According to Bruce Ackermanand Gerard Magliocca of Politico, if Donald Trump does run for president in 2024, it “will provoke a genuine constitutional crisis” that will make January, 2021, seem tame.
The “disqualification clause” of the 14th Amendment expressly bars any person from holding office if he “engaged in insurrection.” Democrats are already exploring using this clause to prevent Trump from running again. As more and more details of Trump’s complete involvement in the coup d’etat of January 6th emerge, it is surprising that Democrats have not pushed for this much sooner.
Under our election laws, every state would have to decide whether to bar Trump from being on the ballot. Inevitably, more liberal states would disqualify Trump, while conservative states would insist Trump did not engage in an insurrection. Trump is likely to promote a stand-in candidate in the blue states, but with three candidates in the race, none may win the necessary 270 electoral votes.
Under the 12th Amendment, the House would then pick the president. But if a majority of state delegations choose Trump, as is likely, Democrats will challenge the legality of his presidency in the House and in the courts.
Months may go by with no clear President of the United States, amidst massive, violent street demonstrations. (Think January 6th on steroids).
The Supreme Court and the military would be forced to choose sides. The Supreme Court has, historically, “chosen sides” in some very twisted fashion, based on the underlying biases of the constituents. Consider this example, as outlined in the new book “Justice Deferred: Race and the Supreme Court.” Orville Vernon Burton & Armand Derfner)
The Dred Scott free-or-slave case caused the Chief Justice, Taney (a pro-slavery slave owner), to hold that “no Black person could ever be an American citizen” and that no Congress could ever stop slavery from spreading everywhere. (This was the first act of Congress In 50 years to be declared unconstitutional, the first since Marbury v. Madison in 1803.)
If the Supreme Court thought its pro-slavery pronouncements resolved all disputes over slavery, that notion exploded in the Civil War of 1861-1865.
“American democracy may never recover from this collapse of the rule of law.” The precept involving the “peaceful transfer of power,” necessary for the continuation of our democracy, will be seriously impaired or destroyed by Trump’s refusal to stop spreading the Big Lie re “Stop the Steal.”