The majority of the staff at The Olympian believes that former President Donald Trump should be off the ballot everywhere. The Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution states that no public officials who “engaged in insurrection” may serve in government. Due to this, Colorado and Maine have removed Trump from the Republican primary ballot because of his role in the Jan. 6 insurrection.
The Jan. 6 insurrection was preceded by a rally in which Trump gave a speech, encouraging his followers to march to the Capitol building and “peacefully and patriotically make [their] voices heard.” Towards the end of the speech, Trump told his supporters to “fight like hell.” As journalists, The Olympian strongly believes in every citizen’s First Amendment rights. While we acknowledge that Trump has the right to tell his followers to peacefully protest, it is also important to understand that the first amendment does not protect fighting words. We think that in telling his supporters to “fight like hell,” Trump was literally using fighting words, and by extension, inciting the insurrection.
Additionally, it is important to note that Trump did not say or do anything during the actual insurrection. Due to the past radical behavior exhibited by supporters of Trump, it is entirely possible that if Trump had called it off, the rioters would have likely stopped. Trump’s lack of action is further evidence of him allowing the insurrection to occur. Because of his role in the insurrection, The Olympian believes that Trump has violated the Fourteenth Amendment and should therefore not be allowed to run for reelection.
Trump is currently facing 91 felonies. While he has not yet been convicted, it brings up the question of whether or not criminals should be allowed to run for office. The majority of us at The Olympian believe that criminals should not be able to run for president. If Trump is eventually convicted, we believe that this should disqualify him from running.
While most of The Olympian believes that Trump is ineligible for reelection, some believe that he should still be allowed. The majority of The Olympian is against Trump’s values and may therefore be influenced by this dislike. Just because we don’t like Trump as a person, there may be no actual legal reason for him to be off the ballot. Trump didn’t explicitly tell his supporters to commit an act of extreme violence resulting in multiple deaths. He simply told them to peacefully protest and fight for their rights, which doesn’t directly connotate physical violence.
We also believe that his presence on the ballot doesn’t carry as much importance as we may think. If people are against Trump, they simply don’t have to vote for him. Overall, The Olympian mainly supports the removal of Trump from the ballot, yet recognizes that personal bias may influence this decision.