One of the most embarrassing chapters of American political history is coming to an end, but not before Republicans suffer a few more self-inflicted wounds.
Electoral College proceedings on Monday affirmed that Donald Trump lost the presidential election and Joe Biden is president-elect.
In a last-ditch effort to overturn the results, Trump loyalists asked the U.S. Supreme Court to throw out millions of ballots in states Biden carried. With that, they snuffed out the last vestiges of federalism as a conservative value.
The lawsuit, brough by Texas and joined by more than a dozen GOP-led states, argued in part that other states improperly updated their election rules during the coronavirus pandemic. They took issue with early voting and ballot counting processes in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia.
Gov. Kim Reynolds didn’t have to say anything. Trump easily won Iowa’s six electoral votes. We know from past experience that Reynolds has no aversion to tiptoeing around sensitive political issues or brushing off tough questions because they’re not directly in her purview.
But Reynolds waded into it anyway. During an interview last week on WHO radio, she lamented that Iowa wasn’t invited to join the Texas lawsuit. Her political apparatus followed up with an even stronger statement endorsing the suit.
“While not given the opportunity, I would have requested that Iowa officially join in support of the lawsuit filed by the Texas Attorney General. As I have said all along, President Trump, his campaign, and supporters have every right to pursue lawful, legal action in the courts. The American people deserve a fair and transparent election,” Reynolds said in a statement posted to her campaign website.
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That is in striking contrast with the other heated election dispute of the day. Reynolds and other Republicans, including me, have harshly criticized Democrat Rita Hart’s plan to contest her 2nd Congressional District loss to the Democratic majority in the U.S. House. But Reynolds does not extend the same grace she offers Trump, even though Hart’s appeal is “lawful, legal,” too.
The Supreme Court last week firmly rejected Trump world’s latest challenge. Justices, including three nominated by Trump and confirmed by Republicans, said Texas has no standing to bring a case about the manner in which other states conduct elections.
That’s a vindication of states’ rights that ought to be celebrated by conservatives. States conduct their own elections, free from undue influence from neighboring states.
Iowa has absentee voting. Auditors start counting ballots before Election Day. Some ballots received after Election Day are counted.
What’s more, Iowa election commissioners took action to encourage early voting amid the infectious disease pandemic this year. Ballot requests were mailed statewide for the party primaries in June and in-person polling places were limited in some counties for the general election.
It’s the same type of stuff Trump defenders are criticizing Biden states for doing.
In endorsing the Texas lawsuit, Reynolds invited other states to meddle in our elections. Iowans should be grateful that the conservative Supreme Court majority saved us from our Republican elected officials.
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