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Controversy surrounds Trump’s reelection bid as Maine and Colorado challenge eligibility

United States: Former President of the United States – Donald Trump’s being re-elected president is opposed by most Democrats and some Republicans, according to the reports. Many in that group, however, believe the indicted former president should be allowed to stand trial.

Maine and Colorado Challenge Trump’s Candidacy

On Thursday, Maine became the second state to decide that Trump cannot be on the ballot due to a Constitutional provision from the Civil War era. This provision states that former public officials involved in “insurrection or rebellion” against the United States are not eligible to hold office again. Similar to Colorado, where a state court ruled earlier that Trump cannot appear on the ballot, the decision by the Maine secretary of state will be temporarily on hold pending court proceedings.

Not all Democrats, or even Republicans behind Trump in primary polls, are willing to stop Trump from being elected.

“I voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6 insurrection. I do not believe he should be re-elected as President of the United States,” Democratic Rep. Jared Golden said in a statement after his home state of Maine said Trump was not eligible to be on the ballot there, according to the US News.

“However, we are a nation of laws; therefore, until he is found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot,” Golden said.

“The text of the Fourteenth Amendment is clear.” Democratic Rep. Chellie Pingree of Maine disagreed while writing this on social media. No person who engaged in an insurrection against the government can ever again serve in elected office.

California’s Contradictory Stance

California’s Democratic Secretary of State – Shirley Weber, qualified Trump on the March 5 primary ballot hours after her Maine counterpart, Shenna Bellows, claimed Trump was ineligible to be on the ballot on the same day. Weber’s decision contradicted the state’s lieutenant governor’s open letter to remove Trump from the ballot.

“California must stand on the right side of history,” Kounalakis said in her message.

However, Weber’s move is consistent with what California Gov. Gavin Newsom, a rising star in Democratic politics, believed is the best way to deal with Trump.

Trump’s presidential primary opponents have also condemned moves to remove him from the ballot, even though doing so may be the only way for those polling behind the former president to win.

“The idea that one bureaucrat in an executive position can simply unilaterally disqualify someone from office, that turns on its head every notion of constitutional due process that this country has always abided by for over 200 years,” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis told Fox News on Thursday night. “It opens up Pandora’s box,” he added in remarks like those of his fellow primary competitors. 

Legal and Political Quandaries

The situation is problematic on both legal and political levels. The provision, which doesn’t require that a candidate be convicted of insurrection or rebellion, is also a part of the 14th Amendment to the Constitution. It doesn’t clarify who makes the decision, which critics say leaves it susceptible to partisan exploitation. For example, the Trump team has characterized efforts to keep the candidate off the ballot as merely political. 

“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” campaign spokesman Steven Cheung said in a statement after Maine’s ruling Thursday, according to US News.

Impact on democracy and voter perception

Politics is also complicated for individuals who do not want Trump to be president again. Several reports claimed that keeping Trump off the ballot may make reelection hard for him. However, it may give voters the impression that they were denied the chance to choose their president in a democratic election, as well as set a precedent for removing other contenders in later contests.

State Supreme Courts weigh in

The argument that Trump is disqualified due to his role in the January 6 Capitol insurgency is “far from a slam dunk,” according to Michigan Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, in a thorough discussion of the matter this week.

“I say all of this knowing that voters on all sides of this issue have strong feelings. That debate confirms that this is not as clear-cut a scenario as when there is a universal factual agreement regarding a candidate’s age, place of birth, or whether they’ve already served two terms,” Benson said, referring to the other prerequisites for someone to hold the presidency.

The Michigan Supreme Court ruled earlier this week that Trump should appear on the state’s primary ballot on February 27 – but left open the prospect that a new legal battle may keep him off the general election ballot.

The Minnesota Supreme Court also denied an attempt to remove Trump from the state’s primary ballot. While the Colorado Supreme Court ruled that Trump had participated in an insurgency, the courts in Michigan and Minnesota avoided that issue, basing their decisions on technical questions about who can choose a party nominee.

A group called Free Speech for People, representing some Oregon voters has launched a lawsuit, citing the insurrection clause, to challenge Trump’s candidacy there.

However, the highly charged subject is expected to be decided by the United States Supreme Court, which has been invited to hear a challenge to the state court’s finding by the Colorado Republican Party. Six Republican and independent voters in Colorado brought the complaint.

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