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by • December 21, 2023 • Politics, Weekly ColumnComments (0)92

The U.S. Constitution is Clear: Trump Must be Disqualified from the Presidency

There is no legal, rational argument to allow Trump to Run

The Colorado Supreme Court unequivocally made the correct decision to bar Donald Trump’s name from appearing on the state general election ballot. All 50 states should follow their courage and wisdom to cleanse our nation of a traitor who runs a subversive movement to dispense of democracy and undermine America’s foundations as a free country.

Donald Trump tried to overturn an election in every conceivable way. This included frivolous lawsuits, threats to state officials to “find votes”, a vicious smear campaign that endangered election volunteers, and a media propaganda effort designed to discredit, with no basis, credible election results.

When these nefarious schemes failed, the former president abused his power, deploying violent thugs who paraded through our cities (Proud Boys) and state capitals (heavily armed) before finally ransacking our U.S. Capitol on January 6. Despite cynical Republican turncoats calling the insurrection a tourist attraction, those of us with eyes and a cerebral cortex witnessed unpatriotic terrorists in action.

To this day, the former president has not stopped trying to destabilize democracy. He is a national disgrace and an incontrovertible traitor who has no business running for any office, no less the presidency.

There have been 1,230 people charged in the January 6 coup attempt. Rudy Giuliani was just ordered to pay $148 million for intimidating poll workers and placing their lives in danger. I ask one question: Who were these despicable crimes against our democracy in the service of?

One man, DONALD J. TRUMP.

The defeated, ex-president is not an ordinary candidate who is discussing conventional issues in which we can reasonably disagree. What is on the line is not simply policy differences, but our system of government, including the future right to vote to choose our leaders. A man who would not step down and vacate his office after losing, has no business stepping up to the podium to be sworn in as president in 2024. This is how democracies die.

Trump is an accused criminal, under the cloud of 91criminal counts, who is a clear and present danger to our country. He brazenly violated the spirit of our elections and shamelessly trampled upon the plain text written in our U.S. Constitution through bloody insurrection.

To add insult to the multitude of national injuries inflicted by Trump’s regime of corrupt cronies and loyalist cranks, the ex-president lied a documented 30,573 times over 4 years in office. This squalid factoid isn’t disqualifying, but it is disgusting and additional evidence that Trump should never be given the benefit of the doubt.

Trump is exploiting democracy’s weak spots to kill it – and we should not be so open minded that our brains tumble out by allowing him to succeed. The Constitution says he’s ineligible due to leading an insurrection, and we must give Trump no leeway to squirm out of a situation of his own making.

The brilliant Colorado decision will go before our corrupt Supreme Court filled with political hacks.  They will decide, among other issues, the meaning of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment in the United States Constitution, which states:

No person shall hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, who having previously taken an oath…as an officer of the United States…to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

The only remaining question before the Supreme Court is whether this crystal-clear clause in the Constitution applies to the presidency. Conservative judges fancy themselves “strict constructionists” and “originalists” whose only concern is supposedly construing the intentions of the Founding Fathers. The Supreme Court’s conservatives have repeatedly claimed public opinion is subordinate to the aims of the Founders. They now have a test case that directly tests their professed principles and possibly reminds us of the stinking depths of their hypocrisy.

Former Acting Solicitor General, Neal Katyal, implied the right wing justices on the High Court will look like hypocrites if they fail to apply their “textualism” method of reading the Constitution to the Colorado case. Katyal reasoned, if they are consistent with their values, “Trump will be disqualified from the ballot.”

On MSNBC’s Alex Wagner Tonight, the host sheds light on the issue, pointing to the Colorado Supreme Court’s fact-finding that explained the Founders reasoning on the key issue before the court.

Wagner said, “Among the best and deepest cuts [of the Colorado Supreme Court’s research] cited in this ruling…is a conversation between two Senators in the year 1866, as they were literally writing the 14th Amendment.”:

Senator Reverdy Johnson worried that the final version of Section Three did not include the office of the Presidency. He stated, “[T]his amendment does not go far enough” because past rebels “may be elected President or Vice President of the United States.”

So, he asked, “why did you omit to exclude them? I do not understand them to be excluded from the privilege of holding the two highest offices in the gift of the nation.”

Senator Lot Morrill fielded this objection. He replied, “Let me call the Senator’s attention to the words ‘or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States.’”

This answer satisfied Senator Johnson who stated, “Perhaps I am wrong as to the exclusion from the Presidency; no doubt I am.”

