A democratic republic is a fragile thing. A large, diverse one such as ours is more fragile still.
Conservatives, whose political philosophy is rooted in the importance of tradition and preserving institutions, should know this. Yet too many are ignoring the obvious damage that President Donald Trump has done—and continues to do—by denying his electoral loss.
I write as a conservative, a lifelong Republican, and a committed member of the Federalist Society. I have worked as counsel and adviser to several Senate Republicans. I am delighted by how well the party performed relative to expectations in this election and think it of vital importance that Republicans retain both Senate seats in January’s runoff elections. I’m quite alarmed by the policy agenda of the incoming Biden administration. But none of that changes my horror at an American president undermining faith in our democracy. Republicans—especially those serving in public office—have a duty to condemn this.
To be clear, the president has every right, even an obligation, to pursue legal remedies if he and his team have identified irregularities or fraud in the election result. It’s also his prerogative, if churlish, to refuse to concede until the process has run its course and results are certified. He has not, however, confined himself to this. Instead, he’s insisted, without evidence, that the election in multiple states was “stolen” and “rigged.” And with each court appearance, even the more modest claims his legal team is willing to make on the record look ever more specious.