Sarah May
December 31, 2023

David Axelrod warns against Dem efforts to boot Trump from 2024 ballots

Despite his certain antipathy toward Donald Trump's 2024 candidacy, David Axelrod, a former top adviser to Barack Obama, has warned that maneuvers designed to boot the former president from the ballot are destined to “rip the country apart,” and should not proceed, as The Hill reports.

The Obama insider offered his take on recent decisions out of Colorado and Maine removing Trump from primary ballot eligibility during an appearance on CNN's Erin Burnett OutFront.

Axelrod's words of warning

During his conversation with Burnett, Axelrod addressed recent decisions barring Trump from primary ballots by citing the 14th Amendment's “insurrection clause” in conjunction with the former president's conduct related to the Jan. 6, 2021 Capitol unrest.

Axelrod was not shy about expressing his concerns about the trend emerging in blue states, declaring, “I have very, very strong reservations about all of this.”

“I do think it would rip the country apart of he were actually prevented from running because tens of millions of people want to vote for him,” Axelrod went on.

Taking a pragmatic approach to what it will take for Democrats to prevail in November, the longtime Obama confidant added, “I think if you're going to beat Donald Trump, you're going to probably have to do it at the polls.”

Axelrod further opined that decisions such as the recent one in Maine declaring Trump ineligible for the primary ballot works to the former president's advantage, as it helps bolster his claims of political weaponization of the justice system.

“[Trump] wanted to set up a construct...which says that they're coming after him because he's running for president and they're trying to prevent him from being president,” Axelrod said, later observing, “What you thought might be kryptonite for him has turned out to be battery packs, and this is a big one for him.”

Fellow Democrats express doubts

Axelrod is not the only Democrat power player urging caution when it comes to attempts to remove Trump from electoral ballots, with Rep. Jared Golden (D-ME) slamming his own state's decision to do just that, as Fox News reports.

“I voted to impeach Donald Trump for his role in the January 6th insurrection. I do not believe he should be re-elected as President of the United States. However, we are a nation of laws, therefore until he is actually found guilty of the crime of insurrection, he should be allowed on the ballot,” Golden said.

California Democrat Gov. Gavin Newsom also stood in opposition to rumblings from Democrats in his state who floated the idea of removing Trump from the ballot, as Politico noted.

“There is no doubt that Donald Trump is a threat to our liberties and even to our democracy, but in California, we defeat candidates at the polls,” Newsom said. “Everything else is a political distraction,” he added, expressing a sentiment with which millions of Americans agree.

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