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Ashley Pratte Oates Republicans need to stop feeding Trump's delusions and congratulate Joe Biden on his win

It's long past time to end the political strategy of fomenting conspiracy theories. It's what's good for Americans, our democracy and the Republican Party.
Trump Meets With Cabinet Members, Members Of Congress On Stimulus Payments
President Trump, in the Oval Office with House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Cabinet members in July.Doug Mills / Pool via Getty Images

Republicans, what exactly are you thinking by not acknowledging the obvious results of our elections? It’s time for the party to stand up — finally — to Donald Trump and his antics; in fact, it's long overdue. For the sake of our democracy and our free and fair electoral process, elected officials and party leaders must recognize Joe Biden as the president-elect and recognize the legitimacy of this election.

It's time to put an end to fear-mongering and conspiracy theories as a political strategy, once and for all. This isn’t "The Apprentice": It is our American democracy, and their reckless quest for renewal has real-life consequences.

While there is a too-short list of Republicans who have publicly congratulated President-elect Biden to date, more should and must be done by the party and its leadership to recognize and acknowledge Biden’s win and to ensure a peaceful transition to power — a hallmark of American democracy. There are clearly those in the GOP who still don’t want to be on Trump’s bad side given his social media megaphone but, let’s be honest: His days as tweeter-in-chief are numbered and even he knows it. There's hardly another explanation for his desperate, pathetic and meritless legal attempts to try to stay in office, come hell or high water.

The writing is on the wall and, while we all knew he wouldn’t go without some sort of fight, the petulant foolishness that has ensued so long after the race was called, with the results increasingly indisputable, was hard for any reasonable student of American democracy to predict.

Trump's efforts to delegitimize and call into question the integrity of the voting process are probably his most dangerous threat to democracy so far.

We are potentially entering the most dangerous time of the Trump presidency: By not conceding, he is clearly signaling that he doesn’t care about American democracy or the damage he’s done to it over the last four years of his presidency. As long as he can hold onto power, he will — and he's encouraging his supporters to view his quest as righteous instead of terrifying.

But his efforts to delegitimize and call into question the integrity of the voting process are probably the most dangerous threat to democracy we’ve seen by the president to date — and that’s saying a lot.

Trump started early: Since he was convinced that mail-in ballots would predominantly favor Biden and the Democrats, he began waging a blitz early in the campaign season to first delegitimize mail-in ballots entirely, and then to cast the election as “rigged” if results from those mail-in ballots were unknown on election night (even though many states by law can't count them until Election Day).

Then, Trump’s seeming belief that he could simply claim Electoral College victories in states where millions of ballots had yet to be tallied was problematic and autocratic. And now, after the Trump campaign watched the president’s chances at re-election slip away, they’ve filed frivolous lawsuits in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Georgia to stop the counting of legal ballots and then to investigate election fraud for which there is no real evidence.

These lawsuits won't overturn the election results — but they do give Trump and his allies some cover for claiming that the election has been “stolen” from the president, which is dangerous given how it allows for conspiracy theories to take shape.

It would be wise for the Republican Party to take a stand against the Trump campaign's fantasies and congratulate the president-elect on his win.

The election was not stolen according to elected officials representing both parties across the country; there are no irregularities or evidence of fraud anywhere. While Trump is well within his legal rights to call for recounts in states where the final tally is close, it’s unlikely a recount would do more than prolong the inevitable Biden presidency on Jan. 20.

Trump, of course, also claimed voter fraud in 2016 after he became convinced that he must've won the popular vote; he did not, and his special commission investigating it found no evidence to back up his allegations.

All of this is why it would be wise for the Republican Party to take a stand against the Trump campaign's fantasies and congratulate the president-elect on his win. Not only is this the right thing to do, and the best thing to do to prevent any further erosion of trust in the electoral process, but this country has real issues that the government needs to address next year, and Republicans boxing themselves into total noncooperation with the Biden administration isn't good for their re-election efforts or the American people.

Some of this is already happening. According to a Politico/Morning Consult poll, 70 percent of Republicans said they did not believe the 2020 election was free and fair, indicating that fraud allegations by Trump have already led to an erosion of trust in this year’s results.

Now, Trump loyalists are amplifying his false messaging: Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick is offering an up-to-$1 million reward to anyone who can prove voter fraud occurred in the election, despite the fact that members of his own party won up and down the ballot in Texas. Efforts such as this will only continue to delegitimize the 2020 election results and our democratic process; they must be called out for the political stunts that they are.

Despite record voter turnout and a high-volume of mail-in ballots, the election was clean and fair, with no irregularities. And while Trump can continue to rail against the “fake news” media all he wants for "calling" the race, it is a practice that has been longstanding — and the continuing vote count bears out their call.

Republicans would be smart to grow a collective spine and disavow this nonsense before more people disavow the party. Furthermore, they should also not allow Trump to become a “kingmaker” within the party after he all-but-unwillingly vacates the Oval Office; his role within the party he practically destroyed from within should diminish so that it can remake itself. There is no reason for Republicans to continue to mirror Trump’s despotic and hateful rhetoric.

It’s time instead for my former party to admit defeat — and to acknowledge that it lost its way to boot.