Trump's exclusion from two state ballots sparks chaos in U.S. election landscape

(Xinhua) 09:20, January 05, 2024

BEIJING, Jan. 4 (Xinhua) -- The recent decision by the U.S. states of Maine and Colorado to bar former President Donald Trump from their ballots marks an unprecedented moment in the evolving U.S. political landscape.

The moves unveil the deepening divisions within the country's political arena, where escalating political polarization and legal battles are increasingly defining the narrative of national governance and public discourse.


On Dec. 19, the Supreme Court of the state of Colorado -- all seven of its justices appointed by Democratic governors -- banned Trump from running in the state's presidential primary in a divided 4-3 vote.

The ruling represents an unprecedented use of Section 3 of the 14th Amendment to disqualify a presidential candidate for the first time in history.

"This ruling, issued by the Colorado Supreme Court, attacks the very heart of this nation's democracy," said Alina Habba, Trump's legal spokeswoman.

On Dec. 28, U.S. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows also decided that Trump was disqualified from the state ballot in the upcoming presidential primary election due to his role in the U.S. Capitol riot.

Bellows made history by prohibiting a presidential candidacy based on the same reason -- the rarely used insurrection clause of the 14th Amendment, which bars individuals who have participated in insurrection from holding office.

Trump on Tuesday filed an appeal of the decision by Maine's top election official ruling him ineligible to appear on the state's primary ballot. He also asked the U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday to invalidate the ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court.


Days following Bellows's decision, she fell prey to a "swatting call," the state police said in a statement. Swatting is a false report of a crime or emergency that is intended to draw a police presence to a location.

"We were not home yesterday when threats escalated, and our home address was posted online. Swatting incidents have resulted in casualties although thankfully this one did not," said Bellows in a statement she posted on Facebook.

"It's designed to scare not only me but also others into silence, to send a message," she said.

Colorado's justices have also been the targets of threats, local media reported.

A gunman broke into the Colorado Supreme Court early Tuesday and took a security guard hostage while firing multiple gunshots before being arrested by local police.

Although the state police said the break-in was most likely not related to the controversial ruling, some local media outlets pointed out such a connection.

"The shooting is the latest example of violence and intimidation against Colorado's high court and its justices after the court's 4-3 decision last month," Forbes said in a story covering the shooting.


The banning of Trump from states' 2024 primary ballots gives the appearance of "a rigged election," said Sara Haines, the host of The View, a U.S. daytime talk show.

The recent decisions in Colorado and Maine to remove the former president from their ballots will only push more people to believe that voting systems are unfair, said Haines.

"We have a nation that doesn't believe in democracy, doesn't believe in the voting," she said.

"There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy," said California Governor Gavin Newsom in a statement. "But, in California, we defeat candidates at the polls."

"Everything else is a political distraction," he said.

In a recent article published by The Hill, David Axelrod, a former Obama adviser, said that a judicial ruling to exclude Trump from the primary ballot would rip the country apart.

As the United States heads towards a critical election, Trump's exclusion from two state ballots may set the stage for a highly contentious electoral journey.

(Web editor: Zhang Kaiwei, Liang Jun)


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