In Texas, Lt. Governor Dan Patrick proposed to Fox viewers that Joe Biden be removed from the 2024 ballot. This is in response to the Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to remove Donald Trump’s name from the ballot under the XIV Amendment.
Patrick is not alone himself.
Republicans in Pennsylvania, Arizona, and Georgia have joined Texas in their efforts to remove the current president from their ballots. Biden is already not on the Democratic primary ballot in New Hampshire (for procedural, not legal, reasons).
The decision by four existing states to abolish the option to vote for a serving president highlights a growing (and increasingly regressive) political split in the United States.
The Colorado decision to remove Trump from the ballot is based on Section 3 of the XIV Amendment to the United States Constitution, also known as “the Disqualification Clause,” emphasis mine:
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 Colorado Supreme Court found reason to infer that Trump participated in the Jan. 6 insurgency and, as a result, is barred from running for president in their state.
Other Republican members say that if Trump can be disqualified, so can Biden. Their argument is that the current border problem, as well as alleged and fleeting corrupt deals in China, constitute insurgency. They argue that if this is the case, Biden should be disqualified.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott has often mentioned “chaos” and “an invasion” along the Texas-Mexico border. Abbott, along with the Texas GOP and numerous Texas Democrats, has criticized the Biden administration for mishandling the matter.
Abbott and other Biden critics claim that the administration’s policies, particularly on immigration, have boosted illegal border crossings. They argue that it justifies a more strict approach to border security, to which the administration has given in some ways.
There’s also the GOP-led House Oversight Committee’s continuing impeachment investigation against Biden and his suspected involvement in his son Hunter’s international business transactions.
Impeachment specialists have already dubbed the investigation “the weakest” attempt at a presidential impeachment in US history. This is due to the failure of actual proof to ever materialize — despite GOP pledges of a “mountain” of it (which appears to be a short mountain).
As things stand, the legislators’ push to remove Biden from their states’ ballots is more than just a resentful tactic.
Their protest is symbolic in response to what they perceive to be a significant shift in the country’s governance and governing ideals. And it is, simply put, an extension of what was already a developing — and severe — partisan division that began in 2007. Pew discovered that polarization increased during the end of George W. Bush’s presidency and throughout the Barack Obama period.
This is not a new issue. It’s a situation that’s been growing for a long time.
Democrats have found themselves in an unusual situation. While their ideological platform has swung to the left over the previous 30 years, they remain, in essence, a conservative party. They are only liberal in the sense of “classical liberalism,” or what has been referred to as “traditional American conservativism” for most of our history.
The idea was that America’s purpose was to embody Enlightenment ideas. In a literal sense, Enlightenment principles are republicanism (in the sense of governmental form, if not party) and (economic) conservativism.
Republicans face their own issues. A divided party that is simultaneously seeing a surge in new affiliated voters not seen since the New Deal. The GOP is currently at an ideological crossroads on which candidate to support:
The “MAGA” faction, is still devoted to Donald Trump. They are mostly a result of the Tea Party movement and Randian (non-)libertarian influence.
The conventional and more moderate (or RINO — Republican in Name Only) camp who are not overwhelmingly devoted to Trump. They are the Republicans’ more traditional politicians. They usually know how sausage is created and are prepared to work across the aisle to make it.
The latter is marginally more socially liberal than their MAGA counterparts and is more amenable to individual safety nets than corporate safety nets.
MAGA, on the other hand, takes its inspiration from dormant Tea Party policy: decrease corporate taxes, award more subsidies, and hope that trickle-down supply-side economics finally works its voodoo magic (as George H.W. Bush would have it). They are also more authoritarian in terms of enshrining conservative principles in legislation, as their Tea Party forefathers did (despite claiming to be libertarian). Perhaps LINO?). Legislative morality collides with the free market.
The distinction between the two is important, focusing on personal responsibility. Individual and corporate RINOs (for short) prefer personal responsibility. What they’re doing is fine as long as no one is breaking the law. Many in that group support more consumer safeguards and have warmed to harsher banking rules.
MAGA, on the other hand, opposes personal responsibility – they prefer bans on specific activities to trusting people to make their own decisions. Then they may have the remaining personal responsibility. Their economic policies encourage firms to abdicate responsibility, which is a significant driving force behind that faction’s campaign for tort reform.
This is contextually significant because the spectacle unfolding on the White House grounds is based on our political system’s deepening ideological differences. That doesn’t even take into account the rising of the true left (since Democrats are positioned as center-conservative) in the United States in numbers not seen since the New Deal, and that growing political force dealing with a lack of real representation on Capitol Hill.
This has resulted in a lot of name-calling and backbiting, as well as chants of “I know you are, but what am I?” resounding across the land.
Whether or not any of the efforts to remove Biden (or impeach him) succeed, the performative drama of democracy’s largest game is of equal, if not greater, importance.
The consequences of the coming year are already defining our political environment for future generations, and this election season may see substantial shifts in voting patterns even in stronghold states.