December 20, 2023

The Political Charade of Disqualifying Trump

Democrats in Colorado have succeeded, perhaps temporarily, in another persecution effort.

Colorado Democrats aren’t the only constitutionally illiterate politicos unjustly attacking Donald Trump. But they are the first to succeed in getting a state Supreme Court to disqualify Trump from its presidential primary ballot in 2024. Similar cases are pending in 13 other states. Trump is supposedly a threat to be a “dictator,” you see, so Democrats are going to “save democracy” by limiting voter choices and turning our nation into a banana republic.

Our Mark Alexander summed up the only thing he thinks matters here:

The Trump charade serves the same end as I wrote about in the Trump indictment strategy — to remind people about Trump’s despicable election claims leading to the J6 riots, keeping the hate-Trump legions rallied so the haters can defeat him again. The legal merits of the case are irrelevant to this strategy and amount to churn. It’s about rallying the FEAR and HATE Trump constituency in every state where this movement exists — it’s not about actually keeping him off the ballot. The visceral hatred for Trump has only increased since 2020, and despite all the news about his lead in various polls against Joe Biden, Trump loses to generic ballot Democrats — and that is the only poll that matters.

In terms of the actual merits of the legal case in Colorado, surely the U.S. Supreme Court won’t allow that insanity to stand, but we’ve thought that before and been disappointed by judicial gymnastics. Indeed, Alexander adds: “States have the authority to regulate balloting — which is why bulk-mail balloting is ‘legal’ and not subject to any federal legislation. It may be that SCOTUS has to find that the state has a right to set its own ballot qualification rules.” There are also issues of standing that are yet to be sorted out.

Then again, there is a federal element here, so let’s back up the truck and explain some of the case.

In a 4-3 ruling, the Colorado Supreme Court said “President Trump is disqualified from holding the office of President” and therefore “it would be a wrongful act under the Election Code” to include his name on the state’s presidential primary ballot. The general election ballot hasn’t yet been decided, though we expect the same “logic” would apply.

The ruling is based on a tendentious reading of the 14th Amendment, which barred Confederate leaders from holding federal office — specifically, anyone who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion.” That reading of “insurrection” is, of course, due to January 6. Our Douglas Andrews took on the 14th Amendment argument back in August, but we’ll make a couple of points here.

On the bright side, at least Democrats are dusting off their copies of the Constitution, and some of them are even appalled by Colorado’s ruling because of it. Minnesota’s Supreme Court rejected a similar case on constitutional grounds. Others, including four Colorado justices, are reading our nation’s founding document upside down and backwards.

While Democrats impeached Trump the second time for “insurrection,” and Leftmedia outlets still dutifully parrot that term, not a single J6 defendant, including Trump, has been charged with insurrection, much less convicted. Nevertheless, observed Ed Morrissey, “a state court has found Trump guilty of a federal crime with which he’s never even been charged, based on informal allegations of unlawful conduct that took place 2,000 miles from the court’s jurisdiction.” It’s sheer lunacy.

But they do smoke the good stuff in Colorado.

Not that the Rocky Mountain High jurists will admit it. In fact, they opine over 213 pages about how much the momentous but difficult decision troubles them. “We do not reach these conclusions lightly,” the court’s majority wrote. (Isn’t that a relief?) “We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.”

Shut up, they explained.

Trump’s campaign “will swiftly file an appeal” of the “completely flawed decision” to the U.S. Supreme Court, and the Colorado court’s decision is stayed until January 4. On the one hand, Chief Justice John Roberts usually aims to appear nonpolitical, even when it backfires, and Trump’s three appointed justices may likewise wish to avoid appearing political. On the other hand, this case will take up the justices’ time over the Christmas holiday, and they may not be so grateful to Colorado for the lump of coal in their stockings.

Finally, don’t forget that the related January 6 trials recently got more complicated. It seems our nation is destined to keep fighting over events that day for at least another year and perhaps longer. All the while, Trump will gain devotion from his followers and support from others who clearly see the ridiculousness of the persecution, and his detractors will hate him even more.

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