Forty Missouri House Republicans have co-sponsored a resolution that is both un-Republican and un-American. It calls on Congress to reject election results in six other states, based on President Donald Trump’s fabricated claims of mass voter fraud. This cynical attack on democracy wouldn’t have the force of law even if it were to pass the full House, but it should stand as evidence that it isn’t just the president who has gone around the bend to a dangerous place; he has brought much of his party with him.
To be clear: This has been the most closely vetted election in American history, with multiple vote recounts and dozens of lawsuits — and none of it has produced evidence to suggest significant irregularities, let alone mass fraud. Judge after judge has thrown out Trump’s cases. State election officials around America, including avowed Trump supporters, have repeatedly confirmed Joe Biden’s clear victory.
Yet the Missouri GOP on Monday gave committee approval to HR2, declaring the House has “no faith in the validity of the results of the 2020 presidential election” in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, Michigan, Georgia, Arizona or Nevada. It demands a “full and fair investigation” into alleged election irregularities — ignoring the multiple bipartisan reviews that already have occurred. Barring such a probe, it says, Congress should refuse to accept the electoral votes of those states, which would disenfranchise millions.
The resolution claims those states’ election laws were “likely ignored and violated in numerous ways,” but offers no evidence beyond a bunch of vague conspiracy tropes. It argues that the low rejection rate among absentee ballots somehow proves something nefarious. It regurgitates a debunked analysis by InfoWars attorney Robert Barnes that supposedly proves fraud — crediting by name this infamous conspiracy monger whose “work” has included maligning the parents of the dead children of Sandy Hook.
The Missouri resolution follows a national lawsuit seeking to overturn several states’ elections, which was supported by Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt and all six of the state’s Republican U.S. House members. The case was so devoid of any evidence or legal rationale that the U.S. Supreme Court (including three Trump appointees) wouldn’t even hear it.
What has happened to the Republican Party? A party dedicated to federalism has decided that individual states’ elections should be overturned by other states, or by Congress. A party dedicated to clear-eyed realism has started embracing wild-eyed conspiracy theories that would strip the rights of millions of their fellow Americans. A party dedicated to patriotism has decided that democracy is disposable when it gets in the way of ideology — or of plain old power.