- History says it's possible for Trump to run for president from behind bars.
- The Constitution allows candidates to run for president while in jail.
- Eugene V. Debs (1920) and Lyndon LaRouche (1992) ran campaigns from prison.
Yes, a person in prison, who meets all other requirements of a presidential candidate, can run for President of the US. The requirements to run for President as per the Constitution are:
1. Should be a natural-born citizen of the US.
2. Should be 35 years old or above.
3. Should have been a resident of the US for 14 years.
As you can see, there is no bar on being imprisoned.
Michael Gerhardt, a constitutional law professor said that "if he happens to be in prison at the time of the next presidential election, the fact that he's in prison will not prevent him from running."
Has anyone run for president while in prison?
In 1920, Socialist candidate Eugene V. Debs ran for President from the Atlanta Federal Penitentiary with the address "Prisoner 9653." He was considered a "radical" then because he spoke out against capitalism, which eventually led him to prison. Debs had previously run for President on the Social Party ticket five times and garnered a significant number of supporters, with historians suggesting that his campaigns were more symbolic in nature.
On the night of the election in 1920, instead of a speech, he wrote a statement. Debs expressed gratitude towards the capitalist masters for imprisoning him, claiming it was a compliment, as it was where he belonged in their "criminal and corrupting system." Lyndon LaRouche was another convicted candidate who ran for president from jail.
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