I frequently hear or read Trump supporters and practitioners of What-Aboutism claim that what the Democrats did in Congress in 2017 was comparable to what Republicans did this month regarding the electoral votes for President Biden. It’s another Big Lie, another false equivalence, and here’s why.
True: On January 6, 2017, Maryland Rep. Jamie Raskin and a few other House Democrats tried to challenge some votes for Trump during the congressional confirmation of the Electoral College votes from each state. Raskin, a constitutional scholar and former law professor, raised a technical issue about some electors in Florida. In this story in The Baltimore Sun at the time, he also expressed concern about Russian meddling in the 2016 election, something that had been confirmed by U.S. intelligence agencies. Other House Democrats raised voter suppression as a reason to object to Trump’s victory.
Their objections did not go far. No Democrat had what was required to spark a discussion of the matter — a senator who joined in the complaint — and the presiding officer, then-Vice President Joe Biden, summarily dismissed all the objections.
Clearly, politics was at play. Democrats had legitimate concerns about voter suppression and Russian interference, but they mainly wanted to further tarnish Trump’s victory and remind everyone that he had lost the popular election to Hillary Clinton by nearly 3 million votes.
Let me stop here and ask: Do you remember what I just described? Does anyone reading this have even a faint memory of Democrats trying to delay confirmation of Trump’s electoral college victory on Jan. 6, 2017?
Seeing no hands raised, I’ll go on with my point.
You certainly remember this, don’t you?
I wrote two columns on the Capitol attack for the Sun this past week. You can read them here.
After two months of Trump claiming election fraud and crying that his reelection had been stolen, with numerous Republican elected officials supporting his lies, Trump incited a mob to try and stop the electoral vote confirmation in Congress. They carried out a deadly attack on the Capitol. No matter for the Republicans. Hours later, 147 of them, representatives and senators both, voted to sustain objections to the electoral votes from either Pennsylavania or Arizona, or both.
So, please, don’t compare a few Democrats’ briefly objecting to Trump’s electoral victory to 147 Republicans and a Trump mob trying to overturn Biden’s election. And while Democrats arguably had grounds for their complaints, particularly the one about Russian interference, Republicans had no basis for objections. Numerous claims of fraud or voting irregularities in the 2020 election had been thrown out by courts across the country, including the Supreme Court, and yet Republicans, including Maryland Rep. Andy Harris, continued their challenge, even after the mob attack. It was dishonest. It was subversive. It was seditious. And there’s no comparison to what happened — assuming you even remembered it — in 2017.