After failing in their attempts to make former President Trump the favorite choice for the Republican nomination in 2024, and failing to come up with a candidate to challenge him, Democrats are turning to another tactic.
Secretaries of state are charged with certifying the eligibility of candidates and counting the votes in their state. Two civil rights organizations are now launching a campaign to pressure state governments to disqualify former President Trump from appearing on ballots in 2024, Yahoo News reports.
The groups say secretaries of state are empowered by the 14th Amendment to bar Trump from running for office because of the Jan. 6, 2021, Capitol insurrection. A disqualification for Trump from any secretary of state would be unprecedented and likely challenged in court, but the civil rights groups say they have a shot, despite a shakey premise for their claim.
The groups are using the still-under-investigation alleged attempt by the former president in regard to the Jan 6 events at the Capitol. In spite of the event having happened years ago, no charges have ever been brought against Trump in the matter. But that is not stopping Democrats.
The Hill reports:
Starting Sunday, Mi Familia Vota and Free Speech for People will stage a week of rallies and banner drops outside the offices of the Secretaries of State of California, Oregon, Colorado, and Georgia.
The groups also penned a letter to Nevada Secretary of State Cisco Aguilar last month, calling on him to block Trump under what’s known as the Insurrectionist Disqualification Clause.
“We’re really focusing on Nevada and California and [Oregon, Colorado and Georgia] to make sure that they are taking a stand by disqualifying Trump in those spaces, which is something that the secretary of state can do,” said Héctor Sánchez, executive director of Mi Familia Vota.
The groups are calling their campaign “Trump is Disqualified,” and are timing it to coincide with the 155th anniversary of the 14th Amendment.
The Hill has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment.
Trump has been indicted twice both times to no avail, and is under investigation in other cases, but the groups say those are not disqualifying facts under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment. However, the groups believe Trump’s alleged role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — for which he is also under investigation — does fit the constitutional clause’s definitions.
That clause bars from a series of public offices people who “having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same.”
According to the Congressional Research Service (CRS), it’s unclear whether the clause bans people from being president — an office not explicitly mentioned in Section 3 — and whether the events of Jan. 6 rise to the level of “insurrection or rebellion against” the United States.
To further muddy and question the premise the groups are using, Trump has never been shown to have done any of those things. The accusations continue, but there has never been evidence to indict the former president on such charges.
So, this seems a far-reaching an feeble attempt to disqualify America’s favorite candidate by the opposing party.
But this ploy has worked in other instances. At least one official in New Mexico, Couy Griffin, was removed from his position as elected county commissioner for his role in the attack, Yahoo News notes.
Griffin was convicted for his role before losing his job, but the CRS notes that the Constitution “does not expressly require a criminal conviction, and historically, one was not necessary.” The groups leading the campaign believe they can convince at least some secretaries of state of their interpretation of the clause, disrupting Trump’s electoral chances.
“Trump is responsible for the January 6th insurrection, plain and simple,” said Alexandra Flores-Quilty, campaign director for Free Speech For People has announced, although she has no proof of such a thing.
“Failing to hold him responsible not only violates the Constitution, but it also sets a dangerous precedent for permitting violent attacks on our democracy. That’s not a risk we can afford to take,” she claims.
“We had a number of meetings with secretaries of state and we have had this discussion. So it’s a real possibility,” Sánchez insists.
The targeted states are mostly under Democratic control, but one, Georgia, holds a special significance in the events leading up to Jan. 6. Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) was in 2020 pressured by Trump to reverse his state’s presidential vote count, which favored President Biden. Raffensperger was interviewed by federal investigators Wednesday as part of special counsel Jack Smith’s investigations into Trump.
No mention has ben made by any of the groups about the current evidence against the Biden family having to do with corruption, international bribery payments, and treason.
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