On Wednesday, congressional lawmakers are scheduled to convene in Washington to certify Joe Biden’s Electoral College presidential victory over Donald Trump. This is traditionally a formality, since it validates decisions that have been certified by the states — decisions based on the preference of voters in each state.
However, about 140 Republican representatives and a dozen GOP senators plan to oppose the certification, based on various allegations of voter fraud that have not been proven and have made no headway at all in dozens of court filings.
This opposition appears to be a desperate, last-ditch effort to subvert the will of the people. It’s little more than grandstanding by these lawmakers, mostly to pander to their political base at the expense of the fundamentals of American democracy.
But don’t take our word for it. Instead, consider these comments by other Republican lawmakers who have reacted to this strategy:
• Sen. Mitt Romney, Utah: “The egregious ploy to reject electors may enhance the political ambition of some, but dangerously threatens our Democratic Republic. The congressional power to reject electors is reserved for the most extreme and unusual circumstances. These are far from it.”
• Sen. Pat Toomey, Pennsylvania: “A fundamental, defining feature of a democratic republic is the right of people to elect their own leaders. The effort by (Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri and Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas) and others to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election in swing states like Pennsylvania directly undermines this right.”
• Sen. Lisa Murkowski, Alaska: “The courts and state legislatures have all honored their duty to hear legal allegations and have found nothing to warrant overturning the results. I urge my colleagues from both parties to recognize this and to join me in maintaining confidence in the Electoral College and our elections so that we ensure we have the continued trust of the American people.”
• Gov. Larry Hogan, Maryland: “The scheme by members of Congress to reject the certification of the presidential election makes a mockery of our system and who we are as Americans.”
• Sen. John Thune, South Dakota: “The thing they’ve got to remember is, it’s just not going anywhere. I mean, in the Senate, it would go down like a shot dog. And I just don’t think it makes a lot of sense to put everybody through this when you know what the ultimate outcome is going to be.”
• Sen. Ben Sasse, Nebraska: “The president and his allies are playing with fire. They have been asking — first the courts, then state legislatures, now the Congress — to overturn the results of a presidential election. They have unsuccessfully called on judges and are now calling on federal officeholders to invalidate millions and millions of votes. If you make big claims, you had better have the evidence. But the president doesn’t and neither do the institutional arsonist members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote.”
However, this effort, albeit futile, probably WILL succeed in further dividing the nation and perhaps undercutting the incoming administration. It may also create destructive fissures within the Republican Party that could take years to heal, if they can be at all.
This ploy will likely fail, for efforts to make any case of possible voter fraud have been roundly rejected at every level. All that’s left now is this destructive political theater that may drag the process out but won’t alter the outcome. But the damage it inflicts may be substantial and long-lasting.