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Trump Derangement Syndrome is destroying democracy

The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against Trump
The Colorado Supreme Court ruled against Trump - Reuters

“This is the same old trick,” Trump said when he got the news that the Colorado Supreme Court voted 4-3 to keep him off the primary ballot for the 2024 presidential election.

Oops. Sorry. I got my papers mixed up. That was actually Abraham Lincoln in 1860 when he got the news that some Southern states had voted to keep him off the ballot. Eventually 10 states did so.

So here we are again. It’s a bit like that Army Major in the Vietnam war who explained that they had to destroy a village in order to save it. Just so, the virtuous people of Colorado have decided that in order to save democracy they need to destroy it.

In fact, what they have just voted to preserve is not democracy but “Our Democracy™.” Here’s the difference. In a democracy, people get to vote for the candidate they prefer. In “Our Democracy™,” only approved candidates get to compete.

Donald Trump is the opposite of an approved candidate. The untrammeled hermeneutical ingenuity of the American legal profession had be let loose against Trump. As I write, he faces huge legal battle in four states.

Perhaps the most frivolous is the case in New York, where the Attorney General  Letititia James, who actually campaigned on a platform of “getting Trump,” has brought a civil suit for $250,000,000 against him claiming that he overvalued his assets when applying for bank loans.

For example, Mar-a-Lago, Trump’s palatial residence-cum-club in Palm Beach, she said was worth $18 million. Unfortunately for James, independent auditors, including some that have done work for the state of New York, disagreed. One valued the property at $1.5 billion.

But looking for facts and reasons when it comes to Donald Trump is a bootless exercise. “Show me the man and I will you the crime,” said Stalin’s factotum Lavrentiy Beria. Beria would have lifetime tenure in the contemporary Democratic party.

Trump is guilty not because of anything he has done but because of who he is. He is an enemy, not of the state, exactly, but of the state of mind that constitutes “Our Democracy™.” When he unexpectedly won the presidency in 2016, the beautiful people, beginning with his opponent Hillary Clinton, couldn’t believe it. They denounced the election as fraudulent. “Our Democracy™,” you see,  means “rule by Democrats.”

Now they are warning that, should Trump be reelected, he would be a “dictator,” a new Hitler, etc. He would weaponise the Department of Justice against his enemies, they claim, and use the FBI to harass his opponents. Stay tuned for the seminar on what the Freudians call “projection”: it meets this afternoon in a democratic redoubt near you.

The rationale, such as it is, behind Colorado’s effort to save democracy by destroying is found in the 14th Amendment to the Constitution, which disqualifies people who have “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” from public office.

Trump urged people on January 6, 2021, to make their voices heard “peacefully and patriotically.” He pleaded, just before being removed from Twitter, that “I am asking for everyone at the US Capitol to remain peaceful. No violence! Remember, WE are the Party of Law & Order – respect the Law and our great men and women in Blue. Thank you!”

The Supreme Court of Colorado did not mention those details. But the Supreme Court of the United States, which is sure to take up the case now, will have them front and center. The Court, which includes 3 Justices appointed by Trump, leans conservative 6 to 3. But the idea that you can best preserve democracy by destroying it is not something that is likely to appeal to any of the Justices.

I think the Court is likely to treat the Colorado decision with some part of the contempt and ridicule it deserves. Even the most left-leaning Justices understand what the word “precedent” means. It would not surprise me if the decision were unanimous.

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