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Op-Ed: Can a convicted person run for President? Yes. Guess what else?

Democracy happens to be the only form of government you can actually do anything about. If it goes, you have no options.

Image: — © Digital Journal
Image: — © Digital Journal

The bottom line is that even if Trump is convicted of a crime, he can still run for President. This is because the eligibility requirements are pretty basic and say nothing at all about the subject.  

This also means that regardless of the type of crimes they’ve committed, anyone can run for President. Serial killers, you name it. Anyone in MS 13 could run for President. School shooters, gang bangers, and insolvent grifters could run for President, too, … As if there ever were any such awful people in the US.

The eligibility requirements for a US President aren’t exactly stringent. According to the somewhat-baffled-sounding eligibility information from Constitution Annotated, the caveat that a candidate must have lived in the US for 14 years is there so that people can get to “know the character” of the candidate.  

Nice to know, isn’t it?

The question is Why?  

Never mind Trump. This isn’t about Trump anymore. He’ll be out the door and ancient history in 2029, fluttering serenely like a resident cow in the courts forever. MAGA will be the second QAnon, used, lost, and forgotten. History won’t be able to tell the difference.

The question of who can stand for President is far more important. Should a person convicted of a crime run a country? It’s a more interesting point than it looks. As rhetoric, it’s certainly nothing new. As a comparison between the US and other countries, it’s murderously relevant.

It puts the US on the same page as just about all failed states, dictatorships, and those nice genocidal countries you may have accidentally learned about in school. They were run by criminals of various sorts, and they don’t even exist anymore. Sounds great, doesn’t it?

As everyone knows, crime isn’t a big issue in the US. Nobody talks about it in politics. It’s not a 40-year systemic failure of the nation. It’s fun. It’s something for the media to sell endlessly to the public and make heroes out of criminals. It’s the weather with guns and lawyers and billions of wonderful tax-free dollars donated by US citizens.

America is actually very tolerant of crime. The more money crime has, the more tolerant America gets. You may even get a few bucks, a pat on the head, and a dog biscuit in generous exchange for your destroyed country.

So why not have a whole stack of these chronic altruists running for President?  

…But that’s not quite the whole story.

Democracy happens to be the only form of government you can actually do anything about. If it goes, you have no options. How would you destroy a democracy? You can’t destroy it from the outside.


The opinions expressed in this Op-Ed are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Digital Journal or its members.

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Editor-at-Large based in Sydney, Australia.

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