The insurrection and the Electoral College objections to President-elect Joe Biden’s election that preceded and followed it were an ugly milestone in just how divisive the political arena has become in America.
But let’s be clear: This wasn’t a both sides issue. The events of the past week are a major point in support of the idea that Republicans are more responsible for the polarization in our country. Wednesday was the culmination of a multi-month effort by the President that was largely bolstered by a number of Republicans.
Recent American history doesn’t provide any sort of road map for what happened this past week. This isn’t a philosophical argument. We can prove this via the numbers — specifically, the number of times a president tried to overturn the results of an election, the number of times supporters of his backed that with widescale violent action and the number of times a majority of his own party’s members in Congress backed that election challenge.
There’s no record of the supporters of a mainstream Democratic president or presidential candidate doing anything like what happened at this large of a scale in modern history.
Trump, however, carried on and falsely charged fraud, even as there was no fraud and no legitimate way he could overturn the results.
Trump is a major part of who the GOP is right now. He’s the President, and he was renominated in 2020.
Indeed, even after the insurrection at the Capitol, there were many who carried on with objections to 2020 results.
The events of Wednesday and Thursday marked only the second time in recent political history that there had been an objection to the Electoral College results supported by a House and Senate member.
And unlike after 2004, objections to a second state were backed by a senator.
An even higher 138 House Republicans and 7 Republican senators voted to sustain the objection to counting Pennsylvania’s electoral votes. That’s about two-thirds of all House Republicans.
The bottom line is this: Democrats may have taken extreme action 16 years ago, but this time, a much larger number of Republicans went even further.
If this isn’t the very definition of asymmetric polarization, I’d like to know what is.