“If the losing party won’t accept defeat, democracy is dead”

Ned Foley in WaPo:

If the losing party can’t accept defeat, the whole enterprise of electoral democracy is finished. Two-party competition means each party taking turns depending on what the voters want in any given election.

President Trump himself will never acknowledge this. But the Republican Party institutionally must. That is the critical challenge facing Senate Republicans and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): When and how decisively will they pull the plug on Trump’s desperate effort to force upon the nation a second term that he did not earn from the electorate?

If the United States is to adhere to its foundational premise that governments derive their just powers from the consent of the governed, then Senate Republicans as a party in government need to recognize President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration not merely as a fait accompli they cannot undo but instead the actual choice that the voters genuinely made in this election….

I remain unshaken in my confidence that, when Congress meets on Jan. 6 to perform its constitutional duty, it will properly announce Biden as the election’s winner.

The remaining questions are how many Republican senators will vote for Biden if the matter is put to a vote through challenges to slates of electors — and, more fundamentally, how many Republicans will forthrightly acknowledge the authenticity of Biden’s election.

There is no basis for denying this. Even the most conservative of election law commentators have joined the chorus to observe that courts don’t overturn elections without adequate evidence of invalid votes that actually made a difference in the outcome. The Trump campaign has provided no proof of that kind in any state, much less the three necessary to deny Biden an electoral college majority.

This president’s intransigence is having costly spillover effects. It is taking a toll on Republican voters’ confidence in the election results. It is causing the kind of corrosive behavior that occurred in Michigan, where the Wayne County canvassing board split 2-2 over certifying its vote tallies, despite it being obvious that Biden has won the state by a margin more than 10 times Trump’s 2016 win. The two local Republicans quickly came to their senses, but not before Team Trump tweeted about its “huge win” — and now it seems they to want to revert to rank partisanship.

The longer McConnell and his colleagues allow this unnecessary uncertainty about the election’s outcome to fester, the worse off our democracy will be.

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