Donald Trump deemed “unfit” in Colorado and Maine, what difference does that make?

After Colorado a week ago, it is Maine’s turn to announce that Donald Trump would not appear on the ballots in the Republican primary for the 2024 presidential election. A hard blow for the former president of the United States, in pole position for the Republican nomination in the presidential election in November. Eleven months before the election, this new American-style twist could shake up the country’s politics. The fact remains that even if the removal of his name from the local electoral lists for the Republican primary has been ordered, Donald Trump has not said his last word. 20 minutes takes stock of what Philippe Berry, its correspondent in the United States, calls a “constitutional thunderclap”.

Why did Maine make this decision?

According to the American state, Donald Trump is “unfit to be president”. To justify its decision, Maine cites in an official document the 14th amendment to the Constitution (1868 text adopted after the Civil War) which excludes from any public responsibility people who have engaged in acts of “insurrection”. “I do not come to this conclusion lightly,” Democratic Secretary of State Shenna Bellows said in this document. The one responsible for organizing the elections thus believes that the assault on the Capitol, seat of the American Congress, was committed “on orders, with full knowledge and with the support of the outgoing president”.

What is this story about acts of “insurrection”?

To better understand the decisions of the two American states, it is indeed useful to recall that on January 6, 2021, hundreds of supporters of Donald Trump violently stormed the Capitol, the sanctuary of American democracy, in an attempt to prevent the certification of the victory of his Democratic opponent Joe Biden. The ex-president was indicted on August 1 at the federal level and then on August 14 by the state of Georgia, accused of having tried to reverse the results of the 2020 election. And Donald Trump and his most fervent supporters still dispute, without proof, the results of the 2020 election.

Let us also remember that, in Colorado, everything started with the appeal of the anti-corruption citizens group Crew. According to them, Donald Trump was ineligible under the 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution. The suit made its way to the Colorado Supreme Court. By four votes to three, the seven judges – all appointed by a Democratic governor – concluded that Donald Trump had indeed participated in an insurrection by inciting his supporters to go to the Capitol in order to “prevent the certification” of the victory by Joe Biden on January 6, 2021. And that the presidential function, even if it is not mentioned by name, is well covered by the 14th Amendment. The 3rd section, to be precise. Therefore, Donald Trump is ineligible and cannot be registered to vote in the primary.

How did Donald Trump react?

The former President of the United States quickly condemned Maine’s decision, taken according to him by “a radical leftist”, “ardent supporter” of Joe Biden. “We are witnessing live an attempt to steal an election and the deprivation of the American voter’s right to vote,” Donald Trump further denounced via his campaign team.

Donald Trump’s spokesperson immediately announced the businessman’s desire to challenge the decision in court. The latter could be the subject of a final appeal before the Supreme Court of the United States.

What’s going to happen ?

Maine’s decision, like that of Colorado, where Donald Trump lost by 13 points to Joe Biden in 2020, at this stage only concerns the Republican primaries held in the two states, scheduled for March 5 among a fifteen states, during “Super Tuesday”.

The Republican billionaire, however, won one of the major voters (responsible for electing the American president and vice-president) in Maine in 2020, and Shenna Bellows’ decision, if it is actually applied, would therefore have serious consequences. in the event of a close presidential election. However, Shenna Bellows clarified this Thursday that her decision would be “suspended” in the event of a legal challenge from Donald Trump (which is sure to happen).

For its part, the Colorado courts suspended its decision until January 4, the day before the deadline to finalize the primary lists. If the United States Supreme Court agrees to take up the matter by then, the suspension will be extended until a final decision. This means that Donald Trump should logically remain on the lists of the Republican primary during “Super Tuesday”. So a final question arises: will the United States Supreme Court let states disqualify Donald Trump? “The balance of power is far from being the same as in Colorado. The conservatives have a large majority (6-3), with three judges appointed by Donald Trump,” says our correspondent in the United States. And for more details on the role of the Supreme Court, click here:

Can other states deem Donald Trump “unfit”?

In their decision ordering electoral authorities to remove Donald Trump’s name from the ballots for the Republican primaries in 2024, the Colorado judges said they were “aware of moving into unknown territory”. And the Republican Party of Colorado asked the Supreme Court of the United States on Wednesday to review this decision, which could make it possible to decide the subject in all the states where similar procedures have been initiated.

Because Colorado and Maine are not the only states where Donald Trump’s candidacy is threatened: similar appeals have been filed in around twenty states to block the path of the big favorite in the Republican primaries. Michigan and Minnesota rejected them. As for the deputy governor of California, she asked the secretary of state to “examine legal options” to remove Donald Trump from the primaries.

What do Donald Trump’s supporters (or not) say?

“Maine voters should be able to decide who wins the election, not the Secretary of State,” lashed out at X Susan Collins, the Republican senator from Maine, calling for “undoing” this decision. Like her, many Republican elected officials have condemned this new decision of ineligibility. “Democrats love ‘democracy’ so much that they are ready to do anything to prevent voters from voting against their opponent,” accused Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

“This opens Pandora’s box. Could a Republican secretary of state disqualify Biden from the election? Because he let eight million people enter illegally,” Florida Governor Ron DeSantis and Trump’s rival for the Republican primary also commented on X, referring to the migration crisis on the border between the United States and Mexico. On the Democratic side, Jared Golden, elected from Maine to the House of Representatives, also criticized this decision : “We are a nation of rights, and so, as long as he is not found guilty, he should be allowed on the ballot. »

The current president and next Democratic candidate, barring any surprises, in the 2024 election Joe Biden had already reacted to the Colorado decision by judging that Donald Trump had “certainly supported an insurrection”: “there is no no doubt about it, none. »

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