Colorado Ruling against Donald Trump: Rebellion of Democracy

Trump clearly contributed to the uprising against the democratic order. But it could be so damaged that it can no longer defend itself.

Rarely has a ruling been so groundbreaking and so ineffective at the same time as Tuesday’s Colorado Supreme Court decision. The justices decided 4-3 that former President Donald Trump should no longer be allowed to hold public office because of his involvement in an insurrection against the constitutional order. Therefore, the court held that Trump’s name should be removed from the ballot in Colorado’s Republican primary.

That sounds promisingly like the actions of a defensive democracy that takes itself seriously and can effectively prevent its own destruction.

However, former U.S. President Trump will appeal to the very Supreme Court that he himself reshaped into a conservative court during his term in office. The court take its time with Trump’s case. In the meantime, Colorado’s court has decided that Trump can remain on the ballot.* The Colorado primary is in March, and there will be no ruling from the Supreme Court before that, and even then, it would be nothing short of a miracle if the six-member conservative majority of justices were to exclude from the ballot the very person that three of them owe their place on the bench to.

Republicans Rivals Also Support Trump

Moreover, none of the leading Republicans, not even Trump’s less-than-promising rivals, are backing away from Trump because of the Colorado opinion or because of the multiple criminal proceedings Trump faces. Quite the opposite. They agree with Trump that it is all a political attack by the Biden administration against an unpleasant rival. Given such contempt for the judiciary, these Republicans are politically complicit in the calculated destruction of the rule of law.

There can be no doubt that Trump was complicit in an insurrection between 2020 and 2021, including attempts to defraud the public and calling for violence, all to prevent Joe Biden, who legitimately won the election, from taking office. Yes, this is an uprising against the democratic order. But the democratic order itself could be so damaged that it can no longer effectively defend itself.

*Editor’s Note: Though the Colorado Supreme Court has ruled that Donald Trump cannot be on the ballot, the ruling has been stayed until Jan. 4 to allow him to appeal.

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