None of this is at all likely to change the ultimate outcome. Too many Republican senators have made clear their intention to stand behind the certified vote tallies and Electoral College results. Putting them together with Democrats will ensure that Biden’s win will stand in the Senate.
But how will Democrats in the House respond to a two-hour circus potentially involving dozens of their Republican colleagues making outrageous accusations of voter fraud? And how will that anger and bitterness affect the outcome of the race for House speaker, which will be heating up at roughly the same time? Might Pelosi find herself facing a formidable challenge from her left — from members of her caucus eager to lash out with more than words at the Republican side of the aisle, perhaps by locking out members of the GOP who actively tried to overturn the election?
As I said, it’s a tense moment. But that doesn’t release officeholders and analysts from the burden of acting responsibly. On the contrary, the stakes increase that burden. It may feel good to contemplate lashing out at one’s enemies. But actions have consequences, and they can be truly awful. Instead of bringing an easy and satisfying victory, rash moves in the pressure-cooker of the present could easily send us down a path of outright constitutional breakdown and an outbreak of violence the likes of which this country hasn’t seen in over 150 years.
Those who advocate for such actions had better do so with eyes wide open.