Super Tuesday, voter, Alameda, CA
A person voting in the Super Tuesday primary in Alameda, CA on March 5, 2024. Photo credit: © Michael Ho Wai Lee/SOPA Images via ZUMA Press Wire

Stop looking for the courts to stop Donald Trump; now there's only way to keep the former president out of the White House.

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Ever since Donald Trump announced that he would run for president again, his opponents — both within and outside his party — have hoped that, somehow, somebody would come along or something would happen to keep him off the ballot next November.

Early on, they pinned their hopes on the second Senate impeachment trial… only to see GOP senators throw Trump a lifeline by not voting to convict him of inciting an insurrection. Why risk drawing the ire of his rabid supporters, hundreds of whom had just stormed the Capitol, by doing something that seemed unnecessary at the time? After all, the former president appeared to be so vulnerable back then following his failed coup. He looked like a sore loser who had resorted to banana republic tactics to cling to power. 

However, as has been the case so many times, in the end it was Trump who was left standing, and not the 10 House Republicans who voted to impeach him nor the seven GOP senators who voted to convict. Seeing the writing on the wall, most of them chose not to run for reelection.

Then there were the civil and criminal trials that Trump faced. The civil cases have led to a jury finding the former president guilty of sexually assaulting and defaming author E. Jean Carroll, as well as a judge ruling that he engaged in fraudulent business practices. Overall, Trump has been ordered to pay about $500 million in fines. 

None of these verdicts have slowed him down.

And neither have any of Trump’s GOP primary opponents, the last of whom dropped out of the race after Super Tuesday. To be fair, there was never any chance that they could stop him. 

On the other hand, the criminal charges the former president faced, as well as the lawsuits to keep him off the ballot for violating the insurrection clause of the Constitution, always seemed the most likely option to keep him out of the White House. 

However, with every court decision, every appeal, every legal maneuver, and every trial delay, it is becoming more and more clear that US courts have no appetite for getting involved in the 2024 presidential election. The Supreme Court seemed eager to pick a winner in the 2000 race — George W. Bush, the son of the man who appointed two of the justices (one of whom dissented with the majority). But this time around, with three Trump appointees on the bench, the court seems reluctant to do its job. 

While an objective reading of the Constitution makes it apparent that the former president should be disqualified, and while it would be useful if all those criminal trials were held before Americans head to the polls in November, neither of these things is going to happen. 

You can’t really blame the courts. Yes, if they made their decisions based entirely on the merits of the individual cases without any macro-political considerations, they’d likely rule against the former president. 

However, disqualifying him at this stage would likely result in violence… both on the streets and directed toward the justices who hand down these rulings.

In other words, here is some bad news for all those people who were hoping for some magical solution would materialize that would deny Trump a spot on the ballot or expose him to the public (at least to independent voters) in a way that would result in him losing yet another election: There is not. 

These people also shouldn’t put their hopes in Joe Biden. While, objectively, his record as president would justify a second term (especially compared to how Trump performed while in the White House), his approval ratings are dismal, and he has yet to convincingly counter the allegations regarding his fitness to serve, a (perceived) immigration crisis, and the assumption that he bears responsibility for a global spike in inflation during his first couple of years in office. 

But, if you think Trump has to be stopped to protect the US from sliding from a democracy toward an authoritarian regime, there is also some good news, because there is one person who can do just that: You. 

Granted, this will take more work than sitting on a couch and watching breaking news of Trump getting convicted in one of his criminal trials or the Supreme Court ruling against him in some major decision.

And that work has to start now. 

It requires that you get off that couch and become involved in this election in a more direct way, for example, by registering to vote or getting other people to do so.

Money isn’t going to be an issue in this presidential race, so there is little need to donate to the Biden campaign. 

What is much more valuable is to engage those voters who are planning to sit this election out because they don’t like either of the choices. This can be by talking to friends and relatives, phone-banking, and/or canvassing.

If you really believe that the United States as we know it is at stake (and it very likely is), tell them about the danger Trump poses and how much further damage he can (and will) do to the institutions that have allowed the US to be the most stable democracy in the history of the world. 

All of that is on the ballot… in addition to reproductive rights, access to birth control, fighting global warming, making sure corporations and the rich are fairly taxed (and that the money goes toward initiatives that help everybody else), and, of course, preventing a corrupt madman from selling out the country for personal profit. 

There is no shortage of information on all of these topics (you can start right here with past columns), but you can’t wait until a few days before the election to get involved. Many people who are currently paying no attention at all to politics will need as much information as possible before they decide that they should vote.

Trump and the right-wing propaganda machine have been very effective in brainwashing “their” side of the country… and trying to gaslight the rest of us into believing that Trump was a great president and actually deserves a second term.

If you want to tell them the truth, it will take time. 

So, if you want to prevent Trump from setting foot in the White House again, the time to get started is now. 

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