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It is appropriate to feel relieved and perhaps even to moderately celebrate the defeat of prominent election sceptics across the nation in last month’s midterm elections, but complacency regarding the threats to democracy should not result.
I’ve written that unexpectedly poor results for Republican candidates were caused by an anti-MAGA majority who turned out in three straight elections to denounce Donald Trump and his coalition. However, nobody can rest comfortably because far too many notable participants in the effort to rig the 2020 presidential election are still in power.
147 Republicans, including eight senators, voted against Joe Biden’s victory on January 6, 2021. There are still eight senators in office. 124 of the 139 lawmakers who complained ran for reelection and 118 of them were successful. However, not all opponents are equally terrible; some were more actively involved in the paperwork revolution than others. Each of their votes is inadmissible. Many of the worst plotters are still in office, according to a series of reports at Talking Points Memo based on text texts from former White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows. The House and Senate are the sources of the threat to democracy.
The texts contain conversations about the election with 34 members of Congress. Some of those are somewhat modest (discussion of raising money for legal challenges), and some of the participants ultimately decided to vote to certify the election. Six more people will not serve in the next Congress, most of them because they ran for other offices but lost their primaries. These individuals include Representatives Billy Long, Louie Gohmert, Mo Brooks, and Jody Hice, who unsuccessfully challenged Brad Raffensperger, the Secretary of State of Georgia, who had resisted Trump’s efforts to rig the Peach State’s election.
But that still leaves a significant dishonour roll. Ralph Norman, a South Carolina representative, advocated for a military coup as recently as January 17. Marshall Law is our FINAL CHANCE! He wrote Meadows, “PLEASE URGE TO PRESIDENT TO DO SO!!” displaying a lack of knowledge of both the Constitution and good spelling. One Republican seeking to sabotage Kevin McCarthy’s bid to become speaker is Norman; he believes the Californian is not conservative enough.
Representative Andy Biggs of Arizona appears in the texts as another representative of the anti-McCarthy group. The texts detail Biggs’ attempts to persuade the state legislature to deny certifying Biden’s victory in Arizona.
Jim Jordan, a representative from Ohio, was a key figure in the attempt to rig the election in Congress. He is still unrepentant, and when Republicans win control of the House in January, he is expected to have even more influence and authority.
There is Pennsylvania Representative Scott Perry, who repeatedly wrote to Meadows and explored improbable plans to collect information from the voting machines. As part of an investigation into DOJ employees’ role in the election-subversion campaign, the Justice Department seized his smartphone in August.
The Wisconsin senator Ron Johnson, who recently gained reelection, has served as a key source and conduit for conspiracy theories concerning both the election and public health. And then there is North Carolina’s Ted Budd, a former and current representative who will join Johnson in the Senate the following month.
Paul Gosar, a representative from Arizona who has a history of questionable behaviour, recently tweeted (and then deleted) his support for Trump’s proposal to “terminate” parts of the U.S. Constitution due to his false claims of election fraud.
Of course there is also Georgia’s Marjorie Taylor Greene, who was recently highlighted by my colleague Elaina Plott Calabro. Thanks in part to her tight relationship with Trump, who reportedly views Greene as a potential running mate for 2024, Greene has transformed from the underdog in her caucus to McCarthy’s most important friend. She is now poised to hold significant power in the new GOP majority.
Overall, the text messages give more texture to the picture of Trump’s election interference than they do significant new information. However, they helpfully illustrate how long the paperwork coup lasted. The attack on the U.S. Capitol was only a small part of the crisis that erupted in the winter of 2020–21; it was the conclusion of a protracted process involving the White House, members of Congress, dishonest DOJ employees, outside lawyers, and activists.
And it might not even be done. In October, I suggested that an assault on Nancy Pelosi’s husband Paul Pelosi demonstrated how January 6 was never truly over. That continues to be supported by new research. I want to tell you something,” Greene stated in reference to January 6 during a lecture this week in New York. We would have triumphed if Steve Bannon and I had orchestrated that. Not to mention that we would have had weapons.
She undoubtedly anticipated that the remarks would cause a stir, so she claimed that she was only being sarcastic. This is a weak justification, because sarcasm is a potent rhetorical device for subtly expressing reality. Her comments are more than just a casual remark; they are an indication of what she will attempt if given the chance.
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