Trump could galvanise partymen around him - GulfToday

Trump could galvanise partymen around him

Eric Garcia

@EricMGarcia

Eric Garcia is the Washington bureau chief and senior Washington Correspondent at the Independent.

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Donald Trump

For the second time in as many weeks, a state disqualified former president Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot. A week after Colorado disqualified Trump from the 2024 Republican primary ballot, Maine secretary of state Shenna Bellows said in a filing that Trump was disqualified because he contributed to the January 6 riot at the US Capitol. These moves are unprecedented, but then again, so was Trump’s presidency, and his refusal to engage in a peaceful transfer of power.

Trump is not likely to win Colorado or Maine in a November 2024 general election. Colorado voted for president Joe Biden by double digits while Maine broke for Biden by nine points in 2020. In addition, neither of these states is among the four early nominating contests — Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Nevada.

That means that even if the Supreme Court were to act in the quickest manner possible, the Republican primary would likely already be decided. Trump still has a tight grip on the GOP electorate despite former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s climb in the polls. If anything, as my trip to North Carolina the week Trump was indicted showed me, it will likely galvanise Republicans around him. Furthermore, the Supreme Court for one state that may help decide the presidential election — Michigan — ruled that Trump will remain on the ballot. While a Democratic business owner in Wisconsin announced that he will attempt to bar Mr Trump from the ballot in the Badger State, the effort will likely not amount to anything.

A federal judge also rejected an attempt to keep Trump off the ballot in the critical swing state of Arizona. There’s also the fact that the US Supreme Court is not likely to rule in favour of the states’ decisions. Trump appointed three of the justices — Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett — in the court’s 6-3 conservative majority. Ever since Trump entered the political arena, his opponents in both parties hoped to find some magical remedy to remove him. But no such elixir exists.

His GOP challengers either avoided attacking him, hoping that he would destroy their enemies, or, in the case of Texas senator Ted Cruz, they hoped that Trump would implode and they could hoover up his supporters.

When Trump won the presidency, many Democrats hoped that the investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller into interference by Russia in the 2016 presidential election would lead to Trump’s downfall. Then, there were hopes that his impeachment in 2020 would take him out. The January 6 riot offered the best opportunity for the American body politic to purge Trump from its system, since it would clearly bar him from running again.

Indeed, Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell reportedly said “the Democrats are going to take care of the son of a b**** for us.” But McConnell and the rest of Republican leadership cowered and only 10 Republican members in the House voted to impeach Trump and seven Republican senators — far from the requisite two-thirds needed — voted to convict him.

With that option gone, the legal and electoral paths remain the only means of keeping Trump out of the White House. And indeed, Trump has cultivated his followers into thinking that either means would be illegitimate as well, telling his supporters “I am your warrior, I am your justice, and for those who have been wronged and betrayed, I am your retribution.”

If Trump were to be legally removed from the ballot, he would make himself a martyr and galvanise his supporters to turn out once the courts rule in his favour. And if he somehow loses the presidential election a little more than 11 months from now, he will repeat his claims that the election was “rigged” and “stolen,” but there would be little that he could do to remedy the action barring another act of violence as was the case on January 6.

As of right now, the only feasible option for removing Trump from the political experiment is by the ballot box. Until then, we’re stuck with him.

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