California Keeps President Trump On Primary Ballot

As the political storm surrounding President Donald Trump’s place on state GOP ballots around the country rages, on Thursday, California Secretary of State Shirley Weber (D) decided to include Trump on the Golden State’s primary ballot.

Weber’s office released the complete list of certified candidates — including President Trump — for the March 5 primary.

The development was received with mixed reactions from across the political spectrum. While Lt. Gov. Eleni Kounalakis (D) and several other prominent California Democrats demanded that Trump be excluded, Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) emphasized the importance of defeating candidates at the polls rather than through administrative maneuvers and legal manipulation.

The moves by several Democrat-led states to prevent voters from being able to exercise their right to vote freely are putatively based on an interpretation of the 14th Amendment’s “insurrection clause.” That provision was adopted immediately after the end of the Civil War to grant Congress the power to exclude former Confederate officers from federal service under specified conditions.

California’s move contrasts sharply with actions taken in Colorado and Maine. In the last two weeks, the Colorado Supreme Court and Maine’s Secretary of State ruled to remove Trump from their respective state ballots. President Trump and his 2024 campaign have pledged to take the matter up with the Supreme Court to ask for a definitive constitutional ruling that will apply uniformly in all U.S. elections in the coming year.

Deep blue California was expected to favor blocking Trump’s candidacy. However, the state’s legal structure does not grant the Secretary of State full authority to disqualify a presidential candidate. It remains uncertain whether individuals or Democratic groups might still mount a court challenge to President Trump’s appearance on the ballot there.

California’s decision is more than just a conservative victory and a vindication of the right of every American to vote for the candidate of their choice. It also stands as a win for the rule of law and the democratic process. In this light, California’s decision to break ranks with other liberal strongholds could have a bearing on the Supreme Court’s decision on whether to take up the issue for a definitive ruling.