facebook linkedin twitter

Seditious Members of Congress Must Be Held Accountable
COMMENTARY

January 4, 2021 by Robert B. Reich
U.S. Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) points to a document as he speaks during a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on Facebook and Twitter's content moderation practices in Washington, D.C., on Nov. 17, 2020. Cruz is one of 12 senators who say they will object to certification of President-elect Joe Biden's victory on Wednesday. (Photo by Hannah McKay/Pool/Sipa USA)

I’ve been in or around politics for over a half-century now, and I never imagined how low and loony the Republican Party would become. Twelve Republican senators say they will object to President-elect Joe Biden’s victory on Wednesday when Congress meets to formally certify it.

They are joining a growing movement in the GOP to defy the unambiguous results of the 2020 presidential election and support Donald Trump’s bizarre attempt to remain in power with false claims of voting fraud.

Remember: Every state has now certified the election results after verifying their accuracy. Several underwent post-election audits or hand counts. At the same time, judges across America, including Supreme Court justices, have rejected nearly 60 attempts by Trump and his allies to challenge the results.

None of the 12 Republican senators who say they will attempt to invalidate the results of the election has made any specific allegations of fraud. At most, they offer vague statements that some wrongdoing may have occurred.

Their most specific grounds for contesting the certification is that many of their supporters believe Trump’s claims of fraud — which is circular reasoning, since Trump and many of these same senators have been trying to convince the public since the election that fraud occurred, without offering any evidence.

The sedition of these 12 United States senators — and I use that term advisedly — will not alter the outcome of the election. It is purely for show, as have been so many of Trump’s and his enablers’ actions. But the show itself will be a brawl that will only serve to validate in the minds of many of Trump’s supporters his baseless claims — dividing America even more.

The one consolation, if it can be called that, is that their cynical ploy will also force other Republican members of Congress to openly choose between doing their constitutional duty and accepting the results of the election, or displaying brazen loyalty to a fading demagogue who has sought to turn the GOP into a personal cult. In short, it will smoke them out: They must openly choose democracy or fascism.

Trump’s Saturday phone call to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger only sharpens this choice. In the call, Trump repeatedly urged Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to allow the secretary to recalculate the election results to show that Trump, rather than Biden, won the state.

I urge you to hear the audio excerpts of a president of the United States cajoling and seeming to threaten a state official, also a fellow Republican. At one point, Trump says “I just want to find 11,780 votes [Biden won the state by 11,779 votes], which is one more than we have.”

As to the dozen Republican senators who will object to the certification on Wednesday, it is not clear whether they’re acting because of fear of Trump or political opportunism. Some are weighing a 2024 presidential campaign and know that being on the wrong side of Trump could mean certain defeat.

No matter. They must be held accountable for their sedition. Rarely in American history has a symbolic act carried such significance for the future of the country. Without accountability, our fragile system will become even more susceptible to these sorts of cynical games.

When they are next up for reelection, every one of them deserves to be defeated. It is up to the rest of us to make sure that happens.

©2021 Robert Reich. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

In The News

Health

Voting

Opinions

American Workers Need A Recovery That Benefits Them. Employee Ownership Can Help Deliver It.

Long before COVID-19, Americans were facing a looming crisis of low household savings and unsustainable debt. The economic consequences of... Read More

Long before COVID-19, Americans were facing a looming crisis of low household savings and unsustainable debt. The economic consequences of the pandemic made matters worse, with unemployment hitting modern highs, consumer debt reaching record levels and many Americans depleting their household savings. Today, the future looks brighter. But creating a... Read More

July 26, 2021
by Rachel Marsden
After American Failure in Afghanistan, China is Trying Another Approach

As the old adage goes, the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result.... Read More

As the old adage goes, the definition of stupidity is doing the same thing repeatedly and expecting a different result. Is anyone in charge going to do any soul searching to ask why history has yet again repeated itself in Afghanistan? American and allied troops evacuated... Read More

July 22, 2021
by Leonard Pitts
She is 8 Years Old

She is 8 years old. That’s ... what? About third grade? Too young for boyfriends. Too young for R-rated movies.... Read More

She is 8 years old. That’s ... what? About third grade? Too young for boyfriends. Too young for R-rated movies. Too young for algebra or a learner’s permit. But she has already experienced her second shooting. It happened a little over a week ago in Washington,... Read More

July 19, 2021
by Robert B. Reich
GOP has Become the Anti-Family Party

Last week, 39 million American parents began receiving a monthly child allowance ($300 per child under 6 years old, $250... Read More

Last week, 39 million American parents began receiving a monthly child allowance ($300 per child under 6 years old, $250 per child ages 6-17). It’s the biggest helping hand to American families in more than 85 years. They need it. Even before the pandemic, child poverty... Read More

July 14, 2021
by Leonard Pitts
Democracy Worth the Trouble Every Time

It was, let us say, an interesting weekend for democracy. Call it a tale of two cities. One is Dallas,... Read More

It was, let us say, an interesting weekend for democracy. Call it a tale of two cities. One is Dallas, where thousands of so-called “conservatives” -- the word has less meaning by the day -- gathered in support of Donald Trump and his ongoing efforts to... Read More

At the Doorstep of a Nuclear Energy Revival — Are We Ready?

The next several years may determine whether nuclear energy has a future in the United States and, in turn, how... Read More

The next several years may determine whether nuclear energy has a future in the United States and, in turn, how successful we will be in reducing our national climate emissions. There is a broad and growing expert consensus that taking the path of least resistance in... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top