Mike Lee and Ted Cruz Fought So That One Man Wouldn’t Have to Face the Pain of Defeat

Apr 19, 2022 · 666 comments
Hope (WA)
I have to ask the obvious question: has either "gentleman" ever actually read the U.S. Constitution?
Frank Roseavelt (New Jersey)
That such obvious self-interested hucksters so easily retain power makes me weep for my country.
George (Toronto)
it's always only about the power.
XXX (Somewhere in the U.S.A.)
"Constitutional conservatism" has always been a thin and not very convincing mask for white supremacy and economic oligarchy, from long before the Civil War unto our very own times.
Bill-in- LA (Los Angeles)
Why do senators like Cruz do such deplorable things like this ? Because their base either believe this garbage about election fraud or doesn't care. The 150 congress representative who voted to throw out the election results will probably be re-elected. No consequences.
Leland (Oregon)
Here’s an idea. When it looks like the republicans are going to take back the House and Senate later this year, Biden could say: “nope. The republicans stole this election.” So the democrats will maintain control. Crazy. Right? The Republican Party has lost any claim it might have had to the moral high ground when they started these shenanigan’s about Trump.
Braden Lindstrom (Utah)
You would think constitutional scholars would also love their country. Lee only loves his party and himself.
Tulipano (Attleboro, MA)
Trump feared losing because he'd have to see himself as failing. He would feel shame and humiliation, which to him would be toxic. So the GOP world danced to his Big Lie and meanwhile the pressing issues of our time get short shrift. We must end the era of the authoritarian leads with their bluster, brutality, and narcissism. The USA is about us, all of us, not one toddler amidst a tantrum.
Joe S. (California)
These men have brought shame upon themselves, their party, and their nation. They should resign.
Encino Man (Los Angeles)
The contemporary Republican Party is neither constitutional nor conservative. In deference to their love of alliterative slogans, why don’t we call them “Russophile reactionaries.”
Someone (Somewhere)
Consolidating their own personal political power is all the likes of Cruz and Lee really care about.
Dorothy Wiese (San Antonio)
I am leery of anyone who calls themselves a ‘Constitutional Scholar” . Majority of the times their beliefs when turned into action is very harmful to people and the nation.
Steve Hunter (seattle,wa)
Republicans love to wrap themselves in the American flag, the Constitution, apple pie and motherhood but a wolf is still a wolf.
Robert Hodge (Cedar City Utah)
And heavens Lee is my senator, and just a few years ago so was Cruz.
Ash (San Francisco)
“I love america so much I’m willing to protect it by destroying it”
Mixilplix (Delray Beach, Fla)
This world is officially Democracy v Gangster.
Litewriter (Long Island)
What, in any of this, is a surprise?
expat (Japan)
Lee has written three books because they can be used to obscure the source of funds coming into his coffers and because he can strong-arm contributors to buy them in bulk. It also benefits Regnery Press, favored publisher of alt-right authors and a font of reactionary nonsense.
Gregg Gebetsberger (Houston, TX)
You do not have a democracy if a person can win the most votes and lose the election. It's a myth that 1 person equals 1 vote. My vote counts less than a vote from someone in Montana, and twice in my adult life my candidate lost the election though he and she both had more votes than their opponent. But even that is not good enough for Cruz and Lee and Hawley and others. They want to skew the playing field even more, anointing themselves The Deciders when it comes to the presidency. This is a crime that is worthy of jail time.
Teddy (Ft Hood)
Ohmagosh! You mean they are NOT conservatives? Just lying politicians? Whodda thunk.
Kurt (Chicago)
Scalia, Barr, Rehnquist, Cruz, Hawley, Cotton, Bork….their cover is blown forever. They were never scholars or intellectuals. They never acted in good faith. They were always spiteful passionate hateful partisans. They never had any high ideals. Just like the rest of the GOP, all they ever wanted was to score points against the libs.
Kerry McCollough (Jourdanton, TX)
Just pitiful. Con men, both of them
brupic (nara/greensville)
principled republican politician is my new fave oxymoron.....
Kerry McCollough (Jourdanton, TX)
Tom Cuddy (Texas)
Cruz is so horrid a person the other Right wingets do not like him. He has done nothing for Texas. He is a showhorse, not a work horse.
Marshall (Seattle)
We desperately need to do away with the antiquated Electoral College in favor of proportional representation, as exemplified in Germany's flourishing, stable and more modern electoral system, written with the guidance of nonpartisan American experts after WW II.
Jonathan Weker (Montpelier, Vermont)
It comes down to this: are there still enough people in this country with enough shreds of decency to keep this Republic?
Whole Grains (USA)
In the case of Ted Cruz and Mike Lee's unscrupulous attempts to manipulate established law in order to sabotage the legal results of the presidential election, "constitutional conservatives" is merely a euphemism to cover their lack of allegiance to the Constitution. After what these hypocrites did, I don't see how they can even face the public.
Chris (Rhode Island)
Shame is a feeling these people are wholly unfamiliar with.
Zander1948 (upstateny)
@Chris They wouldn't know shame if it jumped up and bit them in the face!
Ben (San Antonio)
Cruz once called Trump a liar and a sniveling coward when Trump was disparaging Ted’s wife and father. Yet Cruz wanted to make it seem there was no daylight between him and Trump before the humiliating insults. Ted seemed to have residual backbone at the 2016 RNC when he did not give Trump a full endorsement. But later, when ultra-conservative funding dried up, Ted once again tried to eliminate daylight between him and Trump. Clearly, Ted thought some of Trump’s supporters would slough off and cleave to Ted. We never got an explanation of how Ted’s Tweeter account was “hacked” or how an aide misused it. I am inclined to believe the truth is that Ted probably has more in common with Trump than I thought. Aside from being unprincipled and deceitful, Ted also has an affinity for pornstars. So much for principles.
Wm Brown (SF Bay Area)
Power hungry. Soulless. With zero integrity. Their invisible cloak of Constitutionality, like the Emperor’s new clothes, has been exposed as a nothing Both Lee and Cruz, along with other co-conspirators, should be removed from office.
Jesse Baker (Utah, USA)
Utah already had a “constitutionally conservative” Senator, Bob Bennett, elected in 1992 to replace the retiring Jake Garn. He took stances against abortion, gay marriage, graduated taxes, corporate average fuel economy standards and negotiation of drug prices for Medicare. Problem was that virtually made him a Communist around St. George and Kane County once Obama got elected; Bennett was just too nice for Tea Party tastes in 2010. He’d been willing to work with ideological opponents toward compromises on certain issues such as immigration and (gasp!) help pass TARP as a member of the Banking Committee after the financial meltdown. So Lee went to the Senate, and Jason Chaffetz to sleep on a cot in the offices at the House.
DJM (Vallejo, CA)
The whole thing is rigged. Republicans will take control and it will disappear. They are only actors working overtime to ensure that we never make real progress and remain enslaved to our employers.
Bruce Rittenhouse (Ocean Shores)
If there was election fraud favoring the democrats why would it only focus on the Presidential race? If they really wanted to rig the election they should have let the Dotard win and developed a plan to increase their majority in the House and a super majority with 60 Dems in the senate.
H Munro (Western US)
Mike Lee has never been in it because he believes in representation or believes in his constituency. He was the first federal candidate to join with Dick Armey and his freedom works movement in exchange for political support/strategy. He got into office by "primary-ing out" Utah's Senator Bob Bennett. There are reasons to suspect the election of delegates in that year had "some irregularities" which leads me to suspect Mike Lee knows all about that sort of thing
Bernard shaw (Saratoga Springs NY)
White men matter!!!! All others too f ing bad folks. One two three what are we fighting for. Well it’s all about us white guys and to hec with everyone else. We are gold they are bronze.
Max Digital (Teslaville CA)
@Bernard shaw Or has been succinctly said: Justice in America means Just-Us White Folk.
Doug (Indiana)
Why do writers find it difficult to call these people what they are? They are fascists.
Brian (NJ)
@Doug The same reason some of those on the Left are not called what they are - Communists.
joemcph (12803)
Constitutional "conservatism"& social "conservatism" are thin masks for the will to authoritarian right power.
mark (montana)
Lee and Cruz didn't fight for Donald Trump. They fought for Trumpism. If that fades - they fade.
O (Cape cod)
They fought for their own piece of the pie they baked and handed to Trump.
Pedro (Kapaa)
Imagine if they were successful. Putin would be invading all of the former Soviet Union and Trump would be sending weapons to the Russians.
Rod Bales (Austin)
Eventually Trump would give Alaska back. Then invade Greenland.
RamS✌❤ (🙏🗽🌎)
"face the pain of defeat"? I doubt that avoiding that is even close to their primary motivation. It's just continued raw power.
Mary K Fields (Maryland)
Every single day the same ugly recounting of people (mostly men) acting horribly here in the land of the free and the home of the brave. Today, Mr. Boule goes into detail about Ted of Texas and Mike of Utah - prominent "constitutional conservatives" in the Senate . . . and then writes, " It is interesting, then, that Lee and Cruz were among the Republican senators most involved in Donald Trump’s attempt to subvert the Constitution and install himself in office against the will of the voters." For heaven's sake. It isn't interesting, and it minimizes that these two subversives and many others are manipulating and plotting to destroy democracy. This adds fuel to their fire. Please stop.
Ian (Los Angeles)
Well it’s a rhetorical technique, not actually minimizing anything.
JD Athey (Oregon)
@Mary K Fields 'For heaven's sake. It isn't interesting, and it minimizes that these two subversives and many others are manipulating and plotting to destroy democracy. This adds fuel to their fire. Please stop.' I agree. If we are to keep our democracy (or 'democratic republic') it is past time to call out evil by its right name.
Mercutio (The Golden State)
Documentation of the perfidy of the Republicans comes into ever sharper focus with each month that passes after President Biden's 7-million vote victory in the November 2020 election. That documentation will form a detailed historical record that is to be the foundation of the traitorous Trump legacy. But much remains to be done. In a very real sense, we are fighting our Revolutionary War again. In the face of relentless Republican lying, anti-Americanism and anti-constitutional subversion, it is not certain, as Benjamin Franklin challenged, that we can keep the republic.
abj slant (Akron)
"Which gets to the truth of what that “constitutional conservatism” really seems to be: not a principled attempt — however flawed in conception — to live up to the values of the founding, but a thin mask for the will to power." Thank you, Mr Bouie. I shall remember that (not that anyone paying attention really needs the reminder).
Dave (Midwest)
I think it is more accurate to say that Lee and Cruz are not really constitutional conservatives, but are devious opportunists.
JoeG (Houston)
The problem is the alternative and I'm still not going to vote for Beto O'Rourke.
Adam (Atlanta)
@JoeG What's the alternative? A voted-in leader who doesn't try to subvert the will of the people??
paul (canada)
@JoeG Even you cannot defend these traitors. Sad .
Carol Robinson (NYC)
@JoeG A lifelong Republican cousin of mine voted for Biden, and told me that if Bernie Sanders had been the nominee, he'd have voted for some Republican also-runner, anyone but Trump. But why vote for anyone, if there's nobody that you consider worthy? I noticed long ago that more people seem to vote against someone than for anyone.
Kp (Usa)
Judge Carter spelled it out nicely - Jan 6 was "a coup looking for a legal theory." Time for all the coup plotters, from Trump on down, to be held accountable by the legal system as defined by the Constitution, which these 'constitutional conservatives' repeatedly profess to be wanting to protect.
Mary (San Diego)
Very Impressive -- and inspiriting. The last sentence could not have been more powerful. Maybe because it was the Truth.
Voxandreas (New York)
As income inequality grows to grotesque proportions, the chances for a living, breathing democracy diminish. A few oligarchs - with Trump (and his ilk) as their front man/men - are taking over the reigns of power. January 6th was only a dress rehearsal, as it turns out.
chambolle (Bainbridge Island)
You give Lee and Cruz far too much credit. They could care less about Donald Trump’s bruised ego. Like hundreds of ‘Republican’ politicians around the country who have lots of ambition and zero qualms about what they do to climb the ladder to greater power and personal wealth, Lee, Cruz and the rest are merely hoping to leverage their current devotion to Trump, and their pandering to the most irrational and extreme bottom feeders in the Cult of the Red Hat, for personal gain. Sharks circling wounded prey aren’t acting out of altruism or sympathy for one another’s ‘feelings.’ Each one is just looking for his own piece of the action.
Ron (Portland)
Mr. Bouie has succinctly identified the real time principles of the Republican party.
ElleJ (CT)
Thank you, Mr. Bouie, for devoting a column to the disgraceful actions of these two feral senators. Where are the democrats decrying this foul behavior? No where to be found, as usual. It’s impossible to succeed in an existential war when one side refuses to acknowledge the war even exists. While I’ve never voted republican in my life, I blame the hapless and pacifist democrats for our future loss of democracy.
Pat McMahon (Fort Worth)
@ElleJ You're blaming the wrong people.
Leigh (Qc)
The oath of high office is what the former guy and his senator accomplices broke and broke knowingly. That's the serious offence for which they all so richly and immediately deserve to be called to account.
RN (Ann Arbor, MI)
Republicans want to "rule". They do not want to have elections that they could potentially lose and take too much of their time. They do not want to have their actions, lifestyle, sins, ... examined. They want to set the rules for life in this country that everyone must follow. They want to be able to enrich themselves. They do not want to share power with democrats or any other group. To the GOP you are either one of them or you have no legitimate right to hold office- or complain about their actions, corruption, ... Democrats have their flaws, but they govern. They try to make life better for their constituents. They work to make this country safe, the environment healthy, hold companies to regulations protecting the public. All things that republicans have fought against. So, the question is: Do you want to follow some despotic ruler dictating your life for you? or, do you want to be free to decide how you want to live your life? I am sure that Russia and China would talk to you if you choose the former.
Miriam (NY)
Who can even stand to read about these two comic strip villains? They can join the Marjorie Taylor Greene class of How Did These People End Up in Congress?
Blunt (New York City)
Wake up sister Miriam. There are two nations within our nation. Irreconcilable differences between me and a red state GOP voter. Vive la différence one may say it we live in a country where an unelected judge from Florida can jeopardize our lives by getting rid of the in-flight mask mandate. The American rhetoric is pure malarkey. We are not a democracy by no stretch of imagination.
Blunt (New York City)
@Judy (who believes that we are a constitutional democracy). The problem is that we are NOT a constitutional democracy but a constitutional oligarchy. And our constitution is so archaic that we may as well be a constitutional monarchy. We need to do a lot but job one is re-writing the constitution. One that allows Citizens United is not a democratic anything for starters. It goes downhill fast after that.
AndyW (Chicago)
Some politicians are primarily driven by a sincere desire to improve life for their constituents, while others are only motivated by an unquenchable thirst for recognition and power. Once you have observed their actions over a number of years, it becomes fairly easy to sort almost all politicians into one of those two categories. We already knew which category these inept clowns fit into, this episode only confirms it.
Yossarian (Pittsburgh)
The fact is, neither Cruz nor Lee will lose one vote because of their attempted coup. That's why they knew they could do it.
Douglas (Suwanee River)
These are not men. They are not representative of the people. They represent the corporations, and the money behind them. Shame on them, and shame on all the others who do likewise..... Of BOTH parties.
Doug Lowenthal (Nevada)
Cruz’s change of heart about Trump couldn’t be more illustrative. Cruz and the rest of his cabal represent the pinnacle of our educational, legal, and political systems. Yet when it came to holding onto political power, in the person of Donald Trump, their moral underpinnings evaporated into the same ether where Trump’s had gone, assuming he ever had any.
Phil (Atlanta)
They always have an out: they can (and do now), claim that they believed the election was stolen so they had to pursue all legal avenues to reverse it. My guess is that many of them believed what they were doing was right. They decided to believe the election was stolen, then closed their minds to any contrary (and rational) opinions (and evidence) and opened their minds to whatever Trump said was the truth. This is the crux of the brainwashing of the Republican party. They believe that God Himself is on their side, so no amount of truth or evidence will convince them they're wrong when they've already decided what is right and think that they have a mandate from God.
Ampleforth (Airstrip One)
No surprise that Lee and Cruz were with Trump. They're in his party, the same way that so many Democrats declared the 2016 results illegitimate. Lee's suggestion that "Something is not right in a few states. I think it could be proven or disproven easily with an audit (a physical counting of all ballots cast) in PA, WI, GA, and MI" is actually a good one, because signature matching on mail in ballots was so inconsistent. Just look at the varying throw-out rates around the country. If we want to solve this problem once and for all, we need elections on the French model. Sunday voting, voter ID, paper secret ballots, small precincts, ballots counted at the precinct level, and legal-but-rare absentee voting. Who could object to that? They get 75 percent turnout!
