On the eve of the first anniversary of the deadly attack on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump, progressives are ramping up their campaign to block January 6 insurrectionists—including Trump and hundreds of Republican elected officials—from ever running for public office again.
“Disqualify everyone involved in the January 6 insurrection from seeking public office.”
Free Speech for People and Our Revolution—the political organizing group born from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-Vt.) 2016 presidential run—announced Wednesday that they are teaming up as part of the 14point3 campaign, an effort to urge secretaries of state to ban elected officials who encouraged or participated in the January 6 insurrection from appearing on any electoral ballot.
“Initially enacted in the wake of the Civil War, Section 3 of the 14th Amendment disqualifies from public office any individual who has taken an oath to uphold the U.S. Constitution and then engages in insurrection or rebellion against the United States, or gives aid or comfort to those who have,” Free Speech for People explains. “By inciting a violent attack on Congress in an effort to prevent the certification of his own electoral defeat, Donald Trump engaged in insurrection and violated his oath of office.”
Free Speech for People campaign director Alexandra Flores-Quilty said in a statement that “secretaries of state have a duty to ensure that candidates who seek to appear on their state ballots meet the constitutional qualifications for serving in public office,” and that “those who violated their oath of office by engaging in the violent January 6 insurrection do not meet these terms.”
“Thus,” she added, “we are urging election officials to make clear that insurrectionists such as President Trump and his congressional allies are barred from ever again holding public office, as is required under the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.”
According to the Insurrection Index by Public Wise—another advocacy group seeking to hold individuals and organizations accountable for their roles on January 6—more than 1,000 public figures, including 213 elected officials, acted as accomplices to Trump’s attempted coup. These include Trump, the 147 members of Congress who tried to block certification of President Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory, and scores of state and local officials.
The Insurrection Index was conceived as an ongoing campaign designed to keep those who played a part in the #January6thInsurrection accountable and out of office.
— Public Wise (@PublicWise) January 5, 2022
“These are folks who silenced the voices of American voters, who took a validly held election and created fraudulent information to try to silence voters,” Public Wise executive director Christina Baal-Owens told The Guardian. “They have no business being near legislation or being able to affect the lives of American people.”
The 14point3 campaign comes amid a spate of dire warnings regarding the precarious state of U.S. democracy. On Tuesday, Common Dreams reported that violent conflict scholar Thomas Homer-Dixon called Trump “just a warm-up act” on the path to a full-blown fascist dictatorship in the United States by the end of the decade.
“By 2025,” he wrote, “American democracy could collapse, causing extreme domestic political instability, including widespread civil violence. By 2030, if not sooner, the country could be governed by a right-wing dictatorship.”
U.S. attorney Marc Elias, who along with colleagues won 64 of the 65 lawsuits challenging Biden’s 2020 victory, told The Guardian that “we are one, maybe two, elections away from a constitutional crisis over election subversion.”
“If we don’t recognize who was behind the attempt to disrupt the peaceful transfer of power, then next time we will be less prepared and it may succeed,” he said.
Paco Fabián, director of campaigns at Our Revolution, said that “on many levels, our democracy is under threat, and grassroots activists are ready to stand up to defend it.”
“We need to demand that our election officers follow the rule of law and ensure that current and former elected officials who participated in the January 6 insurrection are barred from appearing on any future ballot,” he asserted. “Disqualify everyone involved in the January 6 insurrection from seeking public office.”