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The Science Survey

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The Science Survey

We've got the news down to a science!

The Science Survey

The Supreme Court’s Ruling to Keep Trump on the Ballot is Reshaping the 2024 Election

SCOTUS’s unanimous decision to allow Trump to run for office has revived the partisan divide, but has also led to a rise in a new political trend.
Trump is shifting his political strategy to retain voters who are enticed by RFK Jr.’s moderate policies. (Photo Credit: Ali Shaker/VOA, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

As Biden’s presidential term draws to a close, the prospect of another four years with Donald Trump as president looms, reviving near decade-long sentiments of both staunch loyalty and vehement opposition. While these feelings may have seemingly cooled down after the 2020 election, the recent controversy surrounding Trump’s eligibility for presidential office has stoked the flames and revived a bitter rivalry in the race to the White House. 

In March, the Supreme Court ruled that Trump would return to the ballot in Colorado, after a lengthy trial that aimed to constitutionally prevent Trump from becoming president again was unanimously dismissed. The case brought against Trump claimed he had aided and supported “insurrection [and] rebellion” against the United States during the Capitol Insurrection of January 6, which, under article 14 section 3 of the Constitution, would prevent him from ever holding office again. Although these charges did not stand, the case had larger implications that extended beyond Trump and could possibly reshape the upcoming election.

This Supreme Court decision comes in the wake of the January 6 insurrection and various court cases in New York, adding to the political tension surrounding Trump’s potential re-election bid. Both Trump’s supporters and opposition have used the court case as means to carry out their political agendas, with supporters claiming it is politically motivated to villainize Trump and opposition claiming that not enough tangible action is being carried out to punish Trump.

With Trump’s supporters and opponents deeply entrenched in their respective positions, the case has become yet another battleground in the ongoing struggle for power and accountability. However, amidst this polarized landscape, there has been a notable shift in the political landscape, with the rise of third-party popularity, particularly that of Robert F. Kennedy Jr. Kennedy, known for his advocacy on various social and environmental issues, has capitalized on the growing disillusionment with the two-party system. His platform, which emphasizes unity and progressive policies, has resonated with voters who are weary of the divisive politics exemplified by the Trump case. As more Americans seek alternatives outside of the traditional partisan divide, Kennedy’s message of bridging the gap and addressing systemic issues has gained traction, positioning him as a viable contender in the upcoming election.

While Robert F. Kennedy Jr. remains an unlikely winner in the upcoming election due to the lack of widespread popularity for his party, his campaign is undeniably changing the political landscape. Both Biden and Trump acknowledge that Kennedy’s candidacy could siphon critical votes from their respective bases, forcing them to account for this factor in their political strategies. For Biden, this means ensuring that his policies resonate with progressive voters who may be considering Kennedy as an alternative. Meanwhile, Trump’s campaign must address the concerns of voters who are disillusioned with the two-party system and are drawn to Kennedy’s message of unity and progressive change. Despite the odds against him, Kennedy’s presence in the race serves as a reminder of the growing dissatisfaction with the current political establishment and the potential for alternative voices to influence the outcome of the election.

For Trump, whose support base is dependent on “anti-liberal” policies, Kennedy poses a unique threat by swaying Trump voters back to more neutral political stances. Over the past decade, politics have increasingly become a tug of war between extreme ideas on both sides, leaving little room for moderation. Kennedy’s campaign, emphasizing unity and progressive policies, is eroding Trump’s parts of the support base that are disillusioned with the extreme polarization. Swing states like Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Wisconsin, where moderate voters could swing the election, are particularly vulnerable to Kennedy’s appeal. These voters may be drawn to Kennedy’s stance on healthcare reform and environmental protection, as well as his calls for social justice and civil rights. By offering a middle ground between the polarized extremes of the two major parties, Kennedy threatens to disrupt Trump’s electoral calculus in key battleground states.

In response, Trump has launched a rather aggressive response to Kennedy’s candidacy. In his new political strategy, Trump has labeled Kennedy as ‘far more liberal than anyone running as a Democrat’. In doing this, he aims to undermine Kennedy’s influence and position himself as the preferred choice for conservative voters. These efforts to discredit Kennedy and portray him as a ‘Democrat ‘Plant” highlight the intensity of the political competition and the stakes involved in the race.

Overall, the political divisions caused by Trump’s court cases and the rising popularity of Kennedy signal a growing desire among a large portion of American voters to return to some level of moderation, rather than adhere strictly to a clear-cut left vs. right mentality. While the United States remains deeply entrenched in partisan divides, the spectacle of trying a former president for insurrection in the Supreme Court has prompted some to opt for a middle ground option. The extreme polarization of recent years, exacerbated by events like the January 6 insurrection, has left many Americans disillusioned with the relentless partisanship that characterizes contemporary politics. Kennedy’s message of unity and progressive policies resonates with those who seek alternatives to the divisive rhetoric dominating the political landscape. This indicates a shift in the electorate’s priorities towards moderation and compromise, as opposed to the rigid adherence to ideological extremes that has defined recent political discourse. 

The court ruling has also highlighted the unintended consequences of such a trial. While the case sought to temporarily remove Trump from the political equation, people acknowledged that it failed to address the underlying grievances and frustrations, like concerns of immigration and economic policies, that still exist within America and propelled him to power in the first place. In fact, it may only serve to galvanize his base and embolden far-right movements that have gained momentum in recent years.

In the words of political commentator Sarah Smith, “Barring Trump from running may provide a momentary sense of satisfaction for his detractors, but it does little to address the deeper structural issues that have allowed his brand of politics to thrive. If we are truly committed to healing the divisions within our society, we must confront these issues head-on, rather than resorting to short-term fixes that only serve to paper over the cracks.”

Ultimately, the question of Trump’s eligibility is not just a legal or constitutional matter but a profoundly political one. It is a reflection of the broader challenges facing American democracy in an era of deep polarization and partisan division. With the Supreme Court’s decision to allow Trump on the ballot and a rise in popularity for third-party candidates like Kennedy, the next months will have far-reaching implications for the future trajectory of American democracy itself. 

“Barring Trump from running may provide a momentary sense of satisfaction for his detractors, but it does little to address the deeper structural issues that have allowed his brand of politics to thrive. If we are truly committed to healing the divisions within our society, we must confront these issues head-on, rather than resorting to short-term fixes that only serve to paper over the cracks,” said Sarah Smith, a political commentator.

About the Contributor
Oliver Whelan, Staff Reporter
Oliver Whelan is an Editor-in-Chief for ‘The Science Survey.’ He enjoys journalistic writing because of its ability to convey information on topics that would otherwise be overlooked by the public. Beyond that, finding a story that will change people’s hearts and minds is what compels him to write. He also enjoys photography, using cameras to tell stories in ways words alone cannot. Outside of school, Oliver likes to read, play soccer, and travel. In college, Oliver wants to study international relations, history, or social studies. He is interested in learning about past events and how they relate to the current world, and he hopes to pursue a career that continues to inform and better the lives of many. Oliver looks forward to pursuing journalistic and academic research in the future.