Saturday, January 09, 2021

Republicans' continued pursuance of the "stolen election" fiction makes no sense

After Wednesday's shocking insurrection at the US Capitol building, many Republican congress-men and -women seem to have seen the error of their ways and have definitively broken with Donald Trump, and with his assertion that the election was "stolen" from him. For many, Trump has well and truly "jumped the shark" with his incitement of the far-right rent-a-mob, and with his dogged pursuance of the electoral fraud narrative, even in the face of over 60 failed court cases.

A disquieting number of them, however, remain intransigently adamant that the election was indeed fraudulent, despite all evidence to the contrary. Just hours after the storming of the hallowed halls of Congress by an unruly mob, no less than 147 Republican members of Congress objected to the certification of Joe Biden as President (8 Senators and 139 Representatives). This represents just 5% of Republican Senators (chief among them Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley, both of whom have pretentions to standing for president in 2024), but fully two-thirds of the Republican Representatives in the House.

So, what gives? Are these people making a principled stand against what they see as an egregious miscarriage of justice? Are they just grandstandingor shit-disturbing for no apparent good reason? Are they still in thrall to the Svengali-like charisma of Trump, or maybe scared of what push-back or retaliation Trump might enact? Are they just stupid? What is their angle?

Arguably, Cruz and Hawley have at least some motivation, keen as they both are to inherit the mantle of Trumpism for themselves in the next election, as well as the hordes of rabid and undiscriminating supporters that come with it (although they are facing a substantial backlash from everybody else). But why would all these other lesser-known Republicans stick with the "stolen election" fiction? Even Trump seems to have pretty much given up on it, and has been broadcasting something close to acceptance of the result (in between more claims of skullduggery and fraud - the man has not suddenly become all sensible and consistent!)

Maybe this all makes some kind of twisted sense to Americans, but to the billions of us outside of the USA it makes absolutely no sense whatsoever.

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