The remaining contenders for the runner-up position in the 2024 GOP primary race have been busy responding to Tuesday’s Colorado Supreme Court’s decision to ban President Donald Trump from the state’s primary ballot. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has refused to withdraw his name from the ballot there, in sharp contrast with fellow contender Vivek Ramaswamy, who has said he will withdraw from the Colorado race unless and until President Trump is restored.
Colorado’s highest state court labeled Trump as an “insurrectionist” because of the events of January 6, 2021. The 45th president’s legal team has vowed to immediately proceed to the U.S. Supreme Court with a request for an appeal of the order.
— The Hill (@thehill) December 20, 2023
DeSantis said Wednesday that he believes the Democratic Party directed the Colorado ruling in an attempt to influence the upcoming GOP primary elections around the nation. He said the move is a tactic in the liberal strategy to “solidify support” for Trump, who he said he believes Democrats prefer to be on the ballot for November’s general election rather than him.
The Florida governor’s refusal to follow Ramaswamy’s lead claims to focus on the “broader Republican agenda,” although it appears to Ramaswamy and others that DeSantis simply sees an opportunity to be more competitive in the Colorado election with Trump off of the ballot. The billionaire entrepreneur also said that if other GOP hopefuls did not follow his lead, the party would miss a solid opportunity to stand with a united front against Democratic weaponization of the judicial process.
Some conservative commentators have already spoken in support of Ramaswamy’s pledge to withdraw from Colorado. America First supporters see the unprecedented wave of government-led attacks on President Trump as an attack directly on ordinary conservative American citizens. DeSantis now runs the risk of alienating much of the Republican voting base by failing to take a stand against politicized prosecutions and judicial decisions.
Tuesday’s ruling is the first time the 14th Amendment has been invoked to pre-emptively disqualify a presidential candidate in American history.
Former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and former New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have also publicly criticized the Colorado ruling but have stopped short of expressing DeSantis’ position or daring to withdraw their names from the state’s primary ballot. Both have said they believe voters and not judges should choose a winning candidate.
DeSantis’s decision to stay on the Colorado ballot is a strategic political move. It marks a calculated approach to capitalizing on the establishment’s war against President Trump and his supporters.