Day by day, President Trump’s efforts to overturn the results of a free and fair election grow more brazen. Day by day, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and other so-called leaders of the Republican Party grow more complicit in this banana-republic style assault on democracy.
As one Trump court challenge after another fails, it is easy to dismiss his claims that the election was “stolen” as nothing but a public relations stunt. Not a harmless stunt, to be sure; he is guaranteeing that millions of Americans will see President-elect Joe Biden as less than legitimate and their own democratic system as corrupt. But a stunt, nonetheless. Watching the latest ravings of campaign lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, who on Thursday posited with no evidence whatsoever a series of increasingly wild conspiracy theories, it was possible to feel any number of emotions: pity, fury, astonishment. But nothing in his unhinged performance would lead a serious person to fear that the election results were in danger of being voided in court.
But it is a different matter entirely when the president intervenes directly in an effort to persuade state officials to overturn the voting results. This is what Mr. Trump is now doing. Having lost an election by a decisive margin, and then having lost one legal challenge to that result after another, he is now strong-arming local Republicans to simply ignore and override the results.