Friday, November 18, 2022


Hakeem Jeffries is likely to succeed Nancy Pelosi as House Democratic leader, and when I look at the Republican response, I notice that there appears to be an echo in here:

If you click on that Republican National Committee tweet, you can see tweets Jeffries sent during the Trump years. What Jeffries didn't do was raise an objection to any of Trump's electoral votes when the House counted them in January 2017. A few members of the House -- Sheila Jackson Lee, Barbara Lee, James McGovern, Jamie Raskin, and Raúl Grijalva -- raised objections and were gaveled down by then-Vice President Joe Biden, because the objections couldn't lead to a vote without the concurrence of a senator who was also willing to object. No Democratic senators did so, so the objections were purely symbolic. Contrast this with the electoral vote count on January 6, 2021, when objections to Biden's Arizona and Pennsylvania electors were subject to a vote and 147 Republicans -- 139 members of the House and 8 members of the Senate -- voted to sustain the objections. (The Biden electors in several other states would have been voted on if Republicans hadn't gotten cold feet after the riot.)

Republicans like pointing out Democrats who called Trump an illegitimate president, but I don't know of any Democratic officeholder or official -- Jeffries or anyone else -- who ever questioned the fact that Trump legitimately received the votes he's said to have received in the states that gave him his 2016 Electoral College win. No Democrat thinks the votes were fake. No one thinks there were ballots surreptitiously printed up in some cabal headquarters. No one thinks that a secretary of state put a thumb on the scale to give Trump extra votes in a swing state. Democrats said the election distortion came from Vladimir Putin (and James Comey, and the email-obsessed mainstream media), not from some election officials allegedly conniving with shadowy ballot forgers.

But once again, Republicans are instantly in lockstep on messaging. Their ability to come together this way seems less fearsome after the midterms, but they at least know how to keep the base believing that Democrats are evil.

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