Plans to install Trump as dictator in 2024 are out in the open
Trump mug shot during arraignment in Georgia.

When he was president Trump stacked the Supreme Court and the Federal courts with right-wing lawyers screened and put forward by the extreme right Federalist Society, the group that generated all of his right-wing appointments to the Supreme Court, the Federal Courts, and to his own administration. That approach, top Trump operatives have decided, is not going to be enough to satisfy Trumpites if their master wins the 2024 election.

The press has reported that exchanges between the fascist Stephen Miller, who designed the program that ripped apart immigrant families, and other top Trump movers and shakers stipulate that in a second Trump administration, right-wing lawyers alone will not do the trick. What they need is lawyers willing to toss out entirely the Constitution of the U.S. in order to turn Trump into a dictator.

Specifically, they are looking for legal justification for Trump to directly take over all the federal agencies, from the Justice Department on down, and to dismantle the entire civil service system. The government will become, essentially, an army of people dedicated to Trump as the new Great Leader. The Attorney General would become Trump’s personal lawyer and public television and radio would become Trump TV and radio.

The frightening news underlines the importance of lawsuits underway in Colorado and Minnesota that aim to keep Trump off the ballot on the constitutional grounds that he led an insurrection against the U.S. government. The constitution stipulates that no one who leads an insurrection against the U.S. can hold public office.

A number of legal scholars, among them conservatives, are fully behind those efforts.

In both states citizens groups are suing to use the “Jeff Davis clause” of the U.S. Constitution’s 14th Amendment to keep Trump off next year’s primary and general election ballots. Another ban-Trump-from-the-ballot try is pending in Michigan, though Trump seeks to have the case thrown out before it begins.

Those cases are a threat to the former White House occupant’s scheme to return to the Oval Office on Jan. 20, 2025, and make himself the new absolute monarch of the United States.

The plans by top Trump operatives to install him as dictator should be no surprise. Trump himself said in December of 2020 that he “alone” could solve the problems of the country.

Even when he first ran for president he said that he “alone” could solve the problems of the country.

Now he could, as he is telling right-wing acolytes on the campaign trail, exercise dictatorial powers to run roughshod over Congress, reinstate the spoils system by firing federal workers and installing his favorites, and trash the Constitution as he does these things. None of that includes further packing of the courts with people who could cement in place his dictatorial powers—which he said after the 2020 election he wants to do.

But Trump can’t get back to the White House if he can’t win the election next year. And he can’t win the election if he’s not on the ballot—which is the point of the cases in Colorado and Minnesota and the pending trial in Michigan.

The Colorado case is in its fifth day in Denver District Court. The Minnesota trial opened on November 2 in the State Supreme Court in St. Paul. The same group that’s pushing the Minnesota case plans the one in Michigan, too.

All three use the same reasoning to dump Trump from ballots voters will see next year: He aided, abetted, and directed the Trumpite U.S. Capitol invasion, insurrection, and coup d’état try of Jan. 6, 2021. And that violates the U.S. Constitution and automatically bars him from office, they tell the judges.

Based on the Constitution

Their case is based on the third clause of the 14th Amendment, passed after the Civil War and designed to keep top Confederates—notably Jefferson Davis, a former U.S. senator and Secretary of War—from ever holding public office again. Davis, of course, was the Confederate president during the four-year Civil War.

That clause was last invoked on the federal level more than a century ago to evict Socialist anti-war Rep. Victor Berger of Milwaukee from Congress, twice. More recently, it was used in Arizona to evict a Trumpite insurrectionist from local office.

The clause reads: “No person shall…hold any office, civil or military, under the United States or any state, and who has taken an oath” to support the Constitution and who “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

Which is precisely what Trump did on and leading up to Jan. 6, 2021, as the groups trying to kick Trump off the ballots are telling the judges in Denver and St. Paul. He told them to “fight like hell” and promised to lead them to the Capitol—but didn’t, as the Secret Service refused to drive him there, even though he wrestled with the driver for the wheel of his armored SUV.

In Denver, six Republican and independent voters, backed by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, ended their prosecution by calling a top scholar of the amendment, Indiana University law professor Gerard Magliocca, to testify that the insurrection ban is broad and that it covers “words of incitement.”