Toby (Seattle)
@Ampleforth False equivalence! There were no concerted efforts in 2016 to gin up a "constitutional" argument for Clinton to win. None! As for the rest of your comment: Let us know when Republicans will support the French model.
Paul B (Vancouver)
@Ampleforth Canada here. The French are voting on federal ballots in a federal facility, just like here in Canada, and virtually every other liberal democracy. I'm sure I am not alone in thinking that I would be horrified if voting rules differed across my country, depending on different provincial rules and procedures. Oh, and usually we don't usually stand in line at all, let alone lines created for political purposes.
Doug Lowenthal (Nevada)
@Ampleforth You lost it with Sunday voting. Not gonna happen. Too many poor working people would vote.
SCZ (Indpls)
I read Lee's and Roy's texts to meadows. I can only imagine what Cruz's texts said from Election Day 2020 through Jan. 20th, 2021. And Jordan's. There is a very good reason they keep slamming the Jan. 6th committee. I'm sure Jim Jordan and other Trump enablers led the charge to get rid of Cheney's leadership post. They would do ANYTHING to keep the truth from coming out.
BDAguy (Virginia)
Everything about both the article and the events portrayed speak to an inalienable truth: the constitution was written by the uppermost elites of the colonial era to safeguard their privileges and lucre from a rapacious crown and taxation without representation; period, end of story. In order to control the rabble, the founders created a sophisticated construct that was revolutionary (pardon the pun) in that it did give rights and power and a voting role in the body politic to Americans, if they were white, male and had very specific property rights defined by each state. To that end, perhaps Misters Cruz and Lee were applying their strict constitutionalist views but absent the temperance and enfranchisement granted by subsequent amendments (15, 19 and 26) to the sacred text of government. As such, they colluded to alter a legal election outcome and they violated their oaths of office, which should render them disqualified from further public office.
Robert (Out West)
It would be much closer to say that when Madison or whoever talked about, “the tyranny of the majority,” they meant it. They saw a mere majority as just one more origin of potentially-unbridled power that if left to run unchecked, would destroy democracy as surely as any other form of tyranny. I think they were right, and generally right about the way they set up the Bill of Rights, though they screwed up royally when they wrote a Second Amendment that could be read as allowing whatever kind of boomstick some fool wants. Example? Freedom of speech. Most Americans are in favor of it only so long as, a) it’s bland&harmless, or b) agrees with what they think they think. And yep, that absolutely includes my fellow lefties. Who’re in favor of democracy just so long as they get what they want, and get to keep it. Including their material privileges, over most people on the planet.
BDAguy (Virginia)
@Thomas Zaslavsky ‘ “Shuts off discussion”… Yes and no. By imposing state-defined voting eligibility standards based on property rights, the founders ensured that only a select few were actually eligible/entitled to exercise the right to vote and elect a government on behalf of themselves and of the many disenfranchised. That said, for the purposes of the article and Mssrs. Cruz and Lee’s active engagement in subverting the will of the majority of both the electorate and electors, they exhibited a feckless disregard for the constitution as an organic document (hence amendments) if their justification for their actions rests on any constitutional premise. They didn’t like the outcome and, much as the elites who actually codified our governance, they sought to swing the result to something more palatable and more their liking.
Billseng (Atlanta, GA)
From 1992 forward, the GOP has won the popular vote for president a grand total of once (GWB reelection in 2004). Yet somehow they have held the White House for 12 years since 1992. That’s enough to tell you that the GOP has no problem with a “rigged” system, so long as they win. They certainly aren’t going to let the will of the people interfere with their desire for power.
moschlaw (Hackensack, NJ)
In quoting James Madison Mr. Bouie overlooks a subtle word, "indirectly", in Madison's description of how the government is to derive its powers from the great body of the public. In fact, the Founders did not trust the public to select the president by a popular vote but rather by electors who were not elected by a popular vote. Indeed, this provision in the constitution is now proposed to be used by Republican strategists as a way state legislators can undermine the results of Democratic party election victories, as Mr. Bouie's article describes.
617to416 (Ontario via Massachusetts)
Those who call themselves "constitutional conservatives" are the same people who proclaim "we're not a democracy, we're a republic" and who rally to the causes of "states rights" and "nullification." They claim they are true to the Framers' intent and the text of the Constitution. They believe the Framers intended to create a country that was anti-majoritarian and made states more important than individuals. But they are wrong. In Federalist 22, Hamilton wrote: "Every idea of proportion and every rule of fair representation conspire to condemn a principle, which gives to Rhode Island Island an equal weight in the scale of power with Massachusetts, or Connecticut, or New York; and to Delaware an equal voice in the national deliberations with Pennsylvania, or Virginia, or North Carolina. Its operation contradicts the fundamental maxim of republican government, which requires that the sense of the majority should prevail. Sophistry may reply, that sovereigns are equal, and that a majority of the votes of the States will be a majority of confederated America. But this kind of logical legerdemain will never counteract the plain suggestions of justice and common-sense. It may happen that this majority of States is a small minority of the people of America; and two thirds of the people of America could not long be persuaded, upon the credit of artificial distinctions and syllogistic subtleties, to submit their interests to the management and disposal of one third."
@617to416 Amen
Jim (Cascadia)
The spirit of the constitution is evident in the amendment provisions that probably was created to insure that as the status quo evolved or changed in our culture they could retain power with changes to satisfy political and social values changing. The effort to change the outcome was revolutionary and the status quo retained power and control.
Natural Gas (Denver CO)
It’s interesting that the senators leading the charge on questioning the election and looking for ways to subvert it were all former Supreme Court clerks - Hawley, Cruz and Lee - as was John Eastman, who concocted the putative legal strategy for pulling it off. One can question the constitutional jurisprudence they imbibed from the conservative justices they clerked for. Perhaps they learned that the Constitution means what they want it to mean after all. The irony would be rich if not so tragic for the country.
Tara (MI)
@Natural Gas Yes, and Donald learned how to balance ledgers from Roy Cohn.
Songsfrown (Northeast Georgia)
There is no irony. Intellectually, originalism as championed by Scalia and the Federalist Society has always been a juvenile expression of “it says whatever I say it says” issued with a snarl of “what ya gonna do about it!”
hm1342 (NC)
"Lee supported and encouraged the president’s effort to overturn the election, with both ideas and political assistance. “I have an additional idea for the campaign,” he wrote to Meadows on Nov. 23, 2020. “Something is not right in a few states. I think it could be proven or disproven easily with an audit (a physical counting of all ballots cast) in PA, WI, GA, and MI.”" Sounds like Senator Lee was doubtful of the legitimacy of the vote totals in a few states and thought a proper audit would resolve the issue. That's not the same as somehow supporting some "scheme" to keep Trump in power.
LMM55 (Minneapolis)
So was Lee questioning only the votes in those four states in the presidential contest or all of the down ballot races as well? Do his questions delegitimize the other election results in those states (including those contests won by Republicans)?
R (CA)
@LMM55 Minneapolis: The same general election ballots that were used to vote for President were also used to vote for all down ballot candidates who ran for office in November 2020. Therefore, any general election voter fraud that could have tainted the votes for U.S. President would also have tainted the general election votes for U.S. Senators, U.S. Representatives, state governors, state legislators, etc. The baseless claims that voter fraud only affected the general election outcome for U.S. President are nonsense.
Robert Hodge (Cedar City Utah)
@hm1342 "Two weeks later, Lee would tell Meadows, “If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path." It was more that just concern about the vote count in some states. Lee and Cruz were both up to their necks in the multifaceted conspiracy.
Rebecca (NJ)
Thank you, Mr. Bouie. We must keep these facts before us as we move forward. The danger to American democracy is not over and we must keep the facts before us as we move forward. Thank you for reminding us. It's easy to get distracted.
M Ford (USA)
"I think it could be proven or disproven easily with an audit (a physical counting of all ballots cast) in PA, WI, GA, and MI." Mike Lee as quoted in the article. I agree with him. We all saw a thorough investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election conducted by Robert Mueller. ON 10/31/2016, the New York Times reported: "Law enforcement officials say that none of the investigations so far have found any conclusive or direct link between Mr. Trump and the Russian government. And even the hacking into Democratic emails, F.B.I. and intelligence officials now believe, was aimed at disrupting the presidential election rather than electing Mr. Trump. Hillary Clinton’s supporters, angry over what they regard as a lack of scrutiny of Mr. Trump by law enforcement officials, pushed for these investigations." The Democrats and liberal journalists have since changed their interpretation of the facts after more facts were discerned through an investigation of the 2016 election. The easiest way to win arguments over the results of the 2020 election is to conduct an equally thorough investigating into the 2020 election, something the Democrats are against. This refusal, without explanation, to determine the facts is fueling widespread conspiracy theories about the Democrats' motivations. The fact that the Democrats are suppressing investigations to determine the facts makes people think they have something to hide.
Matt (Wisconsin)
@M Ford If what you say was true, I would agree with you. There ought to be investigations if there was "something wrong". However, the facts are these: this was objectively the most well-run election in our history; there have been dozens and dozens of investigations, some by legitimate public officials, some by partisan mercenaries (see Arizona), and none have found voter fraud; finally, there have been dozens of lawsuits, demanding futher investigations on the merits proposed in the suits, and all but a few of these were tossed, even by Trump-appointed judges. Your principles are sound; your understanding of how the world really is is not.
ds (portland oregon)
@M Ford Your statement is factually untrue. Arizona underwent a six-month audit of election results. Georgia went through three separate audits, none of which found evidence of wrong doing. In Michigan an audit of ballots, voting machines and election procedures affirmed Biden's win. In Pennsylvania a state-wide risk-limiting audit found strong evidence of the accuracy of the count of votes cast in the Nov. 2020 election. In Wisconsin a recount in the state's two largest counties found no evidence of widespread voter fraud. Further, an audit in that state of voting machines commission by Republican lawmakers and an investigation by a conservative law firm also upheld the election results. This information is from USA Today. Where are you getting your information?
PTB76 (NJ)
Over 60 court hearings and numerous audits, none of which came up with a scintilla of evidence indicating any fraud, are pretty conclusive that there was no election fraud. Those who insist there was keep promising to make their evidence public yet never do so. The Mueller investigation found no prosecutable evidence of cooperation between the Russian government and the Trump campaign but did find evidence that Russia did interfere in the election in Trump’s favor. It also found that Trump and his agents did attempt to interfere in the investigation. On the other hand, Republicans are doing all they can to derail a legitimate House investigation of Trump’s attempt to steal the election by supporting and encouraging a mob that threatened physical violence ( and came very close to succeeding) against Congress, including the Vice President, to prevent them them from completing their constitutionally mandated duty. So, which party is really afraid of investigations?
"Constitutional Conservative" has always been a meaningless term. Such people claim that the 2nd Amendment guarantees an individual right to bear arms, even though it isn't in the text of The Constitution and even English common law pre US and at the time had gun control laws. Simultaneously, they claim there's no right to an abortion, even though there is nothing in the text of the Constitution and abortion was permitted in both English common law and US law at the time. They claim to champion the First Amendment, but have no problem with religious symbols on public property and are comfortable imposing Christian prayer in public schools. These things are in direct contradiction of the First Amendment. Still, it's nice for such hollow ideologies like Cruz and Lee to show their hypocrisy. But until constituents care, there's not much to do about it.
Tom Cuddy (Texas)
@JP I like to ask ' what are the first three words of 2nd amendment? ' A Well Regulated... Case closed
m (ny)
@JP Yes, first amendment gives you freedom of religion, it gives me the freedom from religion. I am an atheist.
James Tracey (Virginia)
Right wing ideologues have become expert at nullifying whatever they don't like, laws or elections, by finding loopholes in existing law, upon which they construct novel legal theories.
John Ellis (Keizer, Oregon)
I have always wondered why these folks have never questioned the results of the election in a state where Trump won.
M Ford (USA)
@John Ellis I've wondered why the Democrats have claimed that Russia colluded with citizen Trump to rig the 2016 election when Obama was president. Then, they make no claims that president Trump colluded with Russia to rig the 2020 election that citizen Biden won. It seems like Trump would have had a better time rigging the US election when he was president as opposed to when Obama was president.
m (ny)
@M Ford TFG and his campaign did collude for the 2016. However, collusion is not a legal term. It would be conspiracy. However, Russia did interfere in 2016 and they wanted to try in 2020 but cybersecurity was top notch with that election.
Massachusetts Mom (MA)
Not sure I agree with you, if only because he was under greater scrutiny on a moment-to-moment basis as POTUS and gaps in the record were (and are) obvious so as to raise questions more readily.
Robert David South (Watertown NY)
Maybe they were just keeping Trump busy holding out hope so he wouldn't do anything drastic in the final days.
Alf Alpha (Midwest)
@Robert David South You think these folks devised and staged this elaborate game among literally scores of players across the entire country simply to flummox Trump, to humor him? This is what you think?
Michael (New York)
The only conclusion one can derive at when one sees the not so hidden attempt of the GOP to control voting on the state level is that they will not need the violence of January 6th in 2022 or even 2024 to win elections. The remedy is the DOJ under Merrick Garland must see that the people who attempted to overthrow our democracy are criminally indicted and punished. That is the reality that will bring these democracy dismantlers to their senses. Without that happening the American dream will become a nightmare.
JoeG (Houston)
@Michael A show trail will only get more people to vote Republican.
Pat McMahon (Fort Worth)
@JoeG Did you write that to convince people nothing can be done---or should be done about an attempted coup?
Ted (Spokane)
It is and always has been about power with these guys. Their so-called constitutional conservatism was merely a ticket to get them on the power train.
Cruz and Lee plus all of the others involved in Trump's coup attempt did it so white patriarchy would not face the pain of defeat. The old white patriarchy (which includes men and women) has been fighting to regain unretrained power since 2008 when Obama won. We all need to step back and realize that Lee, Cruz, and almost all Republicans will not stop until the US is ruled by white men and white patriarchy is firmly and undisputedly entrenched as the culture in the US. They will resort to any means to do this, including violence and terror.
m (ny)
@JR Actually, a patriarchy is men only.
Janaki (CT)
Isn't this all insurrection? Should we not be prosecuting everyone who schemed to delay or disrupt certification or in any way helped to perpetrate the Big Lie? It is continuing with Trump continuing the lie and his supporters no proposing decertification. To save democracy, must we not stop this nonsense by calling out and prosecuting everyone involved in the insurrection, from senators to judges and lawyers?
Ned Merrill (In The Biswanger’s Pool)
@Janaki 139 representatives and 8 senators supported the stated aim of the January 6 insurrection. Punishments? Marjorie Taylor Greene was stripped of her committee assignments because she was too much even for a party which actively seeks to recruit lunatics to their ranks. That's it. The rest continue to hold office in spite of having violated their sworn oaths to uphold the Constitution.
Dizzy5 (Upstate Manhattan)
Love the survival-prepper entrées advertised, mid-page.
Chris (Rhode Island)
Cruz's ability to continually generate reasons to loathe him more is astounding.
Wondering and Worried (In Florida)
I truly feel sorry for the man. It's like he hit the jackpot with a devilish bit of fine print in his life contract: You will be on the world stage for all to see your unconscious and embarrassing shortcomings.
Able Nommer (Bluefin Texas)
Mr Bouie's summary convinces - without one doubt. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are complicit in the authorship of the January 6th Coup Attempt. Both were officeholders obstensibly serving in that capacity on behalf of The People -- to certify The People's vote. But, according to their emails and other statements, THEY ARE BAD ACTORS plotting a path to subvert an election. Senators Cruz & Lee, moreso than the prototypical McConnell stooge, helped Mr. Un-Elected create the recipe for "Remain in Power". After all sixty-odd lawsuits failed to change even one state certification, Cruz, Hawley, and others CONSPIRED TO SERVE POISON --- in order to replace The People's resolved Electoral College --- with THEIR distortable Electoral College. In 2016 for their superdonors, McConnell and his 50-odd stooges stole a Sitting President's Constitutional Power. "Constitutional conservative" became an oxymoron in Our Senate with a sign-off "Spirit, out!" In 2017, Neil Gorsuch ate that gone-afoul fruit with the ravenous appetite of a son honoring his dead "Constitutional conservative" (Reagan's fallgal for Superfund). You've heard THE SIGN-OFF in Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court too, Mr. Bouie. "Spirit, out!"
michaelscody (Niagara Falls NY)
"But if Cruz, Lee and other “constitutional conservatives” have any commitment to the Constitution, it is only to the letter of the document, not its spirit." The letter of the Constitution is readily apparent to anyone by simply reading the text. The spirit, on the other hand, is different for anyone interpreting it. If, by that, one means the intent of those who wrote it I have the address of a good spiritualist who might be able to contact them in order to ask.
cbarber (San Pedro)
What can you do? Lee and Cruz can spin with the best of them and they have support from at least half of the country.
