We’ve had many firsts in the era of Trump, since his long glide down the escalator and our subsequent descent into hell and January 6 will be yet another one — except that this one is a real doozy. This is the first time in our history that the formality of Congress counting the votes under the auspices of the vice president will be instead a confrontation between honoring the decisive outcome of a presidential election, which is the cornerstone of constitutional self-government, or dynamiting that bedrock norm, which is what Rep. Mo Brooks plans to do. The question is, how many Republicans will follow him? Because this is crossing the Rubicon, and it’s not surprising that illiterate wingnut Kelly Ward, chair of the Arizona Republican party, is advocating for that very thing.
The Rubicon river was the boundary between Gaul and Italy and one that you did not cross. When Caesar did, it sparked a civil war. Colloquially, it has come to mean the point of no return. And with no small irony, it has now come to literally represent starting a civil war once again. And wingnut Ward is advocating this.
Unsurprisingly, Ward’s call was retweeted approvingly by Michael Flynn. pic.twitter.com/TgXjEOd7wC
— Christian Vanderbrouk (@UrbanAchievr) December 20, 2020
Addt'l historical point. As I teach my HS History students, one reason Caesar succeeded in overthrowing the Republic is that his men pledged an oath to serve him, not the Republic. Thankfully, our military swears an oath to the Constitution. Trump's crackpots will not succeed.
— John James (@musicman495) December 20, 2020
This would indeed be comical if it wasn’t for the serious destruction that it portends. Trump actually spoke with Mike Pence and wants Pence to do something on January 6, beyond the normal ceremonial function which is Pence’s duty.
We are now watching people who call themselves conservatives argue that vice presidents should have unilateral power to decide presidential elections. https://t.co/ajqYE9ex9H
— Jonathan Swan (@jonathanvswan) December 28, 2020
I assume once it turns out the VP can’t just pick the next president, the *real* contest will be on January 20th, when the Chief Justice can administer the oath to anyone he wants, as the Founders clearly intended. https://t.co/aX9q4mu4ZE
— Seth Masket (@smotus) December 29, 2020
And it all cycles back to the same core problem and dismal truth, which is: Trump cannot do this by himself. He has not gotten this far by himself. He is surrounded by his GOP enablers, who apparently are just fine with destroying democracy and making America an authoritarian fascist state. This is not hyperbole. What other reasonable conclusion can you derive when a group of elected officials choose to attack the fundamental tenet of democracy, which is to respect the decisive result of a free and fair election? The Bulwark:
It is easy to be numbed by the continual battering of democratic norms and the right’s embrace of buncombe and twaddle. It is also easy to become inured to the GOP’s pattern and practice of appeasing Trump and his fevered base.
But this is different.
A vote to reject the electoral votes of any state would be an attack on the most basic of constitutional principles.
The move would fail, but we still need to recognize it for what it is: an attempted authoritarian putsch based on a whirlwind of lies and myths that have been debunked in every court that has reviewed the evidence. Not a single state legislature has challenged the results. Every state’s votes have been certified by the officials who are legally empowered to do so.
Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump by more than 7 million popular votes. Joe Biden defeated Donald Trump in the Electoral College by a vote of 306 to 232.
Nevertheless, an unknown number of Republicans, urged on by the president himself, will attempt to nullify that vote next week.
An 1887 law has a provision that allows a single member of the House or Senate to object to the count and force a floor vote. But the constitution actually gives Congress no power to overturn the votes of the Electoral College. Its role is simply to meet and “count” the votes. Congress gets to choose a president if, and only if, the count shows that no candidate has received a majority. That’s it.
But of course that’s not it. That’s not how it’s being depicted in the right-wing media. There it is being depicted as Trump’s Last Stand. Will the Republican party, and Mike Pence in particular, turn into the cavalry and race over the hill and save Donald Trump, the deity of the delusional? That is how this is being framed. And the reason for that is because there are enough Republicans going along with it. Louie Gohmert is, he filed the ludicrous lawsuit against Pence on Sunday and then there’s this dummy.
I’m not going back to yesterday’s Republican Party.
THIS IS DONALD TRUMP’S PARTY!
— Rep. Matt Gaetz (@RepMattGaetz) December 27, 2020
Trump’s nomination was the Rubicon and the GOP crossed it long ago. That’s who they are and that’s why we are here.