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Opinion
Jonathan Bernstein

Even Mainstream Republicans Are Pretty Extreme

The narrow House passage of the Electoral Count Act shows that most rank-and-file members aren’t willing to defend the Constitution.

Looking over the electoral cote count, Jan. 7, 2021. 

Looking over the electoral cote count, Jan. 7, 2021. 

Photographer: Stefani Reynolds/Bloomberg

The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed its updated version of the Electoral Count Act, the archaic and loophole-filled law governing how Congress certifies presidential elections. The Senate has yet to act on its own version, which is similar, but with 10 co-sponsors from each party, it appears to be well on its way to passage, and there’s every possibility that a reconciled bill will be signed into law later this year.

So much for the good news. The less good news is what the House passage of the bill — on close to a party-line vote, with only nine Republicans joining all Democrats — says about the state of the Republican Party. As it turns out, when it comes to defending democracy, so-called mainstream Republicans may not be so different from extremist Republicans.