth remembering that both would eventually benefit from any awful new powers the Supreme Court might certify in this election cycle.
In reality, Donald Trump cannot and will not become a king: the military wouldn’t back him, nor would a Congress which controls electoral certification. The riot on January 6 was resolved and 2020 election secured within four hours. Given that, I have a real solution for citizens who don’t want another round of President Trump: go to the polls, and beat him.