Jim (Citizen of The World)
@cbarber, You're comment "what can you do" IS part of the problem. Apathy is part of the reason why we're on the edge of the abyss of a minority party ruling of the majority.
Edgar (NM)
"It is impossible for men engaged in low and groveling pursuits to have noble and generous sentiments." — Demosthenes Cruz and Lee have no noble aspirations. Why would anyone vote for these cheats and harbingers of lies and deceit? Oh yeah I know who would vote for them. Those who love to hate under the religion of D Trump. Hate sells.
Marian (Montville)
As the editorial stated Mr Cruz wanted a 10 day delay, so some votes could be certified and recounted. That is not the same as wanting to overthrow the government or the election results. Because of Covid , the normal election laws were not strictly followed, resulting in more possibility for fraud. Some voters felt betrayed, waiting 10 days would have been the right thing to do. I don’t see how a 10 day delay could be deemed unconstitutional
Melomom (Georgia)
@Marian Two months had passed from Election Day and counts, recounts, and litigation hadn't changed the results. So this 10 day delay wasn't proposed in good faith to begin with.
VoteDownBallot (Cleveland)
@Marian He wanted a 10 day delay for the Nation’s anger to simmer to the boiling point. Their claim was that there was fraud in blue states in Democratic areas, BLACK DOMINATED areas, and you actually believe he had “good” intentions? Lol…that is too funny. There are Black women in jail for accidentally voting while these white, corrupt racist clowns are running good around causing further chaos.
John McDermott (Grand Island, Ne)
@Marian The plan was to delay and not certify the electors and send it back to the states. If that occurred, then under the Constitution, it gets immediately thrown to the House where each state gets one vote and where the Republican states outnumbered the Democrat states. In that scenario, the Republicans would have claimed Trump won. So, the fact that Pence did not get seduced by this clearly illegal plan shows how perilously close we came to a coup of our government.
Barbarians at the Gate (Barbarians inside the Gate)
One wonders and marvels at such men. They're both worthy of extensive, in-depth psychological studies. Are they conscious frauds or do they believe themselves to be knights in shining armor, protecting the Republic from enemies, both foreign and domestic? I think that they fully believe in what they're doing, which compels me to toy with the idea that they're stupid. However, that conclusion would be wrong, for they must be intelligent, and they use their above-average IQs to self-promote. Which is working: Apparently, they have a valid hold on reality: They are U.S. senators, highly esteemed officeholders just below the president, at least according to the schema. The fact that they are successful must feed their vanity: They are doing God's work, and they bravely suffer for their political righteousness. They are real Americans: legends in their own minds. And that's scary, depressing, and outrageous. Why can't we have sane, competent, benevolent leaders in a sane, competent, compassionate commonwealth? A persuasive answer, to me, is that we are, crassly, beasts with big brains, which we use to succeed, to win, to destroy others if they obstruct us. We hide our real selves behind our social masks, but even works of charity usually cover a selfish motive, one that can help us get what we want. Cruz and Lee are Constitutional scholars, a great disguise, but we can, if we look, see the real men pushing and pulling levers behind the curtain, and it's not the Wizard of Oz.
Barbarians at the Gate (Barbarians inside the Gate)
One wonders and marvels at such men. They're both worthy of extensive, in-depth psychological studies. Are they conscious frauds or do they believe themselves to be knights in shining armor, protecting the Republic from enemies, both foreign and domestic? I think that they fully believe in what they're doing, which compels me to toy with the idea that they're stupid. However, that conclusion would be wrong, for they must be intelligent, and they use their above-average IQs to self-promote. Which is working: Apparently, they have a valid hold on reality: They are U.S. senators, highly esteemed officeholders just below the president, at least according to the schema. The fact that they are successful must feed their vanity: They are doing God's work, and they bravely suffer for their political righteousness. They are real Americans: legends in their own minds. And that's scary, depressing, and outrageous. Why can't we have sane, competent, benevolent leaders in a sane, competent, compassionate commonwealth? A persuasive answer, to me, is that we are, crassly, beasts with big brains, which we use to succeed, to win, to destroy others if they obstruct us. We hide our real selves behind our social masks, but even works of charity usually cover a selfish motive, one that can help us get what we want. Cruz and Lee are Constitutional scholars, a great disguise, but we can, if we look, see the real men pushing and pulling levers behind the curtain, and it's not the Wizard of Oz.
Pottree (Joshua Tree)
I am not a lawyer (luckily). But from the interested sidelines, I spot two major strains of lawyers in America today: one group reveres the rule of law and tries to make sure we continue to follow it; the other group sees as its profession a way to make money by providing the legal mechanism for those who wish to operate outside the law to give the illusion of compliance, IOW, to help paying customers break or skirt the law and get away with it.
James Whelan (NYC)
Great Op-Ed. Thanks Jamelle. Mike Lee is so pious that he would have to be a hyprocrite and liar. Same goes for Sasse.
Nancy Dendaas (Madison WI)
I agree re Sasse. Why does he get to hide?
Sallie (NYC)
The title of this article says it all. Our country is in this crisis because D. Trump is too damaged and insure to admit that he lost.
Jack Shultz (Canada)
It’s interesting how Donald Trump resonates with the base of the Republican Party. It says more about the Party and the values of its base than about Trump.
Erik (Virginia)
@Sallie The country is in crisis because of factors that led to Trumps election. Trump is a consequence, rather than a cause. One of the major factors is so many people confusing cause and consequence.
Shndlr (NH)
@Erik But Trump is huge cause, regardless, of a myriad of horrible things. Nice try though.
Martine (Texas)
With Senator Ted as with D Trump there truly is no bottom. With Senator Ted as with DT it is all about his political goals which he will sell any number of falsehoods to attain. He leaves a metaphorical slime trail like a slug or snail and the worst part is HE KNOWS BETTER he is a smart man shamelessly pandering to the Trump side of the GOP.
Merlin (Minneapolis, MN)
Cruz is literally the little dog walking next to the big dog from all those old cartoons. He is also cynical and calculating enough to have crafted a persona he knows is a performance. That doesn't mean he isn't consequential. He's a US Senator after all, but he's certainly among the least of them, ever.
John (Atlanta)
Couldn't agree more with this article. Their actions were despicable.
Twg (NV)
In October 2020 Mike Lee wrote a series of Tweets declaring that the United States was not a democracy. This idiotic statement comes straight out of the John Birch Society/Libertarian rooted, right wing Kochian built and financed Tea Party. It is their twisted justification for their assault on the integrity of American democracy and its institutions. It is part of their script about small government and the anti-everything (gun control, reproductive freedom, campaign finance, climate change initiatives,anti-trust laws/regulation, gay rights, expanded voting rights, reform bills targeting corruption in government etc.) they spew. ALEC is a big part of their network and organization. My point beyond this is, both Cruz and Lee have law degrees from respected universities. Lee clerked for Justice Alioto while he was an Appeals judge. (Alioto is one of the most conservative justices, and a great affiliate of the Federalist Society. You should read some of his speeches he's given there. They are radically partisan and full of right wing spite against Democrats in general and an form of liberalism.) These men are educated enough to know the difference between lying & telling the truth; between abuse of power & principled governance. They know the difference between the rule and law and a coup to overthrow a government. Both of these men participated in the planning and pathetic justification for Trump's attempted coup to remain in power. Why are these men still in office?
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Twg In conservative circles judicial actions by a conservative jurist are considered “enlightened “. If a “liberal” or centrist judge makes a ruling contrary to conservative scripture the judge is an “activist” and is “legislating” from the bench. Thus the hypocrisy of Cruz and Lee.
Twg (NV)
@Dan That has little to do with what I am talking about. These men participated in planning a coup to help Trump stay in office by discrediting an election and by political violence. I call that sedition. Yes, they are hypocrites. And worse they knowingly abuse their positions of authority to circumvent the law, & their oaths to office by attempting to locate their disingenuous arguments in some very twisted and arcane view of the constitution. In my opinion, Cruz, Hawley and Lee should be held accountable for their actions, stripped of their committees and really, tossed from the US Senate. Trump's planned attempt at a coup to remain in office is a very serious offense. It is an unprecedented action by a sitting president. Any one who abetted him in that effort must be held accountable. If Democrats had attempted the same kind of crap, these men would be howling nonstop from the rafters that heads should fall.
MrMac (Texas USA)
Doing everything in their power to overturn a legitimate democratic Presidential election is neither "constitutional" nor "conservative".
Typical Ohio Liberal (Columbus, Ohio)
Republicans start with the premise that they are right (as in correct). They have all the answers and therefore if the public votes against them, then the public is wrong. In that case, anything that can be done to win an election is justified, because that gets the “right” person in power. So, should it surprise anyone that they would even subvert an election if it got them in power? This is idea of absolute right and wrong pervades the American right wing currently. Some of it comes from religious certainty and some from ideological certainty, but all of it comes from the idea that the truth belongs only to them and the truth wins only when they win. The arrogance of that position is what has disfigured the party. It is no longer a party that even attempts to get a majority of voters, it is a party that now seeks power through subverting the will of the majority. You see it in all of its actions, restrictive voting laws, gerrymandering, Senate filibusters and then the rejection of a fair election. We have a fundamentally anti-democratic party as one of our two major parties.
Pottree (Joshua Tree)
Republicans seem to start from the premise that they deserve all they have and much, much more. Nobody else counts. And anybody who gets in their way deserves to wind up at roadkill. It is a straight line from the planters of the old South who demanded a Constitution that would not impede their path to riches, which was slavery. That last four score plus years and then fizzled. They have been angry about it ever since.
John Bowen (Carlsbad, California)
If I am not mistaken, I believe that Mike Lee once indicated that he considered the XVII Amendment, which allowed citizens to vote directly for U.S. senators, a bad idea. If Lee really thinks this, he is no constitutional conservative: he's a constittutional reactionary.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Trump's refusal to accept the decision of the election is neurotic fear of appearing weak and at risk of great harm, not any pain of disappointment. He fears that admitting defeat will open him up to unknown horrors and attackers. He is mentally disturbed. How many people do you know who spend all of their living hours trying to maintain control over how they appear to others without any sign of shame over bad acts that are obvious to all, and who never offer a kind word nor laugh and enjoy happy experiences with others. How many Presidents have we had with popularity who were always demeaning others or arousing the rage in crowds but never raised any good feelings in others? This is a person who never feels at ease and safe with many people and is less concerned with what he accomplishes than with how others see him, and even resorts to false representations of reality to portray failures as successes?
Pottree (Joshua Tree)
Thank you, Fred Trump, Sr. - or as we call him, Dr. Frankenstein.
Barbara (Coastal SC)
They may call themselves constitutional scholars or constitutional conservatives, but the truth is that both are interested only in demolishing our battered democracy. They use hate and lies as weapons to move us toward autocracy. A pox on both their houses!
DLNYC (New York)
"Which is to say that they had not done the work necessary to give their attempted self-coup a veneer of legality and constitutional fidelity." Thanks for distilling all of their nonsense explanations to the basic truth. Behaving like a cartoon villain appears to now be an admission requirement for membership in the GOP.
Alan (Maryland)
Just a note of thanks to Mr. Bouie for an excellent piece.
LS (Austin, TX)
"Constitutional Conservatism" is just one of Ted Cruz's many lies. Treating this as a legitimate characteristic of the man is folly. Ted Cruz represents one man, Robert Mercer, not the state of Texas that he would actually represent under the constitution.
Tropical 39 (Aiken, SC)
If the DOJ doesn't enforce the rule of law by prosecuting those who are so obviously guilty of the attempted Jan. 6th coup, from Trump on down, then the constitution and our democracy will be in serious trouble in the months ahead. Wake up America!
Plato (CT)
People like Mike Lee, Ted Cruz and Josh Hawley are opportunists. They will sway whichever way buys them the most time in office. In other words, they have moral or ethical foundations. That is what makes them dangerous. Oh and you forgot another guy without a moral spine : Mitch McConnell. Ok, never mind - the GOP is full of them except for a few like Kinzinger, Romney and Cheney.
Art (An island in the Pacific)
Lee and Cruz don't care about TFG's pain. The care about being the heir to his political legacy or base, and about the maintenance of their own power and electoral position.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
Telling that Lee was mostly significantly discouraged in helping the efforts to change the elections results by the ineptness of Trump and his people. What is at the core of political movements and the machinations to win elected office? The power bestowed upon office holders with the authority granted the office. It's one version of power to act on behalf of the entire state by one's discretions. Power. Power of this kind has been exercised from priests in agricultural societies, to war leaders in barbarian societies, to emperors over imperial states, to elected representatives in republics. But the rules about acquiring and maintaining power change little and having the power and retaining it are all that count. In our republic, we the people are the only control over how power is used by our representatives. Trump's supporters and the Republicans who tried to help him were attempting to acquire power by cheating the system so that they not the people decided who had the authority to act for all. Nobody who wants to retain their rights as free individuals in a government by consent and participation by the governed which decides policies by democratic means should mistake that people like Cruz and Lee will take all that away from them if they have the opportunity.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
These politicians are all intelligent and erudite professionals who make choices based upon well considered thought over what they ought to do to gain what they want. Cruz horrified the Senate with his graceless acts as a new Senator just to gain publicity because he sought to run for the Presidency. This is not a silly knuckle head who had no idea about how poorly he seemed to others, he knew but it would not hurt him with the voters he wanted to notice. They are in no way concerned about Trump the person. They want the approval of the Republicans who seem to think that Trump is the genius and saint with the perfect disguise of talking nonsense and acting disgracefully unnecessarily.
Jeff (Dallas, TX)
If Cruz and Lee tried to pull this stunt, in say Russia or China for example, they more than likely would be sent to some "reeducation camp" or worse. Cruz and Lee should thank their lucky stars that they live in the United States.
Chazak17 (Rockville,MD)
Shouldn't these two be disqualified from running for office next time based on a constitutional provision adopted after the Civil War that barred members of the Confederacy from holding office? They supported the attempted coup, there might not be the votes to throw them out of the Senate, but the law is clear; they should not be allowed to run for the Senate.
Mayra Linares (Los Angeles)
We need to keep an eye on those cases. The case against Madison Cawthorn failed. But hopefully MTG will be held accountable.
Casual Observer (Los Angeles)
@Chazak17 Those members of the Confederacy rejected the covenant of the Constitution and attempted to separate the states from the Union to form a new polity. The only way to have separated and formed a new state was to do so with the approval of all of the country. So they all committed treason. The committed a crime which resulted in the deaths of 700,000 and the ruin of the states they claimed to represent. As despicable as these acts were, they are not equivalent. First of all, they were all talk and the actual possible implement through the courts and seeking allies failed. Second of all, they never gained enough support to enable them to be accomplished. If the Republicans can find the elected officials to circumvent an election and to get away with it, they will be operating in a state where law no longer has any real authority.
joe (stone ridge ny)
Funny thing about these "Constitutional Conservatives" a.k.a. "Original Intent" proponents, is that they ignore the fact that the Constitution was "amended" 27 times. The first 10 Amendments, the so-called "Bill of Rights", were created by the original "Original Intent" people, circa 1791. These "conservatives" also ignore a core principal, or "Original Intent", that being the ability to amend the Constitution, which is enshrined in the Article V of the original document. Thus, it was the Original Intent of the Founding Fathers that there be a means of altering the Document as the People required as Society evolved.
Grant Edwards (Portland, Oregon)
@joe Indeed. And their biggest mistake was making the document functionally impossible to amend in the future. If they saw the situation today they would be horrified at what they'd done.
joe (stone ridge ny)
@Grant Edwards I'm of the opinion the document should be protected from frivolous changes, that the process should be a serious matter. Don't see how you believe it is "functionally impossible" to amend or how that is the fault of the "founders". If you refer the ERA failure, that was the result of the time limit written into the proposed Amendment, which is entirely optional.
Naples (Los Angeles)
We need more articles like this one. Brian Schatz is absolutely right—the press fears right-wing accusations of bias, and they do not report on Democratic policies, ideas, on their work. Actual policy is not sexy enough. I recall seeing the obnoxious propaganda of Sean Spicer and Sarah Huckabee virtually daily—why do we never hear about the daily briefings of Jen Psaki? Why do we not hear comparisons between Medicare fraudster Rick Scott's sheep-shearing platform vs. Democrats' policies of cheaper prescription drugs, child tax credits, elder care, climate change? Part of Dems' messaging problems lie with the Fourth Estate's fears of rightist bullying and their Roger-Alies-like attraction for carnival stunts like Gaetz in the scif with his pizzas, MTG with her rifles. We need Schatz' outrage. We need people like Alan Grayson with his placard detailing Republican's health plan: DIE QUICKLY. Compare the platforms, Gray Lady— of the two parties—oh. That's right. Republicans— Don't. Have. One.
