Trump continues to put pressure on state officials, most recently the Republican House leader in Pennsylvania, to overturn the will of voters. (He previously reached out to the Wayne County, Mich., canvassing board and Republican leaders in the Michigan state legislature.) This is a coup attempt, plain and simple — however far-fetched. A lonely Republican, Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-Pa.), who already announced he will not run for reelection, denounced such efforts. “It’s completely unacceptable and it’s not going to work and the president should give up trying to get legislatures to overturn the results of the elections in their respective states,” Toomey said.
Most Republicans remain mute, but at least one was champing at the bit to join in Trump’s preposterous abuse of the legal system. Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) “volunteered” to argue before the Supreme Court on behalf of Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) to throw out mail-in ballots. Kimberly Wehle at the Bulwark, a Never Trumper site, excoriated the Texan: “You got that right. Cruz — the strict constructionist — is eager to stand before the U.S. Supreme Court to argue that the Pennsylvania legislature had no power to allow universal mail-in voting, but does have the power to throw out every single vote cast in Pennsylvania and impose its own political will on the citizens of Pennsylvania, who chose Joe Biden for president by a nearly 82,000-vote margin over Donald Trump.” Thank goodness, the Supreme Court rejected the appeal on Tuesday with no dissents.
Trump has no incentive to stop his efforts to overturn a valid election. To the contrary, with blowhards like Cruz available to provide a patina of respectability, and nearly all elected Republicans refusing to recognize the election results, he has every reason to hit up his fans for more donations and to continue insisting he is the rightful winner. When three Republican members of the inauguration committee refuse to recognize President-elect Joe Biden’s victory, and when the Arizona Republican Party retweets a right-wing extremist’s declaration that he is “willing to give up my life for this fight,“ we see that far from being isolated, Trump is right at home in today’s deranged Republican Party.
The willingness to overturn the most sacred element in our democracy, a free and fair election, to engender favor with a losing president defines the pathetic state of the GOP. The actions from Republicans indicate that they stand for nothing but keeping power at all costs. They promote cynicism, inspire armed protesters (as we saw in Michigan), lend legitimacy to those threatening state officials (in Georgia, for instance) and set a new standard for every losing president: Defy the will of voters, abuse the courts and undercut a fundamental tenet of democracy.
My ongoing plea to level the Republican Party so that an authentic, pro-democracy party can emerge in its place has unfortunately been entirely vindicated. It is not only Trump who must leave office but all those aiding and abetting his unlawful attempts to retain power.