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Colorado Fallout: The Good, the Bad, and the Bizarre

Everything is reaction.

When the news broke on December 19 that the Colorado Supreme Court had determined Donald Trump could not be on the state’s Republican presidential primary ballot, the American political landscape split in two. There were those who insisted that if a court of law says it is so, then so be it (although these tended to be the same people who decried the overturning of Roe v. Wade). On the other side were folks who saw this decision as the end of democracy in a broken United States.

So who said what, and how much hyperbole and hype can a nation take?

Vested Interests in the Colorado Decision?

The most notable reaction was one of glee among opponents of Trump, followed extremely closely by the idea that: If they can do it, so can we. California’s Democrat Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis swiftly sent a letter to Sacramento’s Secretary of State Shirley Weber asking for ideas. “I urge you to explore every legal option to remove former President Donald Trump from California’s 2024 presidential primary ballot,” she wrote, concluding with an “interesting” interpretation: “This decision is about honoring the rule of law in our country and protecting the fundamental pillars of our democracy.”

Unsurprisingly, those who acted as managers in the second impeachment of the former president were quick to weigh in and lend their support. Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) appreciated the 4-3 decision as a vindication of his impeachment stewardship:

“Pleased the Colorado Supreme Court followed the Constitution. The Court appropriately held that Trump is disqualified from being in the ballot.

“An an [sic] impeachment manager, it was very clear to me that the evidence showed Trump called for and incited the mob on January 6.”

GettyImages-1659530864 Adam Schiff

Adam Schiff (Robert Gauthier/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images)

Such sentiments were echoed closely by another California Democrat who also brought the congressional case against Trump, Rep. Adam Schiff. He announced via X: “The Colorado Supreme Court just ruled Donald Trump is disqualified from the ballot — and from holding office — under the 14th Amendment. Accountability for inciting an insurrection. It’s about time.”

The politicos were joined by a number of celebrities who were in a rare celebratory mood. Rob Reiner – once known for his impeccable Hollywood credentials but now for being the self-appointed cheerleader for all things Democrat – relished the court decision, saying:

“The Colorado Supreme Court, stating the obvious, has ruled that Donald Trump, having engaged in Insurrection, be removed from the ballot and be barred from holding public office. Nice to see a little sanity poking it’s [sic] head up.”

The award for the largest lack of self-reflection must surely go to Hillary Clinton surrogate Marc E. Elias – he of Steele dossier fame – who glossed over his own role in what many consider the most significant scandal of the 21st century to take potshots at the former president. “On Jan. 6, Donald Trump incited a violent insurrection to block the certification of the Electoral College. That makes him disqualified to serve as President,” he argued. “It’s not complicated. It’s what the Amendment says and we cannot shrink away from the consequences of the plain text,” he summarized.

But not everyone saw the ruling as a cause for cheer.

A Worrying Turn of Events

Respected legal scholar Jonathan Turley warned: “This country is a powder keg and this court is just throwing matches at it. But I think they are wrong on the law.” He continued:

“This is a time when we actually need democracy. We need to allow the voters to vote. We need to hear their decision. And the court here just said, ‘You’re not going to get that in Colorado. We’re not going to let you vote for Donald Trump.’

“And you know you can dislike Trump, you can believe he’s responsible for January 6 but this isn’t the way to do it. I mean, it is, you know, for the people that say they’re trying to protect democracy. This is hands down the most anti-Democratic opinion I’ve seen in my life.”

GettyImages-1821123381 Elon Musk

Elon Musk (Photo by Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images for The New York Times)

CEO of X, Elon Musk, posted simply, “History will judge this poorly.”

There was also opposition to the decision from some of Trump’s political opponents. Independent presidential candidate Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. responded: “If Trump is kept out of office through judicial fiat rather than being defeated in a fair election, his supporters will never accept the result. This country will become ungovernable.” He continued, “It’s time to trust the voters. It is up to the people to decide who the best candidate is. Not the courts. The people. That’s Democracy 101.”

Noted Democrat operative David Axelrod expressed his own concerns, saying, “I would not engage in a discussion about this. I would be preparing to face Trump. The way they’re handling it is the right way. You don’t want to tell the American people — I don’t trust you to make the decision.”

Author David Sacks put the issue in his usual pithy style: “’Democracy’ now means the right of the people to vote for candidates approved by liberal judges.”

And What of the Trump Defenders?

Trump himself was fast and furious with posts on his TruthSocial platform. In an all-caps retaliation he said:

“BIDEN SHOULD DROP ALL OF THESE FAKE POLITICAL INDICTMENTS AGAINST ME, BOTH CRIMINAL & CIVIL. EVERY CASE I AM FIGHTING IS THE WORK OF THE DOJ & WHITE HOUSE. NO SUCH THING HAS EVER HAPPENED IN OUR COUNTRY BEFORE. BANANA REPUBLIC??? ELECTION INTERFERENCE!!!”

Other defenders of the former president were somewhat more measured in tone, if not in outrage. House Speaker Mike Johnson (R-LA) opted for the calm approach while still damning the process. “Today’s ruling attempting to disqualify President Trump from the Colorado ballot is nothing but a thinly veiled partisan attack,” he said. “Regardless of political affiliation, every citizen registered to vote should not be denied the right to support our former president and the individual who is the leader in every poll of the Republican primary.” He finished by pointing out that Colorado won’t have the final say: “We trust the U.S. Supreme Court will set aside this reckless decision and let the American people decide the next President of the United States.”

Trump campaign spokesman Steven Cheung delivered a swift and brutal rebuttal to the ruling:

“Unsurprisingly, the all-Democrat appointed Colorado Supreme Court has ruled against President Trump, supporting a Soros-funded, left-wing group’s scheme to interfere in an election on behalf of Crooked Joe Biden by removing President Trump’s name from the ballot and eliminating the rights of Colorado voters to vote for the candidate of their choice.

“Democrat Party leaders are in a state of paranoia over the growing, dominant lead President Trump has amassed in the polls. They have lost faith in the failed Biden presidency and are now doing everything they can to stop the American voters from throwing them out of office next November.”

Words Followed by Words

Ultimately, the decision about whether Trump remains on the GOP primary ballot in Colorado will be decided by the Supreme Court. Whether one agrees with the supposition that the former president should not run again, this ruling means an extra layer of bureaucracy has been placed between a candidate and those who wish to vote for or against him. And about that, there are certainly many more words to be spoken.

Read More From Mark Angelides

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