Donald Trump Could Get ‘Thrown Off the Ballot’ In California

California Democrats trying to get Donald Trump off the ballot: Add California to the list of states in which there’s an effort to remove Donald Trump from the election ballot, which the idea that he is ineligible to be president. 

Donald Trump Has a New Legal Problem to Deal With 

In August, when the idea that Donald Trump could be removed from the presidential ballot due to a 14th Amendment provision barring those who have participated in insurrections began to emerge in the mainstream, a story took social media by storm: California Gov. Gavin Newsom had declared Trump ineligible to be president and had asked the state’s Assembly to pass a bill that would bar Trump from future presidential ballots. 

The story, alas, wasn’t true. Newsom had done no such thing, with a questionable social media account quoting a non-existent Fox News story. Newsom had, years earlier, attempted to pass a bill that would disqualify any candidate who had not released their tax returns, but a court struck that down and Trump did appear on that state’s ballot in 2020. 

Now, in fact, there are Democrats in California who are pushing to disqualify Trump, although it didn’t originate with Newsom, nor is it being done the way the fake story last month claimed. They have, however, found a novel way to pursue that goal. 

Politico reported Monday that nine California lawmakers have written a letter to the state’s attorney general, Rob Bonta, arguing that Trump should be disqualified from the presidential ballot on 14th Amendment grounds, due to his participation in the January 6 insurrection. As with most stories about such efforts, the Politico story describes it as a “long shot” that Trump would actually be taken off the ballot. 

The argument, per Politico, is that Bonta “could use his standing as California’s top law enforcement officer to expedite a state court ruling on the matter.” In most states in which there is an effort underway to disqualify Trump, it is the secretary of state, not the attorney general, who is at the center of such efforts, unless they involve going to the courts directly. 

“We all watched in horror Mr. Trump’s insurrection against the United States when he ordered a mob of his supporters to the United States Capitol on January 6, 2021, to intimidate Vice President Pence and the United States Congress,” the letter to Bonta said. 

Is Attorney General Bonta on board with the move to remove Trump? That is unclear, although a spokesperson did make a statement critical of the former president. 

“There is no denying that Donald Trump has engaged in behavior that is unacceptable and unbecoming of any leader — let alone a President of the United States.”

Newsom does not appear to have said anything about the effort, although the Politico story noted that Bonta is seen as a candidate for governor of California in 2026 when Newsom will be term-limited and likely focused on a 2028 presidential run

Suits have already been filed in various states seeking to disqualify Trump from the ballot, and experts believe that the question of the former president’s ballot eligibility will ultimately be settled by the U.S. Supreme Court. 

“When it gets to the Supreme Court, as it surely will,” law professor Laurence H. Tribe told the New York Times earlier this month. “This will test the dedication of the justices to principles of law, more than almost anything has for a very long time because they will obviously realize that telling the leading candidate of one major political party, ‘no, no way, you’re not eligible’ is no small matter.”

It’s not clear yet which case would end up before the Supreme Court, but the outcome would seemingly either have the courts put the matter to rest and let Trump appear on the ballot, or a conservative Supreme Court — including three justices appointed by Trump himself — bringing Trump’s political career to a shocking end. 

Author Expertise and Experience

Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.

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