Former Obama Advisor Warns Against Keeping Trump Off Ballot

David Axelrod, a former senior advisor to former President Barack Obama, said Friday in an interview on CNN that any successful effort to bar former President Donald Trump from the 2024 ballot would “rip the country apart.”

Axelrod was the chief strategist for Obama’s successful presidential campaigns in 2008 and 2016. “I have very, very strong reservations about all of this,” Axelrod said in an interview on “Erin Burnett OutFront” on CNN, “I do think it would rip the country apart if he were actually prevented from running because tens of millions of people want to vote for him.”

“I think if you’re going to beat Donald Trump, you’re going to probably have to do it at the polls,” the Democrat strategist added. “We’ve run this experiment, he’s only gained since he started getting indicted,” he continued. “What you thought might be kryptonite for him has turned out to be battery packs, and this is a big one for him.”

Maine’s top election official, state Secretary of State Shenna Bellows ruled at the end of December not to certify Trump on Maine ballots in 2024. Bellows asserted that Trump stands guilty of insurrection because of the Jan. 6 Capitol Hill protest. She reasoned that disqualifies him to run for federal office under Section 3 of the 14th Amendment.

It is not clear how Bellows, who has no professional legal background, came to her conclusion. But Newsweek reported she based her decision on YouTube clips she watched. The move set off a firestorm of controversy, including efforts by the Maine GOP to impeach Bellows and organize a state party caucus to nominate a Republican presidential candidate.

The decision by Bellows follows a similar ruling by the Colorado Supreme Court in mid-December that shocked that country. The 4-3 ruling in the Mile High state’s highest court found that Trump actively participated in an insurrection with his involvement in the Jan. 6 protests that turned unruly after Capitol Police allowed protestors into the Capitol building.

“We are witnessing, in real-time, the attempted theft of an election and the disenfranchisement of the American voter,” said Trump campaign spokesperson Steven Cheung. “Make no mistake, these partisan election interference efforts are a hostile assault on American democracy.”