By David Avella | WashingtonExaminer.com
December 29, 2020
Will Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi rob Iowa voters by seating Democratic House candidate Rita Hart instead of the actual election winner in Iowa’s 2nd District, Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks?
Hart is challenging the certified election results and seeking for the U.S. House to declare her the winner. The same may occur in upstate New York, where Democratic incumbent Rep. Anthony Brindisi and former Republican congresswoman Claudia Tenney are separated by fewer than 20 votes.
House Democrats refusing to validate certified election results in two closely contested districts is not exactly a crime. However, it certainly would rob voters in Iowa’s 2nd Congressional District and New York’s 22nd District of what they decided with their votes. This would unlikely bother Speaker Pelosi, as it would give her two more Democratic votes that are completely beholden to her. It is almost impossible to imagine a single action by Speaker Pelosi and House Democrats doing more to unite House Republicans and becoming more determined in their opposition.
Recently, some House Democrats have openly suggested they might ignore these outcomes and simply seat the Democrats based on the Rules of the House that allow that body to make the ultimate decision as to who is allowed to hold office in the chamber.
It is certainly in Democrats’ playbook for keeping power and control. In 1985, when the Democrats were in the majority in the House, there was a very close election in the 8th Congressional District of Indiana. Republican Rick McIntyre was certified the winner by the Indiana Secretary of State. However, the House Democrats chose to ignore that outcome and seat the Democrat, Frank McCloskey. No Republican Speaker has ever required the House to take such action.
There is every reason to believe that decision in 1985 set the stage for the bitterness and rancor that increases every year. House Republicans were rightfully outraged. Led by Newt Gingrich, Republicans walked out of the Chamber. The rest, as they say, is history.
Some will argue that House Democrats are not threatening democracy any more than what President Trump is doing with his court challenges and lobbying to have electoral votes given to him. It’s the equivalent of claiming apples are the same as oranges. Trump is asking others to allow an outcome he prefers. House Democrats are telling us they will decide for themselves what the outcome will be. The actual equivalent would be for Trump to claim that Bill Barr gets to decide who won the presidential election.
State courts with a set number of years to serve do not get to tell the legislature that they have decided things should be as they are for federal judges. Thus, they will serve for life. Elections should be decided by the legal votes of those residing in a given jurisdiction, not by the whims of the party in the majority at any given point in time.
One final point about the action taken in 1985 leading down an ugly path. Gingrich, and a unified and emboldened group of House Republicans, vowed to put an end to “business as usual.” Their resolve led to taking down Speaker Jim Wright of Texas, and later establishing a Republican majority in 1994.
The bottom line is simple. If Democrats indeed turn a blind eye to what the voters in Iowa and New York decided with their votes, Republicans will have no choice but to fight them on virtually everything. With many Democrats now mouthing the words of bipartisanship and unity, their actions would certainly result in unintended consequences.