The effort, which draws its legal grounds from the 14th Amendment’s ban on supporters of a rebellion or insurrection from taking part in elected office, is a historic effort which could seriously challenge Mr Trump’s ability to win the Electoral College were it to succeed in even a single state.
Mr Trump is facing lawsuits aimed at blocking him from the ballot in a number of states, several of which were filed by the Washington-based ethics watchdog Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). The Michigan suit, filed on Monday and first reported by The Detroit News, comes despite the Democratic secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, stating that she would allow Mr Trump to be on the ballot unless a court were to intervene and prevent it.
A court hearing another suit in Colorado with the same goal began hearing arguments on Monday after the former president sought unsuccessfully to see that case dismissed.
The effort represents an unprecedented hurdle for the former president as he seeks to retake the presidency in 2024. Pointing to the siege of Capitol Hill by a mob of his supporters hoping to block president-elect Joe Biden from being certified the winner of the election, a flurry of lawsuits are seeking to block him from being on the ballot in key swing states.
This represents a problem for the ex-president for several reasons. Firstly, it represents a real threat of the former president losing ballot access in key swing states whose votes in the Electoral College could easily determine a nail-biter election. Secondly, even should every lawsuit fail, it represents a costly legal expense for a former president already overburdened with such issues.
And lastly, the lawsuits serve to remind voters of the chaos and carnage that unfolded in Washington when Donald Trump’s supporters were encouraged to swarm the US Capitol by the commander-in-chief. One Trump supporter was shot to death by police, who sustained numerous casualties and injuries of their own.
Mr Trump has predictably used the issue to feed into his image of a persecuted champion of the conservative agenda, infuriating his supporters and riling up the GOP base as he seeks to cement his dominance over the Republican Party with next year’s primaries looming close ahead. Those efforts appear to have worked; most polls show the former president with the support of more than half of all Republican primary voters.