The news that a bare majority on the Colorado Supreme Court denied President Donald J. Trump a spot on the statewide ballot, now joined by Maine, ricocheted around progressive corners like the shot at Lexington Green. Watching it inspired a sense of weary familiarity, as the latest magic talisman to banish Trump from American life was celebrated, elevated, and invoked for further use. This isn’t the first by a long shot: they’ve tried nearly everything since history’s most-famous escalator ride in summer 2015, from a late-campaign media hit, to a conspiracy theory on Russia, to an impeachment, to scurrilous press narratives, to outright insurrectionary violence, to election manipulation, to a second impeachment, to a flurry of motivated prosecutions, and now this. Each time they think they’ve got the singular item for his eradication — and each time it fails. But because this is a crowd more interested in destroying history than learning from it, they resort to the same effort over and over again, with the same result.
The only thing they haven’t tried is the one prescribed by the Constitution and centuries of American civics: persuasion of the American people. There’s a good reason they haven’t. Why attempt what you cannot achieve?
The Colorado and Maine matters at this writing remain unresolved, and will likely remain that way for some time. It is best understood as a beginning rather than an end: what the leftist majority on the Colorado Supreme Court and a progressive, anti-Trump appointed Secretary of State did was less to throw Trump off the ballot than to legitimate this avenue for his expulsion from the public square. We have to specify this avenue, because as noted, it is merely the most-recent example of a yearslong search for the irreversible mechanism of his destruction.
We can call this what it is: a desperation move by a cohort that sees its grip upon American life and governance inexorably slipping away. Nearly everywhere you look, the institutions by which the left has traditionally exerted its rule are in crisis. Media, both news and Hollywood, have lost trust and viewership alike. The great institutions of education see their standing badly eroded, as Americans turn to homeschooling, charters, and school choice at the primary level, and as they watch the self-immolation of the moral standing of Harvard, Penn, MIT, and the rest. Corporations that were themselves eager participants in the woke agenda, reliable handmaidens of leftist narratives, now find that they suffer tremendous material penalties for their complicity: Disney’s empire no longer reliably makes hits, and Bud Light is no longer the beer of choice for football weekends. The political class is itself either decrepit or incompetent, with the sitting President prone to rhetorical meandering, the Vice President visibly incompetent, and the National Security Advisor strategically outwitted by Yemeni tribesmen.
Unable to make the positive case for themselves, they resort to drastic measures against the man who might unseat them all.
We can call it something else, too: dangerous. The powers that be are playing with fire because their ultimate target is not actually Donald J. Trump. Sure, they hate him, but as he himself has said, their real targets are the tens of millions of Americans for whom he speaks. He’s in the way. When they erase him from the ballot — or when they try to chase him from office, or when they try to eject him from public life — they’re really trying to deny those Americans their voice in governance and civic life. A left whose great evolution across the past generation has been toward a flowering intolerance of dissent cannot endure a permanent and growing opposition to itself. That this opposition includes longstanding members of its own coalition — Jews horrified by anti-Semitism, minorities seeking dignity and opportunity on merit, working-class Americans tired of elite misrule, and more — only sharpens its sense of peril. The left must act, now, with whatever tools are at hand.
And if they break the country in doing it, well, breaking the country is what they always intended. This is their end in mind, and so in their fight to keep Trump off the ballot, we must see them as not revealing merely a tactic. They are revealing themselves. How else can you explain a radical progressive orthodoxy’s self-anointed belief that they must destroy democracy in order to protect it.
Brooke Rollins is President and CEO of the America First Policy Institute. She previously served as Assistant to the President and Director of the White House Domestic Policy Council under President Donald J. Trump.
The views and opinions expressed in this commentary are those of the author and do not reflect the official position of the Daily Caller News Foundation.
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