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  • Maxx Huang

Will Trump Be off the Ballot?


As the 2024 primary elections are underway, Mr. Trump has been banned from not one, but two states. Here is a quick rundown of the events:


Among the Republican presidential candidates, former president Donald Trump is far ahead in the Republican Party’s Primary polls, boasting a strong lead of 63.1%, compared to second place runner, former South Carolina governor Nikki Haley’s 11.9%, and current Florida governor Ron Desantis’ 11.6%. 


Mr. Trump also dominated the recent Iowa caucuses, the first primary election, winning 51% of the votes and 98 of 99 counties; however, the two remaining candidates, Mr. Desantis and Ms. Hailey are still in contention*, as they won 21.2% and 19.1% of the votes, respectively. The Iowa caucus will likely be a sign of how the rest of the Republican primaries may go.


Mr. Trump’s supporters believe that if he was reinstated as president, he would have the power necessary to carry out his agenda, like dealing with the southern border and working to improve the economy. His supporters also appreciate his more outspoken style and tend to come from rural backgrounds. About 60.8% of rural Republicans support Mr. Trump. He also seems to be looked upon favorably by young Republicans, with about 53% of Republicans aging 25-44 giving him their support.


Still, Mr. Trump’s third campaign for the White House might not be as smooth as the numbers suggest. Colorado’s state Supreme Court recently ruled (in a 4-3 decision) that the former president cannot be in the White House, subsequently removing him from their primary ballot. 


The decision cited Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which states that anyone who has incited a rebellion against the United States is disqualified from any government office. This clause may apply to Mr. Trump due to his role in the riot at the Capitol on January 6th, 2021. Mr. Trump gave a speech on that day, urging his followers to “fight” and “march over to the Capitol.” This is considered by some to be the root cause of the chaos that later ensued. The Colorado ruling is historic because it is the first use of the “insurrection” clause to prohibit a presidential candidate from appearing on a primary ballot. 


Shortly after Colorado, Maine followed suit, ruling Mr. Trump is unable to run in Maine due to the same insurrection clause.


Colorado’s Case has already made its way to the Supreme Court, which said it will begin hearing oral arguments on February 8th. This will put the Supreme Court right in the middle of the 2024 election, giving it the chance to influence an election in a way the country has not seen since Bush v. Gore in the presidential election of 2000.


In the case that the Supreme Court rules in favor of Colorado, Mr. Trump may be banned from the election process entirely. This is because the insurrection clause is a general rule, so validating Colorado’s ruling would set the precedent for the whole country. 


By the time a ruling is made, it is likely that both Mr. DeSantis and Ms. Haley will have suspended their campaigns, putting the primary race in a confusing situation. In that case, there could be some primaries held again in the summer to uphold the democratic process. As for the candidates, while Mr. DeSantis had a strong showing in Iowa, Ms. Haley leads him in several polls elsewhere. 


If the Supreme Court overrules Colorado’s decision, then the election process would most likely continue as normal with Mr. Trump continuing his campaign. 


It is important to note that conservatives constitute a 6-to-3 majority in the current Supreme Court, which could produce a favorable outcome for the former President. Mr. Trump also appointed three justices, but there still exists a chance the Court will rule against him.  


*This article was written before Mr. DeSantis suspended his presidential campaign on January 21.

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