“The Republican Party came far too close to installing an insurrectionist as speaker.
But perhaps we should not be surprised; that near-willingness to install Jordan two heartbeats from the Oval Office is just the latest example of a perilously close call that would have put our political system in serious jeopardy.
In 2020, a shift of 44,000 votes in three states would have resulted in an electoral tie, throwing the presidential race into the House of Representatives, where the arcane rules would have very likely led to a Trump reelection despite his clear popular vote loss.
On Jan. 6, a majority of House Republicans voted against certifying President Joe Biden’s election win. And within a few days or weeks, the base of the GOP — and a thumping majority of its elected officials — had come to terms with Trump’s efforts to overturn the election and remain in power by whatever means might work. But for the courage of local GOP officials in state legislatures and agencies, that effort might well have succeeded.
The 2022 midterms did not produce a red wave and some of the more zealous election deniers — Kari Lake in Arizona, Doug Mastriano in Pennsylvania — were defeated. But hundreds of election deniers won or were returned to seats in state legislatures and the U.S. House. Just as significant, Trump loyalists have won posts on canvassing boards, as election registrars, as county officials with significant power to judge the validity of votes. While new federal legislation makes it harder for Congress to reject certified electoral votes, the picture back at the grassroots is different: The potential for suppressing or rejecting valid votes may now be greater than it was in 2020.“