How could any rational person vote for Donald Trump? That’s the expected and demanded takeaway when the mainstream news and culture leaders talk. And yet, establishment power brokers are still so scared of his potential success that they work feverishly to ensure that voters cannot choose him. Judge Sarah B. Wallace will hear final arguments in Colorado’s Never Trump trial to keep him off the ballot. The Democrat appointee to the bench will decide Trump’s fate for the state ballot for president in 2024 as soon as Wednesday, November 15.
Never Trump Civil War redux
Those bringing the case seek an order declaring the former president disqualified under the Fourteenth Amendment and forbidding Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold from allowing his name to be placed on the ballot. They are trying to use a Reconstruction-era amendment to prevent Confederate army members from serving in government to stop Trump’s name from appearing on the ballot.
What if that supposition about those attacking his candidacy is wrong? We may think of the presidential election as one race, but it’s 50 separate elections. Donald Trump lost his 2016 Colorado presidential race to Hillary by five points. In 2020, he did much worse against Biden, losing by almost fourteen points. Why fight to keep him off the ballot there if he will almost certainly lose the state again? Other goals may be simply to frustrate Trump and the accrual of money and power.
The campaign to prevent Trump from being listed on state ballots is chiefly the work of a non-profit profiting mightily from the effort. Their website, purposely not linked here, starts with a splash page asking for donations to help “enforce Trump’s disqualification from office.” The New York Times featured its founder, Norman Eisen, in a glowing write-up, calling him the “mastermind” behind the group. Mr. Eisen, an attorney, is a key Obama ally and appointee; he was a Never Trumper since before it was cool. According to the Times, “Eisen was a critical force in building the case for impeachment from the very earliest days of the Trump presidency.”
Then there is the matter of bandwidth. If Trump and his team attend to matters like these, they are using precious hours and dollars in efforts besides running for president. Seen through the lens of his enemies, that is a win by itself for distracting the candidate.
Judge Wallace has reportedly promised to issue her ruling in the case before Thanksgiving. We should expect appeals from both parties. If Trump wins the right to ballot access, we should expect appellate courts to be less likely to accept the case on appeal. If he loses, however, given such a novel application of the 14th Amendment in this lower-level state court, both state and federal appeals courts will likely give him a hearing.