Any decision other than 9-0 disqualifying Trump is legal corruption, political tampering and moral rot. As much as Fox News and Trump lackeys might scream, this is not a liberal vs. conservative issue. The New York Times points out, the Colorado Supreme Court is less partisan than the Supreme Court.

The court…is notably nonpartisan, in part because of how the justices are named. The governor must choose from a pool of nominees recommended by a bipartisan commission.  

“It’s perceived to be way less political than the U.S. Supreme Court, and I think it’s true that it’s way less political,” said Chris Jackson, a lawyer in Denver whose practice includes election law. “There aren’t really conservative and liberal justices in the way that we describe the U.S. Supreme Court justices.”

Conservative federal judge, J. Michael Luttig, stated that Trump should be disqualified, because Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment is, “more than just a proscription and disqualification for anti-democratic conduct by an individual, but, in this circumstance, it is that and it would apply in this instance to disqualify the former president from holding the presidency again, because of his effort, plan and attempt to overturn the 2020 presidential election, knowing that he had lost that election to then-candidate Joe Biden.”

Still, there are bogus claims that we should ignore the Constitution to let Trump run. The first sophistic argument was made by the head of Colorado’s Republican Party, Dave Williams, who said the decision, “would rather spit on our Constitution than let the people decide which candidates should represent them in a free and fair election.”

As I’ve already explained, upholding the Constitution means dumping Trump, so Williams has no legal grounds in which to base his claim. Trump must be excluded specifically because he tried to take the decision of the presidency away from voters in 2020. They voted, he lost handily, yet he refused to graciously accept the undisputed legal result. So, to guarantee the will of the people, we must bar the one candidate who has already proven, through violent insurrection, that he won’t step down after electoral defeat. Ditching Trump is the one sure way to respect the will of the voters.

Another argument is that prohibiting Trump from running will lead to violence. After the ruling Colorado GOP leader Williams portentously warned that if Trump can’t be on the ballot, “It will be done in a civil war.”

Williams is following the recent Republican playbook of extorting the nation: “Do what we want or face bloodshed. Ignore the plain text of the U.S. Constitution or else.” This boorish threat enhances, rather than diminishes, the argument to banish Trump by proving, once again, that MAGA is a violent movement that believes more in bullets than ballots.

Sure, the threat of violence is very real and is best avoided. But, MAGA has proven that it considers any victor not named Donald Trump illegitimate. If violence is inevitable, as seems to be the case, it’s better we have our fight now while President Joe Biden controls the military.

We know if Trump is reelected, with enormous military and police power concentrated in his hands, that America, as we know it, is over.

O-V-E-R.

Trump is already slithering in the verbal gutter, employing Hitleresque, Nazi-like language, claiming that immigrants are, “poisoning the blood of our country.”

There is a must-read piece in the New York Times enumerating Trump’s powers—many of them legal—to wreck democracy if he returns. The right wing is well-prepared to recreate government in its cruel, oppressive image. A second term for Trump would be a different animal — worse by magnitude.

If Trump returns to the Oval Office, we will immediately see repression at home, the attempted destruction of civil service protections, an irredeemable judiciary, a cabinet of corruption, the use of government police agencies to persecute opponents, a crackdown on free media, the police used to crush protests and dissent and the politicization of the military. Whatever pain white Americans suffer will be greatly magnified for minorities. And If you’re an undocumented immigrant or transgender—God help you. Who knows what these monsters are truly capable of? (They are already floating large internment camps)

MAGA will destroy everything it touches, including itself, eventually. Such movements usually degenerate into self-purging purity contests (See House of Representatives) or start bloody wars to mask their domestic failures.

I have no confidence the United States Supreme Court’s conservatives will follow the clear text of the Constitution to prove they are the originalists they claim to be. This is one of the final tests to our system and will show whether guardrails exist to stop a madman from defacing our constitution. If the Justices allow Trump to run, it’s a chilling indication of how few roadblocks exist to rein in Trump’s more toxic impulses or stop him from turning our nation into an authoritarian dictatorship.

If Trump can’t be constrained by the text of our founding document, voters are the last barricade to save our nation – although recent polling shows a majority are currently oblivious to the stakes in November.

On March 4, Trump bellowed to a vicious and vile crowd at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md: “I am your warrior, I am your justice. And for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”

He’s not joking. If Trump is victorious, our national nightmare and season of darkness will descend upon us and come to pass. We must try to slay the dragon now, while we still control the sword.

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