Very few individuals have had as large a wall of denial in front of them as former President Donald Trump. From his election to multiple impeachment proceedings and court battles, he has been one of the most divisive presidents ever. Recent pushes to make him ineligible for re-election have hit a wall, as we explore here.

The Colorado Situation

Trump was removed from the ballot for the Republican Colorado Primaries. The rationale was that by his action or inaction, Trump helped prop up or support insurrectionists who took to Capitol Hill in 2021.

Source: Flickr/ University of Denver

Trump complained that he had nothing to do with what rioters did of their own accord in the 2021 riots, but the independent Republicans that removed his name from the ballot were having none of it. Then, the Supreme Court of the United States got involved.

A Ruling That Will Go Down in History

The Supreme Court rapidly took up Donald Trump’s complaint after the Colorado ballot removal. The court, whose judges skew conservatively in a 6-3 ratio, took Trump’s appeal for being excluded from the ballot.

Source: Flickr/Jeffrey Beall

The court’s ruling is likely to set a precedent for future elections and ensure that Trump returns to his place on the Republican primary ballot. The primaries are how the Republican party determines who will lead their party in their bid for the White House.

The Question and Its Solution is Urgent

The primaries aren’t here yet, but preparation for it is in full swing. In Colorado, ballots are already being sent for printing. Trump’s name is included on the ballot until the ruling from the Supreme Court comes through. If the Colorado state court’s ruling is upheld, he will be stricken from the ballot.

Source: Flickr/Scott McLeod

Initially, Trump was included in the ballot, but an order filed by concerned Republicans saw him being taken off according to the ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court. This court decided he had violated his oath of office by participating in the January 2021 insurrection.

The Counter Argument

Trump’s attorneys countered by stating that he wasn’t present at the insurrection, nor did he aid or support any person or institution involved. While this argument didn’t sway the Colorado Supreme Court judges, the appeal hinges on the same argument.

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The attorneys for Donald Trump state that they are confident that the Supreme Court will uphold their client’s right to run for office in the United States.

A Question of Freedom?

Donald Trump’s attorneys have phrased their appeal in a way that appeals to one of the core tenets of American citizenship – that of freedom. They claim that he should be free to run for office, given that he is a citizen of the country.

Source: Flickr/U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Headquarters

However, those who want him off the ballot have decided that he has proven he isn’t worthy of representing the country as President. They cite the 14th Amendment to the US Constitution as the reason he should be barred.

What Does the 14th Amendment Say?

The 14th Amendment was ratified in 1868, right after the end of the American Civil War. As a nod to its timing, it debars anyone involved in insurrection or rebellion against the US from public office.

Source: Flickr/Jonathan Thorne

The riots on the Capitol in January 2021, those against Trump argue, were a result of him riling up a subset of his supporters to rebel against law and order. As such, he should be barred from taking office.

An Argument That Lacks Teeth

The crux of the matter for the Supreme Court of the United States is to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Trump was responsible for inciting violence. That can be a hard ask since nothing he did directly called for rebellion or insurrection.

Source: Thomas P Costello

While Trump might not be completely innocent of what happened in January 2021, he has managed to be as vaguely involved as possible. Tweets that he posted that may be taken as a sign to attack the government could also be interpreted in other ways.

A Dozen Other States Have Challenges

While Colorado stands out as being the ruling that Trump appealed, it’s far from the only state court that has a pending case against Trump being on the ballot. Maine has also disqualified Trump, but California and Michigan have not.

Source: Flickr/NATO North Atlantic Treaty Organization

If the Supreme Court of the United States upholds the ruling, it could mean that the states that allowed Trump on the ballot would not have to strike him off it. It would be the first time a Supreme Court struck a candidate off a ballot in the history of the US.

A Unique Precedent, But Not Unheard Of

In 1912, Howard Taft was President, encouraged to the seat of power by his former friend Teddy Roosevelt. Unfortunately, Taft turned out to be a weaker man than Roosevelt expected. He decided to run against Taft for the Republican candidacy.

Source: Flickr/ Mike Steele

Taft strongarmed others to not vote for Roosevelt, on pain of losing their jobs. It worked, and Roosevelt was pushed out of the Republican party. He eventually formed his own party and won the election against Taft.

Is This a Likely Situation Today?

The American two-party system is not really a two-party system. Other parties can easily form, but they just don’t have the traction and machinery the established Democratic and Republican parties do.

