Remember – and Retire – the Enablers of Tyranny

On Wednesday afternoon, Congress will begin the counting of the electoral votes for president that were cast last month. Normally, this formality could be done in minutes. This time, Donald Trump’s insistence on trying to overturn the election, combined with the spinelessness of so many Republicans, makes it possible that the count could roll into Thursday. We now know several Republicans in Congress will challenge the count in certain states (Politico), forcing a debate in both houses.

How many will vote to reject the duly chosen electors in various states? We won’t know until Wednesday. That said, we know at least 126 asked the Supreme Court to disenfranchise voters in several states. Barring the very unforeseen, they will all maintain their obsequiousness to Trump, with a few more added on for bad measure.

We also know it won’t be enough to actually overturn the election: the Democratic majority in the House will refuse to reject any Biden electors, and based on recent reports (see the Politico link above), there are more than enough Republican Senators who have stated their opposition to this madness to ensure the Senate will reject these efforts as well.

That said, there will still be damage done. More than one hundred Washington Republicans will refuse to accept reality, let alone make the effort to disabuse millions of Republican voters of Trump’s election fantasies. We may very well see a majority of Republican members of Congress go down the “stolen election” rabbit hole.

However many Republicans choose to do this, we must remember every single one of them. We must make it clear that they have no place in our body politic. We must oppose every single effort they ever make to gain a political office.

That may sound harsh, because, well, it is harsh. It is also necessary. The members of Congress who amplify Trump’s lies will make it easier for the next would-be autocrat to succeed, should there be a more pliant Congress in the future. Unless it becomes clear that such behavior will mean the end of their careers, they will suffer no consequences for their promotion of presidential tyranny – and make it much more likely for said tyranny to triumph in the future.

We will see which Senators and Representatives will choose Donald Trump over democracy. We should neither forget nor forgive them for this – ever.

Moreover, Americans who are not prepared to allow tyranny to take power must reject the party that allowed it to get this far. Republicans no longer have the benefit of the doubt. They have squandered it via their embrace of Trump and Trumpism. Until the Republican Party is purged of Trumpism, American political institutions must be purged of Republicans.

Donald Trump will no longer be president in less than three weeks, but the damage he has done to American democracy will take decades to heal. First and foremost, we must keep the wounds clear of infections. We should be grateful that so many of them will be prepared to name themselves by their votes against democracy starting on Wednesday.

Remember their names. Remember their actions. Remove as many from office as possible. Repeat until they’re all gone.

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