You can call it "autocracy on the move." Call it "un-American," or maybe just "stupidity on display." Call it any or all of the above, but we couldn't remotely call it "democracy" — at least until the Supreme Court came to our rescue.
I refer to the wild, Donald Trump-supported lawsuit brought to the Supreme Court by the Texas attorney general. They wanted the court to throw out all the votes in four swing states, but by a 9-0 vote (the second such vote that the court has had to toss out because of the sorry mess the Republican Party has created), the nine justices sent Trump and all who supported him packing. Unanimous!
Sitting House and Senate Republicans, those who we presume, giving them all the benefit of the doubt, view character and honor above partisan hackery, must now stand up and openly support the results of the election. Our own member of Congress, Cathy McMorris Rodgers, owes her constituents at least this much. I'm not holding my breath.
Now's probably a good time for lifelong Republicans, whether they be Bush Republicans, Reagan Republicans or even Eisenhower Republicans, to ask themselves, what just happened to their GOP? Do they really want to be viewed as the quasi-secessionist party? If they hang around the likes of Donald Trump and his "Proud Boys" long enough, that's where they're headed.
At one time the GOP was the party of principled Republicans of high character, such as Washington Gov. Dan Evans and Oregon Sen. Mark Hatfield. And locally, it was the party of state senator and local physician John Moyer. Now there's Mitt Romney and... well, that's about it. Where did Republicans such as these go?
Well, they're almost extinct. The Lincoln Project, made up of frustrated Republicans, was formed to take on the problem, but apparently the project had little impact on the election. This is how deep the Trump-disease goes.
The sad truth is that if Joe Biden and his administration think they can somehow fix things by playing nice, they will throw away the only chance they have to make a difference. Case in point: Sen. Susan Collins, who defended her vote against impeaching Trump by saying, "I think Trump learned his lesson." And how did that work out?
Nancy Pelosi has floated the idea of refusing to seat any Republican who supported the Texas initiative to toss out the results of the election. Seems kind of heavy-handed, but doing this, or even just imposing a formal censure, might actually be a start.
We know that Republicans in Congress have managed to effectively shut down the business of Congress anyway, so what would we lose?
Effectively shutting down the House might also be a good place to begin questioning our local congresswoman: "Congresswoman Rodgers, you supported your party's efforts to overturn the presidential election? How do you justify your position?"
If she were to answer truthfully, it would be a denunciation of Trump. She won't.
Today's Republicans are making the bet that Trump won't disappear. That he will run again in four years, and if they don't toe the line they will be attacked. We are watching the end of a once-great political party playing out in real time. It's a shocking development, fueled by equal parts cowardice and hunger for power. It says gobs about the GOP, or, more accurately, the Party of Trump.
It's all the more reason for Democrats to stand up to what's left of the GOP and their deposed leader, as President Biden is sworn in and a page is being turned on one of the darkest chapters in our history. If they don't, who will? ♦
Robert Herold is the author of Robert's Rules: Selected Inlander Columns, 1994-2017, available at Auntie's.