“During Reconstruction, ‘engage in insurrection’ was understood broadly to include any voluntary act in furtherance of an insurrection against the Constitution, including words of incitement,” Magliocca told Denver District Court Judge Sarah Wallace.  “It did not apply only to those who took up arms,” Magliocca added.

In one case, Magliocca testified, Congress disqualified a Kentucky politician because he wrote a letter to the editor advocating violence against Union troops. A senator-elect was disqualified because he sent $100 to his son, who was serving in the Confederate Army.

Chapman University Sociology Professor Simi, a student of extremism, previously told Judge Wallace the Proud Boys, Oath Keepers, and other right-wing extremists who invaded the Capitol, carrying the Confederate flag and trashing the building, heard Trump’s words “as a call to violence.”

“Within far-right extremist culture, fighting is meant to be taken literally…especially within the context as it’s laid out, that these threats are imminent, and that you’re going to lose your country. Then, fighting would be understood as requiring violent action.” Trump used “lose your country” words in his speech.

Simi called the relationship between Trump and the Trumpite extremists “unprecedented.” That relationship actually came into the open during Trump’s first debate with Biden, when Trump told the Proud Boys “to stand back and stand by.”

The relationship between Trump and far-right extremists is “unprecedented,” Simi said. They were “really seeing him as speaking their language, and really addressing many of their key grievances.”

The Denver trial is continuing, with Trump’s lawyers now attempting to defend him. But they told the court in a hearing last September that Trump had no responsibility for obeying the Constitution, despite his oath of office.

Facing other trials

Besides the three trials to keep Trump off next year’s ballots, the former Oval Office occupant faces these other trials, totaling 91 counts:

The most-advanced trial: The wide-ranging racketeering and conspiracy trial in Atlanta over Trump’s schemes to steal Georgia’s 16 electoral votes from Democratic nominee Joe Biden, post-election. That one features dozens of counts against Trump and 18 co-conspirators for racketeering. In state court in Atlanta.

District Attorney Fani Willis has already gotten three of Trump’s lawyers—including two key ones—to plead guilty to lesser charges and to sing. And a fourth conspirator, Trump election consigliere Rudy Giuliani, whose law license has been suspended, was forced to apologize to two Georgia vote counters, both Black women, whom he falsely accused of fraud.

A four-count criminal case in D.C. by Justice Department Special Counsel Jack Smith over Trump’s attempt to deprive voters of their civil and voting rights by overturning the 2020 election results.

A criminal case in D.C. over the actual coup try and invasion, where U.S. District Judge Tanya Chutkan has already had to issue a gag order against Trump, who insults virtually everyone, including court personnel, the prosecutors and the potential D.C. jurors, whom he claims won’t give him a fair trial.

A national security case in Florida involves Trump’s purloined papers from the White House to his estate in Mar-A-Lago. Those national security leaks include Trump’s flourishing a Pentagon plan to make war on Iran and his blabbing to an Australian industrialist about how many nuclear warheads each U.S. submarine carries.

Then there’s the ongoing Trump fraud trial in the State Supreme Court in Manhattan, where he faces a $250 million fine and break-up of his real estate empire—and where he’s already been fined twice, for $15,000, for contempt of court for failing to shut his trap and stop insulting court personnel.

And still pending is yet another Manhattan trial, where New York City’s DA plans to try Trump over campaign finance violations involving a $135,000 check he signed—and charged off to his company—to repay his lawyer-fixer Jeffrey Cohen for hush money to former stripper Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about her affair with Trump.

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Mark Gruenberg
Mark Gruenberg

Award-winning journalist Mark Gruenberg is head of the Washington, D.C., bureau of People's World. He is also the editor of the union news service Press Associates Inc. (PAI). Known for his reporting skills, sharp wit, and voluminous knowledge of history, Mark is a compassionate interviewer but tough when going after big corporations and their billionaire owners.

John Wojcik
John Wojcik

John Wojcik is Editor-in-Chief of People's World. He joined the staff as Labor Editor in May 2007 after working as a union meat cutter in northern New Jersey. There, he served as a shop steward and a member of a UFCW contract negotiating committee. In the 1970s and '80s, he was a political action reporter for the Daily World, this newspaper's predecessor, and was active in electoral politics in Brooklyn, New York.