What we have, for now, is a thin red line in defense of American democracy. It probably isn’t sustainable — officials like Raffensperger have received threats for doing their jobs, and Trump’s criticism might mean their political careers are effectively over. A party that requires good people to court danger and demotion while bad people are free to advance their interests by inciting potential violence is not a party that can long expect good people to keep doing the job.
So those of us who are interested in the survival of self-government must cheer on these few honest Republicans. It is not a new observation that this country needs a functioning center-right party. Their politics are not my own, but America’s many conservatives are no less deserving of democratic representation than anybody else. That party — whether it is the GOP, or some other entity that comes to replace it in the post-Trump era — owes it to the rest of us to respect election results, instead of just wiping Democratic votes off the slate when it proves convenient. Otherwise, the so-called “American experiment” will fail at long last.
Republicans like Kemp offer a seed of hope that democracy, so badly damaged these last few years, can survive to the next generation. I doubt there is much else I’ll ever find to praise about Kemp. But for now — as long as he continues to defend the election results, at least — I am rooting for him to succeed.