As It Happens7:00She voted for Trump. Now she’s trying to take him off the ballot

Krista Kafer may have voted for Donald Trump in the 2020 U.S. presidential election, but she’s determined to keep him from running again.

The Denver Post columnist is one of four Republicans currently trying to have Trump deemed ineligible to stand in Colorado’s primary election because he refused to concede his 2020 loss to President Joe Biden and, they argue, fomented insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021. 

The plaintiffs cite Section 3 of the 14th Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, which bars someone from holding public office if they took an oath “to support the Constitution of the United States” and then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same” or gave “aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

They won their case at the state level, but Trump appealed. Now the U.S. Supreme Court must decide whether Trump should be disqualified. When the federal case kicked off on Thursday the justices appeared skeptical.

Conservative Chief Justice John Roberts said that if the Colorado decision is upheld, other states will proceed with disqualification proceedings of their own, “and it will come down to just a handful of states that are going to decide the presidential election.”

Liberal Justice Elena Kagan echoed that sentiment, saying: “I think that the question that you have to confront is why a single state should decide who gets to be president of the United States.”

But Kafer says she’s not worried. Here is part of her conversation with As It Happens host Nil Köksal. 

Several legal experts have already said it seems the justices are skeptical of the arguments to keep Trump off of the ballot in Colorado. Donald Trump, as you may have heard or seen, has called this a “beautiful process.” I know you were in the hearing room today. Do you feel like you’ve already lost?

No, not at all. And I’m glad they asked tough questions. Because, if you think about it, this has not been done in over a century, and it’s very important that the U.S. Supreme Court apply the constitution. But how that looks is difficult to figure out. 

Why should one state, your state, have the power to decide whether someone should be allowed on the ballot or not? Should that power not stay in the hands of voters?

If we prevail, it will be disruptive. And I think the court was very much aware of that. 

Whereas … I believe that if they rule against us, that it will, in fact, be dangerous.

In not upholding our case, they would be allowing somebody who took an oath of office, then worked to undermine that oath by attempting to overturn an election and foment insurrection, [to run for office]. And I feel that is the more dangerous precedent. 

WATCH I Breaking down the Trump Colorado ballot case: 

What are U.S. Supreme Court justices asking in Trump election ballot case?

Jessica Roth, a former federal prosecutor and a professor at the Cardozo School of Law in New York, says the U.S. Supreme Court is looking at several key questions — including how much weight a decision in one state should carry — as they evaluate whether former president Donald Trump can be blocked from Colorado’s ballot.

The plaintiffs in this case also include 91-year-old Norma Anderson, who served as a Republican majority leader in Colorado’s Senate, as well as its House of Representatives, [and] Colorado resident Claudine Schneider, [who] represented Rhode Island as a Republican in Congress. Why was it important to all of you to have conservatives as the face of this case?

As Republicans, we believe in the rule of law…. We’re not the only ones that believe in the rule of law, but it’s a very important thing for us as Republicans.

I also think that if Democrats had done something like Donald Trump had done in fomenting insurrection, that we would want Democrats to be the first to attempt to rectify that situation. And so we are proud to be part of this effort.

You’ve been censured by your local Republican Party for your involvement in this case. You’ve said before that that you’ve been described as a henchman for Democrats.

Hah! I do prefer henchwoman, though. 

You clearly see the humour in those comments. But, how do you respond to people, you know, in your party who tack those labels onto you?

I wish they would consider that if a Democrat had done what Trump had done, that they would want Democrats to act. And you cannot ask of others what you do not ask of yourself. And so I felt that this was the right thing to do.

What Trump did was unconscionable.

A woman with short, teased gray hair and aviator sunglasses walks through a crowd.
Norma Anderson, lead plaintiff in Trump v. Anderson, speaks to reporters following arguments in former U.S. President Donald Trump’s appeal of a lower court’s ruling disqualifying him from the Colorado presidential primary ballot. (Amanda Andrade-Rhoades/Reuters)

Did you vote for him both times?

No, I voted for him the second time, and it’s a decision I liken to eating out of a garbage can if one was hungry enough.

I didn’t like him. I did like some of his policies. I felt like he had surrounded himself with some decent people, and that he had picked some good judges. And I sort of held my nose and voted for him.

But the day after the election, when he refused to concede and started to push a very dangerous lie, it was then that I thought: I will not only never vote for you again, but I will do what I can to ensure that people understand the gravity, the seriousness, of the situation — that we simply cannot have people who have taken an oath to the constitution work to prevent the peaceful transfer of power.

Surely you recognize that he had shown who he was personally, but also politically, long before the second time he ran [for president], when you voted for him, and long before January 6th. So as you look back on that time … do you regret doing that? Voting for him? 

If I had known now what I didn’t know before, there’s a lot of things I’d probably change in my life.

But I think people are making a mistake even now, perhaps the same mistake that I did, in not taking him seriously. When he says things like, “I’m not going to concede an election,” I didn’t take that seriously. I should have.

And there are things that he is saying now that I think people should not dismiss as just braggadocio, but as evidence of somebody who will attempt to subvert norms and laws if he’s re-elected.

Privacy of a person’s political choice is important, certainly, but in the context of this conversation and what you’ve said so far, who are you going to vote for in the next election?

If it is Trump versus Biden … there’s no way I would vote for either of them. And I hope that a third party puts forth a person of good character and policy.

And if the court does rule in your favour?

Then, for sure, we’ll have somebody better.

How likely is it, do you think, that that will go your way?

I don’t know. I do appreciate that the court was very diligent. 

You couldn’t tell from their questions if they were nominated by a Democrat or Republican. They were just very serious people looking at the Constitution, looking at the situation, and attempting to discern a way forward.

Sounds like it restored your faith a little bit?

It’s actually the body that I have the most respect for. They don’t tweet. They treat each other with dignity. They treat the office with dignity. I think they could teach congresspeople and the administration a thing or two.

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