Gene Nichol: North Carolina’s sedition caucus

U.S. Capitol invaders on Jan. 6 – Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images

In case you missed it yesterday, be sure to check out Prof. Gene Nichol’s skewering of the U.S. House Republicans from North Carolina who, in effect, acted to validate last Wednesday’s violent invasion of the U.S. Capitol with their utterly indefensible votes against certifying Electoral College results and their previous endorsement of a meritless lawsuit brought by the state of Texas pursuing the same purpose.

After noting that being an American is about commitment to great human ideals rather than being a member of a “race, religion, tribe, language, pedigree, geography or ancestry,” Nichol rightfully observes the lawmakers actions were, by definition, “unAmerican.”

Here’s the excellent conclusion to the essay, which is entitled “The North Carolinians who chose Trump over democracy”:

Even Mitch McConnell protested that “the voters, the courts, and the states have all spoken; if we overrule them it will damage our republic forever … our democracy would enter a death spiral.” Our quisling Republicans voted to overthrow the presidential election even after Trump-incited, violent, armed insurrectionists launched an attempted coup against the United States. [Rep. Madison] Cawthorn had apparently spoken at the rally that preceded the terrorist attack. “The Democrats, with all the fraud they have done in this election, the Republicans, hiding and not fighting, they are trying to silence your voice,” he reportedly told the crowd.

Supine loyalty to Trump easily outweighed, for these embarrassing Tar Heels, fealty to the constitution, to democracy, and to the foundational premise of America. They sought to do what our country’s adversaries couldn’t manage – end democracy in the U.S.

Of course, even these transgressions pale next to those of their former Republican House colleague, Mark Meadows, Trump’s partner in the extortion of state officials who courageously refused to lie and steal votes. The North Carolina Republican Party lauds, supports, funds, canvases for, and elects them. They must be proud. Welcome the traitors’ caucus.

Click here to read the entire piece.

The real perpetrators of fraud regarding the 2020 election

(Photo by Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

The United States Congress, a week after the nation’s Capitol was overrun by a violent mob while lawmakers were carrying out one of their paramount duties, now faces a paramount challenge: how to hold President Trump properly accountable for his role in the insurrection.

Failure to do so, whether by forced resignation or impeachment, would be an intolerable insult to the rule of law and thus to America’s system of government.

Trump stoked his followers to malevolent fury as he urged them to fight to overthrow his re-election loss to Joe Biden. It was the culmination of his effort to discredit the election as shot through with voter fraud unless he emerged the winner.

But the alleged “steal” that his followers sought to avenge as they ransacked the Capitol on Jan. 6 and put lawmakers’ lives as risk was a fraud itself. None of the purported evidence Trump cited in his pre-riot harangue on the Ellipse has stood up under inspection by the authorities and the courts as having had any bearing on the election’s outcome. He manifestly didn’t win in a landslide, as he has continued to assert.

This was plain enough to some Republicans who have been among the president’s most stalwart allies – Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, for example. North Carolina’s two senators, Republicans Richard Burr and Thom Tillis, joined the overwhelming majority of their colleagues in bucking Trump’s insistence that Congress refuse to certify Biden’s victory. Both the Senate and House affirmed that victory just hours after reclaiming chambers that had been overrun by rioters.

In the House, however, even with the same outcome the dynamic was different. Among many Republicans there seemed to be an inability, if not an outright refusal, to process what had just occurred – a mob’s brutal invasion of the nation’s civic sanctum.

It was a mob incited by the president, desperate to stay in the White House. And it was a mob all too willing to believe Trump’s bogus claims that he – and they also, as his “army” – had been cheated of their mutual grip on power.

North Carolina’s House Republicans hardly covered themselves with glory as they aligned themselves with the president and his lawless supporting cast.

Of the state’s eight GOP House members, only Rep. Patrick McHenry of Denver (10th District) agreed to certify the contested electors from Pennsylvania – which Trump had spotlighted as a supposed hotbed of fraud despite his failure to offer any proof recognized by the courts. McHenry said that refusing to approve lawfully chosen electors would have violated his oath to uphold the Constitution.

Apparently the other seven – Dan Bishop of Charlotte (Ninth District), Ted Budd of Advance (13th), Madison Cawthorn of Hendersonville (11th), Virginia Foxx of Banner Elk (Fifth), Richard Hudson of Concord (Eighth), Greg Murphy of Greenville (Third) and David Rouzer of Benson (Seventh) – took a more lenient view of their sworn obligations. All were among the 138 Republicans who sided with Trump and the insurrectionists in voting to reject Pennsylvania’s pro-Biden slate of electors. The same group, minus Foxx and Murphy, also voted against the Arizona slate.

