Trump's threat to again dampen the GOP vote could be a blessing for democracy

St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board (TNS)
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally on Sept. 25, 2021, in Perry, Georgia. (Sean Rayford/Getty Images/TNS)

In what is being widely interpreted as a threat against his own party, former President Donald Trump is warning that Republicans won’t get out and vote next year if the GOP doesn’t “solve” (whatever that means) the nonexistent vote fraud he falsely claims deprived him of reelection last year. If Republicans continue to stand behind a man who is willing to tank their party for his personal agenda, then they deserve tanking even more than we already thought they did.

Trump, of course, lost the 2020 election by 7 million votes nationally and was defeated by a substantial margin in the Electoral College. Joe Biden’s clear victory in the most closely monitored and reviewed election in U.S. history has been confirmed by dozens of courts that patiently sifted through the Trump campaign’s mountains of outlandish allegations of voter fraud and found none to be valid.

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Yet almost a year later, Trump continues to bang this delusional drum — and to demand that Republican politicians everywhere march to it. To their shame, most have either done so or have been conspicuously silent in the face of Trump’s big lie, which threatens the very foundations of elective democracy. Seldom if ever has a major political party provided such clear-cut evidence of its own unfitness for power.

It would be fitting if that continuing fealty to a madman is what costs the party its shot at retaking Congress in next year’s midterms. That could (and perhaps should) be the result of Trump’s obsession with keeping his vote-fraud fantasy at the top of every GOP ticket.

“If we don’t solve the Presidential Election Fraud of 2020 (which we have thoroughly and conclusively documented), Republicans will not be voting in ’22 or ’24,” Trump said in a statement last week. “It is the single most important thing for Republicans to do.”

The “thoroughly and conclusively documented” bit is just another Trumpian lie, of course, and what he means by “solved” is anyone’s guess. Is it conceivable that after four years in the White House, Trump is still so ignorant about the Constitution that he thinks he can be reinstalled as president a year after losing reelection? In the twisted mind of this narcissist, anything might be possible.

But what should drive Republicans into a well-deserved panic is Trump’s prediction (ultimatum?) that “Republicans will not be voting” if he doesn’t get some satisfaction. It’s similar to his pouty, self-serving comments before Georgia’s special Senate elections earlier this year. Many believe those comments helped to tamp down Republican turnout, resulting in two Democratic victories and a Democratic-majority Senate.

Some prominent Republicans of conscience have started calling on their fellow party members to vote for Democrats next year as a means of cleansing the GOP of its Trumpian cancer. It’s good advice — and it would be delicious irony if Trump himself helps make that happen.

— From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch Editorial Board (TNS).