Donald Trump: Why the Colorado ruling isn’t decisive

The Colorado Supreme Court has barred Donald Trump from the Republican primary in the US state. The verdict is unlikely to last long. But that wouldn’t be a bad thing – because the trial against Trump for election fraud is becoming much more important.

If Donald Trump is removed from the ballot in one state after another, then the problem is solved? That might sound good, but it wouldn’t be the solution to the problem.

Yes, the Supreme Court in Colorado has ruled that Trump cannot take part in the Republican primary in the US state. It is clear to the judges that the ex-president is responsible for the uprising on January 6, 2021. Based on the 14th Amendment, someone can actually be excluded from voting. But that is only an intermediate step. The Supreme Court in Washington, DC will now probably decide on the case. It is considered unlikely that a conservative majority of six judges, three of whom were appointed by Trump, will uphold the ruling.

There was an opportunity in the Supreme Court’s clarification, even if it was in Trump’s favor. Because ever new individual decisions by the states not only give Trump support for his claim that the “deep state” is working against him and trying to prevent his re-election – a cascade of decisions in secondary theaters of war would also distract from what is really at stake in the coming year. It’s a trial the likes of which America has rarely seen: Starting in mid-March, Trump is expected to stand trial in federal court in the capital on charges that he wanted to overturn the last presidential election.

America needs this trial, a fair and public and grand trial. Trump will tell his version of the story. He didn’t incite anyone, just exercised his right to freedom of expression. But that’s not the point. Rather, the question is whether he wanted to involve others in ensuring that the election results were not recognized, which would have allowed him to remain in office. An attempted coup with Trump at the helm?

A House investigative committee has been collecting evidence over many months to support this allegation, as has independent special counsel Jack Smith. He will present his arguments in court, counter Trump, and probably even lie. As a defendant, he is allowed to do that. But the trial is about more than Trump’s fate. It is also about the question of whether the United States of America is and will remain a strong constitutional state. And it’s about the country finding a way to deal with Donald Trump.

The trial against Trump is also a risk

All of this has moved somewhat into the background in view of the politics of the day. Inflation is particularly affecting the middle class; prices for everyday goods have risen noticeably. People don’t look at international crises that have significantly brought about this effect. They look to Joe Biden, who, in their view, has failed in the fight against the economic misery. And many remember the Trump years, when things were going quite well, at least before the pandemic. So why not re-elect someone who understands economics?

That is Trump’s promise in this election campaign – and so far he has been successful with it. In many national polls he is ahead of Joe Biden, including in the so-called swing states where the election will ultimately be decided. But this election can’t just be about the economy. The question of whether Donald Trump is a coup plotter should be clarified beforehand.

That will be difficult enough. Donald Trump claims he cannot be charged because the allegations come at a time when he is still protected by presidential immunity. The Supreme Court will also have to decide on this question. If the Supreme Court allows the trial, there is of course also the possibility that Trump will ultimately be acquitted. If this happens before the presidential election in November 2024, it could even take him to the White House. That is a risk, but not an argument against finding the truth. Citizens are smart enough to make their voting decision based on all these facts. In the end, only the election can have the cathartic effect that is so important for the USA – not removing Trump from the list.