Trump’s campaign undermines American values

Constitutional integrity buried under treason by insurrectionist
Trump’s campaign undermines American values

Editor’s note: We changed the title of this article and added a secondary headline to better encapsulate what this article details.

On Dec. 19, Colorado became the first state to disqualify former President Donald Trump from the 2024 primary ballot election. Following the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision, Maine barred Trump from its primary ballot on Dec. 29.

Despite Trump’s disqualification from Colorado and Maine, the issue extends beyond the primary ballots, Trump’s actions and demeanor question his competency to run for president once again.

The two states’s decisions are related to Trump’s involvement in the insurrection on Jan. 6, 2021, where right-wing protestors attempted to overthrow the 2020 presidential election by attacking the United States Capitol building in Washington D.C.

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Robert Ovetz, 57, a political science professor at De Anza for 12 years, explained the situation around Trump’s disqualification.

“This is pretty unprecedented; what’s significant is that this issue of President Trump promoting, organizing, and advocating (for) an insurrection is still a major issue. And it’s something that has not been dealt with, even though the house investigation of summer 2022 found extensive and irrefutable evidence demonstrating President Trump engaging in insurrection,” Ovetz said. “I would call it a coup attempt.”

Trump’s disqualification attributes to the Fourteenth Amendment, section three.

“We can’t forget the seriousness of this,” Ovetz said, “we had a sitting president, who called a right-wing fascist movement to the Capitol, then provoked them to march on the Capitol building to hunt the Vice President and the Speaker of the House to interfere with the counting of the ballots.”

According to Constitution Annotated, the excerpt states that “no person shall be an elector of the President under the United States, having previously taken an oath, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion.”

Although the disability can be removed by a two-thirds vote from Congress, the historic implication of section three was made to prevent motives similar to those behind Trump’s involvement in the January 6 insurrection.

Ishmael Tarikh, 62, a political science professor at De Anza for 18 years and an attorney, further explains the clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, section three.

“What a civil society cannot endure, is when there is the flouting of the law, the highest law in the land for the United States of America is the United States Constitution. All other laws flow from the United States Constitution in one way or another,” Tarikh said.

Ratified in 1868, just three years after the end of the American Civil War, the 14th Amendment was written following an estimated loss of 800,000 lives in both the Union and the Confederacy.

“The wisdom of the legislators at the time said, ‘We cannot allow people who have tried to destroy the United States of America,’ that would be those who joined the Confederacy, fought for the Confederacy, or held office under the Confederacy, ‘to hold the highest offices in our government,’ because that would be the allowance of treasonists to sit in a government after they have acted to destroy that very same government,” Tarikh said.

The effects following the Civil War became the structures of a united society seen today as new amendments were ratified for the sake of liberty and justice. By such laws, American society stood upon a ground to improve social issues civilly, rather than repeating yet another civil war.

“In a society that not only prides itself but absolutely is dependent upon the rule of law, we could end up with a person holding the highest office in the land who was a convicted felon,” Tarikh said, “that would be the absolute opposite of what it means to follow the rule of law.”

Currently, Trump faces 91 indictments of criminal offenses in four criminal cases, including a charge of a conspiracy felony.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, it is common practice in the United States for felons to lose their right to vote. The only exception of such practice exists in the District of Columbia, Maine and Vermont, while the other 48 states prohibit felons from electing while being incarcerated.

“In many jurisdictions in the United States, a convicted felon can’t even vote. That’s exactly what section three was seeking to make sure that we don’t allow someone to become president who has engaged in an insurrection or rebellion against the United States,” Tarikh said.

If Trump is elected president in the 2024 election, the criminal judiciary system and the U.S. Constitution will contradict what they both stand for.

Right now, Trump is projected to win the Republican nomination. Nikki Haley is the only other contender for the Republican party besides Trump.

In recent years, the younger demographic has led massive social movements and demanded change at a greater rate than before.

Bob Stockwell, 59, a political science professor at De Anza since 2004, explained the significant potential that the upcoming generation can impact through united action.

“People who are younger are far less likely to turn out to vote. What happens in our system is (that) young people don’t turn out, and it’s in part because young people’s lives are so difficult, so how do [they] find the time to get educated on the candidate? On the issues? How to register? How to engage in this process?” Stockwell said, “because it’s time consuming.”

A democratic system depends on the participation of its people, and the involvement of all aspects of a political spectrum. A civil resolution can only be made by a under a unified agreement in a compromisable elective system.

“Young people can pay attention, can engage with each other, can organize with each other, for example, the importance of this particular election, and about elections more generally,” Stockwell said, “you can build a community and build power, and it doesn’t have to be boring, nor does it necessarily have to be a TikTok video.”

Politics reaches far beyond simply Trump’s disqualification, and impacts the lives of everyone living in United States.

“Why do we care about politics? Because we care what happens to people. Because we love people, and we want people to be better off. We don’t want them to be discriminated against, we want them to be able to actualize themselves. That means us working together to achieve those things,” Stockwell said.

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