Daoud (Spain)
@BAR The document to which you refer and link was written, not for the 2020 campaign, but for that of 2016. (Nothing, one supposes, had changed after four years of misrule.) It's ingenuous to say that it's still the party platform today - 6 years later. It is not only out of date, it is not the - unwritten - platform from which the GCoupP is operating today: there is only one issue and that is the "massive" election fraud of the 2020 election; that the US electorate has experienced an unprecedented theft in what was called by federal election officials "the cleanest election in American history." It's the only "issue" that matters to Agent Orange and until he is put to pasture, imprisoned or dies it will continue to be the bête noir of your party and its candidates. Because wanting power is NOT a platform. Because wanting justice and equity are not your goals and never were.
Erik (Virginia)
@BAR Well done. "Our enemies no longer fear us, and our friends no longer trust us." Afghanistan, then Ukraine, and next and last Taiwan?
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
So when do these creeps go on trial?
CEM (The Left Coast)
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." John Kenneth Galbraith
And why exactly are Cruz and Lee allowed to remain in Congress despite documented evidence of their attempted coup? If a Dem were to do what they did, the GOP would be screaming for resignations and jail time. Quite soon (if not already) there will be no faith in government by a majority of this country if accountability is not swift and justice is served.
Petey P (Niagara Falls, NY)
" there will be no faith in government by a majority of this country" That's the goal. It's in the playbook of authoritarianism... along with "They cheated so it's only right that we cheat too".
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@LEW: Without all the hypocrisy there would be no Republican Party.
Dan (Lafayette)
@LEW It won’t happen, because the 40 year plan to turn the US into a fascist theocracy is nearly complete. You’re going to have to fight for your democracy if you’re going to keep it. Voter outreach will not counter gerrymandering, voter suppression, legislative nullification, and such.
DavonaD (SoCal)
'It is interesting, then, that Lee and Cruz were among the Republican senators most involved in Donald Trump’s attempt to subvert the Constitution and install himself in office against the will of the voters." Of course it's interesting! It's also symptomatic of Party leadership beholden to lies and deception that almost guarantees victories in the House and Senate because they offer so little to voters, and their constituents are satisfied with fear and grievance.
David Venhuizen (Austin, Texas)
@DavonaD You put your finger on the problem, "their constituents are satisfied with fear and grievance." Want a better country, grow a better citizenry.
TDD (Florida)
Also the "conservative" Republicans are not very conservative. They just like to tell others what to do. Their idea of good government is like Justice Stewart's definition of obscenity--they cannot describe it but they know it when they see it.
JDStebley (Beckwourth Peak, CA)
“Something is not right in a few states." Mike Lee, 2019. He sure got that right - except the problem is not in the states he listed. We are facing a grave crisis in our Union. The democratic experiment is encountering the very problems predicted by our prescient founders. They understood that with a certain amount of ideological deviation, even their well-considered principles would be usurped by a treacherous minority willing to subsume the rule of law. And it is always zealous, over-heated individuals with a certain talent for making speeches to the mob, which is looking for any grievance to be whipped into a frenzy, always over perceived slights. This is not new to the business of humankind: "Violent zeal for truth hath a hundred to one odds to be either petulancy, ambition, or pride." M. Montaigne. "It is amusing to recall that we fought the revolution in defense of the rights of man and the civil war to abolish slavery and have now gone back on both principles." George Patton, Diary We’ve gotten used to the form of democracy that could better be described as an elective aristocracy, where we the people are just allowed to choose our own aristocrats. Rutger Bregman.
Steve Bolger (New York City)
@JDStebley: The Electoral College and Senate malapportionment could only be acceptable in a nation that doesn't know what democracy is.
Karen (Bay Area)
And the supposedly representative body— the House— has remained at 435 members since 1918, when the total was raised to reflect the growth in actual people living in the USA. 100 years later, with a population increase of 200 million MORE people, none of the pundits or elected officials even put this issue on the “save democracy things to do list.” I guess they like the low to no contact with actual people.
Wally Grigo (Madison, Ct)
"Or, as Lee wrote to Meadows, 'I only know that this will end badly for the president unless we have the Constitution on our side.'" I can't count the number of times during Trump's presidency that I wished for his death during telephone calls with friends. But I was always careful to add: "If anyone's listening, I'm just venting my frustrations and don't really mean to act on any of this." This underscores the nonsense behind Lee's text messages. As long as he PUBLICLY invoked the Constitution, Lee was confident that he had carte blanche to PRIVATELY discuss actually violating that document in the most outrageous and egregious way. Let's hope the Jan 6 Committee won't let him get away with this kind of undergraduate ploy.
David Cary Hart (North Bay Village, FL)
At the core of this are a group of voters (the MAGA set) whose principle goal is - and always has been - to outlaw abortion. They can overlook all the flaws in Trump - his dishonesty and self-dealing - in return for another Amy Coney Barrett. In addition to abortion they are intent on overturning Obergefell and Bostock. It is those voters that Lee and Cruz are pandering to. No Republican can win the presidency without their support.
Ephraim (Baltimore)
@David Cary Hart There is a lot more wrong with the GOP than a desire to overturn Roe v. Wade.
TDD (Florida)
@David Cary Hart I wonder how many times a day the MAGAs and Republicans think about other people's private parts. Certainly it is more than your average teenager.
Erik (Virginia)
@Ephraim The GOP position on abortion is inconsistent with the principle of mind-your-own-business and limited government. Inclusion of the religious right was opportunistic, at best. Goldwater nailed it: “Today’s so-called ‘conservatives’ don’t even know what the word 'conservative' means. They think I’ve turned liberal because I believe a woman has a right to an abortion. That’s a decision that’s up to the pregnant woman, not up to the pope or some do-gooders or the Religious Right. It’s not a conservative issue at all.” Barry Goldwater (1909-1998) US Senator (Republican-Arizona)
Berlin Sally (Columbus)
Over the last few years, I have been troubled by the argument made by conservatives that they know that the framers would have held fast to what they conceived. How do the conservatives come to this conclusion? How are they, and no one else, so certain that the framers would not have had promoted or accepted changes to the Constitution? These men were either ignorant nor stagnant in their thinking. Thus it seems to me that constitutional conservatives are really engaged in some form of idolatry and use that to keep interpreting the Constitution they way they want. Yes, the framers deserve to be venerated, but not to the point of having been absolutely perfect on all matters for all time.
John (Dayton OH)
@Berlin Sally The Framers did understand that the Constitution would need to adapt and change; we have the first ten Amendments to document this thesis. The 11th quickly followed in 1795, and the 12th in 1803. Clearly, many of the Framers were still alive and participating in the discussions that gave rise to both. So-called "Constitutional Originalism" is an absurdity, and I cite the above Amendments as proof.
TmC (California)
And it's not like the Constitution doesn't already give Republicans a huge advantage in presidential elections with the Electoral College. If you can't win when the game is already rigged in your favor, then you truly are a sorry gang of losers. Perhaps, the Democrats aren't as vigorous in wielding power or punishing the lawbreakers because they understand that there's a larger rigged game in play, and all this rigmarole is just window dressing. As the fallen Trump angel, Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama, recently explained to his constituents, a chairmanship of a major House committee, like Ways and Means, currently sells for $1 million, all to be paid for by special interests, of course. Brooks was attempting to explain why nothing of any significance benefitting his voters ever gets passed in Washington, but he could also easily have been explaining why the media spends so much time with such mindless distractions as CRT and trans folks in restrooms and swimming pools.
William (Minnesota)
"Constitutional conservatives" and "compassionate conservatives" are empty labels used by unscrupulous Republican politicians to conceal their drive to dismantle constitutional safeguards protecting all Americans. Perhaps a more fitting label would be "conniving conservatives."
Leigh (Qc)
The oath of high office, being so succinct, offers no opportunity for loopholes - that oath is what the former guy et al all broke knowingly and that's the offence against their countrymen and women for which they all so richly deserve to be held to account.
Darren (Oregon)
Real Republicans always lie about their beliefs. Lee and Cruz are the anti-constitutionalists. They want authoritarianism, not a constitution, to govern the nation.
David (Salt Lake City)
I have lived in Salt Lake City most of my life. Mike Lee was a mediocre law student who ran as a more conservative alternative to my former boss, Sen Bob Bennett. He was given the seat at convention as a prize after his much respected and amazing dad, Rex Lee, passed away tragically from cancer. Rex Lee was a man of tremendous integrity — and he would be so deeply ashamed of everything Mike Lee does. It’s so sad.
Eumenides (Rockland)
In our mirroring of the 1930s we are pretty much at 1939 now. People like Cruz and Lee (& many, many others) would not be uncomfortable in National Socialist garb.
David Ullman (Washington)
Lee and Cruz. Trump and Flynn, Miller and McCarthy...the list its as endless as the apparent conspiracies that surround the so-called Republicans. What's really amazing is how they use the very laws they seem to despise to work for them whenever a challenge faces them. It's a shame really. Perhaps the majority of voters will overcome the legal manipulations that will change our elections... probably forever. I think it's doubtful...as I think Trump and his mob will claim the upcoming mid-terms and '24 Presidential election are rigged.
Horace (Detroit)
Like the "states rights conservatives" of the 60s, Lee and Cruz don't believe, at all, in their supposed constitutional principle. The "states rights conservatives" believed Blacks should not have civil rights and so concocted a "principle" that would support white supremacy. Lee and Cruz believe in Trumplican plutocracy and so make up their own constitutional "scholarship" to support it. Slave owners were "states rights" only as a means to keep owning slaves. Cruz and Lee are "constitutional scholars" only to keep themselves in power.
Jenifer (Issaquah)
Glad to see that somebody seems to care that UNITED STATES SENATORS attempted to subvert our Constitution on behalf of a tyrant. In the days where shame was still a thing within the GOP they would have both resigned never to show their faces again. But today this is, I'm sure, the only kickback they will receive. Laws and our Constitution are losing their meaning. As long as the press will not obviously state, repeatedly, every day, to the public the danger the current GOP represents to Democracy then we will be like frogs in a pot of slowly boiling water. The press also has a duty to the Constitution and to the public.
Moehoward (The Final Prophet)
Why does this come as any surprise that two of the ultra-right's biggest charlatans are projecting, for themselves, what they're actually not? They want you to believe they're the best and the brightest, and the know-all to end-all. Just because that promote that image and portray that role, doesn't mean they are. Their actions and antics are proof enough that they're not, in any sense, what they pretend to be.
Pondering (CA)
The Mike Lees and Ted Cruzes of politics, can only happen with the consent of the people who vote for them. We can talk about messaging and what Democrats "aren't doing" to counter the faux narratives of the body politic and the alleged wholesale destruction of America. In-the-mean-time, Fox newz feeds a good percentage of America its version of "Eve of Destruction" on an endless loop: The sorrowful reality (it seems) is- nothing will make a bit of difference to the mainly White male, fabricated-victim machine- in all of its destructive machinations.
Johnny 99 (My Town)
So what is it? Were they trying save the Donald from the agony of defeat or was it the "will to power."
Bob 1967 (chelmsford,ma 01824)
Popular vote period end of story. Electoral College made some dim sense when news travelled by foot and horseback.Everyone is now party to the same information the moment it comes out. Live in a rural area? you get to vote like everyone else. To discount 7 plus million votes as "rigged" is the cry of a sore loser.
Homer (Seattle)
Really good column here. I applaud Mr. Bouie not only for timely content, but for an admirable restraint. As I think he was being far too kind to either the loathsomy, lying ted cruz and clueless bloviator mike lee.
jimerson (Seattle)
Look, it's right there in 2 Corinthians 11:14: "Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light." Satan was one of the original political propagandists, always claiming to stand for the very opposite of what he actually does. That's how you know what he's up to. He and his minions will always accuse (without evidence) their opponents of the very things they themselves plan to do or are already doing. Biblical and Constitutional textualists, take note: The Vice President does not have the unilateral power to overturn an election in defiance of the expressed will of the voters. Fake electors fraudulently claiming to represent candidates they have no legal authority to represent are illegitimate. And if you're going to mount a coup based on claims of "election fraud," you'd better actually produce some evidence. It's been almost a year and a half and you still haven't produced anything beyond the same litany of vague, unsupported generalizations: "Something is not right in a few states." That something, in fact, is you.
TDD (Florida)
@jimerson While not enough to sway any election, all anecdotal voter fraud that has been proven has been committed by Republicans.
Daoud (Spain)
@jimerson Interesting that you should quote from Second Corinthians. Isn't Two Corinthians TFG's favorite book?
USAF SERE (Washington)
@jimerson I'll have to remember that one, thank you.
William Newbill (Dallas)
The Senator from Canada is a power hungry jackal, a man with unlimited ambition and no ethics or morality. Murdering truth and democracy is a small price for his crowd to pay. It’s just a question of how long before constitutional conservatives completely dismantle and fire bomb our dying constitution.
Derek Stevens (Las Vegas)
@William Newbill And a man (using that term generously) who even threw his own children under the bus when he got caught bailing on his constituents and catching a flight Cancun while those same people were freezing to death.
William Whitaker (Ft. Lauderdale)
Where was Ted Cruz when Donald Trump claimed the 2015 Iowa primary was rigged to give Cruz the victory?
Daoud (Spain)
@William Whitaker Cancún?
Kate (Minnesota)
The rabble with pitchforks were just a sideshow. This was the real coup.
Paul P🤓 (Greensboro,NC)
These guys wish to be constitutional conservatives. Repeat, wish. The fact is they are both hypocrites, and typical of the entire conservative movement, abide by the parts of the constitution they agree with. The constitution was never meant to taken literally, thus within it, allows for amendments. The entirety of the federalist society, which relies on this mistaken view, is complete hogwash.
geraniums in pots (new jers)
greater love hath no man. (sick)!
Dennis (Oregon)
This effort by Cruz and Lee to reframe and reinterpret our Constitution might have been successful if the man behind it had been worthy of such a distortion. But that man was a fool who lied every day and used people, including these two, to achieve chiefly the meanest goals his ego demanded. That is enough for History to condemn these two Senators as villains and fools themselves.
Thank you, Jamelle Bouie. This is it, in a nutshell.
Hey Jim (Florida)
If the Electoral College were abolished state legislatures would be incentivized to have as many voters participate from their state as possible. That way Florida, Texas, Georgia, Iowa, Wisconsin, and every other state would have as big an impact on the national outcome as possible. Imagine - states that actually wanted every eligible voter to participate and made it easy for them to do so. What a country we’d have! In our dreams.
slama (wynnewood)
"Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, . . . .", from Article 2 of U.S. Constitution. Conservatives are ready to turn this simple clause into a weapon to reverse a state's Presidential election that displease the state's legislature. J. Bouie has discussed this. The Cruzes and Lees, and their ilk, very reasonably expect that if they can somehow maneuver some kind of case to the U.S. Supreme Court about "alternate electors" chosen by a state legislature on the grounds that the recent popular election was tainted by "fraud," that the conservative Justices will go along, holding that the clause above gives each state legislature sole, broad and unreviewable, authority over the appointment of presidential Electors, including fashioning an "alternate electors" remedy for popular election results that the legislature finds to be fraudulent or otherwise corrupted.
Tim Walsh (New York)
Succinctly, and carefully, Bouie sums up the prime reason that American voters should vote overwhelmingly for centrist or progressive candidates for all offices in the coming elections at all levels. Only by so doing will we soundly, publicly, and irrevocably expose and defeat this dangerous misrepresentation of American conservatism.
avrds (montana)
@Tim Walsh And yet self-identified liberals commenting at the Times say they are going to only vote Republican in 2022, because they don't want to have to wear a mask to protect themselves and others from a deadly disease. Democracy or a united country appears to be the last thing on their minds right now. You have to give the Republicans credit. They all got vaccinated against a deadly disease and told the rest of the country it was all a hoax. Just like they did the election.
Barry McKenna (USA)
If only the Democratic leadership would gather a great quartet and just bring the tune of "don't undermine and overturn our institutions and Constitution" into the top ten. Otherwise, we, the people, are held captive and listen to too many songs without harmony, and we're drowning in trite melody. We need more songs that ring like the dinner bell.
CEM (The Left Coast)
@Barry McKenna A great anthem for 2022 might be Peter, Paul & Mary's "If I Had a Hammer": Well, I have a hammer. And I've got a bell. And I've got a song to sing all over this Land. It's the hammer of Justice. It's the bell of Freedom. It's a song about love between my brothers and my sisters all over this Land. Or try the original fourth verse of " America": America, America, God shed his grace on thee. Confirm thy soul in self-control, thy liberty in Law! Stand Up for Democracy!
