What on earth was President Trump doing on the phone with Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger asking for 11,780 more votes? What is going on in Senator Josh Hawley’s head that prompted his plan to challenge the electoral college vote? And more than 10 dozen House Republicans, reportedly, plan a similar stunt. Could it be the full moon?
The belief that a full moon leads to craziness is well established. Hal Arkowitz and Scott Lilienfeld, writing in the Scientific American write:
“[M]any people think the mystical powers of the full moon induce erratic behaviors, psychiatric hospital admissions, suicides, homicides, emergency room calls, traffic accidents, fights at professional hockey games, dog bites and all manner of strange events. One survey revealed that 45 percent of college students believe moonstruck humans are prone to unusual behaviors, and other surveys suggest that mental health professionals may be still more likely than laypeople to hold this conviction. “
Add to the list of “unusual behaviors” the belief that Joe Biden “stole” the 2020 election, or that somehow the certified election results will be thrown out despite the absence of credible evidence of voting fraud.
Notwithstanding any possible connection between the lunar cycle and the circus expected to take place today (January 6) at the Capitol, the legislators involved need to be held accountable. The nonsense has gone too far. Have you read the op-ed of 10 former Secretaries of Defense warning of the dangers of the military getting involved in the electoral dispute? Do we really need to worry that Trump might attempt some sort of military coup to stay in power? Apparently, yes.
Can this nonsense go on indefinitely? Fortunately, no. The Georgia Senate race is now behind us. By the time the sun sets today, Biden’s electoral win will be certified. Absent some truly strange development—and the president should not be underestimated—the “Game Over” light will start flashing brightly. Even a self-described genius like Trump should realize that it’s time to stand up and go home.
As this piece is being written, rumors continue that President Trump will skip the inaugural ceremonies after flying (at our expense, of course) to Scotland on January 19. Let’s hope this rumor is true. A Washington, D.C. without Trump on January 20 is likely to be one with fewer super-spreader events, less violence, and more hope. I hope the rumors are true.
Once Trump is out of office, I wish him all success on the golf course. On the issue of his probable prosecution by New York and other states, I, to quote Melania Trump’s infamous coat, really don’t care. Do you?
I do care about the Republicans who challenged the electoral college vote. Their attempt to overturn the election, as futile as it is likely to be, was a threat to democracy. Shouldn’t they be held accountable?
The full list of the reported 140 House members was not available as this was being written. I expect the Eastern Shore’s own Andy Harris is among them. No surprise there. Harris also signed onto an amicus brief in support of Texas’s Supreme Court case challenging the election.
Although voters most likely will have the only say in ridding Congress of the legislators involved in this week’s electoral college stunt, there is another solution. It won’t happen, but Congress could also choose to expel the legislators involved.
The framers of the Constitution foresaw the possibility that circumstances might develop requiring the expulsion of House or Senate members. Wisely, Article 1, Section 5, Clause 2 was included in the Constitution: “Each House [of Congress] may determine the Rules of its proceedings, punish its members for disorderly behavior, and, with the concurrence of two-thirds, expel a member.”
The authority to remove duly elected members of the House and Senate was granted without additional limitation. Unlike the power to impeach a president, which includes a reference to “high crimes and misdemeanors,” the House and Senate can, in theory, expel any member for pretty much anything.
I’m not sure it would be a good idea to expel more than 150 legislators for their misguided loyalty to Trump, but we should remember the Power to Expel if this nonsense continues. It’s time to turn out the lights on Trump.
J.E. Dean of Oxford is a retired attorney and public affairs consultant. For more than 30 years, he advised clients on federal education and social service policy.