Republicans’ road ahead is still blocked — and not just by Trump

Restoring good governance won’t be impossible, just hard. One overlooked sign of sanity was a provision in the National Defense Authorization Act sponsored by Chrissy Houlahan (D-Pa.) and backed by Republicans. It will require that if the Insurrection Act is ever invoked, military and law enforcement units must wear their names and insignia. No more “little green men” like those who appeared on the streets briefly during the George Floyd protests last summer.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has begun prodding GOP senators toward accepting Biden’s victory and a normal transfer of power. It’s a matter of self-interest for McConnell; a Republican Party stuck in conspiracy-land could lose control of the Senate, if not next month in Georgia, then in 2022.

But Republican leadership in the House under Kevin McCarthy (Calif.) is weak and in thrall to the extreme wing known as the Freedom Caucus. Its membership has grown slightly, from 36 members in 2016 to 43 this year, but its influence far outweighs its size. Where House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has managed, at least so far, to control the noisy liberal wing of her caucus, the Republicans have failed.