Republicans of conscience must reject these extremists. Yet polls show that alarming numbers of GOP voters believe their lies. If a Jody Hice or a Mark Finchem were to win, it would become all the more important for other elected officials to defend democracy. In many places, the nuts-and-bolts election administration and vote-counting occur at the county level; local officials would have to resist undue intrusion.
These candidacies also underline the need to reform the office of state secretary of state. Empowering partisan elected officials to run voting systems is an unusual and questionable practice; at the least, states should consider barring them from seeking higher office, imposing stricter ethics rules or creating accreditation processes for top elections officials.
It is seductive to imagine that the danger to U.S. democracy passed with Mr. Trump’s departure. In fact, it may have only begun.