The Maine Secretary of State, Matt Dunlap, recently made headlines after he removed President Donald Trump from the state’s Republican primary ballot on Tuesday, March 5th. This is the first time a sitting president has been excluded from a primary ballot since the 1974 uncontested Republican nomination of incumbent President Gerald Ford. Trump had requested to be on the ballot in the state of Maine, and his name was printed, leaving more than 700,000 votes for him still unaccounted for after the decision.
Dunlap’s decision sparked a wave of reactions from both sides of the political aisle. Former Maine Governor Paul LePage, a Republican and one of President Trump’s staunchest supporters, called the move “unethical” and “disrespectful” of the president but added that he would “fully support the president’s campaign if it reaches the November general election ballot”. Meanwhile, the Democratic National Committee released a statement praising the action and calling the president a ‘threat to our democracy’.
The president’s removal from the ballot has also reignited debate over the electoral process. Specifically, critics point out how this situation points to the inherent bias of the electoral system and the power of state-level politicians to determine who can and cannot be a part of the democratic process. Adding to the controversy, Maine’s GOP has challenged Dunlap’s decision and requested that the ballots be reprinted.
Overall, President Donald Trump’s removal from the Maine primary ballot is significant, as this is the first time a sitting president has been removed from a primary ballot in nearly five decades. Dunlap’s decision has sparked a variety of reactions from politicans and citizens alike and has brought up the issue of the electoral process and its inherent bias. Whether or not Trump’s name is put back on the ballot or if the Maine GOP’s challenge will be successful remains to be seen.