“House Republicans who opposed 2020 electoral votes paid no price”


In the hours after a violent mob stormed the U.S. Capitol, hoping to block Joe Biden’s 2020 presidential win and retain Donald Trump as president, more than 130 Republican members of the House voted to do precisely that. The rioters tried to use intimidation and physical obstruction to achieve that goal. The Republican legislators used votes.

Specifically, they voted to reject the elector slates submitted by Arizona, Pennsylvania or both. The putative rationale for rejecting those electoral votes was an evolving, vaguely articulated set of concerns about the results and fraud. It didn’t really matter; Republicans had decided that the path for Trump to retain power was for them to block electors, so that’s what they tried to do.

Immediately afterward, there was outcry. Corporations pledged not to support their campaigns. Media outlets were deliberate about noting which politicians had tried to reject the electoral votes.

Then the 2022 midterm elections arrived and, of those who had opposed counting electoral votes and who were running for reelection, all but two won.

The potential political costs for those rejecting the Arizona and Pennsylvania results came to mind this week as Talking Points Memo published newly obtained text-message chains between then-White House chief of staff Mark Meadows and Republican legislators. Those messages show that many of those who ultimately tried to block Arizona’s and Pennsylvania’s electors were generally agitating to keep Trump in power. So it was natural to ask: Was their own political influence dampened by the effort?

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