It’s scoundrel time in Washington.

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by Will Marshall, PPI President

Today, Congress takes up the usually ceremonial business of tallying the Electoral College votes for president, which Joe Biden won by a comfortable margin of 306 to 232. This time, however, a claque of unpatriotic Republicans in the House and Senate plans to challenge the validity of enough of Biden’s votes to make Trump president.

In the two months since the election, Trump and his lawyers have been unable to present any proof of widespread voter fraud. Republicans have filed more than 50 lawsuits, all of which have been swiftly dismissed for lack of evidence.

Biden won the popular vote by more than 7 million votes, yet Trump persists in peddling QAnon-is style conspiracy theories about stolen votes, and claims laughably to have won by a landslide. The choice facing U.S. lawmakers today couldn’t be more simple or stark: Fantasy or reality, Trump or democracy?

Incredibly, scores of Republicans appear poised to endorse Trump’s blatant bid to steal what he couldn’t win honestly. The motives animating this squalid band of coup plotters vary.

Some are True Believers — Trump cultists addled by conspiracy theories and conditioned by right-wing propaganda to regard Democrats as mortal enemies rather than worthy political competitors.

Others are spineless hacks who find it expedient to bow to Trump rather than incur his wrath, be hounded by MAGA mobs, and face primary opponents.

Then there is the third and worst category — the opportunists. They know Biden won fair and square, but pander to Trump’s fanatical base by pretending there may be something to his delusional claims. Leading the cynics’ caucus are Sens. Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz, who evidently want to run for president, and Sen. Ron Johnson, who seems intent on following in the footsteps of another Republican Senator from Wisconsin, Joe McCarthy.

Whatever their motives, all who side with Trump’s lies will betray the will of U.S. voters and break their oath to defend the Constitution. It’s a kind of sedition that should disqualify those who commit it from public service.

That’s why it’s important for citizens to watch what happens in Congress today, and take careful note of who stood up for American democracy and who didn’t.

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