Barry McKenna (USA)
@CEM Oh yes. Yes, yes, yes. I can hear the bells ringing. I can see the sisters and brothers dancing in the streets, healing their own and each others pain and anger. Would it be too much to ask for that to be read into the Congressional record? Perhaps at that start of every session? Or else, ask them why we bother to dance the same old same old kabuki.
bwilliams (WI)
The question is; "What can we do about it", ask the great state of Arizona to stop electing him?, ask Lee to change to a 'honest person' I think the problem is known, for every opinion there is another opinion. All this constitutional chest thumping is reminiscent of the 'Bible' experts who use the Good Book to aggrandize them selves and the expense of others, not much different as far as i can tell. These books/documents are only as good as the people let them be. My remedy is to focus on local politics, who's around you, and what you can personally change.
Damian McColl (San Francisco)
Ted Cruz has this delusion that one day he will be President. Overall, his primary goal in supporting Trump's claims of a stolen election was to get Trump supporters to become his supporters once Trump's term as President was ended. As he was reelected to be Senator until 2024, the best timing for him was to get Trump back in office as President and then have him term limited after 2024. Ted would then be free to run for President without having to compete with Trump in the primaries. Now his plan has backfired and he may indeed have to compete with Trump in the 2024 primaries. We should all strive to deny Ted Cruz the presidency and make him the Rick Santorum of Republican presidential candidates, perpetually running but never attaining his goal.
Tara (MI)
Well this seems obvious. The phrase "will only end badly for the president" meant "the scam will never work." Once we do some plain-talking, fakes like Cruz might just go away. Incidentally, just a pedantic point, I think 'self-government" meant "freedom from the British crown," while the debate here is over "constitutional power of representative assemblies, fairly elected, and branches of government."
Foundthecat! (Indiana)
Any person half informed knows the right wing is only committed to the Constitution as is convenient. On the 1A alone they have invented excuses as to why various classes or persons should not have full protections and rights. The right is pushing seizure of editorial control of various digital platforms, pushing for censorship of classrooms and libraries and for limiting the right to petition government on a variety of levels. They are working very hard for companies and people to use the 1A as a legal right to prevent others from practicing their own civil rights or enjoy legal privileges. The Kim Davis case where she attempted to cite religious belief as a right to interfere in others legal right to marry is far from dead and settled and more cases are coming where far right folks seek to claim a constitutional right to stomp on everyone else's rights.
pixilated (New York, NY)
"But if Cruz, Lee and other “constitutional conservatives” have any commitment to the Constitution, it is only to the letter of the document, not its spirit." A great point. I have long felt that the premise of "originalism" is specious, as it presumes objectivity that doesn't exist. If laws were finite and not subject to interpretation we wouldn't have a legal system. It's hardly a coincidence how often according to those who adhere to that school the Founders line up with positions taken by contemporary conservatives. There's nothing wrong with supporting conservative principles, but projecting them onto the Founders implies there should be no debate. There is also nothing wrong with being disappointed in the results of an election, wishing it wasn't so, and even questioning the results. However, at that stage of the game after losing every court case and recount to still be indulging a face-saving falsehood concocted by a thoroughly mendacious candidate and his power-crazy crew of suppliants, suggests participation in seditious activity that should not be excused.
Moehoward (The Final Prophet)
@pixilated Originalism PRESUMES they have a walkie-talkie to the past. And based on that presumption, that places them above everyone else, because, they're the "originalists." It's a clever concoction, one that can only be disproved through heavy logical arguments, something most of us aren't capable of.
John (OR)
@Moehoward Even Antonin would issue a smirk when invoking the term, inviting interpretation(s) on our part.
Leander C Jones (Northport, AL)
Well written. The Republic and the media should act on these findings and hold accountable the parties involved.
Ansapphire54 (MA)
Well nobody will hold them accountable so they partially won.
magicisnotreal (earth)
Interesting only if you assume their interest in the Constitution is about supporting it and the ideas it clearly espouses. Not so much if you realize they are only interested in it so far as they can twist and spin the clear meaning and intent of the document with ridiculous notions as being a "Constitutional Conservative" for the most liberal government document ever written at that point in time. Or worse a "Constitutional Originalist" which adds in the ability for them, and them alone, to read the minds of dead people, and by that limit what meaning anyone else can take from the written words of those dead people. All while pretending to be applying the correct rules of grammar. We really only need to know why these criminals are still being protected and have not had to deal with authority breaking down their doors at 3 am to take them into custody. The rest of us would have been taken into custody, possibly shot in the process, and be facing the death penalty for lesser crimes.
Derek Stevens (Las Vegas)
@magicisnotreal Exactly - there are people on death row in this country for having had less involvement in a crime in which a person, let alone police officers, died than the people who fomented a coup d’etat, riled up a mob to attack the Capitol. They tried to overthrow the government and failed. If they were living in any of the countries they admire and under the rule of the strong men they profess to like, they and their entire families would have been lined up, against a wall and summarily shot.
Not that someone (Somewhere)
Ted Cruz is a perfect example of our obsolete value system. If you want to destroy democracy, please continue in this manner. Frankly, there are important things required of all of us in this world at the moment, indulging this absurdity is nearly as destructive as actual warfare.
Kevin (Phoenix)
It is not where you stand, but where you sit. So true with any Senator when they proclaim their so-called values.
Dearson (North Carolina)
Autocratic regimes such as those in China and Russia recognize the hypocritical behavioral of Cruz, Lee, Hawley, Cotton and others as normal in their political systems. Why would they aspire to emulate "so called" American democracy, when U.S. Senators are conspiring with an aspiring autocrat 'Trump' to overthrow the constitutionally elected American President.
FoxyVil (NY)
I really wished you’d devised some other deadline. As it stands now, it seems to imply that the egomaniacal demagogue in question, along with his acolytes and minions, somehow have the humanity, sensitivity, discernment, and moral compass to feel and understand emotions.
TB Johnson (Victoria, BC)
At its core, constitutional conservatism is based on the same logical foundation as religious doctrine, particularly the self-righteous Christian variety. That foundation is magical thinking. Subconscious emotive impulses are presented as rational thought and supported by ever more twisted logic. This is a basic human characteristic and will never change.
Michael Levin (Big Pine Key, Florida)
@TB Johnson Constitutional conservatism is the red herring meant to create a fog in which suckers get lost trying to counter it with logic. Meanwhile the fascism it cloaks seized the reigns of government by legislation both on the state and national levels. The constitutional conservative wants nothing more than to instill a fascist corporate paradise.
Martin (Chicago)
Like many of today's "conservatives", Ted Cruz is a Constitutional hack seeking power. The true Constitutionalists, otherwise known as the founding fathers, would have insisted that Trump be impeached. They would have insisted that the Constitution be modified to change with the times. They would have been horrified by the death caused by SCOTUS making up gun "rights" ignoring the meaning of a militia. And how do I know this? To that I answer, how does Ted Cruz know he is right? And Donald Trump should have been impeached. That has nothing to do with "Constitutional" anything. That has to do with integrity and honest, and the lack thereof exhibited by a Cruz the Hack.
R (CA)
The same November 2020 general election ballots were used by general election voters to cast votes for U.S. President, U.S. Senators, and U.S. Representatives. However, Trump Republicans claim only general election votes for U.S. President were tainted by voter fraud. This is nonsense.
Kidgeezer (Seattle)
Constitutional Conservatives have never been interested in the spirit and only in the letter as long as it is convenient.
b fagan (chicago)
All of these "scholars", after seeing the flimsy, even typo-packed nuisance lawsuits shoveled into courts around the country lost ANY right to claim they act in accordance with law and with the Constitution as soon as they chose to continue supporting their orange leader's "Try The Steal" assault on the voters of America. The loser lost and lost fairly. Democracies have losers in every election. They stay democracies when the losers acknowledge that and are then free to try to appeal to voters next time around. But the GOP is in a bind since they know their policies don't appeal to enough people in America to succeed in winning the Presidency (they lost the popular vote in 7 of the last 8 tries). Unfortunately, they're choosing to steal, instead of choosing to change their policies to appeal to more voters.
Peter (Maryland)
Cruz, Lee, and McCarthy all thought this was an abstract legal game with no consequences - an illusion that was dispelled when Trump's insurrectionist goons stormed their workplace. What would the consequences have been if they succeeded? Did they think the majority who voted for Joe Biden would shrug as a self-coup occurred? The willful blindness and recklessness of Trump's enablers is sickening.
WoodGood (NC)
These "constitutional" crackpots should all be investigated. The future of our nation depends upon a thorough criminal investigation.
Janet DiLorenzo (N.Y. N.Y.)
I am not at all surprised by the attempt by Ted Cruz, however, Mike Lee is not one I expected to attempt a coup of the process he claims to support. They should and must pay a price for their deliberate attempt to overthrow a legitimate election. They must all pay at election time. Nothing else will strengthen our Democracy.
Joe Parrott (Syracuse, NY)
Constitutional originalists are extreme conservatives. Conservatives, generally, want to maintain the status quo, essentially keep things as they are. They look at the Constitution as set in stone, rather than a living document. The most ridiculous of these scholars is Supreme court judge Amy Coney Barrett. A woman who would not be able to vote if originalists held total sway during the suffragette movement. They worship power not the republic. The big lie is alive and well in their hearts. Blue wave 2022.
Dana Jones (Prince Frederick)
They are power hungry and control hungry legal minds who believe they know what is best for America. Cruz continues to lower his standards and has proven he should never be elected President. He gave his political future to Donald Trump; a man who never won the majority of votes from Americans. The former Governor of New Jersey has been passing our "smelling salt" to his fellow GOP members. They lack the courage to walk away from a Dictator in the makings. Instead, they offend the American people with their lies.
Al (Ohio)
And the only thing that has changed after these criminal schemes are the passing of hundreds of laws that would make them legal.
Barry Alpart (Texas)
The Democrats need to yell from every roof top the traitorous behavior of the GOP during the mid-term election campaign. The January 6 committee needs to preserve its integrity and move methodically but Democratic candidates should be introducing every piece of evidence on the campaign trail and they should make it a strong part of the campaign strategies to go into GOP media and institutional strongholds and challenge the Big Lie and expose the perfidious Republican Congressional and Senatorial candidates for what they are: enemies of the Constittution.
John Harrington (Utah)
Out in Utah, Lee is often regarded as a clown by fellow Republicans. He is able to be elected as something like a warm body to keep the seat Republican. He’s messed around with the same far-right, twisted interpretation of the Constitution that was pushed by W. Cleon Skousen, Ezra Taft Benson, Evan Meacham, Glenn Beck, Cliven Bundy and scores of others who are against the government to the level espousing its overthrow. They are seditionists, as this article points out in relation to Jan. 6. There’s a question that is a not-funny joke out here: “How do you know when Mike Lee is lying? When he opens his mouth.” You can slot Trump into that, Cruz and the others who want to set up a Putinocracy in this nation. It’s traitorous behavior.
JDStebley (Beckwourth Peak, CA)
@John Harrington Yep. Ambition often puts men upon doing the meanest offices; so climbing is performed in the same posture with creeping. J Swift
Matt Graham (California)
There is a conservative ethos of minority rule or rule by moral hubris. They believe in might makes right. This is not a new concept. You can read it or hear it in their editorials. It is partly a battle of what families rule. The emergence of highly qualified and effective minorities to power in cities is at least subliminal fear-factor for these traditional or wanna-be elites. These loonies, as I call them seek power at all costs and place themselves above the law if it means “saving America” from the libs. In reality, these autocrats are tearing down our democracy piece by piece. Vote Democrat or democracy is doomed.
Long-Term Observer (Boston)
It is interesting that Cruz was born in Canada to a Cuban father. The party of birtherism had no probem with Cruz running for president.
Rob (miles from nowhere)
Brilliant and as clear as can be. Thank you for this heuristic look at the process of our so-called constitutional scholars in their presentation of a total sham. The sad thing really is that so many in the nation consider lies and manipulation to be their only recourse. We have lost trust in ourselves.
King Lars (ohio)
The Democrats by their continued silence in the face of all the lies and fabrications the republicans dream up are validating these stories.
Steve (Arlington VA)
I'm sure constitutional conservatives disagree that the judiciary has the right to overrule mask mandates. The Constitution does not give the judiciary authority over executive branch decisions. Nor, for that matter, does it give the Supreme Court the power of judicial review. Every high school student knows Marshall created that authority in Marbury vs. Madison. Constitutional conservatives hereby declare the Citizens United decision null and void.
Fred Frahm (Boise)
It would appear that democracy is not the pole star of our constitutional system of government under the banner of “constitutional conservatism, as revised.” The “constitutional conservative” must now regard the Constitution as merely another contract whose terms are grist for clever attorneys employed to find clever ways to arrive at a the desired result: victory for the conservative faction of the day.
gary (santa monica)
What part of this piece is anything but normative behavior from the party with nothing to offer?
Michael Tiscornia (Houston)
Constitutional conservatives like to talk about fidelity to strict interpretation of the Constitution as written. But this fidelity only extends to their own personal interpretation. They all forget that the American Republic was built on English common law, not statute law, thus allowing for the continued reinterpretation of laws based upon evolution within the society. There is much to dispute in our Constitution (ie. the Electoral College, the last vestige of the slave constitution), but there are ways to amend the Constitution. Our system has strived to enlarge the voting public to ensure that democracy underpins our Republic, yet Ted Cruz and his ilk attempted to dismantle our sacred document through their attempt to subvert the election process. Those individuals are guilty under the Fourteenth Amendment, Section 3; of having “engaged in insurrection or rebellion…or given aid and comfort to the enemies thereof.”
dap (San Marino, CA)
The US Constitution vs. democracy: if the "will of the people" means one citizen, one vote, then the US Senate is a non-democratic institution, created, ab ovo, to limit the democratic power of populous states. Plus, senators used to be appointed, women did not have the vote. The Electoral College and the concept that states run the federal elections are also indicators of a democracy-challenged Constitution. There is little to recommend originalist thinking. The best aspect of the original US Constitution is that it allowed amendments, as our country grew up, changed, and learned from experience.
jack sherman (Maine)
I believe in the strength of our nation--and that Trump and his henchmen mentioned here--lack the power and the intelligence to have come close to any overturn of the 2020 election--as the author suggests. Any coup needs the military's support. Trump did not have it. Quite the opposite, in fact. We are fortunate that fascistic, power-hungry right-wing extremists--men like Cruz, Trump, and Lee--are not very smart--despite their bluster and bragging. Let's not panic and assume we are inches from Fascism. There is more than enough bad news and anxiety already. no need to think a petty thug like Trump could have stolen the election.
zeke27 (Hudson Valley, NY)
Thin mask indeed. Lee did not participate in the coup attempt when he couldn't make it work Constitutionally. He and Pence held the line, it seems. The other cinspirators have no fear of retribution. So many harmful acts are committed either in full view of the law and often on its edge. No court filled with McConnell's judges will indict the congresspersons for anything.
Belinda (Georges Mills, NH)
I'm surprised I'm raising this to Mr. Bouie, rather than the other way around, but I think there's a broader sense of "constitutional conservative" that was at work not just in the electoral context but in every dimension of American governance. It is that the rights and protections embodied in the Constitution are guaranteed unconditionally to those by whom (they wrongly believe, since many if not most of the representatives were Deists or Anglicans whom Evangelical "Christians" consider heathens) and for whom (in their view) the Constitution was written: White male Evangelical "Christians." For all others, it depends, and the deciders are white male Evangelical "Christians." So the problem, in their view, is that all of the Papists and Frozen Chosen and "mud people" and Jews and atheists and child molesters and gays and whoever else who managed to get to the polls and vote against Trump, did so without permission from those for whom the Constitution was originally written.
John Bergstrom (Boston)
My only quibble would be, was it really about some personal loyalty to Trump himself, or was it that they saw him in the White House as the key to their own power? After all, for all his personal craziness, he was always facilitating the basic Republican agenda. (That may be a difference without a difference.)
Nancy B (Philadelphia)
Because I voted in Philadelphia County, I knew months before the 2020 election that the US President would very happily have my vote thrown in the trash. But this was no surprise since I already knew the Constitution meant nothing at all to him. But I confess I *didn't* imagine that people like Mike Lee would be just as happy to see my vote––and the votes of millions of other Americans––made null and void. Did Lee ever wake up and night and think for even a minute about the bonfire of ballots he was hoping to set fire to? Was there ever a twinge of conscience about the millions of us he was working "14-hours a day" to disenfranchise––*after* we had voted in totally legitimate, certified tallies? What could possibly have been going through his mind?
Ted Olson (Portland, Oregon)
Looking at Cruz, Lee, Hawley, MTG, Bobert, Blackburn, Jordan, and the rest: Constitutional conservatives? No. Public servants? No. Shameless? Yes. Power-hungry? Yes. Venal? Yes. Term limits? Yes.
Sally (California)
Cruz is what you get when a low flyer hungry for power is given a microphone. He missed his calling. What he really wants to be is a born again minister for high rollers eager to dump cash into his hat.
