Or we can have Trump
As an onlooker, I am deeply disturbed to observe the scant regard in which the constitution of the United States is apparently now held. That there are seemingly millions of American citizens who just hurtle towards the complete disintegration of their civic institutions without any consideration of what comes next. When the fabric of society is torn to shreds and discarded, what sort of future do people think they will have?
An effective and beautifully written description of the national conundrum. Thank you for this essay, Prof Snyder. I am a fan. However, the inevitable response, (and that already rendered by the NYT) will bear witness to the futility of fact-based logic in the American political circus. I personally have passed beyond outrage into deep sadness for the nation of my youth. Part of my rationale for a recent trip to DC was to walk the mall and discover whether the symbolism of the nation's most sacred monuments would still be inspirational for me. As I gazed across the quiet and empty Ellipse toward the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial at the very moments when Mr Trump was being arraigned at a courthouse a few blocks away, I realized sadly that most of the inspiration I had felt in my youth was gone. Only two places moved me a little. At the Lincoln Memorial a felt deep rumblings that the assassinated President who led the country to its once darkest hours would be horrified. At the Wall, I found the name of my best HS friend among those of 50K+ American men, considered all that had been lost and all the pain and misery that accompanied those losses, and asked myself WHY? The nation now has just too many why questions that will not be answered convincingly against the backdrop of current times. Is it all a sham of selfishness, greed and power?
I am bothered by the argument that we should let the voters decide. The voters decided in 2020, but look where we are today. Once TFG is the nominee, we’ve just come full circle to where he will claim the same nonsense that got us here
So, I was thinking, since the Secretaries of State can decide who is on their ballots, could we as citizens petition them to keep him off the ballot in 2024?
I completely agree with your premise, Dr. Snyder, but when I read the indictment from Jack Smith he did not charge Mr. Trump with insurrection or sedition. And I understand why; it would be a tough thing to prove in a court of law. But I worry that without that conviction, the way our courts are so skewed to the right, would we have a chance to prevail?
competely agree. Well written
Such clarity deserves attention by “we the people” and members of governance. Thank you, Professor!
There seems to be a fear among government officials and reputable commentators with prestigious platforms of using the law to stop trump. I've seen all kinds of arguments, mostly political, against indicting him, trying him in court, and jailing him despite the overwhelming evidence of his crimes. Somehow doing these these things is supposed to be more dangerous to the republic than enforcing the laws he has broken. The arguments always come down to the ballot box as the only locus of a reckoning. Trump forces the question: Are we a nation of laws? That should not be a voting matter.
The New York Times, and in particular MAGA Haberman, is deeply invested in keeping Trump relevant. It is unclear why other than the fact that they would rather cover a horse race than think, but it seems to be their reality. And they are not alone.
Indeed, the Baude/Paulsen article is welcomed! After reading it this morning, methinks it gives plenty of heft to Secretaries of State to keep tfg off the ballots. As for the Governator being POTUS, 🥴
I read the law review article the other day after seeing that Judge Luttig had praised it's scholarship. Judge Luttig is a scholar himself and a thoughtful man. He has written and testified that "Jan.6 was a war for America's democracy." There is no doubt about that but the war goes on. Your reflective essay frames the conflict as a choice between the Constitution and Donald Trump. A choice that is a no brainer for your subscribers and I believe a majority of Americans. However, the cult that follows the former president was 70 million strong in 2020 and remains formidable.
The late Isaac Asimov was a shrewd observer of our culture. Long before Donald Trump entered the political scene, Dr. Asimov observed another cult, one he described as a cult of ignorance. His precise words succinctly describe our dilemma: "There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge." That false notion, aided by social media, has infected the nation. The only remedy is for freedom loving people to stick together and soundly defeat Trump and others like him over and over again until they finally get it.
This characteristically thoughtful narrative, nicely citing conservative scholars in support of Prof. Snyder's view, does not address one critical factor bearing on the theme of his narrative, which is that Trump, under Section 3 of the 14th amendment, is ineligible to serve as , and, per force, be slated on a ballot for (on a major party ticket no less), the office of president. This critical factor is how that provision is to be enforced, Mr. Snyder saying only, and correctly, that the voters surely should not decide it, as part of the primary or general election process. The latter being the case, the only enforcement mechanism that comes to mind is a civil action against the G.O.P, Trump, and the instrumentalities of his campaign (there might be other defendants, but we need not get into the weeds here). seeking an injunction, grounded in Section 3 of the 14th amendment, against Trump seeking or the G.O.P, nomination, or the G.O.P slating him for the presidency. For reasons having little or nothing to do with whether Trump in fact engaged in an insurrection against the United States (he rather clearly did, as Mr. Snyder says), the outcome of such a suit is uncertain; Trump could well carry the day. That fact, of itself, would not militate against the suit's filing. What does militiate against such a suit is that, if the electablility of the G. O. P. candidate is the metric for proceeding, respecters of the Constitution, whether progressive or conservative, should want the weakest G.O.P, candidate, who is surely Trump. Informing this consideration is that the other potential G.O.P. candidates for president, while not insurrectionists, present and would seek to carry out political agendas essentially indisinguishable from Trump's; they are all Trumpers. just without the corruption, and venality.
In spite of the importance of Ukraine, I'm glad that we are also focusing on the major issues that the U.S. is facing. If the U.S. descends into tyranny, Ukraine will almost certainly fall (as well as global democracy).
Im a longtime time union lawyer, since before Reagan fired the air traffic controllers, after which I almost moved to Paris in despair. How could it get worse than Reagan,I stupidlythought.I’ve worked on many corruption/human rights/election/antiwar matters here and in Central America.I represented the teamster dissidents who won the first rank and file election thx to Giulianis RICO settlement. So I’ve had decades to obsess and be depressed about white union members voting for racist demagogues who always screw them on economic issues. On Prof Snyder’s timely and insightful (as always) email, I’ve thought for many years that to run for office or even vote,one has to pass the citizenship test immigrants take. Hey, if “those people” (please note intended sarcasm) care enough to study and pass, why not the rest of us? Seems like a minimum obligation of citizenship.Read the Constitution for the first time, study the materials and take the test. Like the driving test. Short of ending the filibuster,adding to the SCOTUS,impeaching Thomas and Alito,ending gerrymandering,changing the Senate makeup,getting rid of the electoral college,making sure states get no more from the federal govt then they put in (that means you, Mitch and Manchin), and until we decide the ultimate question of whether there is a different and more perfect union out there(meaning not the current 50 states), it seems like at least a small step toward genuine representative and participatory democracy.
"We talk a good deal about the Constitution, and almost everyone in political life claims to venerate it — but who reads it?" Well, we know that the orange sadist never read it. (Nor has he apparently ever opened a Bible.) I recall Khizr Kahn taking his copy of the Constitution out of his breast pocket, and offering it to trump. As I recall, Khan's offer was not received. I think it's time to cancel my subscription to the NYT.
Thank you for your persistent and scholarly work!! I like that you and other historical scholars are increasingly getting more airtime on national T.V. But your voices need to be heard much more.