Let’s start with this bit from Chris Hayes last night in the intro to his show.
I’ve transcribed his words below, because I think they are important. If you can find his follow-up discussion with Stuart Stevens it’s worth listening to, as they go deeper into the very anti-democratic moves of the Republican Party today.
Of course, now Donald Trump is no longer in office. He lost badly. Republicans lost both houses of Congress under his watch. He spends his days entertaining guests at Mar-a-lago. But Kevin McCarthy is still standing, the last Young Gun, because he is still debasing himself for Donald Trump. And he is now fielding calls from the former President about Liz Cheney, telling him that Cheney will be on her way out soon.
Now, at one level this is all a compelling if embarrassing psychodrama, right? The bigger issue is that Donald Trump tried to pull off a great crime, one of the greatest crimes ever committed against American democracy, certainly by a sitting President, arguably, which was to attempt to reverse the results of a democratic election, to install himself in power over the will of the people. And he had a lot of allies in that, but not quite enough of them. And now what he is doing from his perch at Mar-a-lago, like a crime boss issuing his orders from prison, is going back through the obstacles that stood in his way and trying to get rid of each of them.
In Georgia a Trump loyalist has launched a primary challenge against Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger who you will remember refused Trump’s demand to find enough votes to overturn the outcome of the election. In Arizona, the Republican State Senate is running a ludicrous outsourced conspiracy-theory-laden ballot audit, trying to create ex post facto fictitious ballot fraud.
And his biggest target now is Congresswoman Liz Cheney, because she voted for impeachment, because she has been outspoken about The Big Lie. And because unlike the majority of the Republican caucus, she voted to seat the electors on that fateful January 6th day.
So ask yourself this, what happens when that faction takes over the Republican Party, and they have a majority in the House in, say, the Presidential election. What happens when the House of Representatives, maybe under Speaker Kevin McCarthy, refuses to simply pro forma ratify the election results of January 6th, 2025.
That’s where this is headed, make no mistake.
Greg Sargeant was also thinking about 2025 in his column yesterday. The whole thing is worth reading, but this is the most relevant part.
Time to worry about Jan. 6, 2025
Imagine a 2024 election decided in one state, where a GOP-controlled legislature sends electors for the GOP candidate in defiance of a close popular vote. The same House Republicans who punished Cheney — many of whom already voted against President Biden’s electors, but now control the House and have continued radicalizing — could vote to certify that slate.
There are many possible scenarios here — a lot would turn on whether the governor in that state was a Democrat, on what the Senate did, and on how the Supreme Court sorted out the mess.
But as Foley told me, it’s plausible that “you could have an outcome that is inconsistent with what the voters themselves wanted.” However it turned out, Foley added, the dispute itself “would be a major crisis.”
Do not doubt that this is where Republicans are headed. They don’t intend to lose again, no matter what they have to do, no matter what norms they need to shatter. When they not only pass bills that impose measures to repress voters and increase their control through gerrymandering, but add in provisions for their state legislatures to overturn the voters’ choices, they are creating chances to sidestep our democratic practices.
I’m not sure what can be done about it, but we absolutely have to face these facts head on.