As legal battles unfold to disqualify former President Trump from ballots in two states potentially, President Biden and the Democratic Party grapple with the potential repercussions of such decisions.
Notable figures like California Governor Gavin Newsom and commentator David Axelrod express reservations, foreseeing potential pitfalls for the Democratic cause.
Democratic resistance to ballot exclusion
Governor Newsom emphasizes defeating candidates at the polls rather than resorting to legal maneuvers, cautioning against actions that might divide the nation.
Axelrod echoes these concerns, highlighting the risk of tearing the country apart and alienating millions of Trump supporters if he is barred from running.
Constitutional debate surrounding 14th Amendment
The legal foundation for these decisions rests on the 14th Amendment, which prohibits individuals engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the Constitution from holding office unless granted an exception by a two-thirds vote in Congress.
Recent decisions by the Colorado Supreme Court and Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows assert that Trump’s actions during the Capitol riot warrant disqualification.
Controversial decisions in Colorado and Maine prompt legal challenges
Both decisions immediately sparked controversy, with the Colorado Supreme Court’s narrow 4-3 split raising eyebrows, even among Democrats.
Legal challenges are already underway, with the state GOP appealing in Colorado and Trump himself appealing Bellows’s decision in Maine, citing due process concerns and challenging her authority on federal constitutional issues.
Controversy surrounds historical analysis of 14th Amendment for Trump’s eligibility
Historical analysis becomes pivotal in interpreting the 14th Amendment’s scope.
While some, like history professor Allan Lichtman, argue in favor of disqualification, highlighting the perpetual intent to guard the republic, others, including conservative voices, contest the application to the presidency and argue for Trump’s eligibility.
Democrats fear backlash in bid to exclude Trump from ballot
Democrats, wary of electoral consequences, fear efforts to ban Trump from the ballot could backfire.
Drawing parallels with Trump’s criminal indictments last year, they worry about galvanizing Trump’s base and reinforcing claims of unfair targeting.
Debates over ballot exclusion risks and Trump campaign’s response
Democratic consultant Hank Sheinkopf dismisses ballot exclusion as “not a smart strategy,” anticipating potential anger and increased turnout among Trump supporters.
The Trump campaign seizes on these legal battles, asserting that Democrats, failing to derail Trump through indictments, resort to unconstitutional means to keep him off the ballot.
Key figures in Trump’s campaign criticize ballot exclusion
Chris LaCivita and Susie Wiles, critical figures in the Trump reelection campaign, suggest that such efforts deny voters the opportunity to decide an election, potentially resonating beyond the MAGA base.
As the legal saga unfolds, President Biden and Democrats find themselves navigating a delicate balance, weighing constitutional arguments against potential electoral consequences in the run-up to the 2024 election.