Following the Colorado Supreme Court ruling that Donald Trump is ineligible to appear on that state’s primary ballot, Trump’s primary opponents trotted out the expected displays of umbrage. But while Vivek Ramaswamy moved swiftly into the lead as most sycophantic by demanding that everyone else also jump off the ballot, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has taken a different tack.
DeSantis has joined the rest in declaring his shock that state supreme court justices would try to do something so outrageous as enforce a constitutional amendment, but he’s also trying to use this moment as leverage against Trump. In what may be the best attempt to eat his cake and have it too, DeSantis is spreading a message that, sure, Trump has been wronged by those dastardly liberal judges. However, if Republican voters stick with Trump, things like this are sure to happen. So wouldn’t it really be better if they voted for DeSantis, who promises to be just as vile as Trump but comes without the courtroom baggage?
Then the man from Mouseland takes an enormous leap of logic. In DeSantis’ view, Democrats, judges, and the media are kicking Trump off the ballot … to help Trump.
DeSantis spent a portion of his Wednesday speech confessing his bafflement about how court hearings work and jumping into the proposal that red states should take President Joe Biden off their ballots as retribution for the Colorado ruling.
I mean, look, if somebody is convicted or something of some of these things, there was no trial on any of this. They basically just said, what, you can’t be on the ballot. I mean, how does that work? What’s the limiting principle for that? Why could we just say that Biden can’t be on the ballot because he let in 8 million illegals into the country and violated the Constitution, which he has? Can we just say, oh, well, they have money coming to Hunter or whatever?
All of these deep questions from DeSantis have answers. First, the Supreme Court of Colorado issued a decision because the watchdog nonprofit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington filed suit in a Colorado court and stayed with the case through a series of appeals. DeSantis might have noticed that many rulings on constitutional issues happen without a conviction being involved. Such as Republican efforts to crush health care. Or Republican efforts to end COVID-19 protections. Or Republican efforts to end environmental rules. People file suits. Courts make rulings.
The next part of DeSantis’ confusion also has a simple solution. What’s the limiting principle for knocking candidates off the ballot, and why can’t they retaliate against Biden because Hunter once paid him back for a truck? Because the 14th Amendment doesn’t cover repaying family loans, but it does say that no one can “hold any office, civil or military, under the United States” if they’ve previously taken an oath to uphold the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” against the United States.
Insurrection. That’s the “limiting principle,” Ron DeSantis.
But DeSantis complaining about Trump being booted from the ballot is just a warm-up act. The point he really wants to get across to his audience is how all this is part of a scheme. A plot. A conspiracy. One that’s meant to keep DeSantis from heading the ticket.
”But here’s the larger thing. What the left in the media and the Democrats are doing, they’re doing all this stuff to basically solidify support in the primary for [Trump], get him into the general, and the whole general election is going to be all this legal stuff. And look, it’s unfair. They’re abusing power 100%.”
Get that? Democrats, including liberal judges, are conspiring with the media to kick Trump off the primary ballot so that Trump is sure to win the primary. “That’s what they want,” DeSantis said. What’s more, Colorado is not the end. According to DeSantis, “there’s going to be other supreme courts that are going to probably try to do this, too.”
And kicking Trump off more ballots is going to help Trump even more. It’s all a trap.
“So that’s what we be walking into and it’s not fair,” DeSantis said before finishing in a spectacular flourish of incomprehensibility before the silent gathering. “But that doesn’t give us our best chance to be able to win and to be able to do this. In a way. It’s a hard enough job as it is.”
The one thing DeSantis says in all this that overlaps with reality is that the U.S. Supreme Court is likely to have the final word on the Colorado ruling. If that ruling is broad, it could make any further actions around this issue moot. However, for now, other cases are moving forward in over a dozen states. In Maine, Secretary of State Shenna Bellows is charged with making decisions about who is eligible to appear on the ballot. Bellows has already heard arguments from both sides and is expected to rule before the end of the month. Suits in Michigan, Oregon, New Jersey, and Wisconsin are currently in front of state courts.
As The New York Times reports, Trump’s legal problems have not reduced his polling so far. In fact, Trump’s lead over his primary opponents continues to grow even though the Times/Siena College latest poll shows over 58% of voters believe that Trump “committed serious federal crimes.”
It seems Republicans think it’s worse to be Ron DeSantis than a felon. It’s hard to fault them for that.
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