Colorado hands Trump a political gift by excluding him from the vote

By | December 21, 2023

The Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to ban the case Donald Trump The outcome of the state’s vote will help the former president in his quest to win the Republican nomination next year, political insiders from both parties say.

Some Democrats fear this could also give him a boost next November.

Republican elected officials rushed to rally behind Trump in the hours after the ruling was announced Tuesday — even those who did not support him for president in 2024. Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., who has not endorsed Trump, wrote a bill aimed at preventing states from blocking presidential candidates from voting. Government of Florida Ron DeSantiswho is competing with Trump for the Republican Party’s presidential nomination, even interpreted the decision as an attempt by Democrats to help Trump.

Donald Trump during a

Donald Trump during a

“They’re doing all this to shore up support in the primaries for him, get him into the general, and the whole general election is going to be all legal stuff,” DeSantis said in response to a voter question in Urbandale, Iowa. , Wednesday morning.

“It’s unfair. They’re abusing power, 100%,” DeSantis said. “But the question is, is that going to work? I think they have a playbook that will work, unfortunately, and it will deliver [President Joe] Biden or the Democrat, whoever, the ability to skate through this.”

Trump already faces criminal charges in four federal and state cases — with each charge appearing to strengthen his political base — and has turned his ongoing prosecutions into a political argument that he and his fellow Republicans are being persecuted by the Democrats in power .

The broader question is whether the statement adds to Trump’s narrative in a way that will be easily absorbed by swing voters if he advances to a general election.

“You know, we talk about democracy, but the whole world is watching the prosecution of a political opponent who is screwing him over,” Trump argued about Biden on Saturday during a speech at the University of New Hampshire.

Biden portrays Trump as a threat to democracy, and he used that message against Trump acolytes in 2022 before many of those Republican candidates suffered defeat in the midterm elections. Now some Democrats close to the president fear that removing Trump from the vote will flip the script — or at least dilute Biden’s message.

“They are angry,” said a source familiar with discussions involving senior White House campaign officials and Biden. The decision “makes it appear that Colorado is attempting to achieve election interference through unelected, Democratic-appointed judges with funding from ‘shady left-wing donors,'” the source said.

“We all hope Biden wakes up on Christmas morning to an A3 story in the Delaware News Journal saying the Supreme Court ruled 9-0 in favor of Trump,” the person added.

Although the Supreme Court could at any time overturn the state court’s holding — that Trump is ineligible under the 14th Amendment because his actions on Jan. 6 amounted to insurrection — Trump is reaping immediate political rewards. Shortly after the decision was made, he sent out a fundraising pitch.

House Speaker Mike Johnson, R-La., called the decision “a thinly veiled partisan attack” on Trump.

“Regardless of political affiliation, every citizen registered to vote should not be denied the right to support our former president and the person leading in every Republican primary poll,” said Johnson, who endorsed Trump last month.

One of Trump’s rivals, Vivek Ramaswamy, vowed Tuesday night to withdraw from the Colorado primary if Trump does not participate — and called on their opponents to do the same. An aide to Ramaswamy, who asked how the ruling will affect Trump, put it succinctly: “Oh, I’m sure it will help his poll numbers.”

It’s not just Republicans who think the Supreme Court has given Trump a gift.

“The optics of the decision before a court has ruled on his charges only fuels Trump’s persecution complex,” said Democratic strategist Chris Kofinis, a veteran presidential campaign aide. “And as inscrutable as it may sound to Democrats, [this] will probably strengthen him.”

David Axelrod, who served as President Barack Obama’s top adviser, described Trump’s courtroom travails as “battery packs” on the Republican Party’s campaign trail.

Trump already has a wide lead over his Republican presidential rivals in national and state polls, and with less than a month before voters convene in Iowa, the decision in Colorado promises to deprive his opponents of oxygen at a crucial time for their campaigns. .

“With less than 30 days until the caucus, time and attention are at a premium,” said Matt Gorman, a former top campaign aide to Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who suspended his presidential efforts last month. “Instead of allowing his opponents to contrast themselves with Trump, they are forced to legitimately defend him.”

They quickly responded publicly — and sided with Trump — demonstrating the political imperative to avoid angering Republican primary voters who see Trump as a victim of partisanship.

“The last thing we want is for judges to tell us who can and cannot be on the ballot,” said former U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley, who vowed she would beat him fairly no matter what.

The only Republican candidate who sounded a different note: former Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson, an outspoken Trump critic who has received little support from Republican voters.

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