The Steal Next Time
The Cheney purge may just be prologue
It’s not too soon to start thinking about this. David Atkins writes in the Washington Monthly:
So what happens in 2024 if President Biden or Vice President Harris win the Electoral College, but local Republicans on county boards with majority Democratic votes refuse to certify the election; when state legislatures who have seized control of certification refuse to certify their state tallies; when a potential Republican majority in the House of Representatives refuses to certify the Electoral College tally? What happens when they refuse to certify Democratic wins in purple state Senate races, throwing control of the Upper Chamber into limbo and chaos?
What happens if Biden/Harris wins the popular vote by 8 million votes and 30 electoral college votes, only to see Republicans in states like Georgia and Wisconsin decide that their GOP legislatures will send electors for Trump or Tucker Carlson or Josh Hawley instead? What happens if Democrats legitimately add to their lead in the Senate, only to see Republicans refuse to certify those tallies as well, keeping GOP Senators in place for the next session?
I would like to think this far-fetched. At this point, I’d like to be able to assure you that is too bizarre to be real; or that it is panic mongering and hype.
But, ladies and gentlemen, I give you January 6… and the rapid devolution of the GOP into full-fledged election denialism. The purge of Liz Cheney may just be prologue. As Greg Sargent writes:
This combination is toxic: Republicans are untethering themselves from any obligation to recognize future legitimate election outcomes, which will provide the rationale to overturn them, a freedom they are also effectively in process of appropriating. Cheney is insisting on a GOP future premised on a full repudiation of these tendencies, and getting punished for it.
Mona Charen sees the same thing. Please take the time read her in this morning’s Bulwark, “The Steal Next Time.”
She asks: “Who will prevent the next attempt to overturn the will of the voters?”
Let’s be clear: The substitution of Stefanik for Cheney is a tocsin, signaling that the Republican party will no longer be bound by law or custom. In 2020, many Republican office holders, including the otherwise invertebrate Pence, held the line. They did not submit false slates of electors. They did not decertify votes. They did not “find” phantom fraud. But the party has been schooled since then. It has learned that the base—which is deluded by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Mark Levin—believes the lies and demands that Republicans fight. As my colleague Amanda Carpenter put it, the 2024 mantra is going to be “Steal It Back.”
If Cheney must be axed because she will not lie, then what will happen if Republicans take control of Congress in 2022 and are called upon to certify the Electoral College in 2024? How many Raffenspergers will there be? How many will insist, as Pence did, that they must do what the Constitution demands? How many will preserve any semblance of the rule of law and the primacy of truth?
With this sabotage of Cheney, House Republicans are figuratively joining the January 6 mob.
ICYMI: Must read from the Wapo: “The making of a myth.”
ADDISON, Tex. — Key elements of the baseless claim that the 2020 election was stolen from President Donald Trump took shape in an airplane hangar here two years earlier, promoted by a Republican businessman who has sold everything from Tex-Mex food in London to a wellness technology that beams light into the human bloodstream.
Get out, they explained. Matt Lewis writes:
When they jettison Liz Cheney on Wednesday, the Republican Party will send a message to whatever sane conservatives remain inside its circus tent: You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.
There’s a routine where Trumpists, most recently Matt Gaetz, go on about how, “They aren’t really coming for me. They’re coming for you. I’m just in the way.” That’s not true (they’re after Gaetz, for instance, for allegedly paying for sex with teenagers) but it is another classic case of victimhood and projection.
No matter what nonsense House Minority Leader and craven Trump toady Kevin McCarthy says about how “we are a big tent party” that “embrace(s) free thought and debate,” ousting Cheney from her role in Republican leadership isn’t just about Cheney. It’s about rooting out millions of center-right Americans who just aren’t crazy enough to be members of today’s Republican Party.
A coalition of the non-crazy.
Watch this space: later this week, we’re going to see the announcement of a “Common sense coalition” — a “broad alliance of current and former Republicans and independents” whose mission will be to push back against the “fear-mongers and conspiracy theorists.”
Given the state of the GOP, that may be quixotic, but the group will include former members of Congress and state officials, former officials from past GOP administrations, and prominent conservative thinkers and writers.
It is not exactly a third party, but that’s not out of the question.
“We’ve got to force the Republican party back from the ledge,” a spokesman says, “or else lay the groundwork for something new and better.”
And there is this: 5-6 CDT Today:
1. Bring on the Liz Cheney Death Match
Amanda Carpenter writes that Cheney’s likely ouster will force the conversation about January 6.
Had Cheney voted to impeach Trump and then quietly moved along to whitewashing the insurrection (like most other Republicans) then no one may have realized how deeply the Trump brain worms had penetrated the GOP leadership hive mind. She’s giving the party a public MRI.
Yes, the results of this test are awfully ugly, but they may be useful in the end.
GOP leaders would have never admitted how closely they planned to remain tethered to the twice-impeached president who presided over the party’s loss of the House, Senate, and White House. We wouldn’t have known how content they are with Trump’s big election lie. Cheney exposes their complicity. Until she piped up, everyone was on pace to rally under the red elephant flag and chant “Fire Pelosi!” They would have seamlessly moved on from January 6 and started campaigning on Trump’s 2020 election lies for 2022.
But Cheney played spoiler. And yes, this time it’s different.
2. Remembering Pete du Pont
J.F. Riordan in today’s Bulwark:
I got to know him in the 2000s—long after he left Delaware’s governorship and ran for president—when he was on the board of directors of a foundation where I worked. He was already in his late sixties, and had a particular grace and sophistication, along with an unselfconscious boyish charm. But he was a serious person, with firm values and strongly held views, and one had a profound sense of his candor and honesty. I imagine that disappointing him would not have been a happy experience. I saw the casual way he could put a rude or foolish person on notice, like a musketeer with an easy flick of the sword.
The first realization of his intelligence could be gleaned by the look in his eyes—interested, sparkling, seemingly always with a glint of humor. He asked pointed questions, he thought deeply, and he listened carefully. He treated everyone—no matter their rank or status—with the same genuineness and respect, and unlike many of his colleagues, he never assumed someone else would do the dirty work. It may seem a small thing, but in a room full of heavyweight capitalists and intellectuals, he carried other people’s plates to the kitchen.
Kevin McCarthy: Yes.
So good. (Do yourself a favor and watch.)
A “damned old wry-necked, squint-eyed, white-livered scoundrel.”