It’s common to toss a piece of boiled spaghetti against the wall to tell if it’s cooked. But tossing an entire pot of spaghetti against the wall in a fit of acrimonious rage will mean you have nothing on your plate.
Democrats with a new gambit might end up with nothing on their plate, other than Donald Trump in the White House again.
Get Donald Trump Off the Ballot
This week, state courts in Colorado and Minnesota are hearing civil cases to decide whether to kick Trump off the state ballots. More cases could be coming, and if litigants win, additional blue states could act to ban Trump from the ballot through legislation.
Anti-Trump litigants might win these battles and ultimately lose the war.
Blinded by their irrational contempt, Trump haters risk turning Trump skeptics and fence sitters into Trump sympathizers.
The plaintiffs in these cases claim Trump is a disqualified insurrectionist under a section of the 14th Amendment because of the Jan. 6 Capitol riot.
Besides being a laughable argument, it’s also absurd that advocates claim they are defending the future of democracy by denying voters a choice, even if they consider that choice loathsome.
Indictments Boost Trump
Four criminal indictments haven’t harmed Trump. They’ve caused him to surge among the segment of the Republican base that considers it political. And they aren’t hurting him in the general election as Trump has a slight edge over President Joe Biden in the RealClearPolitics polling average.
For good or ill, Trump does victimhood well – particularly for a billionaire. A degree of victimhood might even be a defining characteristic of populism.
The deluge of legal moves against the 45th president just paints a picture for many Americans that his enemies are just out to get him no matter what. The 42nd President, Bill Clinton, benefited the same way–soaring in opinion polls in the 1990s while Republicans in Congress and a special prosecutor relentlessly pursued him.
Further, the criminal charges are, well, criminal. Political or not, there might be meat there and subsequent trials will show if prosecutors can put up or shut up. Minds could change.
However, in a civil case, as awful as the Capitol riot was, trying to kick Trump off the ballot comes across as sort of underhanded, even for voters who are passively skeptical of Trump.
Reasonable Americans might ask: Why bar Trump from the ballot? Why don’t Democrats just beat him?
Even if neither President Biden nor the Democratic National Committee are part of the litigation, the effort makes Democrats look weak and unsure of themselves. It also fits perfectly into Trump’s favored narrative.
Taking Trump Off the Ballot
The Supreme Court could ultimately decide on the meaning of the 14th Amendment. My guess is a majority would determine the intent of a post-Civil War amendment meant to apply to participants in a treasonous rebellion would not apply to a riot or a contested election.
But let’s assume the high court sides with the anti-Trump plaintiffs. It would likely only allow the state to make the decision rather than ban Trump nationally from the ballot.
It’s quite likely that many blue states take a similar action to keep Trump off the ballot for November 2024.
That still leaves most battleground states on the board. Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona, and other close states all have Republican legislatures that won’t allow a Trump ban.
Trump will likely remain on the ballot in red states.
It’s entirely probable – perhaps even likely – that Trump could use this to his advantage. He would declare Democrats are downright undemocratic in banning him from blue state ballots – galvanizing support in states where he is on the ballot.
Trump would of course badly lose the popular vote without ballot access in all those states. Big deal. These are states he would lose if he was on the ballot.
Under this circumstance, he could still easily assemble an Electoral College majority to win the presidency.
Denying ballot access could be just the boost the Trump campaign would salivate over.
Barbara Joanna Lucas is a writer and researcher in Northern Virginia. She has been a healthcare professional, political blogger, is a proud dog mom, and news junkie.
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