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December 20, 2023 12:46 PM UTC

Rage Of MAGA World Pours Forth Upon Colorado

  • by: Colorado Pols
You done pissed him off.

Yesterday’s ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court disqualifying ex-President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot in Colorado based on Trump’s participation in an insurrection against the federal government on January 6th, 2021 has provoked a discomforting firestorm of backlash and even threats of secession and civil war from supporters of the ex-President. As the Colorado Sun’s Jesse Paul reports, Colorado Republican Party chairman Dave “Let’s Go Brandon” Williams says if the ruling stands, the party will simply ignore the presidential primary and send delegates via caucus:

Williams told The Sun that if Trump isn’t on the ballot and the Colorado Secretary of State’s Office won’t cancel the Republican presidential primary, “we will ignore the primary” results.

The Colorado Secretary of State’s Office said the Colorado GOP couldn’t withdraw from the presidential primary and that it has doubts about whether the party can ignore the primary results.

“Colorado law does not allow a presidential primary election to be canceled at the request of a political party,” the office said in a written statement Wednesday. “If the Colorado Republican Party attempts to withdraw from the presidential primary or ignore the results of the election, this would likely be a matter for the courts.”

Keep in mind that the Colorado GOP central committee is set to vote next month on a motion to endorse Trump and call for the other candidates to pull out of the primary, so it’s not the process that matters to Williams but rather the outcome. Yesterday’s ruling directly challenges the alternate reality still adhered to as gospel by Williams and the hard-right MAGA faction in control of the Colorado GOP that Donald Trump is today the rightful President of the United States, and all of the mythology that descends from that falsehood–from the false panic over Dominion Voting Systems still pushed today by the party’s “election integrity department” to the “escorted tour into the Capitol” Rep. Lauren Boebert says took place on January 6th. Protecting Donald Trump from accountability for these events is why the right had to manufacture their own alternative version of both the 2020 presidential election and January 6th.

Whatever happens next, the findings of the Colorado Supreme Court in this case are crucially important to the judgment of history. That larger role is the true reason why the right is so incensed over a decision that has a good chance of being overturned by the conservative activist U.S. Supreme Court, and wouldn’t materially affect the 2024 presidential race beyond the primary that Colorado Republicans want to short-circuit anyway given the slim odds of Trump actually carrying the state of Colorado in November. The District Court judge established the critical finding upheld by the Supreme Court that Trump engaged in insurrection. From there, Trump’s attorney Scott Gessler was left with a narrow semantic argument over Trump’s oath of office that judges rejected and either way was not auspicious politically for the ex-President.

With all of this in mind, let’s take a look at some of the backlash we’re seeing from the right against Colorado from yesterday’s ruling:

That’s conservative college activist Charlie Kirk, who readers will remember was an enthusiastic supporter of Heidi Ganahl’s 2022 gubernatorial train wreck of a campiagn, declaring the Colorado Supreme Court’s ruling “the declaration of a Cold Civil War in America.” We assume the “cold” part means the FBI shouldn’t get involved just yet? Unfortunately, some of Kirk’s colleagues are forgetting to keep things the legally requisite degree of chill:

Here we have John Hayward, the “national security deputy editor” at Breitbart, warning that yesterday’s decision “could lead to a serious, long-term national schism.” Our question would be in response, who created that schism–the peddlers of a false narrative that the 2020 election was stolen and that January 6th was not an insurrection, or the courts of law determining the opposite? We can all agree that this schism is “incredibly dangerous,” as the events of January 6th demonstrated. But there is a right and a wrong side, and the consequences of who prevails are…well, everything.

Back in Colorado, we find rhetoric from Republicans running for higher office only slightly less incendiary:

There’s Republican CD-8 congressional candidate Scott James declaring it’s time to “fight this with everything we have,” and we really wish he had included the word “legally” or some other qualifier to make it clear that he doesn’t mean, you know, literal fighting. If we take the bombastic former talk-radio host at his word here, it could be cause some some alarm.

From here, we could descend into the dregs of every kind of demeaning remark about the state of Colorado, the name-and-shame campaign against the majority Justices in yesterday’s ruling, and the innumerable even less carefully-worded threats of violence that have flooded social media in the last 20 hours. In their ruling the majority acknowledged the controversy of ruling on this weighty and divisive question, but made clear they would not be intimidated:

We do not reach these conclusions lightly. We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us. We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.

Circumstantially, this is not a case that would likely affect the outcome of the general election, and Colorado alone will not be the decisive factor in the Republican primary whether Trump is on the ballot or not. This case is about something much more fundamental than the results of any one election, asking whether the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution is still enforceable against today’s insurrectionists like it was after the first, and hopefully only, American Civil War.

All we can hope for from our limited-view spectator seat is that cool heads and the truth prevail.


