In a rational world, it would be unnecessary to write articles about whether Republicans were willing to concede the election on December 15. (It would also be unnecessary to write articles that begin with “in a rational world,” since it would be.) However, back here on the planet where Donald Trump continues to occupy the White House, the Electoral College voted on Monday to hand Joe Biden a decisive 306 to 232 victory. As a result, those Republicans who had previously used the ridiculous standard of insisting on waiting for the electors before acknowledging Biden’s win, demonstrated that their days of being ridiculous have come to a definite middle.
Despite the last “faithless electors will save him” nail going into Trump’s reelection coffin, multiple Republicans in House and Senate continued to mealy mouth their way around admitting that Biden was the president-elect. And even those who did admit it, often did so in the way that demonstrates how fear of Trump occupies 90% of their waking thoughts.
The New York Times notes that some Republicans “warily” acknowledged the outcome of the Electoral College vote. That acknowledgement came in the form of statements like those of Lindsey Graham who declared that there was now “a very, very narrow path” for Trump to keep his feet on the Resolute Desk. And that’s pretty much it. The list of Republicans who stood up to make a definitive “The college has voted, Joe Biden is the 46th president” statements seems to be about as long as those willing to admit that their tax cut for billionaires will never, ever come close to paying for itself.
Instead, as Buzzfeed News reports, there are a whole list of Republicans who, like Graham, were willing to confess that things were getting tough for Trump, what with running up a 1-59 record in the courts and getting definitively turned down in every effort to corrupt state officials and legislators. Asked whether they were ready to declare Joe Biden the winner of the election, Sen. John Barrasso called it a “gotcha question.” Sen. Thom Tillis acknowledges the vote “pending any lawsuits that could change it.” Sen. Kevin Cramer debated whether there was such a thing as “president-elect.” And Sen. Chuck Grassley said simply that he doesn’t have to acknowledge anything. Except pidgins.
It wasn’t just congressional Republicans who were trying to find a fresh way to steer around reality on Monday. The problem also confronted Trump-flavored media outlets, who were faced with the difficult decision of determining how much reality they need to admit into their programming.
As The Washington Post reports, OANN and Newsmax did not join other networks in providing regular updates on the progress of the Electoral College vote. Instead, OANN spent four hours on a live-feed of a hearing in the Arizona legislature, where Republicans were discussing voting procedures. They kept their discussion of the Electoral College down to not mentioning the Electoral College. Newsmax confessed that there was such a thing, but only to talk about slates of “alternative electors.” At the same time other networks were declaring Biden had passed the 270 mark to secure the win, Newsmax was claiming that the whole thing still has “several weeks here for this thing to play out.”
Maybe Trump supporters shouldn’t be talking about how they secede from the United States. Since they already seem well on their way to a schism with reality.