Chaos? Ballot battles, impeachment inquiry, indictments disrupt election cycle

(The Center Square) – The Republican primary’s Iowa caucuses are scheduled for Jan. 15, the first chance for voters to determine who they want to represent their party in November’s presidential election.

Iowa’s January caucuses are a regular tradition for a presidential primary season that – this time around – has been unusually enshrouded in indictments, impeachment inquiries and lawsuits heading into election year.

While the Iowa caucuses provide an opportunity for former President Donald Trump’s Republican challengers to fight for a surprise victory and start a fresh wave of momentum, it appears unlikely they’ll succeed. According to polling aggregation from FiveThirtyEight, Trump far outpaces his rivals with 50% support in Iowa as Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis trails in second with 18.4% support.

National polling, including in The Center Square Voters’ Voice poll, shows Trump has more support than all of his Republican challengers combined with somewhere in the neighborhood of 62% support.

Trump fares well against President Joe Biden as well. A Morning Consult poll conducted on behalf of Bloomberg News released earlier this month shows Trump leading Biden in seven swing states: Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The smallest of those leads is 3 points, with some leads reaching 5 and 6 percentage points, far more than the margin of error for most polls.

Front of mind for those voters is what has been an Achilles heel for Biden: the roughly 20% increase in the price of goods and services in the U.S. since he took office.

“Three in 5 swing-state voters said the cost of everyday goods is most important to their votes next year when specifically thinking about economic issues, higher than any other concern tested,” Morning Consult said. “Over the past three months, the shares of voters in each of the seven states who said they see prices as increasing has declined even as most still see inflation as rising.”

poll from Monmouth University released earlier this month put Biden’s approval rating at 34%, the lowest figure from Monmouth since Biden took office.

The election, though, is 10 months away and has a slew of impeachment hearings for Biden and legal challenges for Trump.

Biden faces mounting evidence that his family members and their business associates engaged in more than $20 million in overseas business selling the “Biden brand” to entities in China, Ukraine, Russia and more. House Oversight Committee Chair Rep. James Comer, who is helping lead the impeachment inquiry into the president, has released bank records and witness testimony as well as copies of checks made out to the president.

Comer also has issued a flurry of subpoenas that could turn up more evidence. Hunter Biden refused to appear for one of those subpoenas, and as a result Comer announced he would begin contempt of Congress proceedings against Hunter.

Trump has his own legal challenges, facing nearly 100 indictments across several states. He has nearly two dozen court dates scheduled for the first three months of 2024 alone. It remains unclear, though, if any significant rulings will come down before November or if Trump’s team can succeed in delaying the various proceedings past election day.

Meanwhile, Trump faces a legal effort to oust him from the ballot in multiple states by his political opponents, who argue his connection to the Jan. 6 riot at the U.S. Capitol is tantamount to inciting an insurrection and as a result, disqualifying. The ouster attempts cite a section of the Fourteenth Amendment written to block Confederate leaders from holding office after the U.S. Civil War without a supermajority in the U.S. House and Senate.

The Colorado State Supreme Court heard that argument and ruled against Trump, but the Michigan State Supreme Court ruled in favor of Trump in the case. Maine Secretary of State Shenna Bellows has also now decided to boot Trump from the ballot, which has a good chance of receiving consideration before the U.S. Supreme Court along with the battles in other states.

Trump has blasted this effort, calling it election interference. He also touted his lead over Biden in the several swing states on Truth Social.

The Colorado Republican Party appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court.

If that court rules in favor of Trump, it will likely put an end to the effort nationwide. However, if the justices rule against Trump, efforts in states around the country would likely arise to remove Trump from the ballot and throw both the primary and certainly the general election into chaos.

In Colorado in particular, Trump will not appear on the ballot if the U.S. Supreme Court rules against him or refuses to hear the case. For now, Trump is set to appear on the March 5 Republican primary ballot unless the Supreme Court changes that with a decision before then.

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