Passing the 'stress test': Meet the Republicans in key battleground states who rejected Trump election assault

Passing the 'stress test': Meet the Republicans in key battleground states who rejected Trump election assault
Raffensperger, Photo via Screengrab.

Critics of President Donald Trump — from liberals and progressives to right-wing Never Trump conservatives — are slamming Republicans in Congress who refuse to publicly acknowledge Joe Biden as president-elect or speak out against Trump's election-related lawsuits. But New York Times reporters Peter Baker and Kathleen Gray, in an article published on November 28, emphasize that in key battleground states, some of the people who have refused to indulge Team Trump's legal challenges and bogus election fraud claims are Republicans.

"If the president hoped Republicans across the country would fall in line behind his false and farcical claims that the election was somehow rigged on a mammoth scale by a nefarious multinational conspiracy, he was in for a surprise," Baker and Gray explain. "Republicans in Washington may have indulged Mr. Trump's fantastical assertions, but at the state and local level, Republicans played a critical role in resisting the mounting pressure from their own party to overturn the vote after Mr. Trump fell behind on November 3."

Team Trump has been challenging the election results in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona, Georgia and Wisconsin, all of which are states that Trump won in 2016 but were flipped by Biden in 2020. Altogether, Biden won 306 electoral votes, which is exactly how many Trump won four years ago.

"The three weeks that followed (the November 3 election) tested American democracy and demonstrated that the two-century-old system is far more vulnerable to subversion than many had imagined even though the incumbent president lost by 6 million votes nationwide," Baker and Gray note. "But in the end, the system stood firm against the most intense assault from an aggrieved president in the nation's history because of a Republican city clerk in Michigan, a Republican secretary of state in Georgia, a Republican county supervisor in Arizona and Republican-appointed judges in Pennsylvania and elsewhere."

The Times reporters add, "They refuted conspiracy theories, certified results, dismissed lawsuits and repudiated a president of their own party, leaving him to thunder about a supposed plot that would have had to include people who had voted for him, donated to him or even been appointed by him. The desperate effort to hang onto office over the will of the people effectively ended when his own director of the General Services Administration determined that Joseph R. Biden Jr. is the president-elect and a judge Mr. Trump put on the bench chastised him for ludicrous litigation."

In Pennsylvania, Trump's legal team — including former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani — has been trying to get millions of mail-in votes thrown out, claiming that Trump was the real winner in the Keystone State and that he was the victim of widespread voter fraud. But on November 27, Judge Stephanos Bibas — a Trump appointee — dismissed one of Team Trump's Pennsylvania lawsuits, saying, "charges of unfairness are serious. But calling an election unfair does not make it so. Charges require specific allegations and then proof. We have neither here."

Other Republicans who have rejected Trump's voter fraud claims, Baker and Gray point out, have ranged from Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to Arizona House Speaker Rusty Bowers.

However, Baker and Gray note that in Georgia, Raffensperger is being lambasted by pro-Trump Republicans who include Sen. Kelly Loeffler and Sen. David Perdue — both of whom called for his resignation — as well as Rep. Doug Collins.

Attorney Mark Aronchick, who has represented the City of Philadelphia in some of the lawsuits brought against it by the Trump campaign, believes that the legal system has worked well despite Trump's willingness to abuse it.

"This period of time, with all the things that the Trump campaign were throwing, I viewed as very much a stress test on what I will shout from the rooftops is the best legal system the world has ever seen, in terms of independence of the judiciary and the rule of law," Aronchick told the Times. "And at both the state and federal level, the system has come through with flying colors."

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