These Republicans May Not Be Capable Of Shame, But You Should Know Who They Are

In States, Voting On
- Updated

I never imagined that the aftermath of the election would pose a greater danger to American democracy than the four previous years. But here we are. Not just because of President Trump — his authoritarian impulses are a given — but because of the craven response of his fellow Republicans.

With the always doomed-to-fail litigation at the Supreme Court, Republicans have gone beyond the indulge-the-toddler-while-he-cries-it-out phase of this debacle to a dangerous new stage: Incentivize the toddler. Reward his bad behavior. Encourage his belief, as poisonous to democracy as it is delusional, that the election was stolen.

And they are laying the predicate for a contentious new phase of American democracy, if it can continue to be called that, in which election results — after appropriate recounts and audits and certifications — are no longer accepted. Instead, they merely open the door for a second phase of legal and political guerrilla warfare in which no tactic, no lie, no baseless claim is off-limits. Democracy cannot function this way.

It had looked as though we dodged a bullet with Trump’s defeat. Turns out there were more in the gun.

One interminable month ago, in response to Trump’s unsupported claims of electoral victory — then shocking, now routine — I wrote that history would judge the response of Republican leaders. Only those willing to ignore their gutless record over the past four years would have expected many profiles in courage. Still, what’s happened is even worse: not servile silence but vigorous incitement.

Which brings us to Texas’s risible bid to have the Supreme Court throw out the election results — which the justices predictably rejected Friday evening. The dry legal language of the court’s order barely concealed its exasperation with Texas’s shenanigans. “Texas has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another State conducts its elections,” the court noted tartly.

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