Proof? Poof

At his rally before the rioters swarmed to Capitol Hill, Trump unspooled a litany of allegations about election fraud not only in Pennsylvania and Arizona but also in the crucial swing states of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin and Nevada.

Of course, it’s impossible to show that fraud was utterly nonexistent. That provides a fertile ground for conspiracy theories.

What has been affirmed by none other than Trump’s former attorney general, William Barr — who quit just as the post-election drama looked as though it might drag him into the conspiracy quicksand – is that no fraud has been found that would have affected the election’s outcome. Trump and his allies simply can’t bring themselves to acknowledge that their dozens of attempts to challenge the results in various state and federal courts have flopped because, when it comes to any wrongdoing, none of their allegations have held water.

Ironically, Trump in his tirade hit on a kernel of truth when he linked his defeat to the coronavirus pandemic. His mishandling of the plague that has taken in the range of 380,000 American lives certainly was a campaign factor.

But that wasn’t the president’s point. He wasn’t conceding that his failure to lead an aggressive federal response and to convince people to wear masks had given Biden an edge. His complaint was that Democrats took advantage of the pandemic to tilt election rules in their favor and set the stage for fraud.

Which leads to another kernel of truth: Amid the pandemic, election rules in several states indeed were modified so that voting would be both more convenient and safer. For example, in North Carolina, as the virus began cutting its deadly swath last spring, the State Board of Elections proposed among other changes making it easier to vote absentee by mail. The General Assembly responded by reducing the absentee ballot witness requirement from two persons to one. Read more

U.S. House votes to again impeach Trump, as a ‘clear and present danger’

Ten Republicans join with Democrats to impeach President for “incitement of insurrection”

More than 170 cases opened in federal probe of U.S. Capitol attack

Better late than never: Corporate leaders to end contributions to pols who abetted last week’s insurrection

(Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

No more campaign contributions for Bishop, Budd, Cawthorn, Foxx, Hudson, Murphy or Rouzer 

As with so many other things we’ve been witnessing since the U.S. Capitol was assaulted by a right-wing mob last week — the condemnations issued by many conservatives of Donald Trump and the muting of Trump’s lies by social media companies, just to name two — it’s tragic that it took so long for so many people who should have known better to finally wake up and smell the coffee.

That said, it does appear that a growing number of actors who’ve been silent about (or complicit in) Trump’s countless crimes and misdeeds are now rousing themselves to take action.

As a story posted late yesterday by the Washington Post reports, politicians like the seven North Carolina U.S. House members who voted to overturn Joe Biden’s electoral victory last week are about to see some sources of campaign cash dry up:

Marriott, the world’s largest hotel chain, said last week’s chaos at the Capitol caused the company to halt campaign donations to lawmakers who voted against certifying the electoral college results of President-elect Joe Biden’s win — a fresh sign of corporate America’s uneasiness with the violent attacks inspired by President Trump’s words.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association said it would do the same. The provider of health insurance to more than 100 million people said in a statement that its political action committee was suspending contributions “to those lawmakers who voted to undermine our democracy.”

Commerce Bank also said in a statement that its PAC has “suspended all support for officials who have impeded the peaceful transfer of power.” It has bank branches in five states, mostly in the Midwest.

Let’s hope this is just the beginning of a new, widespread and lasting trend. As Newsweek, business reporter Hank Gilman reports this morning, it could make a real difference if Trump-enabling corporations come to their senses and mend their ways:

CEOs can also drain the swamp. For instance, end corporate support of organizations such as the conservative American Legislative Exchange Council, which has backed, for instance state “stand your ground” gun laws. Also: be careful about who you do business with. The law firm Foley & Lardner works with a number of corporate clients such as CVS and Major League Baseball. They were also the law firm that, until recently, employed Cleta Mitchell. She’s the lawyer who was on the phone with Trump when he appeared to shake down Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger for votes. The law firm, known for its Republican election law practice, was just shocked that Mitchell was doing such things. Well, corporations might consider doing business with law firms that don’t employ folks like Mitchell. (But they won’t, I know.)

The point is this: if you want to avoid the behavior you just witnessed in Washington, cut off the money—even if it is good for business and your shareholders. Newsweek contributor Sam Hill, who used to live deep in the heart of Big Business, says it best: “Turn off the money spigot…if business wants to stop this madness, they will stop funding extremist politicians.”