Washington, Dec 31 (IANS) Former US President Donald Trump doesn’t score well on the likeability factor for Presidency among most Democrats and a section of the Republicans, but most of them agree on the eligibility factor that the brazen politician should not be struck off the ballot due to his alleged involvement in the January 6 insurrection on Capitol in 2021, but given a chance at the hustings.
Not even all of Donald Trump’s political foes are on board with efforts to kick the former President off the ballot because of his involvement with the January 6 insurrection, media reports said.
Most Democrats and some Republicans don’t want Donald Trump to be President again. But many in that group still think the indicted former President should be allowed to try, US News and World Report said in analysis of political and people’s reaction since the courts diverse rulings on the matter — Colorado and Maine for striking him off the ballot and Michigan and Minnesota against.
Maine on Thursday became the second state to rule on Trump’s eligibility factor for the 2024 presidency to be on the ballot, because of a Civil War-era provision of the Constitution, called the 14th amendment specified former public officials, who engaged in “insurrection or rebellion” against the US are ineligible to hold office again.
As with Colorado — where a state court last week said Trump was ineligible to appear on the ballot there — the decision by the Maine Secretary of State will be on hold while the cases go through the courts. But the Michigan courts did not even admit the pleas of the anti-Trump camp, saying it was for the voters to decide and not the courts.
Not all Democrats — or even Republicans trailing Trump in primary polls — are celebrating.
“I voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 insurrection. I do not believe he should be re-elected as President of the US,” Democratic Representative Jared Golden said in a statement after his home state of Maine said Trump was not eligible to be on the ballot there.
“However, we are a nation of laws, therefore, until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot,” Golden added.
His Congressional colleague from Maine, Democratic Representative Chellie Pingree, disagreed, writing on social media, “The text of the Fourteenth Amendment is clear. No person who engaged in an insurrection against the government can ever again serve in elected office.”
California’s Democratic Secretary of State, Shirley Weber, certified Trump on the Golden State’s ballot for the March 5 primary, hours after her Maine counterpart, Shenna Bellows, said Trump was not eligible to be on the ballot there on the same primary day.
Weber’s decision runs counter to an open letter by the state’s Lieutenant Governor, Eleni Kounalakis, to boot Trump from the ballot.
“California must stand on the right side of history,” Kounalakis said in her missive. But Weber’s move is in sync with what California Governor Gavin Newsom — himself a rising star in Democratic politics — says it is the best way to deal with Trump.
“There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy,” Newsom said in an earlier statement.
“But, in California, we defeat candidates at the polls.”
Trump’s presidential primary foes, too, slammed efforts to remove him from the ballot — even though that might be the only path to victory for those well behind the former President in primary polls.
“The idea that one bureaucrat in an executive position can simply unilaterally disqualify someone from office, that turns on its head every notion of constitutional due process that this country has always abided by for over 200 years,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis told Fox News on Thursday night.
“It opens up Pandora’s box,” he added in remarks similar to those of his fellow primary competitors.
The issue is complicated on both legal and political grounds. The provision, a section of the 14th Amendment of the Constitution, does not require that a candidate be convicted of participating in an insurrection or rebellion. Nor does it specify who decides — meaning, critics say, that it is open to partisan abuse.
The Trump campaign, for example, has cast all efforts to keep the candidate off the ballot as purely political.
“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement after Maine’s ruling on Thursday.
But the politics are complicated, too, for those who don’t want Trump to be President again. Keeping Trump off the ballot could make it impossible for him to get re-elected. But it also could make voters feel as though they were denied their right to choose their President through a democratic election — not to mention set a precedent for removing other candidates in other races, the World report observed.
That Trump is ineligible is “far from a slam dunk,” Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, wrote in a lengthy explanation of the issue this week.
“And there’s the very real value of ensuring that, in our democracy, voters and political parties have the choice and freedom to vote for or nominate their preferred candidate — and that ballot access is not used as a political tool for disqualification,” she added.
Michigan’s Supreme Court earlier this week ruled that Trump should appear on the primary ballot there on February 27 — but left open the possibility that a new legal challenge could keep him off the general election ballot there.
Minnesota’s High Court also rejected an effort to remove Trump from the primary ballot there. But while Colorado’s Supreme Court said Trump had indeed participated in an insurrection effort, Michigan and Minnesota courts skirted that issue, basing their rulings on technical issues of who has the authority to choose a party nominee.
A group called “Free Speech for People”, representing some Oregon voters, has filed a lawsuit challenging Trump’s eligibility there, citing the insurrection clause.
It is the US Supreme Court that will give the final ruling on Trump’s eligibility factor when it hears Trump’s legal teams challenging the Colorado court and Maine’s Secretary of State rulings on the issue. The Colorado case, notably, was brought by six Republican and Independent voters.