Source: Flickr/Trump White House Archived

Is it likely that Trump could start his own party? While it is possible, it’s unlikely that he would since he would miss out on a lot of core support from the Republican party, who would vote for him on a Republican ticket.

Only Congress Can Decide Who Can Be President

One of the arguments forwarded by the Trump campaign is that only Congress can decide who can and cannot be president. As such, the Colorado Supreme Court (and any other state court) is out of line in removing him from a preliminary ballot.

Source: Flickr/Eclectic Jack

Colorado’s Supreme Court acknowledged that their decision would have profound ramifications for the voting process. They stated that they did not come to their conclusion lightly but that they believed they were upholding the law.

Democratic Values Or A Travesty?

Trump supporters have come out in force, saying that removing Trump from a preliminary ballot is against what democracy stands for. They go so far as to call it election interference, which could endanger the democratic process.

Source: Flickr/Geoff Livingston

Those for banning Trump from the ballot point to the Supreme Court’s involvement as a point in favor of democracy. If a former president can be held accountable to the constitution for his actions, then democracy is healthy in the USA.

A Risk Of Partisanism in The Supreme Court

No matter what the Supreme Court decides to do, they are in a strange position, walking a fine line between both parties. The United States has never been as politically divided as it is in this day and age.

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Suppose the Supreme Court rules in favor of Trump; the other courts who have disbarred him will have to rescind their decisions and allow him onto their ballots. It would be a blow to any Republicans who don’t want Donald Trump on their primary ballots.

Can’t Republicans Just Not Vote For Him?

The issue of Trump being on a Republican primary ballot means that Republicans can democratically say that he doesn’t represent them. Except in the unique case of Donald Trump, this might be more difficult than it appears.

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Trump has a core of supporters deep within the Republican party, comprising its most grassroots supporters. By appealing to these people, he has set up an intolerable situation for other Republicans.

A Thorn In The Side of Republicans

In his first bid for President, no one considered him a serious candidate until he started winning primary votes nationwide and edged out the preferred candidate. The support Trump has is deeper than what most other Republican hopefuls do.

Source: Unsplash/Dalton Caraway

He was described as a thorn in the side of the Republican party because his cult of personality has entranced an entire subset of Republicans. The party faithful can no longer count on their vote unless Trump is involved in the process.

Can The Republican Party Stop Trump?

The legal battle is one of the first movements the “Republican establishment” has made to try to stop the Donald Trump Juggernaut from steamrolling their chances at the next election. If he wins the primaries, they will likely lose the polls.

Source: Flickr/ Alexandros Binopoulos

Party elites, or those with the money and influence, have long since determined the person who runs for president in the Republican party. Trump’s utter dominance of the popular vote shows how little the establishment has control over the core supporters in the party.

A Party Divided Amongst Itself

Schisms within the Republican Party aren’t new. At the turn of the millennium, the Tea Party became a significant force in the party, challenging the establishment and promoting its own grassroots agenda.

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Trump’s “soft takeover” of the party has not gone down well with many of the financial interests that fund the Republican campaign machinery. Many donors have come out against Trump and his politics, outright denying his right to run for office.

A Savior Or a Villain Depends On Who You Listen To

Most Americans have an opinion about Trump one way or another. Depending on who you listen to and which news outlets you subscribe to, you may think that Trump could be a savior or the world’s most cartoonish villain.

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Many of the people who were responsible for Trump’s ban from the ballot have called him a “threat to democracy,” citing his alleged responsibility for the Capitol riots of January 2021. His supporters consider him to be exactly what their party needs.

The First Time Was a Fluke

Many other people within the Republican Party think that Trump’s 2016 Presidential nomination was something of a fluke. However, these people are in the minority and overlook a critical detail.

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Trump’s success as a presidential hopeful comes with the vast resources that he can produce to fund his campaign. He used to be a Republican donor before he decided to throw his hat into the ring. Even so, most non-Republicans wouldn’t vote for him.

Stopping The Train Before It Gets Rolling

The concerned Republicans who tried to force Trump off the ballot can tell which way the wind is blowing. If they can prevent him from running at the primaries, they can potentially prevent him from ruining the party’s chances at the polls.

Source: Flickr/Nick Benson

It’s impossible to stop his funding since it’s all coming from his personal stores and those of his close friends. The only redress they have is to push for the legal system to work in their favor. Only time will tell if it will.