Michael Gerson
It is particularly obscene for an administration that has abdicated the work of pandemic response to undercut a new administration determined to mount a serious effort. Trump seems determined to extend his legacy of incompetence and needless death as far into the future as possible. — Michael Gerson
The election is over, but there’s no end to Republican bad faith
It is not over.

The presidential election is certainly over, and the result was not particularly close. President-elect Joe Biden won a decisive majority of the popular vote and likely a considerable electoral college victory. Claims of widespread electoral fraud would be spurious even if they weren’t made by a prating fool in front of a Philadelphia landscaping firm. The 2020 election is done. Concluded. Finished.

What has not ended — what seems endless — is Republican bad faith and poltroonery.

I am not referring here to those voters for President Trump who have been misled into false hope. It is not hard to convince people who distrust elites and are prone to conspiracy theories that elites are plotting to deny “real” Americans their influence. It does not even matter if the vote-counters are Republicans, because that is exactly what a conspiracy would do to hide its nefarious work.

No, it is Republican leaders who are responsible for poisoning whatever wells of goodwill still exist in our republic. Having aided Trump’s autocratic delusions, they are now abetting his assault on the orderly transfer of power. Through their active support or guilty silence, most elected Republicans are encouraging their fellow citizens to believe that America’s democratic system is fundamentally corrupt. No agent of China or Russia could do a better job of sabotage. Republicans are fostering cynicism about the constitutional order on a massive scale. They are stumbling toward sedition.

... What explains this degree of deference to a besieged, erratic lame-duck president? Some legislators claim that they are just providing time for Trump to cool down and accustom himself to the election result. They believe, apparently, that the president just needs a little encouragement and self-care before he will do the right thing. This theory is less compelling on the 1,001st unsuccessful attempt. Trump will not sacrifice any personal interest merely for the good of the country. He will interpret anything short of opposition as permission. And permission is clearly what many elected Republicans intend to provide.

... It is particularly obscene for an administration that has abdicated the work of pandemic response to undercut a new administration determined to mount a serious effort. Trump seems determined to extend his legacy of incompetence and needless death as far into the future as possible.

... It is one thing to vote for a demagogue. It is another to support a demagogue as he tries to destroy the credibility of voting itself. This is where the Republican Party finds itself at the shabby political end of Donald Trump: as an ally to illiberalism.