Ignatious (Philadelphia, PA)
Please drop all references to the idea that the founders trusted the wisdom of the people to be electors. Madison, Hamilton, Adams--the entire lot--were very, very suspicious of having the common folk determine who governed this country. That's why each of the states, for the most part, had property qualifications attached to the "right" to vote. (How can something be a "right," when it is only available to a few?) For an awesome understanding of this issue at the time of ratifying the Constitution, please read Beard's "An Economic Interpretation of the Constitution of the United States.” We were governed by an elite then, and the case has essentially remained the same throughout our history. Consider a run for congress, but first you'll need to raise millions of dollars--from sources who might, or might not, agree with you. Vote for president, your side wins the popular vote, but the other side wins the Electoral College vote, so the other side wins, even if it were in the minority. What do we even call that? Well, it's apparent to me at least that the Electoral College is another device to "cool the passions of the masses." We have lots of problems with our political liberties, to say nothing of the way our economic liberties have been taken from us from at least the mid 1970's, which began the era of deregulation, the financialization of everything, and monopoly power over most industries. The U.S. is in a gigantic mess, but it's not anything that cannot be remedied.
David (Rochester)
Cruz and Lee, as well as John Eastman, Rudy, Jim Jordan, Marjorie, et al. should be volunteering to be jailed for sedition if they are so committed to the text of the Constitution.
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
For the Right, the Constitution is seen as a piece of toilet paper. They have shown they will shred this hallow document to attain power, one party rule, and the ability to wage cruelty on their foes.
Bud (Way out yonder)
Treason: the offense of attempting, by overt acts, to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance…. Is “constitutional conservative” just another name for “white Christian nationalist attempting to subvert a legally upheld election to illegally grasp power because we consider ourselves the only legitimate ruling class and we will use any means necessary to achieve power and keep it”?
Alf Alpha (Midwest)
Jamelle Bouie is often the Times best columnist. Today is a good example why.
Claire (Minneapolis)
Why aren't these people being arrested, indicted?!
Vesuviano (Altadena, California)
This column is waaaay too polite. Senators Cruz and Lee, to put it quite simply, are traitors.
ted (Brooklyn)
Everything they say they stand for is a lie.
Daoud (Spain)
@ted I'm not so sure that everything they SAY they stand for is a lie, just that they lie about everything, including what they stand for.
Bradford Hastreiter (La la land)
If Cruz had been given a little more R&R in Cancun, he might have been a rested up constitutional conservative who can make a difference lol
Realworld (International)
Unfortunately none of these facts, which should be disqualifying, will deter cult-members from voting for these hacks again. If the shoe was on the other foot they would (again) grab their guns and head directly to DC.
John McDermott (Grand Island, Ne)
Lee and Cruz are traitors and being legal scholars of the Constitution, they are traitors that knew better. They truly put power and party above constitutional principles. They should be summarily cast out of the Senate, now. There is no room in democracy for evil unrepentant scoundrels that are working tirelessly to erode its foundation.
Lostin24 (Michigan)
How are these people not accused of high treason?
Brian (Detroit)
Two guys you'd interview & say "too toxic to put on my team" but they manage to drag down the entire nation.
Ralph (Nebraska)
When I was a kid joining the Navy I swore an oath to protect and defend the Constitution. I remember doing that and I really meant it. It wasn't that hard to understand. At the time Richard Nixon was President and I hated Richard Nixon. The Constitution meant that there would be another election - another chance to get it right. Senators Cruz and Lee are agents of a party that doesn't do platforms any more. Donald Trump is their platform. Indeed, Donald Trump is their Constitution. If the voters elect someone else they are wrong and the Constitution of Donald Trump requires that the error of the voters be corrected. When General Washington conquered North America he resigned his commission and went back to his farm. On his death bed Napoleon said, "They wanted me to be a Washington." What Washington did was new and it stunned the world. Over ten generations of Americans have operated under a Constitution that has produced Lincolns and Nixons. Why would we ever give up such a marvelous system for a punk like Donald Trump?
Nancy (FL, late of NJ)
@Ralph my husband (Lt. JG retired) feels the same, and he is in real pain and anguish with the way the Constitution is being shredded. He swore his oath under George HW Bush; he would not do the same with the current Republican party.
Katrina Lazenby (Georgia)
So Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are liars with no fidelity to anything beyond their own naked and virulent self interest? Hardly a surprising revelation about these two segmented worm mascots of the Republican Party. Wherever the truth cuts into them they regenerate a new life of lies and deceit.
Trish (MN and TN)
Of course nothing will happen to the little weasels, no matter what proof comes up. “Ladies and Gentlemen, our government.”
Shim (Midwest)
they all sold their evil soul in service of trump!
John (U.S.A.)
"But the truth is that Lee was with the president from the start." Wow, these guys are ALL a bunch of liars. Who knew? Everyone.
Susan (Philadelphia)
I always wonder, when historians have access to all the documents related to Trump’s 2016 win and subsequent loss, what will be revealed about all of the races for national offices. Of course, that means there will still be a democracy with some layer of transparency 75 years from now…
BA_Blue (Oklahoma)
@Susan Lest we forget, the media is currently reporting on the latest tax returns released by the Biden / Harris administration. It's an annual exercise near the middle of April every year. Except during the Trump years. When no tax returns were released. Promised? Yes. Released? No. But we don't care. Do we?
sumyounguy (austin,tx)
Their number one principal is a commitment to maintaining power and to do what?We have political personalities who love attention but offer little.I am not saying democrats are the end all but they at least promote ideas and policies based on real problems of Americans.
Mike Pod (Massachusetts)
And these seditionists did this in service of keeping a functionally illiterate con man in the White House. Where does this fit in Senator Lee’s books? Will to power. Period.
Pat Boice (Idaho Falls, ID)
It's time for the NYT to support Evan McMullin, Republican in Utah, running against Mike Lee. I'm a Democrat, but McMullin wouldn't scare me.
Steve (New York)
To paraphrase the words of the bandit leader in "The Treasure of the Sierra Madre," Lee and Cruz obviously believe "we don't need no Constitution. We don't have to show you no stinkin' Constitution."
Greg (Pa)
they love autocrats.....just look at the fawning over Viktor Orbans from Trump, Fox etc....they want a Hungarian "democracy"
Californian Laddie (Los Angeles CA)
Their words shout "Constitution!" while their actions scream authoritarianism (fascism.)
Alan R Brock (Richmond VA)
As the English language evolves in the near future, it is quite likely that an extremely pathetic and posturing person will be described as ''Cruzetic.''
Enuff (Vermont)
@ Alan R Brock Or how about just, Ted Cruz.
BA_Blue (Oklahoma)
@Alan R Brock Last night I watched an X Files episode from the final encore series of 2018. Near the very end a scene was in Mulder's office featuring a wall with a large corkboard covered in photos of people, places, evidence, etc. with pushpins and colored yarn typical of someone trying to make sense of a complex series of events by visual diagram. One of the suspect photos was of our beloved US Senator from Texas... Ted Cruz. Preserved for eternity as an X Files prank in HD video. (Note: Some TV shows are full of inside jokes, generally as a curiously placed object in the background)
SGS (New York)
Actually, if you look up the definition of hypocrisy, "Constitutional Conservativism" is in the list of synonyms. It's like the bible with these two "Constitutional Hypocrites," thump it when it suits you.
HJS (Charlotte, NC)
Earth to Merrick Garland—HELLOOOOO???
Jill Jillian (Eastern Shore MD)
"Follow The Money"
Steve-O (Houston)
If using the Constitution as toilet paper makes one a "constitutional conservative", then yes, Senators Cruz and Lee are constitutional conservatives.
Mike Schmidt (Michigan)
Does Merrick Garland even read the paper?
Mom2KidsDog (Wisconsin)
I think it has less to do with the “will to power“, and more to do with the perceived legitimacy and discounting of ballot of the individuals voting. In Lee’s and Cruz’s collective minds (and certainly those of other members of Congress), if the individuals voting, i.e., registered voters, are women and people of color, then surely the election results cannot be legitimate.
MLucero (Albuquerque)
Think about it, sitting senators were actively looking for an excuse to keep a failed president in office in order to preserve their power. This is not what the founding father's especially George Washington wanted. Washington voluntarily opted not to run for a third term saying that this country fought to get away from kings and there would be no kings here. These two "gentlemen" used everything they could think of to bend the Constitution to their way of thinking and thank God it didn't work. Now we have republicans across the country playing out the long coup in order to overturn those elections that they don't like. The party of Lincoln has lost its way for the soul purpose of keeping power and not to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States, they have all forgotten the oath they took on the day they were sworn into office. The GOP is dead.
George (Hungary)
@MLucero "The GOP is dead." Let's get real here: the two political "parties" that divide government between them are not actual parties, whatever their label. Neither any longer stands for anything; the major difference IS (as stated) that the GOP has a will to power utterly lacking in the opposition. Not that I can blame Democrats: power corrupts. This suggests that not enough Dems are power-hungry (or powerful) enough to keep the wolves from our doorsteps.
Cynical (Knoxville, TN)
Despite all of this and all the other shenanigans, Republicans are likely to win in November. This is because much of the electorate doesn't really care. Progressives want their representatives to fight for freebies. But if they aren't entertained at the same time, they'll simply not show up to vote. Never mind that President Biden and the Democrats have achieved so very much for the nation. It's the absence of style that bothers the millennials.
Randy (Houston)
@Cynical While you're shaking your fist and yelling at the kids to get off your lawn, the kids are drowning in student debt, facing the likelihood that the planet will become uninhabitable during their lifetimes, and find themselves unable to afford rent, all while Democrats do nothing to address structural problems. If Democrats want people to turn out, then Democrats should start enacting policy that improves peoples' lives.
Jerry S (Chelsea)
All that "constitutional conservative" means is a refusal to believe that progress can be made unless it follow the script of a document written in the 1700's. The constitution didn't discuss Social Security, define what a legal abortion, take a stance about discrimination based on race, gender, religion, etc. Trump never had any interest in the Constitution or any other laws. He said he was going to run the country like he ran his businesses, and we all know he ran his business through fraud, not paying bills, racism, you name it. He got away from not paying bills by hiring lawyers, delaying, and outlasting those who sued him. I wouldn't single out just these two. Almost all of the Republicans who opposed Trump have just given up and will not run for reelection. Fear of Trump has won over interest in the Constitution, which is quite abstract, and also any kind of decency, such separating children from their parents and many other actions that go beyond unconstitutional but to a basic lack of humanity to serve a President, now ex-President who was never interested in anything but himself.
M. (Flagstaff, Arizona)
This shows that in the end, winning is more important than the Constitution they swear to uphold.
Scott Newton (San Francisco, Ca)
I'm glad Bob Woodward's book Peril was called out here. Too often Woodward tries to locate virtue in people like Pompeo, Pence, Barr, Tillerson and Lee - prayerful men who try to keep the Trump administration on track. In reality they were all in the thick of it. Even Pence makes it clear that he tried to find a rationale for overturning the election result but could find none. He did not object to nullifying the results, just that his particular role left him no route to do so. A very weird concept of duty to the Constitution.
Euskara (Utah)
What is to be expected from two charlatans? One raised as a Baptist, and the other as a Mormon? Religious and political fairy lands, to say the least. Oh yes, the gift of word elevated them to the highest stage of the land: the US senate. One cloaks himself in the Confederate flag, and the other embraces the US Constitution as if it were the Book of Mormon. Give us a break! and, they are not the only clowns in town.
John (Nashville)
In my opinion, these two (as well as other) Republicans, have made themselves out as destroyers of the Constituion. They have betrayed the nation and their states as scofflaws and traitors.
Charlie Adams (Kentucky)
Neither Lee nor Cruz nor any of their cohorts are "Constitutional Conservatives", and only fools believe their self-serving blather. They are traitors to the United States, the Constitution, and the American people, and should be dealt with as such. The only reason any of them make any effort to pretend concern for Constitutional principle is the sure and certain knowledge that admitting treason would result in their hanging.
Terry Fernsworth (San Rafael, CA)
Spot on. Time and again constitutional conservatives and originalists have shown themselves to be more interested in the pursuit of power and the outcomes of their rulings than the constitution that they repeatably contradict.
vtmd73 (Ohio)
Cruz and Lee are now poster children for GOP hypocrisy. You cannot claim to be strict Constitutionalists and do what they have done. It is much like DJT claiming to be a Christian. You do not get points for breaking all ten of the commandments and you do not attempt to overthrow a legal government if you claim fealty to the concepts espoused by the founding fathers. Hypocrisy thy names are Cruz and Lee ( and too many to list)
damon walton (clarksville, tn)
@vtmd73 Naked pursuit for power, has a way of blinding one to another man's flaws...as long he achieves the goal of putting that tribe [GOP] into power.
Mary (Vermont)
The fact that Lee, Cruz and others are still in Congress shows that we no longer have standards for serving this country. You can take your law degree (but oh! they should know better!) and work to overturn an election. A president whose corruption was out in the open and calls for an insurrection is planning to run again. We now know that impeachment is toothless. We are circling the drain.
Ladybug (Heartland)
Here's a plug for Stuart Stevens' (a top Republican strategist) book - It Was All A Lie. And it still is...
Drew (Portland)
Conspiring to overturn the vote of the people and corrupt the electoral college demonstrates disdain for, not fidelity to, the Constitution and their oaths of office. They are both unprincipled narcissistic charlatans deserving of public contempt, rather than higher office.
Nancy Lederman (New York City)
Self-proclaimed Constitutional conservatives. As compared to what? Constitutionsl liberals? Constitutional libertarians? Constitutional mothers? Constitutional teens? Constitutional white guys? If you draw the Venn diagram, there won't be any overlap between the Constitution and Constitutional conservatives.
Andrew (Raleigh)
So why isn’t the media going after Mike Lee for lying to Woodward and Costa? Is lying just acceptable in our elected leaders ?
DJ (Tempe, AZ)
I'm all for everyone having the right to own a musket.
Peg (Oregon)
@DJ Then we will all be what? Musketeers?
John G (Torrance, CA)
"A thin mask for the will to power." Brilliant writing and oh so true.
Edgar (NM)
So if you Google "coup" in the United States elections, Cruz and Lee should come up first. And then the names of the 147 Republicans, sadly one of our own, who voted to reject the votes of the American people. What did King Trump promise these people? But wait! You and I know they are still working to destroy the Constitution to bend to the will of the money.
CA (Key West)
Exactly treason, who has paid the ultimate price for this treason, trump, cruz, lee, Eastman, and really long list. Yet everyone walks free, corruption and power lives.
Chris Protopapas (New York City)
James Bouie seems to think that in the Age of Trump, the concept of hypocrisy still carries some weight, that it can still be used as part of a debating tactic. How foolish; it belongs in the dustbin of history now, along with civility, decorum and the rule of law.
unclejake (fort lauderdale)
Utah and Texas. Two states that want to be their own countries with their own rules. Why am I not surprised.
Paul (Santa Monica)
Where is the Attorney General of the United States ?
NYTsongsmith (Delaware)
@Paul - There is a reason plutocrats are almost untouchable in America. Draw your own conclusions.
Mike Pod (Massachusetts)
Ziblatt and Levitsky in their book How Democracies Die identify the key- and cornerstones of democracy as forbearance, arguably another way of saying virtue (virtu) that the Founders stated clearly was necessary of leaders for their Republic to survive. This crew of nit picking “constitutionalists” furthered the demise of forbearance that trump* had conducted during his campaign and his 4 years in the White House. With jam all over their disingenuous faces, they swear they hadn’t even been in the kitchen. Fie!
Jonathan (USA)
Cruz and Lee are the vanguard of senatorial Republican depravity. But what they do is just words, and although they speak seditiously and abominably, they can simply be ignored Rather, it's the horrific policies of Republican governors and state legislatures that inflict the most harm and damage to our country. Wreaking havoc on public health, exacerbating poverty, homelessness and malnutrition, treating civil liberties as something only the privileged are entitled to, those are things that do the worst damage and deny the most people the right to a civilized life. So while I find the gutter tactics of Cruz and Lee repugnant, I'm more concerned at the state-level Taliban tactics of Florida, Texas, Missouri, South Dakota, Arkansas, Alabama, Mississippi, Arizona, Tennessee and Kentucky far more un-American.
Gary (Connecticut)
There's only one prediction about this mess that we can be sure of: it will appear worse tomorrow than it does today. Every revelation turns over a rock with yet more slimy creatures wiggling around. Lee vouched for John Eastman. Ginni Thomas urged the overthrow of the election. It goes on and on. Yet the only indictments handed up so far have gone after the small fry: the deluded criminals who attacked Congress. They indeed deserve some prison time. But so do the Cruzes, Lees, Eastmans, Bannons, the whole army of sycophants and plotters who planned sedition, led by the biggest crook of them all. It's not looking promising. If the Rs take Congress in November, just wait for investigations to be terminated and the DOJ legally prevented from pursuing the insurrectionists and their enablers.
