“The Electoral College has spoken, so today I want to congratulate President-elect Joe Biden,” McConnell conceded from the well of the Senate chamber more than five weeks after every major news outlet called the election for Biden.
But McConnell’s eventual nod to representative democracy and acquiescence to the will of The People more than five weeks after nearly every major news outlet called the race for Biden served as a reminder that, given a real opening, he would have gladly helped Trump throttle the republic and steal the election.
In fact, nothing has made Republicans’ fascist instinct more crystal clear than their eager embrace of Trump’s downright farcical attempt to disenfranchise some 80 million Americans who cast their votes to boot Trump from office. If the election had been closer and more legitimately disputable, perhaps Republicans’ fealty to Trump could have passed for a slightly more legitimate effort to contest the election. But given Trump’s unrelenting failure to prove even a single instance of fraud in an election he lost by more than 7 million votes and 74 votes in the Electoral College, GOP lawmakers made their autocratic intentions perfectly clear.
While multiple state Republican lawmakers pushed forward lawsuits in support of Trump’s seditious effort, the moment that really galvanized the GOP’s embrace of fascism was the ludicrous lawsuit filed by indicted Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton seeking to overturn the election results in four other states.
The legal challenge was immediately dismissed by every cogent legal scholar as political rhetoric masquerading as a lawsuit, but Republican officials across the country still threw their full weight behind it with gusto. More than half of the GOP House congressional caucus—some 106 members—signed on to an amicus brief in support of the suit. And 17 GOP state attorneys also filed a brief with the Supreme Court on behalf of the lawsuit.
The blatant assault on the sanctity of U.S. elections and the will of the American people by his own colleagues was the final straw for retiring Michigan Rep. Paul Mitchell.
“As I saw that amicus brief, as well as the discussions over the weekend in the national media, it became clear to me that I could no longer be associated with the Republican Party, that leadership does not stand up and say the process, the election, is over,” Rep. Mitchell told CNN Monday. “It’s over today.”
Mitchell’s rejection of the Republican party based on its lengthy and overwhelming support for Trump’s attack on the election is really the only position of integrity left for conservatives of conscience. The GOP leadership’s role in abetting Trump’s baseless post-election effort was undeniable and only brought to an end after Putin boxed in McConnell.
There’s really no room left in the Republican party for anyone who truly supports the continuance of the American experiment and our democratic republic.