In one of the most solid political ideas we’ve seen in the run-up to the 2020 election, the State of Illinois’ heavily Democratic Senate has just passed a bill that essentially targets Donald Trump’s next run at the presidency, although the legislation never mentions the President by name at any point.
The measure would require anyone seeking the office of President or Vice President of the United States to release at least 5 years’ worth of tax returns beginning with the most recent year or be barred from the ballot in the state. Any legal action like this, of course, has to be vague enough to cover any contenders for the offices or it would just be considered targeting Donald Trump and therefore be unconstitutional.
That was the point that Illinois Republicans attempted to make in the state legislature during debate, with one Senator saying, “This is being pushed by a far-leftist organization from the city of Chicago that wants to be able to get up and chirp about the president of the United States.”
Ultimately, however, it’s a numbers game, and the Illinois legislature is strongly controlled by Democrats in both chambers, and the bill is headed to the state House next, where it is expected to pass easily — moving on from that point to the desk of the Governor for a signature. That role is also filled by a Democrat, the newly-elected JB Pritzker, so by passing the Senate, the bill has already essentially become law, barring some unforeseeable circumstances.
There is similar legislation pending in at least 17 other states.
The tax return mandate isn’t the only measure sweeping the country regarding presidential politics, either: Oregon is poised to become the 15th state to, along with the District of Columbia, pass a version of the National Popular Vote Interstate Compact, an agreement between states to give their electoral votes in a presidential election to the winner of the national popular vote. Oregon’s seven electoral votes would bring the total represented by signatories to the NPVIC up to 196 — just 74 shy of the 270 needed to win the presidency. Once enough states pass such legislation that their electoral votes do add up to 270, similar bills in other states would be unnecessary, and the NPVIC would kick in, handing all future elections to the winners of the popular vote nationwide.
If Donald Trump is ineligible for the ballot in 2020, that’s 22 more electoral votes he’ll be missing. If the NPVIC were in effect prior to that election, Trump could essentially just save his money and go home.
Featured image is a screen capture.