Don’t you dare, Congressman Mike Simpson, R-Idaho.
Don’t you dare, Sens. Mike Crapo and Jim Risch, both R-Idaho.
Don’t you dare join the partisans who, in the service of President Donald Trump, this morning plan to contest President-elect Joe Biden’s victory.
Although the vote in the Congress is purely ceremonial, Trump doesn’t have the votes in the House or Senate to prevail.
All it does is cast doubt on election results that have been reviewed, recounted, scrutinized and certified by both Republican and Democratic state officials. It’s been litigated more than 60 times, including two abbreviated trips to the U.S. Supreme Court. The Electoral College formalized the outcome on Dec. 14.
Nate Brown of the Idaho Falls Post Register contacted the Idaho delegation; Jim Brunner of the Seattle Times checked in with Washington’s House Republicans including Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Dan Newhouse and Jaime Herrera Beutler.
McMorris Rodgers issued a statement late Tuesday, joining Congressman Russ Fulcher, R-Idaho, in following the Trump fringe; Newhouse is standing apart from it. The rest have made no commitment.
What more do you need to know? Doesn’t Trump’s weekend telephone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger say it all?
First, the president’s claims:
l Ballots were scanned multiple times. Never happened, says Georgia’s voting-system implementation manager, Gabriel Sterling.
l Rather than the 2,056 felons Trump claimed voted illegally, Sterling said only 74 possibly ineligible felons were identified.
l Instead of the 66,248 underage voters Trump cited, Sterling said four 17-year-olds requested ballots — and they reached their 18th birthdays by Election Day.
l Trump says 2,423 unregistered voters cast a ballot. Not possible, Sterling said: “There’s no way to have a name to correspond back to unless they’re registered voters, so that number is zero.”
l Of the 1,043 people who Trump says voted illegally from a P.O. Box, Sterling said they were registered at multi- family homes. An example would be an apartment. “We have not seen anyone registering to vote at a USPS PO Box.”
l Of the 395 allegations of double voting under investigation, not one has been confirmed: “We’re talking handfuls, not tens of thousands.”
l Trump’s assertions about Dominion Voting Systems “flipping” voters are “easily, provably false.”
l Election equipment was not hacked: “First of all, ballot-marking devices and scanners, neither of them have modems. It’s very hard to hack them without modems — there’s nothing to talk to.”
l Shredded ballots? “That’s not real,” Sterling said. “That’s not happening.”
Added Sterling’s boss: “Well Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
Said the president of the United States: So what? “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have because we won the state.”
Republicans took refuge in some of the ambiguities surrounding Trump’s shakedown of Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky for dirt on Biden. During the impeachment, they argued the sources were secondary. None of the principals were willing or allowed to testify. Certainly Zelensky would not dispute Trump. So Republicans could and did assert this was open to interpretation.
When 126 House Republicans — including Fulcher, Simpson and McMorris Rodgers — signed on to Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton’s attempt to toss the results in four swing states and throw the election to the House, where the rules favor the GOP, they were at least showing deference to the courts.
Here, the patina has been stripped away from Trump.
There’s no process.
There’s no courtroom.
There’s no doubt about what happened.
Trump asked an elections official to cheat on his behalf and threatened criminal and political reprisals if he did not get his way. Witnesses not only are willing to speak up, they had the presence of mind to get Trump on tape.
Who knows what’s been going on in other battleground states?
No longer is there any question about the character of the man some House and Senate Republicans plan to follow today.
Trump has no love for this country.
He has no affinity for its democratic traditions.
He has no loyalty to the Republican Party.
And he sounds delusional.
Follow him today and you set a dangerous precedent that could prove successful in undermining the next election.
Follow him today and you undermine a new president in the midst of a deadly pandemic, a teetering economy and an uncertain world.
Follow him today, however, and you avoid the nasty presidential tweets that will rile up the members of your political base.
Follow him today and you make the voters back home — if not complicit in this betrayal — then certainly the excuse for the notion that poisoning America’s constitutional republic is politically astute.
This is no time for politicians.
This moment demands patriots. — M.T.