Ruling on Trump injects more uncertainty into US political chaos
Published: Dec 20, 2023 10:34 PM
Donald Trump Photo:VCG

Donald Trump Photo:VCG

Before the upcoming 2024 US presidential primary campaign begins, Colorado's Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that former president Donald Trump is disqualified from the state's ballot given the allegations that Trump engaged in an insurrection on January 6, 2021, legally injecting more uncertainty into next year's presidential election and further unfolding the rottenness of US politics.

This is the first time in years that the legal controversies around Trump have risen to the level of politics. In the US, legal matters are usually separated from political matters. This time it looks like the law is going to be exerted to affect a person's political rights. This is a very rare case in American history, and the reason why it has attracted so much attention is because it's not just a matter concerning Trump. For the first time the "little-known provision in the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution" has been invoked, so this event is certainly of great significance.

There are voices that Colorado has been the bedrock for the Democrats since 2008 and this ruling will have a significant impact on Trump's campaign. Is this really the case?

On one hand, the massive media coverage that comes with the ruling will again arouse the attention of the voters on the Capitol attack, and reconsider Trump as a threat to national security and stability. "Even if Trump is not knocked down this time, the ruling at least triggers another wave of doubt about him in American society, which is undoubtedly a huge blow to Trump's reputation and campaign." Li Haidong, a professor at the China Foreign Affairs University, told the Global Times. In addition, Colorado's act will have a demonstration effect. If the ruling is not overturned, other states could cite it in similar accusations against Trump.

On the other hand, Trump's campaign will undoubtedly emphasize the blow to his own political rights from this ruling. Thereby, some of Trump's supporters will again see Trump as a victim, and come to his defense.

However, the pro-establishment camp or those who hope to maintain the existing order don't want to see the US shocked again by Trump if he were to become president. If he were, the procedural justice of the US would be difficult to maintain. No political system can withstand continuous shocks. The current American political system is the result of the preservation by generations, and a few more shocks may lead to a collapse, a fact which is of great concern to Americans.

According to NBC on Wednesday, Trump's campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung bashed the ruling and signaled that "an appeal to the US Supreme Court was forthcoming." On the same day, US President Joe Biden warned that "Democrats must rally to defeat Donald Trump or risk losing democracy."

Li believes that while the Democrats have condemned Trump in the name of democracy, their own practices are actually also undemocratic in a way. They're making a self-aggrandizing claim about the existing politics of the US as being democratic, when it's not. The attitudes of both parties further reflect the rottenness of American politics, and that the law now seems to be exerted as a political weapon.

A recent article published by Wall Street Journal concluded that "2023 was a terrible year for America's political system." Zhang Jiadong, a professor at the Center for American Studies, Fudan University, argues that the discussions around the US political issues are now in deep waters. The US is a country that has always been perceived as having many loopholes with constant internal quarrels, and political chaos is indeed the essence of American politics.

At present, American politics is in a mess. As the election year approaches and the legal proceedings surrounding Trump unfold further, the division in American politics and society is expected to become even more pronounced, and next year's election is likely to be filled with more quirky possibilities we can't predict right now.