Supporters of then-President Donald Trump try to break through a police barrier at the Capitol in Washington. They would ultimately succeed. John Minchillo/AP

WE THE PEOPLE DON’T NEED LAWYERS OR COURTS TO BAN TRUMP

We The People Have the Power to Ban Trump From Ballot

The only question is whether American citizens today can uphold that commitment

7 min readOct 31, 2023

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The Republican National Convention, where the Republican party chooses their nominee for their US presidential candidate starts July 15, 2024, just eight months from now.

Before they decide that Donald J. Trump, who tried to end our democracy, is their candidate, we still have time to tell our top election officials, and the Republicans in each of our states that We, The People of the United States aren’t having it.

We, The People have the power to ban Trump from our ballots in each of our states. We don’t need courts or judges to decide for us if Trump is eligible. Most importantly, we should NOT leave it to courts, lawyers or judges.

We don’t need Trump to be proven guilty of any of the 91 felonies he has been charged with. We don’t need more evidence than the evidence of our own eyes.

The entire world saw what he did play out on televisions across the world in real time on January 6, 2021. We all watched in shock and horror as Trump refused to stop the violence for 187 minutes — while over a hundred officers were injured, a rioter was killed, as the rioters rampaged, calling to hang our Vice President Mike Pence; as they destroyed property and in the cradle of our democracy, shit on the floors, then smeared it on the walls. For Donald Trump and his lies.

Trump watched the chaos play out, huddling inside the West Wing of the White House, ignoring calls from lawmakers, his own advisors, and even his own family to call off the rioters and send them home. For over three hours, he refused to call them off, not even while capitol police were being injured, not even when one rioter was killed, not even when they called to hang his own vice president.

Donald J. Trump is NOT eligible, under the plain language of the 14th Amendment, Section 3. We don’t need courts or judges to decide that, or lawyers to argue it. The Constitution plainly says it is not necessary. And we should not leave it to them.

Leave Trump’s 91 felony crimes to the courts. But not our democracy.

We can, and should, directly call and write our top election officials, one by one, individually. Not lawyers, not some panel of judges, not someone else. You, and me. The People of the United States.

Fourteenth Amendment, Section Three: No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.

Direct action means directly contacting your top election official in your state to demand Trump be banned from the ballot for the 2024 election. By email, by phone, by letter.

Do not depend on online petitions. Do not depend or a popup “poll” on your phone.

Take direct action, directly to your top state election official.

Look up who is in charge of elections in your state. In 33 states, this is your Secretary of State for your state. In most these states, that is an elected position. Currently, in 35 states, the secretary of your state is elected, usually for a four-year term. In others, the secretary of state is appointed by the governor with confirmation with the state’s respective senate; Florida, Oklahoma, Texas, and Virginia are among the states with this practice.

If they, and state Republicans, don’t want to listen to voters who demand that Trump be banned from the presidential ballot, then they have to worry that voters will vote them out. Let them know that. Let your Republican senators and representatives- and for that matter, your Democratic ones, that you aren’t going to support the man who hid, sold, leaked and is still leaking national security secrets. The traitor who continues to betray all Americans.

Who is in charge of your state elections?

  • In 33 states, voters elect the chief election official. In most of those states, the elected chief election official is the secretary of state, but in Alaska and Utah the lieutenant governor holds the role.
  • In six states — Delaware, Florida, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, and Virginia — the governor appoints the chief election official. In all but Delaware and Virginia, the chief election official is called the secretary of state. In Delaware and Virginia, the chief election officials are known as commissioners of elections.
  • In four states — Maine, New Hampshire, Oklahoma, and Tennessee — the chief election official is selected by the legislature. Both chambers have a role, except in Oklahoma where responsibility lies solely with the state senate.
  • In seven states — Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, New York, North Carolina, South Carolina, and Wisconsin — and Washington, D.C., the chief election official is appointed by the state board or commission of elections.

When on January 6, 2021 Donald J. Trump made his speech in the Ellipse, he had already convinced the crowd of 2,000 of his supporters, and millions of Americans, through a relentless campaign of propaganda, lies, in conspiracy with a wide range of people, that the election had been “stolen.”

Starting at 11:58, from behind a bulletproof shield, President Trump gave a speech, declaring that he would “never concede” the election, criticized the media, and called for Vice President Pence to overturn the election results. During that speech, he inflamed the mob, then aimed that violent and armed mob to the capitol to stop the peaceful transfer of power for the first time in American history. We all saw it in real time, as the world reeled in shock.

Unless we as Americans take action to ban Trump from the presidential ballot, and ban him from ever holding office again, as is clearly stated in the Constitution, it may happen again. We don’t need Trump to be found guilty in any court to know what happened, and it is up to each of us to directly demand of our top election officials in each state ban Trump from the ballot.

Today Trump allies, from government officials to co-conspirators around all the attempts to overturn the election have either been convicted, pled guilty, are indicted, or awaiting possible indictments.

But we as Americans have power beyond courts and lawyers. And we should not wait for them.

Right now the GOP is solidly behind Trump as a “frontrunner” for the Republican nomination, even though by the plain language of our Constitution, because he openly led the insurrection — and gave comfort and aid to the enemies who worked with him, Donald J. Trump is automatically prohibited from holding any office, ever again.

Popular media is complicit in promoting this “frontrunner” narrative as fact. But it is not a “fact.” Trump is NOT eligible, and each of us needs to remind our state officials of that fact.

In August this year, two top Constitutional scholars; J. Michael Luttig and Laurence Tribe, one conservative, one liberal, together wrote an article in the Atlantic that clearly says that it is not up to courts and lawyers to decide if Trump is eligible to hold any political office: “The disqualification clause operates independently of any such criminal proceedings and, indeed, also independently of impeachment proceedings and of congressional legislation. The clause was designed to operate directly and immediately upon those who betray their oaths to the Constitution, whether by taking up arms to overturn our government or by waging war on our government by attempting to overturn a presidential election through a bloodless coup.

This protection, embodied in the 14th Amendment’s often-overlooked Section 3, automatically excludes from future office and position of power in the United States government. –Judge Luttig and Laurence Tribe.

Both these scholars tried to stress that critical point in this article. Nowhere in the Constitution does it say that a person who has taken an oath to defend the Constitution, who engaged in insurrection against the Constitution of the United States, must be proven guilty in a court of law. They do say that Trump is automatically excluded from office, according to our Constitution.

The power to uphold the principles of our democracy lies in the hands of the American people. We don’t need to rely on courts or judges to make the right decision, and indeed we should not give this power to courts or judges. This is our decision to make. We, The People.

It is our duty as Americans to act. As we approach the 2024 election and the Republican National Convention, the urgency to prevent another attempted coup cannot be overstated. By contacting our top election officials directly, we can send a clear message that We, The People, refuse to accept as a legitimate candidate an individual who openly led an insurrection against our democracy.

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CJ Sterling

Writer, journalist. Commentary: Washington Post, Economist, Daily Beast, New York Times, Seattle Times, Crosscut, The Stranger. 2.8 million views, Quora.