Harnessing a Christmas Miracle to Remove Trump From Wisconsin's Ballot

Harnessing a Christmas Miracle to Remove Trump From Wisconsin's Ballot

Early next week, the Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC will file a lawsuit in Wisconsin’s circuit asking a judge to declare that Donald Trump is disqualified from running for president in Wisconsin because he aided and abetted the January 6th insurrection.

And with that, I wish you a Merry Christmas!
Now before I give you my detailed rationale for how and why we’re going to do this, I will admit that most of this decision was made with my heart after receiving two unexpected Christmas presents last week: Colorado’s Supreme Court ruling that removed Trump from their state’s primary ballot and Wisconsin’s Supreme Court decision that ended Republican gerrymandering in our state.
Last Thursday, after spending a few moments of silence watching the lights twinkle on my Christmas tree and feeling my soul being stirred by that perennial holiday magic, I listened to my heart.
What it told me was that I’d be damned if Wisconsin didn’t at least take a shot at doing what Colorado just did, and that given what I saw last week, we may have just enough courageous justices in our state’s Supreme Court to do it.
Once my heart helped me make this decision, I needed my legal team’s brains to help execute it.  Here’s what we’re going to do.
First, let’s look at the LAW.

I had given up thinking that judges in America had the courage to follow the U.S. constitution’s 14th Amendment, Article 3, that clearly states that if you’ve “taken an oath” as an “officer of the United States, you couldn’t “hold any office” if you “engaged in insurrection.”
Judge Adelman in Wisconsin’s Eastern District dismissed our 14th amendment case against Senator Ron Johnson and Reps Tiffany/Fitzgerald last year, and judges in MinnesotaMichigan, and host of other states also dismissed similar 14th Amendment cases against Trump very recently.
Indeed, a national reporter from NBC News called me months ago asking if our Super PAC was going to try to remove Trump from Wisconsin’s ballot, and I told her something to the effect of “It seems like there’s a lot of judges in America who have convinced themselves, probably out of a sense of career-preservation, that article 3 of the 14th amendment is somehow “less legal” than the rest of the constitution, and thus don’t have the appetite for these lawsuits.”
But here is what Colorado’s Supreme Court said:

“We are mindful of the magnitude and weight of the questions now before us.” 
They also said,
 “We are likewise mindful of our solemn duty to apply the law, without fear or favor, and without being swayed by public reaction to the decisions that the law mandates we reach.”
God that was a refreshing statement to read. Finally, America found some judges with the guts to do the right thing!
Ok, so the Constitution is pretty clear, but how do we go about bringing this case in Wisconsin?  Here’s the main obstacle and probably the reason no one else has done it: The Wisconsin Elections Commission.

In most EVERY other state that’s trying to remove Trump from the ballot, plaintiffs are suing the Secretary of State, which is generally the officer who administers elections.
In Wisconsin, that power used to belong to a bunch of nonpartisan judges who comprised the Government Accountability Board (GAB). When that board launched an investigation into Republican Governor Scott Walker for corruption, Republicans abolished the GAB and created the Wisconsin Elections Commission. The WEC was created to fail because it is comprised of 3 Republicans and 3 Democrats, and designed to deadlock whenever it has to face big issues, like WHETHER OR NOT TO REMOVE A CANDIDATE FROM A BALLOT BECAUSE HE WAS INVOLVED IN AN INSURRECTION.
When Federal Judge Adelman dismissed our 14th amendment case against Ron Johnson et. al. last year, he said we didn’t have standing because we didn’t first file a complaint with the Wisconsin Elections Commission.  This is his quote:
 “If a voter believes that a candidate is ineligible for office, he or she may seek legal redress from election administrators.”
Here’s the problem: The Wisconsin Election Commission is incapable of handling a complaint against Trump because one of its members, Bob Spindell, was part of the fake elector scheme to overturn the will of Wisconsin’s voters and illegally hand the 2020 election to Trump.
Not only that, but the Democrats in the WEC have been put in a difficult position. They know their commission was designed to deadlock and thus be incapable of action, but they also know that they’re in charge of elections in a swing state where America’s democracy hangs in the balance.
Because of Trump’s relentless lies that elections were rigged in Wisconsin, the WEC’s Democratic wing feels compelled to show the voting public that their commission is capable of holding fair elections. This means that even though they have a traitor on their board that needs to be removed, they also have to worry about “appearing too partisan” so that they maintain the public’s confidence that they’re not doing what Trump is accusing them of.
And thus, much to the dismay of anyone who is paying attention, the Democrats on the WEC have now twice joined their Republican colleagues and dismissed complaints filed against the fake electors, the second time just last week after Spindell was ordered not to vote by a Dane County Judge.
And finally, and this might be the most important reason, the WEC, as an institution, is not COMPETENT to rule on constitutional interpretations like whether or not the 14th Amendment applies to Donald Trump. They’re a board of partisans, not judges versed in constitutional law.

