By Dick Hall-Sizemore
After taking an oath on Sunday to support and defend the Constitution, four Republican members of the House of Representatives from Virginia supported an attempt to disregard the votes of about 5 million citizens in a vain effort to keep Donald Trump in office.
These Congressmen were Morgan Griffith (9th District), Ben Cline (6th District), Robert Good (5th District), and Rob Wittman (1st District).
The supporters of this attempt cited vague claims about election fraud and concerns about the integrity of the electoral system. Trump continued to stoke these baseless claims in the face of statements by his top Homeland Security official on the integrity of the election system and his Attorney General that there is no evidence of widespread fraud that would change the results of the election. He fired them both after they made such statements. He continued to air such claims despite being ruled against by numerous judges, many nominated by him.
Trump supporters loudly claimed that the President had a right to challenge the results in court. He has had ample opportunity to do that. About 60 cases have been filed. In all but one, the Trump campaign lost. In the one in which it prevailed, a Supreme Court Justice directed a state to do what it was already doing: separate late mail-in ballots. Even then, there were not enough votes involved that would have changed the overall result for the state. The campaign’s lawyers threw everything they could think of into their cases, with the hope that something would stick. They even sued the Electoral College, even though that entity does not really exist.
Many of the suits involved election procedures utilized by the states being challenged. Some involved vague charges of fraud, with little to no specific evidence provided. A few cited specific acts alleged to constitute fraud. Many were summarily dismissed as being baseless. For those that were provided a hearing, the cases quickly fell apart. Many judges were scathing in their comments regarding the cases. These included state and federal judges. Many of the federal judges, including several on the Supreme Court, had been nominated by Trump.
It boiled down to Trump’s belief that the only way he could have lost was that the other side cheated. Never mind that there is no credible evidence of that level of cheating. It has to have been there. Otherwise, he would have won. This delusion led him to demand that the Georgia Secretary of State commit election fraud by “finding” him enough votes for him to win the state and to threaten criminal action against him if he failed to do so. It led him to declare that Vice-President Pence had unilateral authority to refuse to accept the electoral votes of a state. (Under that rationale, Al Gore could have refused to accept the Florida electoral votes and made himself President in 2000.) It led him to pump up a large crowd and urge it to march on the Capitol, with the result that a mob overran the Capitol building.
Instead of following the example of Republican-nominated judges and Republican state and election officials who acted upon their loyalty to the Constitution and the rule of law, these Virginia Republican congressmen acted out of loyalty to a self-deluded President who cannot acknowledge that he is a loser.