Just in case you were wondering, Maryland Democratic Rep. Jamie Raskin is still hyperventilating over the events of Jan. 6, 2021.
Raskin, as you may remember, was the impeachment manager — akin to a prosecutor — during former President Donald Trump’s second impeachment trial. He still claims, despite no conviction in Congress or in a court of law saying that Trump’s actions constituted an “insurrection,” that the leading 2024 GOP contender should be taken off the ballot for just that reason.
And if Trump isn’t, Raskin told CNN on Sunday, he’s going to “try to overturn the election result again” — even though, as he’s not the sitting president, he would likely have no significant power to do so.
The congressman was on the show to discuss the latest state to kick Trump off the primary ballot for specious reasons, this one being Maine. The reasoning, according to Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows, is that Trump violated Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which denies office to those who have “engaged in insurrection.”
Despite the fact that the provision in question dealt mostly with Civil War-era figures who defected to the Confederacy, Raskin said the argument was constitutionally sound because it could be interpreted broadly.
“It says, if you’ve sworn an oath to support the Constitution and violated the oath by engaging in insurrection or rebellion, you can never hold public office again,” he said on CNN.
“And the original purposes of it are equally clear, because, actually, when the language was first authored by the radical Republicans in Congress, it was very broad.
“And it said, if you have participated in secession or insurrection, you can never vote again. And when it got over to the Senate, they said, ‘That’s way too broad. Let’s focus in on the worst offenders, people who’d actually sworn an oath to the Constitution and then breached the oath by trying to overthrow the government, and we will make sure those people never serve in office again.'”
After saying that Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas should recuse himself from any case about Trump being kicked from the ballot because his “wife was involved in the big lie and claiming that Donald Trump had actually won the presidential election” — hyperventilation enough that the reasonable viewer might assume this wasn’t the guy to be an objective arbiter on the 14th Amendment’s insurrection clause — host Dana Bash asked him “about the argument that this is just going to make [Trump] a martyr” if he’s removed from the ballot.
“It may or may not. The question is, what does the Constitution say? Donald Trump can strike the pose of the martyr in any given context,” Raskin responded.
“If he’s allowed to stay on the ballot despite his clear incitement of an insurrection and attempt to overturn the results in the 2020 election, and he loses to Joe Biden, as he almost certainly would — Biden beat him by more than seven million votes last time, and we just have millions of young new voters who’ve joined the rolls, and they can’t stand Donald Trump and the Republican Party — if he loses, he will feel himself a martyr there, and he will try to overturn the election result again,” he continued.
“So I don’t think we can run scared from Donald Trump. We have got to enforce our Constitution. And that certainly was the design of the framers, and that’s what they would have us do.”
Bash merely said Raskin was “far more bullish about Biden beating Trump than other Democrats I have talked to” and moved on to Hunter Biden-related issues. What she didn’t state was the obvious: The only individual really in a place to “overturn” the election results in 2024 would be President Joe Biden.
Let’s just be clear about what happened in 2020 in brief terms: While then-President Trump was legally challenging the results of the election in several states, he formulated a plan by which then-Vice President Mike Pence would refuse to certify the Electoral College count. Pence refused, and Trump garnered nowhere near the number of votes he would need to mount any serious challenge to the votes in either the House or the Senate.
This, Democrats have claimed, was a narrow aversion of a constitutional crisis. The word “narrow” is a bit febrile for me, but let’s even grant the pearl-clutchers like Raskin that. What’s the one factor that news outlets seem to emphasize when they talk about Trump attempting to “overturn” the election results?
The answer should strike one like a bolt of lightning: control of the White House. Trump viewed the vice president’s role as crucial to keeping his hopes alive. He no longer has that, and his party doesn’t have control of anything, federally, except a slim House majority.
Thus, if anyone were to “overturn” the results of the 2024 election were it to be a rematch of Biden vs. Trump — and that seems likely, given the lack of credible opposition to Biden and Trump’s front-runner status in the GOP race — it would be President Biden.
And, despite the fact that the RealClearPolitics polling aggregate has Trump up by 2.3 points as of Monday morning in a potential rematch, Raskin is on TV saying, in no uncertain terms, that he not only thinks Biden will win, he’s sure of it.
He’s so sure of it, in fact, that he thinks … the political opposition needs to be taken off the ballot.
It’s our constitutional duty to ensure that someone who will definitely lose doesn’t even get on there at all, Raskin says. Some confidence. Is he trying to “overturn” the results of the 2024 election before it happens? Is he an insurrectionist?
The answer to that is no, obviously not. He’s just a Democrat shill who puts forth an untenable argument that has been rejected by most courts except for Colorado’s Supreme Court. He’s lending his gravitas to an argument that, as a constitutional scholar, I suspect he knows is bull excrement.
But as a politician, it’s expedient to keep on using language about the “insurrection,” the “big lie” and the potential for Trump to “overturn” the results. Plus, given that Raskin’s brand is that he’s basically patient zero for post-2020 Trump Derangement Syndrome, there’s little to be lost by scaremongering as much as possible, implausible though that scaremongering might be.
You’ll probably hear a lot of these alarmist prophecies between now and the election, whether they come from Democrat officialdom or the media. Give them the credence they deserve — which is to say, none at all.
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