“A lot of Americans will write in Trump if he is illegally removed off the ballot,” wrote Charles Downs, who is affiliated with the Alex Jones-created website, National File. Indeed, that is precisely what the MAGA militants will do if they find that their preferred presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump, is kicked off the ballot in their state.
It is an obvious abuse of our justice system on the part of the Democratic Party. Unfortunately, you can’t call it “illegal”. By definition, it will be determined in a legal process. And it will be based on actual actions that Trump either participated in or publicly supported.
Further, should Trump be prevented from running for reelection due to the Fourteenth Amendment’s “insurrection clause” (Article III), whether some people in the electorate think it’s right or fair, he will still be legally disqualified from the presidency.
Under those circumstances, you’d be better off not voting at all, because a write-in ballot for Trump wouldn’t count. By the way, while write-in candidates are eligible for office, most states have a requirement that a write-in candidate at least have filed the requisite paperwork to run for office before any votes cast for them could be counted.
The Fourteenth Amendment and Trump’s Eligibility to Serve Again
The Fourteenth Amendment specifically says that persons who have sworn the oath of office at any level of government can never again hold public office if they “have engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”
There is some debate as to whether or not Trump, who has never been explicitly charged with either insurrection or rebellion, even qualifies. Yet, the case is being made by members of both the left and non-Trump-supporting right that Trump’s legal woes in Georgia and related to the Federal case in which the former president is accused of inciting the January 6 riot stems from insurrectionist behavior.
Therefore, the attempt to remove Trump’s name from the ballots of key swing states is related to the Fourteenth Amendment case against the forty-fifth president.
Although, it’s only part of the equation. The real thrust of the Fourteenth Amendment case against former President Trump pertains to the insurrection clause
This interpretation of the Fourteenth Amendment was reaffirmed in a recent case in New Mexico involving Cuoy Griffin, the founder of “Cowboys for Trump”, who was convicted of misdemeanor trespassing at the Capitol Building during the January 6 riot.
New Mexico District County Judge Francis Matthews, who presided over Griffin’s case, found that the defendant’s repeated efforts to mobilize and incite a crowd on January 6 to violence fall under insurrectionist or rebellious behavior, thereby disqualifying Mr. Griffin from holding public office.
Specifically, Griffin was serving as an Otero County commissioner. He was removed from office and barred from ever holding elected office again. Griffin was also barred from ever serving as an elector or in the United States military, under the insurrection clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
Therefore, if Trump were to be removed from ballots and a write-in campaign was successful in giving him more votes than President Joe Biden, it wouldn’t matter. He’d be ineligible under the constitution to assume the office, just like Cuoy Griffin was.
Donald Trump and the Supreme Court: Not a Slam Dunk
Of course, the former president could appeal, as did Griffin.
And, given the fact that this would directly impact the national election, it’s probable that, unlike the New Mexico Supreme Court in the Cuoy Griffin case, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) would hear Trump’s appeal.
If they did, in fact, take up Trump’s appeal to any decision that he was disqualified from either showing up on the ballot in 2024 or holding office, given the conservative makeup of SCOTUS, Trump might stand a decent chance of his appeal being granted. Already, SCOTUS has agreed to take on the John Anthony Castro case challenging Trump’s eligibility to appear on the ballot in 2024. That case is set to be heard on September 9.
It is more than possible that SCOTUS will decide to throw out Castro’s case asking for Trump to not appear on the ballot. However, that still does not address what would happen to Trump if he won reelection after being convicted in either the Georgia state prosecution or the January 6 federal prosecution against him.
Then again, though, the SCOTUS has a knack for not doing what most people expect—even a SCOTUS that has three justices sitting on the bench who were appointed by Trump. At various times over the last several years, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, two of the three of Trump’s appointees to the bench, have acted in contravention of how Trump wanted them to act.
What’s more, Chief Justice John Roberts, despite being a Republican-appointed justice, has proven over his many years on the bench that he will not automatically take up the Republican Party’s line. Trump should not just assume that the SCOTUS would automatically find in his favor if they did take up the appeal.
Donald Trump Should Drop Out
If Trump truly cared about the country, he would drop out of the race, and focus on beating any of the 91 felonies that he has been charged with among four major court cases.
He would be channeling his energies to supporting Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis, the obvious best choice for president in 2024, to ensure that his party dominates the 2024 Presidential Election—as well as guaranteeing that, no matter how the federal cases against him shook out, Trump would have an ally in the White House who could ultimately grant him a pardon.
Alas, Trump’s great character flaw of galaxy-spanning self-absorption prevents him from thinking strategically. He is speeding toward a legal crisis that he is unlikely to win. That unwinnable legal crisis facing Trump, thanks to his petulant need to once again run for president, will lead to a political disaster both for the ailing Republican Party as well as for the United States, as it will surely reelect Joe Biden.
Do you really think President Biden would pardon Donald Trump more than a President Ron DeSantis would? Or that this country can truly survive another four years of Biden’s presidency?
This is what Donald Trump is going to get us, though, unless he bows out of the race and leaves it to far more qualified individuals.
A 19FortyFive Senior Editor, Brandon J. Weichert is a former Congressional staffer and geopolitical analyst who is a contributor at The Washington Times, as well as at the Asia Times. He is the author of Winning Space: How America Remains a Superpower (Republic Book Publishers), Biohacked: China’s Race to Control Life (Encounter Books), and The Shadow War: Iran’s Quest for Supremacy (July 23). Weichert occasionally serves as a Subject Matter Expert for various organizations, including the Department of Defense. He can be followed via Twitter @WeTheBrandon.
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