John (U.S.A.)
@Gary I agree with you. The prosecutions must happen NOW.
John McLaughlin (New Brunswick, Nj)
It amazes me that Sen. Mike Lee isn't sufficiently shamed into resigning. This indicates the total rot within the GOP culture. Dangerous.
Vestigial One (NJ)
Yes, constitutional conservatives who in essence supported secession and abolition of the Constitution. The hypocrisy is overwhelming but irrelevant. Voters do not care about the Constitution. They would abandon the Constitution and Democracy in a heartbeat if the resulting system would be White, Christian, anti-LGBTQ and anti-immigration. Freedom of religion means only if you are Christian. Second amendment rights are for Whites only. Immigration is acceptable if we only allow immigrants from nations like Sweden. Equality is fine, if you are heterosexual. If you are gay, stay in the closet.
Enuff (Vermont)
Ted Cruz. That’s it. Just Ted Cruz. Let that sink in for a while.
John (Portland, OR)
Insurrectionist Senators and Congress persons need to be tried, convicted and ejected from the US Congress. Failure to do so indicates a flaw in our democratic firewalls. Drip by drip…. We are headed into a failed democracy.
Margo Channing (New York)
I've had my fill with these type of columns. We all know who is responsible we've known for quite some time and yet NOTHING has happened to any of them. Not a single thing. We still continue to pay their bloated salaries and they continue to spread lies and subvert the system. And yet, they still hold office. So until any of these traitors is actually charged stop reporting on this or wake me up when they are doing the perp walk.
Daoud (Spain)
@Margo Channing You make a category error. This piece is not reportage - nor was it designed to be. It's an opinion piece BASED ON REPORTAGE. That Mr. Bouie writes so eloquently and succinctly, without giving explicit voice to his outrage, makes it particularly good. But, you're right - it's not the news.
Jeff (California)
The fact the the Republicans cheat, lie and steal to change the results of fair and honest elections is nothing new.
JPLA (Pasadena)
Constitutional Conservative/Originalist is code speak for a return to antebellum USA.
Daoud (Spain)
@JPLA It's really code for a return to Puritan oligarchy.
Jojo (Florida)
How slow do the wheels of justice have to turn to convict these traitors to our constitution? Long enough for the House to turn and everything the January 6th committee has worked on thrown out?
Kirkwood (Michigan)
Perhaps Cruz and Lee are believers in a living, breathing, dynamic Constitution after all, and have decided to include sedition in this newly rethought constitution. Perhaps.
Edith Fusillo (The South)
A bit like the Biblical cherrypicking that evangelicals do.
Harley Leiber (Portland OR)
Yet, there was Ted Cruz not three weeks ago, questioning, Justice Jackson...trying to catch her in an outright lie, a contradiction or a mis construal of her record...laughable.
Maxb (California)
Both are traitors, one day I wish they will be held accountable with there party.
GL (North NY)
And why have we not questioned their, Cruz, Lee, Stefanik, Hawley, et al, own elections? I recall mentions of Cruz' own mother not being fond of him either. There were also reports that McConnell's victory in KY was tainted as well since so many in that state are not great supporters. What gives America? Why only question Democrat wins.
Ernest Senior (Upstate NY)
@GL Come on now! Those folks were brave to question the results of elections they won handily. Do they still get paid? Do they make symbolic votes from Mar-a-lago? How does it work, anyway?
dlb (washington, d.c.)
We are in danger of becoming Hungary governed by our own version of Viktor Orban. Mike Lee thinks that state legislatures should elect presidents not citizen-voters of this country. The current Republican party are authoritarians more likely to support fascism than democracy. The U.S. is in trouble.
jack sherman (Maine)
@dlb I think it is time to divide the USA into Red and Blue IF this problem boils over and a "trump" steals the election. Why do so many fail to see how dangerous a political "nobody" --(a total amateur IOW) like Trump (who adores Putin's style of governing--as he has said himself)--is by far the most dangerous man to ever be elected? Why? He is a Fascist--who calls all elections "rigged" unless he wins. I am disgusted by trump supporters.
Daoud (Spain)
@dlb In his desire to repeal the 17th amendment Lee is hoping to return to a Senate elected by state legislatures. He's from a low population state and would never support repeal of the electoral college. All of his impulses are anti-democratic.
Pedro G. (Arlington VA)
Now that the people of Utah have a serious, non-Democrat alternative to Mike Lee, they need to prove themselves supporters of truth and democracy.
bingden (vermont)
As important as these facts are they will be lost to the average voter in the midterms. In the eyes of the average voter, all that is wrong with the good old USA is the fault of those in power. Even if they are doing everything possible to hold things together including exposing the "Constitutional Conservatives" for who they really are. _______(fill in the blank). And remember many voters would fill that space with word Patriots.
Jared (Vt)
According to a C-SPAN recording of the joint session that took place in 2017, the following House Democrats made objections to election certification: Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) objected to Alabama's votes. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) objected to Florida's votes. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) objected to Georgia's votes. Raul Grijalva (D-Ariz.) objected to North Carolina's votes. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-Texas) objected to the votes from North Carolina in addition to votes from South Carolina and Wisconsin. She also stood up and objected citing "massive voter suppression" after Mississippi's votes were announced. Barbara Lee (D-Calif.) brought up allegations of Russian interference in the election and malfunctioning voting machines when she objected following the announcement of Michigan's votes. Maxine Waters (D-Calif) rose and said, "I do not wish to debate. I wish to ask 'Is there one United States senator who will join me in this letter of objection?'" after the announcement of Wyoming's votes.
Robert Peak (Fort Worth)
@Jared It happens with every presidential election. But what does not happen is a concerted effort, no, seditious effort, to subvert the will of the people with some crazy notion of fraud, and to delay as long as possible the electoral count to subvert the electors. All of this occurring while the insurrectionists were looting the very institution they claim to honor. Unbelievable. Democracy is a fragile thing indeed.
jack sherman (Maine)
@Jared Never heard of this. which shows how meaningless it is.
Jared (Vt)
@Robert Peak Neither Lee nor Cruz brought rioters to the Capitol. Neither attended the rally. Jack Sherman, of course you never read about when Democrats do it, or if the news covers it at all it is considered principled opposition. Nor was Cruz close to Trump in his opposition. But you need more varied news sources to read that.
John (OR)
“Constitutional conservatism” is the flaw that James Bopp sold John Roberts and team on 9/9/09.
Michael Gilbert (Charleston SC)
Apparently Merrick Garland and his DOJ cannot read, because if they could they would see a clear violation of US Code 2385. Trump, Lee, Cruz, and the rest of the cabal need to be held accountable for their despicable acts. "Whoever organizes or helps or attempts to organize any society, group, or assembly of persons who teach, advocate, or encourage the overthrow or destruction of any such government by force or violence; or becomes or is a member of, or affiliates with, any such society, group, or assembly of persons, knowing the purposes thereof— Shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction. If two or more persons conspire to commit any offense named in this section, each shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both, and shall be ineligible for employment by the United States or any department or agency thereof, for the five years next following his conviction.
Robert Roth (NYC)
Mike Lee seems like a religious fanatic who wants to see himself as moral and doing the right thing which might include lying, misdirecting in the service of achieving the greater good. Meaning social cruelty. But he has some guardrails and maybe some real concerns that are sort of creepingly acknowledged as long as they don't disrupt the hate caravan. Ted Cruz is totally devoted to exploitation, cruelty and his own greed, power and fame. Admittingly against all evidence and it is hard for me to write this without laughing but I do believe, really do believe, all humans have within them the possibilities of redemption.
Ulysses (Lost in Seattle)
Mr. Bouie has a short memory. When Gore lost Florida, he demanded recount after futile recount. And many Dems still think Gore won. When John Kerry lost, he and his supporters claimed that he had actually won Ohio. And the Dems contested his loss in Congress when certifying the Electoral College vote. Many Dems still think Kerry won. When Hillary lost, she and her supporters claimed that she had actually won several states. And the Dems contested her loss in Congress when certifying the Electoral College vote. Hillary to this day claims that she won. And most Dems take it as a matter of faith that she won. They're still claiming that the election was stolen from her and that the fix was in. Need I say anything about Stacey Abrams and her absurd, but continuing, vocal cry that she won. And the total support of all Dems for that nonsense.
Renee (Atlanta)
@Ulysses Stacey Abrams does not think she won. She complained about the fact that a person running in an election (Kemp) was simultaneously overseeing it (as GA's Sec. of State). Also, Kemp had -- prior to the election for governor -- purged voters from the rolls which disproportionately affected and suppressed the African American vote. This isn't a GOP or Democrat issue - this behavior should concern ALL of us as Americans. We have one of the lowest participation rates in the world as compared against other democracies -- each of us must do more to ensure that voters have access to the polls and that politicians don't oversee their own elections. That's just common sense... and civics... and ethical governance.
Terry Fernsworth (San Rafael, CA)
And which of those actually had a plan to overthrow those elections?
Ulysses (Lost in Seattle)
@Terry Fernsworth They all did. But none of their plans worked. Face it: people don't like losing. By way of example, many, many Dems still cling to their belief that Trump colluded with Russia in 2016. Whereas, it now appears that Hillary and her minions were the ones who were colluding (and concocting) to create a bogus collusion myth. Even if John Durham gets convictions against her lawyer, the true-believing Dems will still cling to their myth.
I read the NYT opinion section daily and comment occasionally. I read the comments, which give be a better understanding of our populace and others outside America. Our democracy is in deep trouble. What happened in 2020, will happen again in my opinion. I read Barbara F. Walter's "HOW CIVIL WARS START" and how to stop them, this past February. There is a chapter showing a scale of countries that either have come from authoritarian regimes to democracy and vice versa. We here in the US are very CLOSE TO slipping towards authoritarian...
PP (Neverland)
The truly shocking thing about this is not the fact that Cruz, Lee, Meadows and/or anyone else involved with the "coronation" of Trump as perpetual deity did any of these things. If anything, it would be shocking if they did anything BUT the things they did. The truly shocking thing is that NONE of them have faced any kind of consequences whatsoever for anything that they have done. It is just POOF...it is not even truth and reconciliation or an admittance of anything! Not Cruz, not Lee, not Meadows, not Trump, not Roger Stone, not anyone associated with any of this. Not Eastman, not Giuliani, not Powell, not Navarro, not Thiel or The Pillow Guy! All of them...POOF! Who me, responsible? For what? You do have to wonder about the leadership of this country and how it can co-exist with the knowledge that none of them are going to face any kind of accountability whatsoever and not see that they are responsible for this. If leadership cannot or refuses to understand how this will profoundly corrupt the very system they are supposedly protecting, then what can we say as citizens? It is absurd and ridiculous that we are forced to co-exist with this kind of indifference! Worse, it keeps giving life to the Big Lie! The Biden Administration needs to wake up...NOW!
Carl (Australia)
In the past these two would be incarcerated out to sea in a floating prison, never to be allowed to step foot on the shores of the land of the free.
Hank (New York)
Ted Cruz went to Princeton and Harvard and still subscribes to whatever perverted ideology is the flavor of the month for Trump, Tucker Carson and their followers. He knows better, but only wants power. I would hope that he is shunned by his alma maters and classmates for his unpatriotic opportunism, not that he really cares.
Observor (Backwoods California)
Anyone who calls themself a "constitutional conservative" or an "originalist" who can ignore the words "a well regulated militia" in the second amendment is misidentifying themself.
JR_star (WA)
And still, nobody will be held accountable for the only coup attempt in our nation's history.....
Daoud (Spain)
@JR_star Ummm... there have been a couple of others. The Whiskey Rebellion (1794). John Brown's attack on the arsenal at Harper's Ferry. The Civil War.
Robert (Minnesota)
The Jan 6th committee is doing their job to save this democracy. Merick Garland has to do his!
Sandra (Virginia)
Two shady characters with no moral compasses. Shame on those who voted for them.
wjasonjackson (Santa Monica, Ca)
I am a Utah citizen. I didn't vote for Mike Lee but I never suspected he would ally himself with a despicable, immoral tyrant like Trump or become an ally of the dyspeptic Ted Cruz who is one of the most hated figures in the US Senate.
Opinioned! (NYC)
Okay. So these two traitors plotted a crime. Why are they not in jail? Does this mean that on the next presidential elections, Schiff and Schumer can also launch an assault on our democracy and try to install Biden as dictator for life and Republicans will be okay with it? Does Harris get to overturn any election result?
Daoud (Spain)
@Opinioned! Two? Cruz, Lee & Meadows were all in on this one. Pompeo, too. And, of course, Giuliani, Roger Stone, DJT Jr., Lindsey Graham, Tom Cotton and Josh Hawley. These and much of the House delegation are the worst offenders and should all be prosecuted. And the spider at the center of the web, TFG.
Evangelos (Brooklyn)
Lock them up! 18 U.S. Code § 2384 - Seditious Conspiracy: “If two or more persons in any State or Territory, or in any place subject to the jurisdiction of the United States, conspire to overthrow, put down, or to destroy by force the Government of the United States, or to levy war against them, or to oppose by force the authority thereof, or by force to prevent, hinder, or delay the execution of any law of the United States, or by force to seize, take, or possess any property of the United States contrary to the authority thereof, they shall each be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than twenty years, or both.”
617to416 (Ontario via Massachusetts)
Our first Republican president famously spoke these words: "It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us—that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion—that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain—that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom—and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Current Republican Senator Mike Lee famously said "we are not a democracy" and called democracy "rank." What is democracy but "government of the people, by the people, for the people"? The Republicans, once democracy's champions, no longer believe in it. Mike Lee told us as much.
View from the street (Chicago)
The devil can quote scripture for his own purpose. Substitute Lee, et al., for the devil and the Constitution for scripture.
Susan Fitzwater (Ambler, PA)
Well, Mr. Bouie. As they say-- --YUH THINK? For my part, I don't believe for a moment Mr. Donald J. Trump was anything resembling a conservative. NOR-- --was he anything resembling a liberal. He was--he still is--a convinced Donald J. Trumpist. Devoted heart and soul to the advancement of Donald J. Trump. He latched onto "conservative views" the way he latched onto anything that would promote the interests of Donald J. Trump. That certainly does for the "birther" controversy. It goes for "the Wall." It goes for any cause he thought would forward his interests. But Mr. Cruz and Mr. Lee? Conservatives? Devoted to "the originalist interpretation of the Constitution"? All that good stuff? Maybe. But like their master and mentor, Mr. DJT--I do think they have "a higher loyalty." To the political advancement of Mr. Cruz and Mr. Lee. And, if that means subverting--overturning--the results of a legitimate election-- --so be it. And the Constitution be__________! (Fill in the verb of your choice.) But really, Mr. Bouie! Isn't the whole GOP (right now) solely about power? Ideas? Principles? Programs? Nah! They deal in mantras and prejudices. They have become (in the words of The Economist) "a caricature of conservatism." And nowadays-- --hardly even that. And here we are. Stuck with these guys. Help!
Stephen (Salt Lake City)
We few liberals in Utah will do our best to vote Lee out, but keep in mind, this is Utah, liberals have no voting power here. He is facing quite a battle though. Due to a state law, anyone with enough signatures can run without having to primary, and he's facing several challengers who have those signatures. He'll still probably win though. Here in Utah, the church is the state. Utahns will vote for whoever the LDS church (Mormons) tells them to vote for.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Stephen The “church”, along with Trump and “conservatism” are inseparable.
PDR (Connecticut)
Simple question: WHERE are Senate Hearings into this treason and Trump worship? What are the Democrats and Schumer doing? Republicans would be having 24/7 televised hearings with indignant hysterical screaming from Cruz, Lee, Graham, Cotton, Paul, Blackburn, etc.
Dr. Schlitz (Mt. Moosilauke)
The phrase “constitutional conservative” is an egregious example of gaslighting. And it is galling that this phrase is used by people who insist on using the inaccurate phrase “Democrat Party” when mentioning the Democratic Party.
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
Ted Cruz and Mike Lee were sprinting to overturn the 2020 election for the former guy. Their will to reinstate Trump as president was treason. The believers of Trump’s big lie are bringing down our democracy.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Nan Socolow Trump placed an albatross around the neck of our republic which threatens our experiment in democracy.
SoCal (California)
A 'constitutional conservative' is primarily a handy term for GOP fundraising messaging.
Jean Cleary (Mass.)
It would be great if the NYT could re-publish the names of every member in the Senate who did not vote for the Electoral College Certification declaring President Biden as President.
