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Kidding on the square

“First, you think the Supreme Court should enforce the 14th Amendment. Then, you don’t think the Supreme Court should declare the loser of the presidential election the winner by fiat. Make up your mind!”

Jamelle Bouie is good on the “game” a majority of the Republican Party is playing with the lawsuit filed by the Attorney General of the nation’s second-largest state seeking to destroy liberal democracy in America:

With no evidence that Republicans have really thought about the implications of a victory in the courts, I think we can say that these briefs and lawsuits are part of a performance, where the game is not to break kayfabe (the conceit, in professional wrestling, that what is fake is real). Still, we’ve learned something from this game, in the same way we learn something about an audience when it laughs.

We have learned that the Republican Party, or much of it, has abandoned whatever commitment to electoral democracy it had to begin with. That it views defeat on its face as illegitimate, a product of fraud concocted by opponents who don’t deserve to hold power. That it is fully the party of minority rule, committed to the idea that a vote doesn’t count if it isn’t for its candidates, and that if democracy won’t serve its partisan and ideological interests, then so much for democracy.

None of this is new — there is a whole tradition of reactionary, counter-majoritarian thought in American politics to which the conservative movement is heir — but it is the first time since the 1850s that these ideas have nearly captured an entire political party. And while the future is unwritten, the events of the past month make me worry that we’re following a script the climax of which requires a disaster.

Repeatedly, Texas’s Jim Crow reply brief gets straight to the point:

When Wisconsin Republicans arrange things so that the voters in Milwaukee don’t count, and explicitly defend ending democratic elections for the state legislature because votes from Milwaukee shouldn’t count, and the hack Republican majority on the Supreme Court blesses the ending of democratic elections for state legislatures because they believe it will benefit their party, they’re just being conventional Republicans.

There is little hope we will ever come close to fully enforcing the Reconstruction amendments, but it actually does provide a remedy for traitors like the 106 House members urging the Supreme Court to end liberal democracy in America:

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