So my legal team and I think we have legal grounds to BYPASS filing a complaint with the WEC, because we already know what the result will be—inaction at best, and dismissal at worst.
We will ask a judge in Dane County to declare Trump ineligible to run for office in Wisconsin, using most of the same evidence that was used in Colorado’s successful attempt to remove Trump’s name from their state's ballots.
And when Republicans try to dismiss this case on procedural grounds, arguing that we needed to first file a complaint with the WEC, we’ll argue that the WEC, for many of the reasons I just explained, are INCAPABLE of responding to our complaint-- thus we need a real judge, not a toothless commission, to provide justice in this all-important matter of constitutional law.

Now let’s talk about timing.
The Colorado Supreme Court just stayed their decision to take Trump off the ballot until early January, the day before Colorado’s primary ballots are printed, because they wanted to give the US Supreme Court as much time as possible to weigh in on their decision.
We think the US Supreme Court will do one of three things:
  1. Because they’re an extremely right-wing court, there’s a chance they’ll strike down Colorado’s case and decide that the 14th amendment simply doesn’t apply to Trump, and basically make moot all other statewide efforts to remove him from the ballot, including ours. This would be extremely damaging to the court itself and become a harbinger for a constitutional crisis if, in fact, Trump is re-elected.
  1. They’ll “stay” the Colorado decision, allowing Trump’s name to be put on the primary ballot, but will take the time necessary to thoroughly look at all sides and rule before the Republican convention in August, which is when the Republican presidential nominee is “officially” nominated. 
  1. They won’t accept Trump’s appeal, citing “state’s rights.” They just ruled that states, not the Feds, should decide on the legality of abortion, for example. How could they now take the power of elections away from those very same states?

I won’t allow myself to believe that SCOTUS will go with option 1—it’s simply too dangerous for our country.
So we’re filing this case with the assumption that SCOTUS will go with option 2 or 3, especially because one of their staunchest right-wing justices, Neil Gorsuch, previously concluded as an appellate judge that a state is permitted to “exclude from the ballot candidates who are constitutionally prohibited from assuming office.”

If SCOTUS takes its time and reviews the evidence in the Colorado ruling, there might be just enough time to get a similar ruling in Wisconsin from our Supreme Court, which would make it that much harder for SCOTUS to strike it down.
And if SCOTUS rejects Trump’s appeal and decides that it’s the state’s authority alone to decide who is is eligible to run for office in their state, then we absolutely HAVE to file this case immediately and hope it gets to the Wisconsin Supreme Court before the August Republican convention, which ironically is being held in Milwaukee.
This is a picture of a logging camp in Northern Wisconsin taken over a century ago. These guys were pioneers from Northern Europe and hard as rocks--no less hard and courageous than the pioneers that settled Colorado.
Many of these pioneers, Coloradans and Wisconsinites, came to America because they believed that our system of government, a Democratic Republic, would give them more opportunities to flourish than the oppressive regimes they left behind.  They would be appalled that what the risked their lives crossing the Atlantic for is at risk now. 
Colorado beat us to the punch, but I believe Wisconsinites have the will to take up this fight, and I believe we just saw that there's a majority of women in our state’s Supreme Court who have the mettle to finish this fight and legally remove an insurrectionist from Wisconsin’s presidential ballot.
As you might imagine, I’m going to need some help paying for this effort.  We’re already engaged in a lawsuit to end the parasitic voucher program in Wisconsin, and this new lawsuit may spread us thin, but I think its worth trying.  If you’d like to help fund this effort, please donate here.
I’ve long since given up hope that Democratic Attorney General Josh Kaul or the feckless WEC would hold Trump and the other Wisconsin insurrectionists accountable--but I do believe our Supreme Court has the will to do it.
But someone has to file that lawsuit so they have the opportunity to act, and we figured it might as well be us.

I'm running out of time to write and have to head off to church to and sing "O Holy Night," but I wanted to wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

I hope this little present adds a little holiday cheer to your next few days.

Thanks for your support, and thanks for sticking with the Minocqua Brewing Company. I learned long ago that if you're gonna try to do what's right, you can't be afraid of losing.  

Thanks for having faith that what we're doing is right, and that our institutions, at least some of them, will finally agree with us.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays,
Kirk Bangstad

Owner, Minocqua Brewing Company
Founder, Minocqua Brewing Company Super PAC
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