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Wall Street Journal: GOP Electoral College 'stunt' will hurt US, Republican Party

The Wall Street Journal editorial board on Sunday issued a scathing op-ed condemning the Republican “stunt” to contest President-elect Joe BidenJoe BidenIntercept bureau chief: minimum wage was not 'high priority' for Biden in COVID-19 relief South Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Obama alum Seth Harris to serve as Biden labor adviser: report MORE's Electoral College victory, warning the move could cause lasting damage to the country and party.

“The Electoral College gambit won’t work this week because House Democrats won’t go along, but imagine if Republicans ran the House and did. Eighty-one million Americans who voted for Mr. Biden would be disenfranchised by an insider scheme. The political response would be volcanic, and understandably so,” the editors wrote.

More than 100 House members and at least 12 senators said they will formally object to the Electoral College count on Wednesday, citing the Electoral Count Act of 1887.

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The Journal's editorial board deemed the Republican attempt “unconstitutional,” saying the law does not give Congress “the ability to second-guess” the decision from state electors. 

“In stretching this law for a partisan exercise, Republicans are also giving Democrats more ammunition to use in their campaign to overturn the Electoral College in favor of a direct popular vote,” it wrote. “This is the fire Republicans are playing with, no matter their political calculation.”

The board noted that two of the Republicans leading the charge, Sen. Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyHouse plans for immigration bills add uncertainty on Biden proposal Hawley presses Wray on use of geolocation data to track Capitol rioters GOP senators question Amazon on removal of book about 'transgender moment' MORE (Mo.) and Sen. Ted CruzRafael (Ted) Edward CruzTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Senate confirms Biden Commerce secretary pick Gina Raimondo MORE (Texas), are seen as potential 2024 presidential candidates.

“But the cost of this showboating will be more political cynicism, and a precedent that Democrats are sure to exploit in the aftermath of some future close election,” the editors wrote.

The attempt is also a “lousy political strategy” for returning the Republican Party to power in four years, they added.

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“By indulging Mr. Trump, Republicans are helping him divide the party and remain as a potential kingmaker. This could hurt what should be their very good chance to retake the House in 2022,” the board wrote. “As for 2024, good luck trying to court his support. He could run again for the nomination or, if he lost, run out of spite as a third-party candidate and guarantee a victory for [Vice President-elect] Kamala HarrisKamala HarrisElla Emhoff, inauguration designer join forces on knitwear collaboration Who is the Senate parliamentarian and why is she important? In America, women are frontliners of change MORE.”

The “leading culprit” behind the move is President TrumpDonald TrumpSouth Carolina Senate adds firing squad as alternative execution method Ex-Trump aide Pierson won't run for Dallas-area House seat House Oversight panel reissues subpoena for Trump's accounting firm MORE, according to the Journal's editors, “who refuses to accept responsibility for defeat” even after courts across the country have thrown out his attorneys' attempts to challenge results.

“Recall that he also claimed the Iowa caucus result was stolen in 2016 when he lost to Ted Cruz,” the board wrote. “He’s now spinning conspiracy theories and election falsehoods daily on Twitter. He doesn’t seem to care what damage he does in promoting the myth of his victory. The damage is spreading as Mr. Trump puts pressure on other Republicans to take up his lost cause.”

The editorial board concluded by noting there was some “good news” in the debacle — Republicans who are standing up for “proper constitutional conservatism.”

“Credit as well to Senators Mitch McConnellAddison (Mitch) Mitchell McConnellTanden withdraws nomination as Biden budget chief Boehner book jacket teases slams against Cruz, Trump Gun violence prevention groups optimistic background check legislation can pass this Congress MORE (R-Ky.), John ThuneJohn Randolph ThuneSenate GOP whip: Murkowski's vote on Tanden is 'fluid' at the moment GOP says Ron Klain pulling Biden strings Rick Scott acknowledges Biden 'absolutely' won fair election MORE (R-S.D), Ben SasseBen SasseJudiciary Committee greenlights Garland's AG nomination Kinzinger: GOP 'certainly not united' on 'vision for the future' Sasse rebuked by Nebraska Republican Party over impeachment vote MORE (R-Neb.), Roger WickerRoger Frederick WickerOVERNIGHT ENERGY: House Democrats reintroduce road map to carbon neutrality by 2050 | Kerry presses oil companies to tackle climate change | Biden delays transfer of sacred lands for copper mine Passage of the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act is the first step to heal our democracy Overnight Health Care: US surpasses half a million COVID deaths | House panel advances Biden's .9T COVID-19 aid bill | Johnson & Johnson ready to provide doses for 20M Americans by end of March MORE (R-Miss.), Mr. [Pat] Toomey (R-Pa.), among others, who seem poised to support the election result as the Constitution advises. Their votes this week will look even better in the long light of history.”