It’s madness to support the Texas lawsuit

I was disappointed to learn in Friday’s Marietta Times that the Washington County Commissioners resolved to request that Ohio Attorney General David Yost reverse his opposition to the Texas lawsuit. Texas Attorney General Paxton’s strategy was a coordinated attempt to use legal means to reject the will of the American people, a Biden-Harris victory which roughly half of the Republican members of Congress (including our Representative Johnson) and our own Commissioners apparently refuse to accept. 2020 has been a bizarre year, and so I suppose in some ways this is a fitting ending. I am gratified to see that Senator Mitt Romney at least recognizes this lawsuit for what it is: madness. While Romney acknowledges the President’s right to pursue legal recourse in the aftermath of his defeat, he maintains that “this effort to subvert the vote of the people is dangerous and destructive of the cause of democracy.” Paxton is under indictment for securities fraud, and this sordid attempt appears to be transparent abuse of his position to ingratiate himself for a pardon. In the process of writing this I was gratified to learn that the SCOTUS refused to hear the case. The signatures of those who scrambled to support this gambit had barely time to dry before it was cast upon the smoldering heap of failed lawsuits that the President’s followers have attempted on his behalf.

It’s not the hail of Hail-Mary attempts by the President and his minions that troubles me as much as the effortless way our representatives reject long-standing democratic norms because an election didn’t turn out the way they wanted it to. Paxton’s long-shot attempt to overturn the outcome (by ultimately forcing four states to appoint a separate set of electors) represents a breath-taking attempt at the very type of judicial activism that conservatives decry. By eroding public confidence in the legitimacy of elections, these lawsuits are a double-edged sword that inflict significant injury on a bedrock norm of American democracy that ultimately harm Democrats and Republicans alike.

In fact, 17 Republicans who signed on to the doomed Texas lawsuit were elected on the very ballots it sought to overturn! These scorched-earth tactics have no place in our politics, and their acceptance is an unfortunate consequence of a desperate party that used to be defined by a set of principles rather than loyalty to a (deeply flawed and legitimately defeated) man.

Dr. Matthew Young



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