We should be cautious about barring people from seeking office. But in the case of pro-insurrectionists, there is a very strong case
This could change in one case: Republican Congressman Madison Cawthorn, who was on the mall that fateful day, implored Trumpists to “fight,” and is now seeking re-election in North Carolina. His candidacy is being challenged on the basis of the 14th Amendment. Passed after the Civil War, it disqualifies from holding office anyone who has sworn allegiance to the Constitution and then engages in insurrection.
Other democracies are comfortable not just with restricting individual rights to run for office, but with banning entire parties suspected of undermining democracy. Americans, by contrast, have been inclined to leave things to sort themselves out in the political process.
But here drastic measures are justified: citizens in a democracy have to accept being governed by politicians they disagree with; they don’t have to put up with politicians who start insurrections when things don’t go their way. Disqualification could have a salutary effect on the Republican Party as such; and it might provide a model for banning Trump from holding office again – something that was on the table during the 2021 impeachment and endorsed by seven Republican senators at the time.
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