Republican Corky Messner’s call for New Hampshire to investigate keeping Donald Trump off the ballot via the 14th Amendment is making national headlines. It is also raising questions about the 2020 GOP U.S. Senate nominee’s motive in taking the lead on this issue. After all, Donald Trump’s endorsement is a major reason Messner was able to defeat Don Bolduc for the GOP nomination.

Messner insists he is merely standing up for the U.S. Constitution.

But whatever his motive, the outcome is the same: There is no escape from Trump for the New Hampshire GOP.

It is hard to find a Granite State Republican activist or insider who doesn’t believe Trump is all but a lock to be the 2024 nominee. It is just as hard to find one who believes that is good news for the state GOP. Even some pro-Trump Republicans concede having him at the top of the ticket would be tough for the party’s candidates down the ballot.

And none of these Republicans believe a legal loophole like declaring Trump an insurrectionist is a solution.

“What is it John McCain used to say– ‘It’s always darkest before it turns pitch black?’ Well, this is pretty black,” one longtime Granite State Republican told NHJournal.

The premise of the 14 Amendment ploy is transparently problematic. The idea is that individual state election officials, like New Hampshire Secretary of State David Scanlan, are going to decide for themselves that Trump “engaged in insurrection” and unilaterally declare he cannot appear on their state’s ballot. That might happen in some deep-blue state like Massachusetts, but Trump can’t carry the Bay State, anyway.

And the U.S. Supreme Court would certainly step in rather than leave the national presidential race to partisan operatives acting on their own.

In New Hampshire, where voters demand more than partisan hackery, it is no surprise Scanlan and Attorney General John Formella issued a statement Monday downplaying the move — particularly after a national radio host told his listeners (incorrectly) that Trump was being dumped from the ballot here.

“Neither the Secretary of State’s Office nor the Attorney General’s Office has taken any position regarding the potential applicability of Section Three of the Fourteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution to the upcoming presidential election cycle,” they wrote. “The Attorney General’s Office is now carefully reviewing the legal issues involved.”

Those “legal issues” would be decided by Chief Justice John Roberts, not John Formella. And even if New Hampshire could keep Trump off the ballot, doing so would be a disaster all its own.

Every day, Democrats and the left-leaning dominant media pound away at the message that democracy is in danger and that Americans are losing faith in our political system. If they truly believe it, the last thing they would do is tell 70 million voters that their party’s candidate isn’t going to be allowed on the ballot, using some obscure legal trick that has never even been contemplated against another candidate.

Trump voters, and even non-Trump-backing Republicans, would be outraged. It would look to them like the election was being stolen by the Biden administration and its lackeys in the legal system, all right out in the open.

And they wouldn’t be wrong.

Use a questionable legal ploy to keep Trump off the ballot, and (at least) half of Americans would view that election as illegitimate. Who knows what their reaction would be? Protests? Riots? At a minimum, a national boycott of the vote would cripple Biden’s second term- however short it might be- before it even began.

Is this the America a President Kamala Harris would want to inherit?

Oh, and what do Messner and Co. think Donald Trump is going to do if they do somehow get him blocked from the ballot — sit at home with Melania and watch Matlock? No, he would fight. Loudly. He would be live on cable TV and talk radio, whipping up the righteous anger of his supporters.

Who thinks that would turn out well?

Here’s the irony: Democrats want Trump on the ballot. If there were a real chance Republicans would abandon him for an unindicted, non-Trump alternative, they would be the first to panic. There is only one Republican in the field that Joe Biden can beat. And based on the latest polls, Biden could even lose to Trump, too.

The news isn’t all bad for the national GOP, with competitive U.S. Senate races in Montana, Ohio, and West Virginia, all states Trump won big in 2020. If those three incumbent Democrats go down, Republicans will take control of the Senate, even if Trump loses badly.

But New Hampshire isn’t the national GOP. In the Granite State, it’s hard to find a silver lining — and the 14th Amendment is no silver bullet.