Republicans in Congress, the preferred voices of almost exactly half of a riven nation, have only 48 hours until they must make one of the most consequential choices of a fractious time — between upholding constitutional democracy or declaring the American electoral system a sham.
The Constitution will almost certainly survive, no matter how many vote Wednesday to overturn the presidential election. But the already fragile faith of the people in their republic will remain under unprecedented assault, commanded by a sitting president and fueled by the dozens of senators and House members who decide to prioritize the potential political risk from crossing him over their sworn fealty to the rule of law.
Long after the special session of Congress to count the electoral votes is over, with the lawful and decisive election of Joe Biden finalized once GOP senators and House members cast their lots for history, no other aspect of American democracy's dysfunction will matter nearly as much.
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Scofield has a doctorate in comparative constitutional law and teaches government at Blinn College in Texas.
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Smith is the vice president for litigation and strategy at the Campaign Legal Center, a nonprofit focused on bolstering voting rights and curbing money's influence on politics.
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