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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Political Strategy Notes

An excerpt from “Landmark Trump ruling gives Supreme Court an unexpected New Year’s agenda” by Noah Bressner and Justin Green at Axios: “A little over two decades after the landmark Bush v. Gore ruling decided one messy presidential election, the Supreme Court will have a chance to rescue former President Trump’s political ambitions — or leave him out in the cold….Why it matters: A decision from Colorado on Tuesday will likely force the court to decide — very quickly by SCOTUS standards — if states can ban Trump from the ballot using the U.S. Constitution’s insurrection clause….Driving the news: The Colorado Supreme Court, in a 4-3 ruling, removed Trump from the state’s primary ballot, concluding that he “incited and encouraged the use of violence and lawless action to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power.”….It stayed the ruling until Jan. 4, with the option to keep the stay in place if the Supreme Court takes up the case before then….The state’s primary is set for Super Tuesday in early March….The Colorado decision marks the first time a court has found that Section 3 of the 14th Amendment — which bans insurrectionists who once swore to uphold the Constitution from holding office — applies to Trump….Between the lines: There’s already a budding campaign to pressure Justice Clarence Thomas to recuse himself from any ruling because of his wife’s connections to the Trump White House before Jan. 6….Ginni Thomas was involved in Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 election….State of play: Trump likely wouldn’t lose much by staying off the ballot: He lost the state by a double-digit margin in 2020. No Republican has won it since 2004….Courts have so far rejected similar lawsuits in other states. Minnesota’s top court rejected an attempt to push Trump off the ballot last month. A judge ruled against another effort in Michigan that’s now being appealed….What to watch: The Supreme Court has an extremely narrow window to take up the case and issue a ruling….Colorado Secretary of State Jena Griswold said the court would need to decide within weeks for her office to meet a Jan. 5 deadline to certify and print ballots….If the Supreme Court doesn’t decide in time, Trump’s name could remain on the ballot.”

It’s a BFD, alright. Trump supporters and some of the GOP’s hidebound traditionalists are tripping over each other, arguing that the text of the relevant section of the 14th amendment to the Constitution does not precisely specify that it applies to the President. Here’s the relevant text, so you can decide: “Section 3. 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. But Congress may, by a vote of two-thirds of each House, remove such disability.” The Republicans, including candidates running against Trump, are reduced to arguing in essence that it’s OK for the President to participate in “insurrection and rebellion” and only the smaller fry have to pay a penalty for doing so. Check out Republican renegade George Conway III’s Atlantic article, “The Colorado Ruling Changed My Mind: The strongest argument for throwing Trump off the ballot is the weakness of the counterarguments” for other equivocations. The Supreme Court may indulge such nitpicking, and it will certainly be an outrage, if Clarence Thomas doesn’t recuse himself, since his wife, Ginni Thomas, was was involved in Trump’s project to overturn the 2020 election. Yes, Trump will use the controversy to do some fund-raising and it may energize some of his more unhinged supporters for a while. But I doubt he will gain many new supporters because of it, regardless of what the Supreme Court will do.

“We’ll see what the U.S. Supreme Court thinks. But in the meantime, one question that is dancing around in my mind right now is this: Why stop with Trump?,” Editor Michael Tomasky writes in The New Republic. “There are other officeholders, in Congress and at the state level, who are alleged or known to have participated in the planning of January 6. Should they not receive the same scrutiny as Trump?….Back in October 2021, Rolling Stone published a blockbuster reportalleging direct involvement in the planning of the insurrection by six Republican members of Congress: Marjorie Taylor Greene, Lauren Boebert, Paul Gosar, Mo Brooks, Louie Gohmert, and Madison Cawthorn (Gohmert and Cawthorn are no longer serving, if you can describe what the other four are perpetrating as “service”)….Reporter Hunter Walker spoke extensively with two sources who alleged to him that these members “were intimately involved in planning both Trump’s efforts to overturn his election loss and the Jan. 6 events that turned violent.”….Beyond this report, we know of many other allegations of conniving with the White House in the run-up to the riot by other House members—Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, and even Mike Johnson, the man who is now the speaker and second in line to the presidency. All we know about Johnson right now is that he organized an amicus brief, signed by many GOP members of Congress, to some bogus election fraud lawsuit. But what else might he have done?….The word “conspiracy” has been used many times—but I don’t think promiscuously—with respect to what happened on January 6, 2021. A conspiracy by definition involves a lot of people. If these or other Republican House members conspired just to have Congress vote against the certification of Joe Biden as president, would that rise to the level of engaging in “insurrection or rebellion,” to use the amendment’s language? Maybe, maybe not. But if they encouraged violence as a means of pressuring members to vote that way? It would seem pretty hard to deny that that would count as insurrection or rebellion.”

“Red states are dominating migration trends among U.S. states, according to new population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau,” according to Timothy H. J. Nerozzi at, gulp, foxnews.com. ” The Census Bureau released a report Tuesday outlining population trends in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico….”The increasing number of states with population growth reflects both the broad national trends of deaths and net international migration returning to pre-COVID levels as well as reduced net domestic outmigration for some of the states,” the report reads….Texas experienced the largest numeric population growth of all 50 states and the District of Columbia, according to the data….The Texas population grew from 30,029,848 on July 1, 2022, to 30,503,301 on the same day in 2023….Florida was directly behind Texas in second place, experiencing a growth from 22,245,521 in 2022 to 22,610,726 in 2023….In descending rank, the rest of the top 10 states for population growth between 2022 and 2023 are: North Carolina, Georgia, South Carolina, Tennessee, Arizona, Virginia, Colorado and Utah….South Carolina and Florida led the way as the two fastest-growing states by percentage last year, growing by 1.7% and 1.6%, respectively, the report found….Eight states experienced a fall in population between 2022 and 2023: California, Hawaii, Illinois, Louisiana, New York, Oregon, Pennsylvania and West Virginia….California experienced the highest gross population decrease by far, losing 75,423 residents.” Of course, Fox sees the migration stats as an indication  of dislike for “blue state” politics. But it is entirely possible that it could be driven more by a desire to live in warmer climates, since the top 8 in-migration states are all in the southeast — which may eventually become less conservative as a result.

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