It is shameful that we should feel compelled to laud a representative for simply following the U.S. Constitution. Yet here we are.
Unlike many of her fellow Republicans in Congress, Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler, R-Battle Ground, declined to support an amicus brief in a lawsuit attempting to subvert the presidential election, which was handily won by Joe Biden. Filed by the State of Texas, the suit challenged election results in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan and Georgia — states where President Trump was a loser.
On Friday, the Supreme Court of the United States rejected the suit, writing in an unsigned order that Texas “has not demonstrated a judicially cognizable interest in the manner in which another state conducts its elections.”
Nor has Trump’s legal team demonstrated evidence to support his incessant claims of election fraud and malfeasance. Among more than 50 lawsuits filed in battleground states, nearly all have been withdrawn or dismissed by the courts. In one Pennsylvania case that seems representative of Trump’s legal failures, the judge wrote, “This claim, like Frankenstein’s Monster, has been haphazardly stitched together.”
Despite Trump’s specious claims that have undermined our democracy and delayed a smooth transition to a Biden administration, at least 125 Republican members of the House of Representatives filed a “friend of the court” brief in support of the Texas lawsuit.
Herrera Beutler wisely did not, saying, “Legitimate, evidence-based examples of voter fraud and election interference from the 2020 election should be investigated and remedied for the integrity of all U.S. elections, and state courts have taken up those issues.” Washington’s other two Republican representatives — Cathy McMorris Rodgers and Dan Newhouse — were not so enlightened.
The court’s rejection of the Texas lawsuit provided what hopefully is a coda for a sad and disturbing piece of American history. While Trump was certainly within his rights to challenge election results, the lawsuits filed on his behalf quickly devolved into infantile posturing rather than sound legal arguments. Donald Trump lost the election; as one legal ruling stated, “calling an election unfair does not make it so.”
That, however, has not prevented the president and his supporters from grasping onto the fantasy that he won the election. That is not only misguided, it is dangerous. Trump’s persistent lies have gradually chipped away at the foundation of our nation; his autocratic actions and eschewing of constitutional norms have undermined the stability of our democracy.
Rather than the kakistocracy that has been in place for the past four years, it is not difficult to envision a more competent leader establishing an autocracy that would violate the very meaning of the United States of America.
Congress must serve as a stalwart defense against such totalitarian measures, and it is frightening and embarrassing that so many Republican representatives have abdicated that duty.
On Monday, the Electoral College voted to confirm that Biden has been elected as president and Kamala Harris as vice president, after winning the popular vote by more than 7 million. It was an important next step in the peaceful transition of power, but a step that conceivably could be undermined if placed in the wrong hands.
The entire episode demonstrates that democracy must be cared for and nurtured. It is not strong enough to survive without our help.