Nine state lawmakers have sent a letter to Attorney General Rob Bonta claiming that Trump is not eligible to appear on the California ballot on the grounds that he incited an insurrection during the January 6 incident at the Capitol. Under the 14th Amendment, public officials who have been parties in an insurrection cannot hold office again.
They are hoping that Bonta can leverage his position as the top law enforcement officer in the California to expedite a ruling in the state. If everything goes according to their plan, the state could force Trump off the ballot – although it could be later overturned. Bonta, who is mulling a run for governor when current Governor Gavin Newsom is termed out of office in 2026, may be eager to capitalize on this chance to appeal to the liberal voter base.
However, John Seiler argued in a recent opinion piece for the Epoch Times that if this long shot does somehow come to fruition, it could actually have the opposite of the intended effect and guarantee a win for Trump.
First, Seiler points out that the wording of the 14th Amendment refers to appointed officials rather than elected ones in other constitutional provisions and that the Supreme Court has ruled in the past that ‘unless a person in the service of the government ... holds his place by virtue of an appointment ... he is not, strictly speaking, an officer of the United States.’
However, the California effort is not the only one looking to get Trump left off the ballot. Several other states’ attorneys general and governors, as well as some lawsuits filed by political groups, are also making similar moves. And let’s not forget that some jurisdictions are already trying to prosecute Trump for election interference in 2020.
Seiler points out that Republicans could respond by taking similar steps in their own swing states, throwing Biden off the ballot. They could argue that the bribes he allegedly received from Communist China could cause him to be disqualified under a different part of the 14th Amendment, Section 3, which refers to those who have “given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” This approach could be useful, he argues, in places like Iowa, Virginia, New Hampshire and Georgia.
If both scenarios were to occur, however, neither candidate would get the 270 electoral votes needed to become president. This would mean moving into a contingent election, where the House of Representatives would make the decision. However, rather than giving all 435 representatives a vote, each state delegation receives one vote for a total of 50. It’s a situation in which Trump would very likely have an advantage.
This possibility was even mentioned in the Guardian by Canadian political writer Stephen Marche, who posited: “State delegations in the House would favor Republicans as a matter of course. In the struggle for congressional delegates, Republicans would have 19 safe House delegations and the Democrats would have 14,?as it stands, with more states leaning Republican than Democrat.”
In other words, if Democrats are successful in removing Trump from the ballot, they could spur a series of events in which he actually becomes our next president. While it is all very unlikely, one can only hope that the possibility of this occurring will be enough to make them think twice.
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