EDITORIAL: Pa.'s GOP: Pro-Trump, anti voting

York Dispatch Editorial Board

The next time Rep. Scott Perry comes looking for your vote, ask him what the hell he wants it for.

Because as far as he and too many liked-minded partisan brethren are concerned, Pennsylvania’s ballot boxes might just as well be trash cans.

Perry was one of seven Pennsylvania Congress members — all Republicans — who signed off on an incredible lawsuit out of Texas last week asking the U.S. Supreme Court to overturn presidential election results in the key swings states of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and … Pennsylvania!

That’s right: They sought to overturn the votes of their own constituents — Republicans included — in deference to the charade that President Donald Trump would have won reelection but for voting “irregularities.”

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“Given the failure of Pennsylvania to address these inconsistencies and irregularities, and the violation of constitutional rights, action at the federal level must be considered,” Perry said in a prepared statement.

Inconsistencies? Irregularities? Violations? There’s a dictum in writing: Show, don’t tell. And neither Perry nor Trump’s celebrity lawyer Rudy Giuliani nor anyone else has shown any evidence to support these baseless allegations. There’s a string of 50-plus rejected lawsuits, many in Pennsylvania, many handed down by Republican and even Trump-appointed judges, that attest to this fact. 

For the record, Trump, who has never won a popular vote, didn’t just lose to President-elect Joe Biden last month, he lost soundly: 306-232 in the Electoral College and by more than 7 million ballots in the popular vote.

Yet an unseemly, undemocratic exercise in fantasy has taken much of the Republican Party hostage. Nearly 120 other House Republicans joined Perry & Co. in support of the lawsuit by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton — itself endorsed by GOP attorneys general in 17 other states — which asked the Supreme Court to demand the four swing states throw out the popular results and name presidential electors themselves because “the 2020 election suffered from significant and unconstitutional irregularities.”

Amazing how these “irregularities” only crop up in closely fought states that tipped Democratic, isn’t it?

The Supreme Court, despite a conservative majority and a third of its members being Trump appointees, tersely and summarily rejected the suit.

Left unaddressed by the court but worth noting is the distinct waft of racism emanating from an effort by Republican lawmakers to disenfranchise voters in states where cities like Philadelphia and Detroit, populated largely by people of color, accounted for the margins of victory. To paraphrase one social-media wag, the states that worked hardest to keep African-American citizens from voting tried to sue the states that counted their votes.

Incumbent congressman Scott Perry talks to the media while before voting at the polls at Monaghan Presbyterian Church in Dillsburg Tuesday, Nov. 3, 2020. Perry is defending his seat against Pennsylvania Auditor General Eugene DePasquale. Bill Kalina photo

But it goes beyond even that in Pennsylvania. What do Perry and the state’s Republican lawmakers have against free and fair elections? 

Recall, last week’s support of the Texas lawsuit was preceded by the equally antidemocratic spectacle of 64 Pennsylvania Republicans urging Congress to block their own state from casting electoral votes for Biden. To say nothing of the party’s pre-election efforts to suppress and complicate a pandemic-overshadowed election.

These weaselly maneuvers are especially disappointing given the courageous and patriotic stand taken by Republican state leaders elsewhere, including in Georgia and Arizona. Like Pennsylvania’s lawmakers, they’ve been leaned on by Trump. Unlike Pennsylvania’s lawmakers, they’ve stood up for their residents, the integrity of the election and the very tenets of democracy.

There have been few such profiles in courage among Pennsylvania’s Republican ranks.

The Electoral College is scheduled to formally cast its state-certified ballots Monday, going a long way to finalizing the results and bringing to a close the GOP’s sordid campaign to overturn a free, fair and well-run election. The fabric of the nation’s republic will have held, barely, but it will be no thanks to the Scott Perrys of the political world.

The next time he asks for something as valuable as your vote, remember how much he truly values it.