Subversive acts must come with a cost

Republicans should not be allowed to undermine a legitimate election with impunity

A crowd participated in the pro-Trump "Stop the Steal" protest at city hall in Colorado Springs on Nov. 7, 2020. (Quentin Young/Colorado Newsline)

If a foreign adversary undermined an American election and through deceit and disinformation attempted to overturn the results in favor of the losing candidate, patriots would treat such activity as warlike hostilities.

An adversary is, in fact, undermining the Nov. 3 election. But it is not foreign — it is a sizable and increasingly emboldened faction of the Republican Party. The primary theaters of its assaults against democracy have been Pennsylvania, Georgia, Arizona and other battleground states, where it has schemed to corrupt public officials and eliminate the will of voters. But it is also active in Colorado, and Coloradans who want to see the republic preserved are obliged to respond.

The duty of Coloradans is to ensure that subversion and sedition, of the forms committed by Republicans in their mission to scratch the election, comes with a cost. These malefactors expect to spread doubt about election integrity with impunity, casting lies about voter fraud here and baseless lawsuits there, as if it’s all of a piece with campaign hardball. Constituents must attach a price to this behavior. Otherwise the present outrages against democracy will be its future demise.

THE MORNING NEWSLETTER
Subscribe now.

President Trump from the moment it became clear he lost the election claimed without evidence that the vote was fraudulent. No matter how outrageous his attacks on election integrity, no matter how destructive to constitutional order, his supporters, including top elected Republicans, have conspired to advance his campaign of subversion. As recently as Dec. 5, just 27 congressional Republicans had acknowledged Joe Biden’s win, according to The Washington Post. Trump has personally asked elected Republican state officials to reject vote results. Supporters have filed about 50 lawsuits around the country seeking to overturn the Nov. 3 results, but courts have consistently judged the suits meritless. The Supreme Court, with three Trump appointees, delivered to Trump his latest embarrassing rebuke when it declined to hear a case from Pennsylvania Republicans, who tried to block certification of election results in that state. Now Texas is at the Supreme Court suing Pennsylvania, Michigan, Wisconsin and Georgia, seeking to get Biden’s win in those states tossed. The case is bizarre as it is reckless and groundless — yet 17 other red states have signed on to support it.

Trump did not win the election. There is no evidence of widespread election fraud. But Republican subversives are persuading millions of citizens that American elections are rigged, a lie that threatens the nation’s foundation.

Lauren Boebert, Republican candidate for Colorado’s 3rd Congressional District, speaks to supporters and the press during a MAGA meet up with the Trump Victory Team at the Old Mesa County Courthouse in Grand Junction, Oct. 8, 2020. (Barton Glasser for Colorado Newsline)

Rep.-elect Lauren Boebert is one of them. Boebert is the new face of the Colorado Republican Party, and she is also the party’s most vocal proponent of canceling democracy. A newcomer to politics, she never had any real policy proposals, nor does she today. The extent of Boebert’s pitch to voters was a regurgitation of MAGA talking points and alt-right buzzwords mixed with gushing fealty to President Trump. No surprise, then, that she has promoted Trump’s efforts to quash the people’s will.

“I believe that President Trump needs to keep fighting,” Boebert told Maria Bartiromo on Fox News on Dec. 4. “We have so much evidence to prove that this election was not right and that Joe Biden is not more popular than Hillary Clinton, he is not more popular than Barack Obama, and he did not receive more than 80 million votes here in the United States.” On Wednesday she tweeted support for the Texas lawsuit, writing, “This election is not over.” It was just one of about a dozen tweets over the previous week in which she promoted the notion that Americans shouldn’t trust election results.

Boebert hasn’t even been sworn in yet, but already she has abused her position. Her efforts to undo a legitimate election bring disrepute to all Colorado and represent a danger to the whole country.

Boebert is hardly alone. Earlier this week a group of Colorado House Republicans sent a letter to state House Speaker KC Becker calling for an investigation into Colorado’s election software and voting machines, and for the creation of an election integrity commission. The signers included Rep. Dave Williams and outgoing Minority Leader Patrick Neville. This was followed Wednesday by an announcement from the Legislative Audit Committee, which is chaired by Republican Rep. Lori Saine, that the committee next week will “hear testimony and learn from expert witnesses regarding the integrity of Colorado’s election processes.” Such a hearing can only corrode Coloradans’ faith in the state’s eminently secure elections.

On Thursday came the news that U.S. Reps. Ken Buck and Doug Lamborn, along with more than 100 of their Republican colleagues, had joined the Texas lawsuit at the Supreme Court. In so doing they disqualified themselves as honest servants of their districts and secured for themselves a legacy of dishonor.

These officials and other Colorado Republicans in the General Assembly, on county commissions and elsewhere who have advanced the perfidious notion that the election was stolen must be held accountable — at the very least by forceful and perpetual reminders wherever they go of the betrayal they have committed against those they purport to serve.

The false GOP election-fraud narrative escalates the threat of violence. “He should be drawn and quartered … Taken out at dawn and shot,” Trump campaign lawyer Joseph diGenova said of former top U.S. cybersecurity official Christopher Krebs, after Krebs contradicted Trump’s claims of election fraud. The Arizona Republican Party encouraged Twitter followers to give their life “for this fight.” Boebert on Dec. 6 declared that “The determination of 1776 has been reignited.” No one needs to be reminded that 1776 is shorthand for armed rebellion.

Boebert might be as prepared as America’s original rebels to spill blood for a cause. But, unlike the Revolution, her cause is unjust, untruthful and unforgivable. Coloradans should never let her forget it.

HELP US GROW
Make a tax-deductible donation.