The question over former President Donald Trump being ineligible to run for office again should he be indicted or convicted of a crime is in the new once again as the Congressional Committee investigating January 6, 2021 and Trumps’ role therein has heated up and is airing hearings on national TV networks and his potential election crimes in Georgia and elsewhere are still in full swing.
Trump once made a joke that he could shoot someone in the street and his followers would still vote for him, and it now sort of appears that he could indeed become a criminal with some pretty heinous acts and still run for President again, at least according to Politifact’s answer to the question over him running again.
Trump may have broken the law in his attempts to get himself declared the winner of the 2020 election after he lost to Joe Biden.
In Georgia, Trump is under investigation by Fulton County prosecutors who are probing whether he violated election laws after he asked state election officials to “find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.”
Which led to the conclusion that “The short answer is legally, it appears that Trump could still run for president, even if convicted of a crime.”
“A criminal conviction does not prevent a person from running for president,” said Barbara L. McQuade, a University of Michigan law professor and former U.S. Attorney. “The Constitution controls this question, and it makes no prohibition. States can decide their own rules for who is eligible to hold office within their own states, but they cannot disqualify someone from running for president.”
Legal experts and political scientists have debated whether a separate part of the Constitution, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, could keep Trump off the ballot. That section says that no person “shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military” who had previously taken an oath to support the Constitution and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.” That section was added after the Civil War.
“As to the question of why the Constitution does not prohibit those with criminal convictions running for president, part of the rationale may have been to prevent states from criminalizing certain activities as a means of gaming eligibility,” Green said.
But the idea that someone indicted or convicted of felonies could hold the highest office in the country is something that may not have been envisioned.
“The drafters of the Constitution never imagined that anyone would run for president after a criminal conviction or that anyone would vote for them,” McQuade said.
Scary, but true. It seems like nothing short of prison time may keep Trump from running again, and even then, he’s likely to be deterred.