According to many on the Left and some weak-kneed people on the Right, it’s over as far as the election of 2020 is concerned. That brings us to January 6, 2021 when a joint session of Congress will meet to certify the results of the Electoral College vote that hands the presidency to a senile, basement-dweller from Delaware.
Enter Ted Cruz (R-TX) who, along with six sitting Senators and four incoming freshmen Senators, issued a joint statement that stated, in pertinent part:
The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.
Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes…
On January 6, it is incumbent on Congress to vote on whether to certify the 2020 election results. That vote is the lone constitutional power remaining to consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud.
At that quadrennial joint session, there is long precedent of Democratic Members of Congress raising objections to presidential election results, as they did in 1969, 2001, 2005, and 2017. And, in both 1969 and 2005, a Democratic Senator joined with a Democratic House Member in forcing votes in both houses on whether to accept the presidential electors being challenged.
The most direct precedent on this question arose in 1877, following serious allegations of fraud and illegal conduct in the Hayes-Tilden presidential race. Specifically, the elections in three states-Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina-were alleged to have been conducted illegally.
In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy. Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission-consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices-to consider and resolve the disputed returns.
We should follow that precedent. To wit, Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed.
Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.
Some thoughts. First, they rightfully call out the hypocrisy of Democrats and the media who are portraying this action as some threat to democracy or some seditious act. If so, then Democrats were guilty of the same in 1969, 2001, 2005, and 2017. Then again, we know that both Democrats and the media are no strangers to hypocrisy.
Second, the 1876 election was perhaps the closest analogy we have to the current situation. It was a highly contested election with charges of fraud in key swing states at the time. As the statement notes, the Congress did not ignore those allegations. Those who questioned the outcome in that Congress were not pilloried by the press for undermining democracy.
Third, this is where the statement and the solution encounters a problem: creation of a commission. In fact, they want it set up as the one in 1877 with 15 members- five from the House, five from the Senate, and five Supreme Court Justices. After they reach their conclusions and release their findings, states would reconvene their legislatures and change their electoral votes.
However, this option was always available to state legislatures. None- including many where there are Republican majorities- failed and refuse to go that route. The commission idea is problematic in that no timetable is specified. For how long do we put off the presidential outcome?
But there is a more insidious problem since blue ribbon panels rarely reach a conclusion that they do not like. Overturning the “results” of an election this late in the game would be a Rubicon they do not want to cross. Never mind the fact that it is inconceivable that Biden received more than 55 million votes, even from the most Trump-hating voters, or there are voting irregularities and states even violated their own election laws.
If these Senators are calling for a commission like that in 1877 (which, incidentally, did not overturn the election “results;” there was no president Tilden), then it appears to be gatekeeper move. The fact is that Cruz, et. al. know that people are pissed and they have to do something. Who, for example, from the Supreme Court? Perhaps they will throw Kavanaugh and Barrett as bones to the Right and Roberts will be some “neutral voice.” In the House, McCarthy picks two, Pelosi two and a third RINO-type is thrown in there. In the Senate, McConnell names two, Schumer two, and they likely do the same as the House- a RINO like Romney or Collins. This way it puts the imprimatur of the GOP on the eventual “findings” that, although troubling, there was not enough “proof” to overturn any election result in any state.
This is beyond Trump and Cruz at this point. The Left and Democrats are going to get away with this. They will get away with it because there are too many spineless Republicans in both the House and the Senate. They proved it twice in the past two weeks- with the COVID “relief” pittance bill, and with the NDAA veto override.
Putting your name to a joint statement is one thing, but one suspects that when the chips are down, a vote may be delayed after the obligatory two hours of debate where great, impassioned speeches will be heard by the few who watch C-Span, but little else. It is not grandstanding per se, but a Quixotic effort doomed to failure.
But at least eleven elected Republican Senators had the guts to actually try to do anything and run the risk of being accused of being a threat to democracy or a seditious traitorous rebel, even if nothing becomes of it. That’s more than we can say of the other 39 elected Republican Senators.