I have two questions for Ted Cruz, Ken Paxton, 106 Republican members of Congress, and 17 Republican attorneys general who saw the Supreme Court summarily reject the most disrespectful pile of garbage ever dumped on it: What the fuck are you doing? and Don’t you know you are destroying our country?
The Supreme Court quickly dismissed the absurd, outrageous, laughable, and quixotic lawsuit filed by Attorney General Paxton of Texas (under investigation for bribery in office, and under indictment for financial fraud from before then, but nonetheless widely expected to run for governor), challenging the election procedures in four swing states and demanding that all of those states’ millions of votes simply be thrown out.
While the court’s ruling was brief and terse, with seven justices flatly rejecting it since Texas had no standing to sue while Alito and Thomas said they would have accepted it but not granted any relief, UC Irvine Professor Rick Hasen had already summarized exactly why the lawsuit indeed went nowhere. In brief, because it is legally and otherwise “utter garbage." Everything about it is improper: Texas has no standing to sue; it sued too late; it sued in the wrong place; and the issues that it’s raising (e.g., that mail-in ballots are intrinsically unconstitutional because they make fraud “undetectable”) have already been decided, including by the Supreme Court itself. It is an insult to the Supreme Court as an institution and a galling display of stupidity.
I am sure that “Lyin’ Ted” Cruz knows all this. I am fairly sure that Paxton and the 17 other AGs do too. And everyone knows why they pursued the lawsuit anyway: because to defy Trump (who asked to join this suit despite the 46 previous ones his team had already lost in various lower courts) is to commit Republican seppuku and risk a future primary loss to some QAnon-spouting nutcase.
But of course, the lawsuit was much worse than merely stupid. In the words of the reply brief filed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, it is “seditious.” It incites rebellion and violence. It will almost inevitably lead to right-wing terrorism, whether “merely” threatening, as we’ve seen in Michigan, Georgia, Idaho, and elsewhere, or resulting in the actual loss of life, as we saw in Kenosha and will surely see again quite soon. After the court rejected it, the Texas GOP put out a statement suggesting that “law-abiding states” should “form a union.”
As Paul Charlton, who served as the U.S. Attorney for Arizona from 2001 to 2006 under President George W. Bush, said recently, “We live in a country with a population of roughly 330 million people and we can sometimes forget that somewhere out there is this generation's Timothy McVeigh and if you encourage violence under the guise of patriotism, you'll find that guy.”
Or thousands of them. With armed militias being incited to rebellion, we’re looking down the barrel of an American Intifada–a long, drawn-out period of occasional terrorism, clampdowns, resistance, and violence.
Except, of course, that the Palestinian Intifada was based on an actual military occupation, while this one is based on fantasy and lies.
I truly cannot, for the life of me, understand how self-styled conservatives can do this to our country. When I was growing up, conservatives loved America. They were patriotic. They put love of country above all else–to a fault, in my youthful liberal eyes. Back then, only my more radical friends wanted to see America degraded in the eyes of the world, its original sins and classist, racist fracture lines laid bare for all to see. Now, I feel like I’m living in the upside-down.
Of course, I understand that Trumpists, evangelicals, deranged Christian dominionists who believe they are preparing the way for the Second Coming (that includes Trump’s latest lawyer, Phillip Jauregui), and a whole lot of angry white people feel like their country is being taken away from them. They love America, but it’s not the same America that I love; it’s a very specific, mostly mythical populist, nativist America (white, Christian, European male dominance; rugged individualism; small government; America First jingoism, etc). And it is indeed slipping away; they’re right about that.
But that’s just the 15-20 percent of the population that tilts hard right and that seems to exist in every Western country–the same sorts of people who make up UKIP in Britain, the National Front in France, Jobbik in Hungary, and so on. Responsible Republicans are supposed to keep these people in check, sublimating their base instincts into patriotism that still waves the flag but doesn’t vulgarize everything, literally demonize the other side, and cast any notions of truth or civility to the wind.
Now, because that faction of the party has been in power for four years, suddenly there are hardly any responsible Republicans left.
Don’t Republicans, in public office or in the studios of Fox News, see how dangerous this is? Don’t they care? Is there any issue—abortion, immigration, religion, regulation, personal liberty—that could possibly justify driving the United States of America off a cliff? Is it just a matter of power (as President Obama says in his new memoir) or, God forbid, ratings and ad dollars? Do they really, actually not give a shit about our country?
I truly don’t get it. And I get paid to get it.
Responsible Republicans should be talking the wild-eyed Trumpists off the ledge right now, but instead they’re egging them on to jump.
I keep holding out hope. I had hoped that on Dec. 8, the “safe harbor deadline” at which the states’ certified election results are finalized, responsible Republicans would finally recognize the Biden victory, now that it was signed, sealed and delivered. OK, maybe not. So maybe Dec. 14, when the electoral college actually votes? Or will we have to wait until Jan. 6, when Congress counts the votes, and an obscure legal provision allows individual members to raise objections? Or Jan. 20? Or forever?
Or maybe it will take actual terrorist attacks, and the taking of innocent life, for Republicans and Fox News pundits to finally see that they’ve been playing with fire, and that it’s time to reach for the water instead of the gasoline.
Or maybe that will simply never happen.