Culture Magazine

Bar Trump from the 2024 Ballot?

By Fsrcoin

Bar Trump from the 2024 Ballot?

A movement’s afoot to block Trump’s candidacy. Based on a 14th Amendment provision barring from federal office anyone who “engaged in insurrection” against the United States. Adopted in 1868, this targeted former Confederates, but it’s still in effect. Some believe it should apply to Trump due to his culpability for January 6, 2021 and related events; and legal proceedings are unfolding accordingly.

Recently a Colorado state judge, Sarah Wallace, issued a 102-page decision rejecting such a ballot challenge, which Trump hailed as a big victory. But, not so fast — in fact Wallace ruled that January 6 was an insurrection, and Trump was culpable. Only on a technicality was he not disqualified: Wallace deemed it unclear that, in this context, the president is considered an “officer of the United States.” A dubious (if not weird) cop-out likely to reach the Supreme Court.

Bar Trump from the 2024 Ballot?

The plain language — and intent— of the 14th Amendment’s insurrection disqualification should surely apply to Trump. It was aimed at keeping out of government people disloyal to this nation. Despite Trump and his cultists plastering the word “patriot” all over themselves, his actions in question, amounting to an attempted coup, showed a fundamental disloyalty to the institutions central to what America is all about. (Trump has also mused about “terminating” the Constitution.) These people cannot be loyal to something they don’t even seem to understand.

Nevertheless — and much as I fear electing Trump would be the end of the world — keeping him off the ballot is an extremely terrible idea. (Also highly unlikely to happen in Republican-controlled states.)

The Trumpian threat to our democracy is something that must be resolved by that democracy. We’ve been having far too much decided by courts (like abortion, gun rights, gay rights, voting rights) rather than politics. This is a consequence of our civic dysfunction, with our political vehicles for resolving issues being paralyzed. And over-reliance on courts is itself a contributor to that political illness, making many people feel the whole idea of democracy is a charade or sham.

Keeping Trump off the ballot would aggravate that, bigly. We’ve already had one presidential election, in 2000, that many felt was inappropriately decided by judicial fiat. At least in 2000 voters did get to vote. Most Trumpers swallow the lie that their idol was cheated of victory in 2020 — and will believe likewise even if he loses in 2024 by another fair-and-square vote.

Bar Trump from the 2024 Ballot?

Yet that’s the only possible way to lance this boil. How much more societally toxic it will be if there isn’t even actual voting, with Trump kept out of office by other means. No matter how legally appropriate that might indeed be, folks already conspiracy-minded will go batshit wild. Many have guns. A recipe for literal civil war.

Yes, Trump’s election would be a catastrophe. But have this vote we must. If Americans cannot summon up their civic soul and with our sacred ballots vomit out this poison, then there’s no saving us anyway.

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