Donald Trump can – and should – be stopped from running in 2024

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      Some have concluded that the president is the classic example of a dog that barks, but does not bite. For instance, Trump called for his political opponents to be jailed, and he referred to journalists as “corrupt” and indeed “criminal”. Yet his attorney general did not prosecute Hillary Clinton, Joe Biden or any members of the press. Trump also floated the idea of becoming president “for life”, but he has often seemed more intent on lowering his golf handicap than seizing power illegitimately. And he has now allowed for the transition to a Biden presidency to begin.

      Still, Trump has clearly attempted to subvert the democratic process. He appointed a postmaster general who made it harder for voters to mail in their ballots on time. But his most egregious actions have followed election day, once it was clear that he had lost. Though there has never been any evidence of substantial electoral fraud, he explicitly pushed election officials to subvert the outcome in various states where the race was close. This was an unmistakable, illegitimate effort to stay in power regardless of the election’s result. That he failed does not mean he should be allowed to seek the presidency again.

      Many democracies block those who attack self-government from holding office. In France, citizens who undermine the vote can be barred for up to three years by the constitutional court. Delaying or obstructing the Canadian elections can result in the temporary loss of one’s ability to contend for a seat in parliament. And while it has never been deployed, Germany’s constitution (Grundgesetz) gives its high court the power to deny a person liberty to pursue office when she or he attempts to undermine Germany’s constitutional order.

      The logic of these policies is plain. Democracy requires that no one be unjustifiably barred from seeking office. One’s race, religion or gender does not matter. It would be an insult to block someone because of the color of their skin. But holding office is a public trust. The decisions made by presidents, senators and representatives impact the basic welfare and rights of many others, including their democratic rights. Accordingly, the liberty to seek election can be reasonably restricted. Age requirements are familiar enough examples.

      Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction

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