Biden era opens amid deep mistrust, lack of bipartisan cooperation in Washington

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Biden era opens amid deep mistrust, lack of bipartisan cooperation in Washington

It is going to be really hard to see how Democratic members of Congress work with those who voted against certifying Electoral College votes from A

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It is going to be really hard to see how Democratic members of Congress work with those who voted against certifying Electoral College votes from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

A looming impeachment trial augments this question.

A grand total of eight GOP senators and 139 House Republicans voted against the Arizona and Pennsylvania results two weeks ago. Democrats, and some Republicans, hold many of these colleagues responsible for stoking conspiracy theories about voting machines, a “stolen election” and all sorts of other hokum. That’s to say nothing of how Democrats believe Republicans induced the assault of the Capitol.

And it’s not just Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) rarely entertained a question from reporters about the latest outrageous comment from President Trump or outlandish tweet du jour. But with Mr. Trump vacating the White House, the Kentucky Republican saw a chance to score a dig against the chief executive – and maybe open a door for other Republicans to make a break as well.

“The mob was fed lies. They were provoked by the President and other powerful people. And they tried to use fear and violence to stop a specific proceeding of the first branch of the federal government which they did not like,” charged McConnell.

McConnell tried to disavow the Electoral College shenanigans just as marauders stormed the Capitol two weeks ago. The Kentucky Republican observed that contesting electoral results would lead the party down a “poisonous path.” More than anything, McConnell demonstrated clairvoyance. Moments later, the mob beat down doors to the Capitol and crashed through windows.

Democrats and some Republicans are infuriated. They believe there should be hell to pay. Especially since many of these Republicans ignored the dearth of evidence of a fraudulent election and voted the way they did, simply to appeal to President Trump or their base.

Courts dismissed lawsuits by the dozens. There was a national security report dismissing allegations of fraud. Former Attorney General William Barr declared there was no issue with the election. States actually certified the Electoral College results, 306 for President-elect Biden and 222 for President Trump and sent those certificates to Washington.

CAPITOL RIOTS: WE’VE CROSSED THE RUBICON, LAWMAKERS DON’T TRUST ONE  ANOTHER

In December, a number of House Republicans with whom Fox spoke were skeptical of challenging the results from any state – let alone voting to oppose what the state actually certified. At least one member of the House GOP brass told Fox in December that challenging the electoral votes was “foolhardy” and wouldn’t go anywhere.

But we all know how the votes turned out in the House and Senate on January 6 and 7.

Many Republicans nursed the “fraud” allegations for weeks. Refused to acknowledge that President-elect Biden, was, well, President-elect Biden. Gave a wink and a nod to voters that this could all fall President Trump’s direction on January 6. Perhaps they could simply guilt Vice President Pence into tilting the playing field Mr. Trump’s way when it came time to certify the electoral votes.

Some Republicans conceded privately to Fox that their constituents are “crazy.” They confided that they voted to reject the electoral slates from Arizona and Pennsylvania because it represented the views of their state or district. Some worried about their own political future – and personal safety – if they voted to affirm those electoral results.

Judge that how you will.

So what happens when you have lawmakers who simply won’t work with the other side? It’s one thing to have honest disagreements about policy and legislation. It’s another to have such contempt for your colleagues – especially after they directly or indirectly propounded a falsehood that induced a mob to ransack the U.S. Capitol.

Republicans accused Democrats of another chapter in their “cancel culture.”

“Just about everybody on the Republican side is willing to forsake partisanship to work for the betterment of the American people,” said Rep. Madison Cawthorn, R-N.C., on Fox. “But Democrats say ‘We won’t work with you unless you bend the knee.’”

Cawthorn augured it was a “dangerous precedent” and “we’re headed down a very dark road.”

Democrats argue if they’re on a dark road, President Trump cut the headlamps – and Republican apologists followed him there.

CONGRESSIONAL REPORTER RECKON WITH HOW THREAT AGAINST THE CAPITOL LIKELY WON’T DISSOLVE ANYTIME SOON

Can Republicans do anything after 1/6 that would mute their grievances and show a willingness to work with their colleagues across the aisle? Or, were these transgressions so grave, cutting to the marrow of American democracy that reconciliation is impossible? Democrats may ask if it’s moral to do so? Should they shun these members?

These are all questions Democrats must resolve soon in order to make Congress function. After all, Democrats hold slim majorities in both the House and Senate. They’ll need the other side to turn the gears of government. Some Republicans, embarrassed of what the party now represents, may hope to break from

President Trump’s chaos and the Capitol rampage.

That may be.

But those 147 House and Senate members are now on the record, voting against certifying the Arizona and Pennsylvania electoral votes. They cast those votes after the fracas at the Capitol on January 6. Some Democrats contend justice must come first. And Democrats will be more than happy to remind the public of how these Republicans voted when it comes to the Electoral College.

One House Democratic committee chair told Fox that Democrats would be willing to work with their colleagues who voted to reject the electoral votes if Republicans apologized to the country for their decision.

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT) took issue with fellow GOPers who questioned that President-elect Biden really didn’t prevail.

“It’s important for us as Republicans in particular to point out that the big lie is simply that: a lie. Joe Biden won the election, fair and square,” said Romney. “When people are saying ‘Oh, we need to have unity’ and, at the same time, they don’t recognize that the lie is what’s causing disunity – that obviously is a real problem.”

But not everyone sees the problem the same way as Romney. Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA), re-elected two months ago in a competitive race, declared that an impeachment trial now isn’t constitutional after a President leaves office.

“Democrats want to further divide the nation,” charged Ernst.

Right or wrong, this is why some Democrats have no interest in working with Republicans.

But does any of this make much difference? Democrats and Republicans didn’t really work together in the first place in Congress. The sides could barely pass the latest coronavirus package. The lag in approving that measure could portend bad things for the next COVID-19 relief request from President-elect Biden.

In other words, you don’t really have to work together much with others on Capitol Hill. It’s easy just to amplify rhetoric against the other side and call it a day. Solving intractable issues with people on the other side for whom you have contempt is another story.

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Plus, districts are so gerrymandered these days, can you imagine what constituents from a rural, pro-Trump district in the Midwest or deep south would say if word got out they were huddling with a member of the Squad? And progressive groups would pillory liberal Democrats who may negotiate with Republicans who rejected electoral slates from Arizona and Pennsylvania.

Don’t forget that working with one another doesn’t necessarily produce a resolution to these nettlesome issues.

Rectifying these issues was sticky before the deeply seeded mistrust set in. And unfortunately, that’s why there’s little incentive to forgive and move on.

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