Lefties: It's 'Shady' if Biden Isn't On the Ballot

AP Photo/Alex Brandon

We previously discussed the electoral technicalities that could potentially keep Joe Biden off of the ballot this November in Alabama and Ohio. While there are alternative options available to state Republicans that could avoid the problems in both cases, the GOP is under no obligation to accommodate them. Also, these issues were caused entirely by scheduling conflicts on the part of the Democrats. The treatment of the situation by the media is possibly even more curious. At the New Republic, Matt Ford describes Biden's ballot woes as "shady right-wing threats" against the President. How one arrives at such a conclusion given the facts in evidence remains a mystery, but we're in the middle of an election season so I suppose anything goes.

When the Supreme Court overturned a Colorado court ruling last month that had disqualified former President Donald Trump from the state ballot, the justices argued that it was necessary to avoid a “patchwork” of requirements for presidential candidates to meet. That would only invite “chaos,” they warned.

“An evolving electoral map could dramatically change the behavior of voters, parties, and States across the country, in different ways and at different times,” the justices wrote in an unsigned opinion in Trump v. Anderson. “The disruption would be all the more acute—and could nullify the votes of millions and change the election result—if Section 3 enforcement were attempted after the nation has voted.”

If that rationale was enough to justify writing Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment out of the Constitution, then one can only imagine how the justices will react to the latest shenanigans by red states. At least two states with Republican leaders—Alabama and Ohio—are now threatening to remove President Joe Biden from the November ballot.

Any careful reading of the final paragraph in the excerpt above will reveal that there is virtually nothing correct about this argument. While I still believe that every candidate with an appropriate level of support should have access to the ballot, the specific debate currently taking place involves far more than mere ballot access. First of all, nobody said that Section 3 of the Fourteenth Amendment needs to be "written out of the Constitution." The clause in question applies to those who have "engaged in insurrection or rebellion." Those are specific crimes and Donald Trump was never charged with either, to say nothing of being convicted.

Further, nobody in Ohio or Alabama is "threatening to remove President Joe Biden from the November ballot." The Republicans in both states are standing by to receive submissions of the names of the candidates from both parties. It is not the GOP's fault that the Democrats scheduled their convention for a time after the deadline for such submissions has expired. As noted above, it's very possible that the Republicans could arrange for an exemption and allow a submission after the deadline, but they are under no obligation to do so. If they don't do that, this doesn't become a "shady right-wing threat" or a case of red-state "shenanigans." If someone shoves you into the swimming pool and I fail to throw you an inflatable rubber duck, you should be blaming the person who pushed you in, not me.

Of course, this sort of media attack shouldn't come as that much of a surprise. This is shaping up to be a brutally close race and the Democrats are in panic mode. Also, it's not as if Matt Ford is an unbiased observer on the sidelines. He only recently published opinion pieces cheering for the Supreme Court to rule against Trump and blasting Arizona's court system over the abortion debacle currently unfolding there. If anyone wants to criticize a system where Biden might not make it onto the ballot, that's fine. But let's assign the blame where it belongs, shall we? Keep in mind that the Democrats in Colorado tried to forcibly remove Donald Trump from the ballot despite the GOP having completed all of the appropriate requirements to have him appear.

Just to tie a bow on this curious case of election analysis, I will point to another of Matt Ford's recent editorials. In a piece discussing recent left-wing calls for Sonia Sotomayor to retire, Ford argued that whether she retires or not isn't the point. The Democrats need to focus on winning elections. I agree. But winning elections needs to revolve around making the best arguments and winning over the hearts and minds of voters. It shouldn't involve clerical tricks endangering ballot access or actual shady shenanigans like dragging your primary political opponent into court on dozens of bogus charges and attempting to lock him up. That's just some food for thought as we await the final outcomes at the conventions and the race to the finish line in November.

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