16 thoughts on “Rage Of MAGA World Pours Forth Upon Colorado

  1. You mean the doofuses that lost 60 cases after the 2020 election are complaining about the courts making rulings the don't like, again?  Yawn.  I still predict that SCOTUS will vacate this decision and conclude that the issue of whether a candidate is barred by Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment is a nonjusticiable political question, but I also recognize that this is not an easy case at all.  Nuance gets lost on those with a red hat and no frontal lobe though

  2. Donald Trump not on the ballot? The COSC finding at the minimum puts the contest in the right frame…fascsim or no to fasicsm…the greatest threat re engaging a civil war will happen if Trump is elected…    

    1. I can't agree more with your statement. It's tragic how voters (many in swing states) seem to not care about how serious the election is: bewteen democracy and no democacy. I find it frustating that many of these voters who showed the door to MAGA candiates in 2022 have no problem with the man who created and lead this crap in the first place. I find it interesting that a lackluster president like Biden is considered as bad or worse than a man who incited a insurrection, was openly bigoted, antagonized many of our allies, is open to the possibility of eliminating democracy, and is now entangled in countless legal problems. It's interesting to note that while Trumpism is unpopular, Trump seems to more popular than the ideology he literally bred himself. Honestly, voters want to have their cake and eat it too. Want Abortion, legal weed, equal rights, worker rights, access to healthcare, a healthy democracy, or decent socal safety net? Many of these voters say Yes! but turn around to support someone that not only hates that but wants to completely dismantle it. Voters need to seriously reconsider what they actually want more or compromise by considering the idea of checks and balances of having the opposition be the majority so you can enjoy your Trump cake that'll just poison you instead of killing you. Or you can of course, choose none of these and enjoy seeing your rights go down the drain along with this nation.

      1. The only way I can explain it is their firehose of propaganda they're all in front of 24/7. They have an entire mediasphere of inciting propaganda and lies and complete divorcement from reality ensuring everyone tows the same line or else. You can't fight that, and until we're able to severely regulate that type of media again, this only gets worse from here on out.

  3. How embarrassing for the Colorado Republican Party to be the state that first throws the orange menace off the ballot. Talk about no political pull or power.  They have got to be burning with humiliation. Not a good day to be a Colorado MAGA man. Looking at you Dave W.

    1. "Colorado MAGA man….." Dave Williams has more bullshit than the biggest feedlot in Kansas. I say that as a Colorado registered Republican for over 30 years.

  4. This is actually not a difficult case, as a question of law.

    Insurrection, as the term was understood during Reconstruction when the Fourteenth Amendment was ratified and as it is used in section 3 of that amendment, has a clear definition. The Colorado Supreme Court majority applied that definition in yesterday's decision to easily hold that Donald J. Trump engaged in insurrection. 

    Other individuals have been disqualified from running for office based on failure to meet the qualifications set forth by the Constitution, including candidates for president. Sure, those were not well-known or widely supported candidates. But there is ample precedent, as the state supreme court clearly explained, for directly applying section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment to presidential candidates. 

    Nor would this issue present a nonjusticiable political question even if such precedent were unavailable. There is no more difficulty in applying section 3 than there is in applying section 1, which contains the oft-applied Equal Protection Clause and Due Process Clause.

    The Fourteenth Amendment, like the First Amendment, is a part of the U.S. Constitution that is entitled to equal consideration. There is no freedom of speech right to engage in insurrection. Otherwise, the First Amendment – enacted in 1787 – would override the Fourteenth Amendment, enacted 80 years later. We don't interpret legal documents that way.

    The Supreme Court of the United States will have to defer to the factual findings of the Denver District Court, which is indisputably supported by extensive evidence. So the only thing that will be before the justices is the legal analysis in the Colorado Supreme Court decision. 

    That analysis is rock solid. Even the dissenters in yesterday's opinion did not contest the main points: that Trump is an insurrectionist, that disqualification is possible (one justice said he thought it required a federal statute, but not that it's impossible), and that a court can order that disqualification (again, one justice said he thought the court authority to do that depended on a federal statute). One judge pointed to a view that Trump received too little "due process," but that's kind of silly given that there was a five day trial at which Trump could and did call witnesses, introduce other evidence, and did mount and argue a defense. Mostly they pointed to a rather convoluted and somewhat weak argument that the Colorado Election Code doesn't permit adjudication of Fourteenth Amendment disqualfication arguments. And that's a state law interpretation question that SCOTUS cannot consider.

    If the justices in Washington are principled, they'll uphold this opinion. Obviously, justices of the Supreme Court of the United States have long acted more as partisan agents than judges; read Eric Segall's scholarship if you doubt that, but it's pretty obvious to anyone who observes the Court. But, even if they are driven by partisan motivation, you'd think Republican sympathies would push the Federalist Society Six to give their party an off-ramp from Trump. This case presents that opportunity and, even better, the justices who create it don't have to face voters in the GOP who love the man for some unfathomable reason.

    1. I disagree.  Whether the issue is a nonjusticiable political question will be front and center if SCOTUS takes the case, and if I were to guess what would happen, I would say SCOTUS concludes it is nonjusticiable and vacates the decision.  

      1. I'm not an attorney, but I suspect you are correct.  The current SCOTUS will most likely punt using that rationale simply because it results in their desired outcome without forcing them to think very hard or long.

        1. The justiciability question is a difficult question based on the Court's precedents.  It's last case on justiciable, if I recall correctly, was the partisan gerrymandering case (Rucho v. Common Cause) a few years ago.  The court in a 5-4 decision held that partisan gerrymandering was nonjusticiable, which is arguably a much more serious punting than it would be here. 

          1. The problem with "nonjusticiable" is that it generally leaves the issue to the two political branches. How is that supposed to work out?

          2. Harvard Law's Noah Feldman does a pretty thorough review of the SCOTUS' options.  His conclusion is the court's decision won't be pretty:

            The upshot is that a majority of the justices won’t like the idea of being responsible for blocking Trump from the ballot, so they would have to pick the least worst way of making the Colorado Supreme Court decision go away. The court now finds itself dragged into the ultimate political territory of a presidential election. That won’t be good for its legitimacy, no matter what it decides.

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