In the weeks since President Biden’s inauguration on January 20th, our nation’s legislative branch has approved most of his cabinet appointees and passed historic COVID-19 stimulus legislation. The manufacturing and distribution of vaccinations is accelerating while the process is becoming more efficient, to the point where every American has been promised receipt of a full dose by the beginning of May. It’s as though our democratic system was always destined to run this smoothly.
Now, think for a moment how close we came to having this wonderful new life stripped away.
- What if that angry mob had succeeded on January 6th in capturing (or killing) members of Congress in sufficient number to upend the counting of Electoral College votes?
- What if President Trump had declared the counting of electoral votes to be suspended indefinitely while proclaiming himself to be the winner?
- What if Ted Cruz had been successful in demanding a ten-day “audit” of election results managed by a committee dominated by partisan Republicans?
- What if Democrats had failed to win both Senate seats in the Georgia election?
If even of those alternative scenarios had panned out, we could be experiencing one or more of the following consequences:
- The angry mob, invigorated by its conquest of the legislative branch of government, now turns its efforts toward the judicial branch, taking whatever hostages might be necessary to ensure there could be no Supreme Court decision running counter to their efforts to crown their chosen King.
- The Senate, led by Ted Cruz, appoints an electoral investigatory panel along the lines of the one appointed in 1877, which stole all contested electoral votes from Samuel Tilden and handed them to Rutherford B. Hayes. Ignoring the Constitutional role of the House of Representatives, it declares all electoral votes from five key swing states (but only those voting for Biden) invalid and directs those state legislatures (but only those led by Republicans) to provide Congress with new Electoral College voting certificates.
- Despite an ultimate Biden victory, Senate gridlock (because of the loss of one or two Democrats from Georgia) prevents the confirmation of cabinet appointments and successfully blocks all stimulus legislation.
Thank heavens, none of those scenarios emerged.
So, as we experience the beauty of spring, the blooming of the flowers, the singing of the birds, the reduction in COVID-19 death rates and the gradual return to normalcy, let us never forget how close we came to an alternative reality.
Oh. And hasn’t it been great to wake up each morning without having to read yet another negative tweet from our nation’s President, attacking yet another enemy?
Democracy can be wonderful when it works.