If Trump’s coup attempt has failed, it is because his defeat was so decisive — and because those state and local officials had the integrity and courage to resist Trump’s pressure.

But here’s the essential point: Almost no Republicans on the national stage had the integrity or courage to offer backup for these local officials. Almost none of them gave the public any reason to hope that if Trump’s effort to steal the election state by state had gained traction, they would have stood against it.

It wouldn’t have been difficult. Rubio only had to say, “My fellow Americans, this election was not rigged or stolen. There was no communist conspiracy to alter the results. We should be proud that, in the face of a pandemic, we turned out to vote in record numbers, and our votes were counted conscientiously and honestly by thousands of fair-minded Americans across the country.”

Instead, he followed the standard evasive Republican script, legitimizing Trump’s conspiracy theories without parroting them word for word. “Democrats have contested & gone to court after many elections. Like any candidate, President Trump is well within his legal rights to request recounts, contest unlawful votes and if he has clear evidence of widespread misconduct or irregularities take them to court.”