Michael Kennison (Newburyport MA)
@Jean Cleary Excellent Idea and they should do it daily
Eric (People’s republic of Brooklyn)
In a country where conservatism was actually conservative, not radically revanchist, Ted Cruz and Mike Lee would be called what they are: coup plotters. The least consequence they’d face is being thrown of office, more likely they’d be awaiting trial for sedition. Folks - these are the coup plotters
Donald White (Ridgefield, CT)
The public hanging of either one, but preferably both, of these Senators would have spelled the welcome end of the extreme right wing movement in this Country.
Issac Basonkavich (USA)
Regardless of how the Constitution is seen by anyone; it is interpreted. Scalia interpreted it to back up his conservative ideology. It was 'dead' or not able to evolve when it suited him; but however alive or dead it was, it was interpreted for a reason, to back up his argument du jour. The founding fathers did not rebel and form a nation to relieve the suffering of the people. The founding fathers were practical opportunists that spun arguments both philosophical and economic in order to get rid of their over lord, or more realistically change overlords. For there are always overlords. The United States has never been a real democracy. It started out with a select few able to contribute and evolved into an oligarchy. It's all how you see it, interpret it, spin it.
FoxyVil (NY)
Hear, hear! The US has always trended plutocratic and oligarchic. Moreover, democracy is not an achieved state, but a process, and this has always been in the hands of the few who manage “the people” through all sorts of hegemonic strategies, thus perpetuating their hold on power.
JohnO (Vancouver)
I agree, these two gop senators acted in self-interested, anti-constitutional, and nefarious ways. There is no election fraud … everyone knows it. Now, we’re six months from Election Day, the actions of Lee and Cruz occurred two years ago. WHEN is this whole mess going to be meaningfully addressed by DOJ, prosecutors, and courts? Time is ticking, Rome is burning. Action by DOJ is needed - yesterday.
Javaforce (California)
The lack of active DOJ involvement is frustrating and hard to understand. There is rock solid public evidence of multiple crimes that at the very least warrants an investigation. Everyone who saw Trump's attempt to overthrow our Democracy on Jan 6th. It should at least be enough for the DOJ to investigate. A significant portion of the American public already have shown that they have lost interest in the crimes of Trumpism. Every day that goes by makes it that much harder to retains the public's interest.
lester ostroy (Redondo Beach, CA)
A judge appointed by Trump recently claimed that the 14th Amendment only restricted holding office to Confederates and didn't apply to the likes of Hawley and Cruz and Trump and Lee. However, the letter of the law is clear: Hawley, Cruz, Trump and Lee should all be barred from office in the future for attempted insurrection against the USA in contravention of their oaths of office. They didn't care to carry out their oaths of office any more than their hero Putin lived up to Russia's pledge in the peace treaty with Ukraine.
Bill (From NY)
How do these bastions of unprincipled self-interest think the majority of Americans are going to react when the minority does overthrow a legitimate election because Republicans don't like the outcome? I don't think anyone really knows, but I do believe the majority won't be sitting around waiting for AG Garland to bring charges. And that will be the saddest day in American history, because it will be the end.
Kilometers to go before I sleep (California)
No one should ever be surprised by the behavior of most of the current Republican politicians. I am now 73. Will our democratic republic continue for the remainder of my life? In 2014 I had no doubt that the answer was yes. Now, I just do not know.
sophia (bangor, maine)
@Kilometers to go before I sleep : I'm 70 and I have finally admitted to myself that it will not get better in my lifetime; it will probably get much worse. That is not a happy thought. Humans are geared for 'it will get better'. This is a whole new feeling for me. The Republicans, these Constitutional lawyers educated at our finest institutions, just want to cheat their way to maintaining power. I wonder why they do not try to put forth good policy decisions to try to win over the people? What's wrong with that idea, Mike and Ted? Instead of all the scheming to cheat your way to power? "Truth, Justice and the American Way". I used to love that phrase. Now it is just a hollow group of words, no meaning left to them.
Donald Seberger (Libertyville, Illinois)
I too am 70 and had hoped that Watergate would be the low point. What is happening now makes that sad episode look like a minor fall from a bicycle and a scraped knee. At least then we had Republicans who were not mere power-hungry ideologues. Many of them were actually led by the desire to serve and had a moral compass. Today I am unable to think of a single Republican in the Senate (and only a handful in the House) who has any integrity whatsoever. I fear for our children and grandchildren.
JvG (Fahrenzhausen, Germany)
I am way past shocked - or am I to be surprised that these two "conservatives" have contradicted themselves yet again? As the GOP descends into xenophobic reactionary nationalism, this wing of the party - the supposed "educated" ones - continues its incremental slide to the bottom and are in essemce no less of a threat to our national cohesion than the Trumpist rabble of MTG fans. Soon the GOP will reach its ultimate dark side, their distrust will reach a boiling point and they start calling the Democrats "the enemy". What happens after that is anybody's guess.
MarkS (SD)
Cruz rightly crossed swords with Trump in 2016 after the nasty campaign and Trump’s claim that Cruz’s father was in cahoots with Oswald in the JFK murder. Cruz was booed off the stage at the GOP Convention for snubbing Trump. Yet 3 weeks later he invited photographs of him phone banking for Trump. That’s all you need to know about where this “god-fearing conservative” stands when it comes to family, nation and loyalty.
Whit (Vermont)
The core value of the Constitution, in the conservative view, is allowing rich white men to dominate, while providing a veneer of democracy to pacify the women, the poor and slaves. It takes serious historical revisionism to deny there's something to this.
James Ricciardi (Panama, Panama)
There are many Mike Lees and Ted Cruzs on the Supreme Court, the "conservative originalists." The only original intent which matters to them is their intent.
Joe H (NH)
If an individual , a sitting US Senator, is spending his days speed dialing and hoping to find , in his words, “something from state legislatures to make this legitimate and to have any hope of winning" it seems to be a tacit admission that what he is seeking is by its very nature illegitimate. It is not unlike Danny Ocean looking for ten associates to have a good time in Vegas, constitutionally speaking.
W Joseph (New Orleans)
@ Paul Wortman, you’re right that the Constitution provides the means to ban Cruz from holding any future elective office. But who would enforce Article 3 of Amendment 14 - the United States Congress; the United States Department of Justice? Good luck having the current Congress or Department of Justice defending the Constitution and laws of the USA. But Cruz and the other traitors should be removed.
Pathfox (Kansas)
"...the truth of what that “constitutional conservatism” really seems to be: not a principled attempt — however flawed in conception — to live up to the values of the founding, but a thin mask for the will to power." Perfect description of the Supreme Court now, with a few powerless exceptions.
MichaelNY (New York)
None of this should be a surprise to anyone. Conservativism is and always has been about keeping government impotent so that the wealthy can take advantage of the rest of humanity. Whether it was antebellum “state’s rights” conservativism, “traditional” conservativism, “compassionate” conservativism (remember that?) or “constitutional” conservativism, the goal is to ensure that the wealthy have no restrictions against exploiting the middle and lower classes for maximum profit. All the labels do is muddle the message so dumb people support them and give the espousers of these ideologies succor for their consciences, assuming they even have one. Clearly the two men mentioned in this piece do not, though they must spend many hours telling themselves that they’re helping people and doing good things.
Thomas (PA)
Lee and Cruz are exemplars of an approach marked by extreme arrogance legal wizardry that effectively states: Unless a series of actions are not specifically forbidden by our laws or the literal wording of the US Constitution, then those actions, in Lee and Cruz's libertarian dreamland, necessarily must have the Constitution on their side. This thinking mutes the Constitution, rendering it a dumb passive filter of all legal artifice and not the living embodiment of the union of persons and principles that have made our Nation possible. The arrogance of people like Cruz and Lee is best appreciated when one understands their deistic relationship to power. They truly seem to believe their own creation myth: If an idea - no matter how odious - can be technically litigated, it is, ex nihilo, a power born of an idea. I use to think guys like Cruz and Lee believed in the infallibility of the US Constitution. But they really only believe in the infallibility of their own conceited ideas.
Brady3857 (Vermont)
Mr. Cruz and Mr. Lee are " constitutional Conservatives" because it speaks to white men with power. Any update, change or alteration puts their positions of power at risk.
Michael DiGioia (Chicago)
The only real question of original intent is what did they actually mean by all men are created equal. If it meant anything beyond white men then we know the intent was to open society up to possibilities that would have seemed impossible in their day. And still is very threatening to people like Cruz and DeSantis today.
Doug K (the south)
even with the distortion of the electoral college, if we had ranked choice voting I expect we would get less extreme nut cases winning elections.
Alex Knisely (London)
Are these men not traitors ? Have they not foresworn their oaths as officers of various courts or governmental bodies that they would uphold your Constitution ? I don't understand how they are not disqualified from holding office, from the practice of law. The United States of America. So much talk of principle. So little application of the same.
Thomas (PA)
Lee and Cruz are exemplars of an approach marked by extreme legal arrogance that effectively states: Unless a series of actions are not specifically forbidden by our laws or the literal wording of the US Constitution, then those actions, in Lee and Cruz's libertarian dreamland, necessarily must have the Constitution on their side. This thinking mutes the Constitution, rendering it a dumb passive filter of all legal artifice and not the living embodiment of the union of persons and principles that have made our Nation possible. The conceit of people like Cruz and Lee is best appreciated when one understands their deistic relationship to power. They truly seem to believe their own creation myth: If an idea - no matter how odious - can be technically litigated, it is, ex nihilo, a power born of an idea. I use to think guys like Cruz and Lee believed in the infallibility of the US Constitution. But they really only believe in the infallibility of their own conceited ideas.
Dan Mabbutt (Utah)
Lee and Cruz are motivated by different things. I have a perspective based on living in Utah all my life. Here's the difference. Cruz is just plain corrupt. Greedy and dishonest. His bug-out to a Mexican pleasure pit when the people of Texas were freezing in the dark says it all. But Lee's actions are grounded in fundamental beliefs that most people simply don't understand. He's not corrupt like Cruz. He has a different belief system. Lee believes in rule by wise men (literally: "men", not women) who can be trusted to always do the right thing. That's the way the Mormon Church has always been. Lee is a direct descendant of John Doyle Lee, the only man convicted of the Mountain Meadow Massacre. Why did he do it? Because he was told to by wise old men. The leader must be obeyed. Lee has often talked about how "the tyranny of the majority" is a danger to our country. That's code for "I don't believe in democracy. The will of the people can't be trusted. Only wise old men know what's right." He has a point and that's why our legislators and military swear an oath of allegiance to the Constitution -- especially the Bill of Rights. In practice around the world, these "wise old men" are actually autocratic dictators. That's what Trump wants to be. In this century, only George W. Bush and Donald Trump have taken office without winning the popular vote. So much for "wise old men".
John (OR)
@Dan Mabbutt Lee is no less corrupt than Cruz. Power, money and religion did them both in. Once one passes a certain threshold keeping score is an exercise in futility.
T. Schultz (Washington, DC)
The ego needs of politicians has always been an ugly part of our political process. But in recent years those egos seem to have separated from traditional moral and Constitutional values. Cynical self-promoters disdain their own voters and seek solely to manipulate rather than serve them. We are entitled to a government run for our benefit by people who do not lie to us, try to divide us, and sabotage our interests if they think it might benefit them in the short term. And the remedy is for us to pay attention and throw those who do not work for us, but only themselves, out of power during their next election.
John Mullowney (Ohio)
Maybe it's just me. I have grown tired of reading about and listening to elected officials who break the law and are never held accountable, never. You watch the news and see some poor motorist being questioned about his broken taillight or his missing turn signal and they wind up dead on someone's lawn or even in the middle of the street. An elected official who willfully votes incorrectly and is then removed from the voter rolls and the "investigation" into his actions are slow walked through eternity, hoping everyone will forget, while another person is sentenced to and put in jail for the same offense. Is there a solution to this mess? Probably not....oh well
Ambroisine (New York)
@John Mullowney The solution is ours: VOTE THEM OUT.
Charlie Adams (Kentucky)
@John Mullowney There is, but most of us haven't yet resigned ourselves to it's inevitability. Too bad, because it's the only way this is going to end.
Florida Man Tim (FL)
It appears Mike Lee was concerned about the integrity of the election and took actions to make sure it was legit. Honorable. After the audits, Mike Lee came out strongly saying the election was legit Honor. Compare to Hillary who just last week claimed the election was stolen or Stacy Abrahms only recently stopped claiming the election was stolen. Mike Lee is a hero.
Julia Hirons (Indiana)
@Florida Man Tim I disagree! Lee worked 14 hours a day to try and unravel the election for Trump. He was all in until he wasn’t just days before 1/6. He voted against impeachment when he knew better. No hero in my book.
A Blinkin (Chicago)
@florida man Tim: wrong. Lee chose a result and then looked for evidence, which is inherently corrupt as a process anyway
Yo (Alexandria, VA)
Republicans are committed to authoritarianism as a means of retaining power. If you want America to remain a democracy, ignore it at your own peril.
Jenny (Virginia)
Still. Still. Still. djt and djt and djt. Not have to face the pain of losing? So these two, cruz and lee, create a plan to subvert the results of the most basic duty and freedom of American citizens. No one is that special. Even Jesus ended crucified. I cannot imagine the workings of a mind such as trump's. Every day, throughout the world, people lose, die, win, lie. This one person has thrown himself into our consciousness as ... what? He had his moment, now he should retreat.
NM (60402)
Fine article. Bouie have opened up the seams of senatorial corruption for all to view and digest. To sum up, both Lee and Cruz are fake constitutional conservatives. Empty vessels which make the most noise.
Jim M (Redondo Beach, Ca)
If only their constituents or donors cared
LT (Chicago)
Members of the Republican Sedition Caucus can call themselves whatever they want -- constitutionalists, conservatives, populists and even, if they are very practiced at keeping a straight face while telling laughable lies, patriots. But their actions before, during, and after the January 6th insurrection tell us exactly who they are, what they believe in, and the magnitude of the ongoing threat to democracy they continue to lead. The stench of sedition will follow Cruz and Hawley and their ilk to their graves. The critical question is if we will allow them to bury democracy first.
kate (MA)
Why did Sen. Lee think something was "amiss" in states that chose Biden over Trump? Just the result?
Mikeweb (New York City)
In reference to the 2020 election, I'll just harken back to the admonitions gleefully thrown by trump voters at the rest of us in 2016: "Get over it"
Cowboy Marine (Colorado Trails)
What do the psychiatrists/psychologists say about Cruz and Lee? They are two of the rudest bullies in the Senate as we've seen repeatedly in various Senate Hearings over the years. What were their relationships like as children with their mothers and fathers that cause/allow them to behave this way and think it's OK?
Ski bum (Colorado)
Traitors come in many stripes and backgrounds. trump, Cruz, Lee and others bin the constitution when it benefits their dastardly aims. It’s past time to do away with the electoral college and move the only election in the country that relies on it to popular vote.
Kevin de Lacy (Broomall Pa)
Until the actual Constitution is followed and the insurrectionists are removed from office and barred from ever holding office any discussion of these people respecting the Constitution should be referred to as lies. They do not respect the Constitution they are it’s enemies, it’s domestic enemies.
NIcky V (Lexington, MA)
Many people have observed that Donald Trump has been playing the poor, persecuted victim because he's too weak and fragile to face the reality that he lost re-election because a decisive majority of Americans rejected him. As Jamelle Bouie explains in this column, Senators Cruz and Lee claimed they were fighting for a noble cause when all they were doing was giving cover to a pathetically sore loser throwing a tantrum.
Porter (Spokane)
"We've been lying to you" is about the only thing that I would believe from these two or any constitutional conservative. The second thing that I would believe is "We've been lying to ourselves." Scalia, advocate of the approach, had a gift for pretzel logic combined with self-deception. Meh.
Attaboi (California)
Well written and to the point. We need more columns like this to expose the pseudo-constitutional quasi-“conservatives” who put our nation at risk.
Alison (Ontario, Canada)
What Donald Trump taught the Republican party was to scorn the Constitution and the rule of law. Now that there are so many elected Republicans in the highest offices of the land doing that, the work of Putin's foot soldier is complete.
Lee, Cruz and their collaborators will kill this country unless they are contained. To contain them, Democrats must win in November and in 2024. To win, Democrats must forget about being politically gentle and go for the jugular. This means continual strong messaging of just what a corrupt and unscrupulous bunch the Rs are, stealing elections, lying about accomplishments, false patriotism, supporting the 1/6 insurrection, etc. it also means pushing strong positive messaging about Democratic accomplishments. The messaging must be consistent and continuous. The sure way to lose is to roll over and be “Defeatocrats” unwilling to fight the hard fight. We may not win, but if we don’t try our mightiest, we’ll lose, guaranteed. If Ukraine can stand up against the carnage there, can’t we stand up to the R political carnage here?
sophia (bangor, maine)
@CP : The Democrats are terrified to stand up to the Republicans because (if when) they lose this year they don't want the Republicans raining down revenge on them. But, of course, the Republicans WILL rain down revenge, just as Putin, their real boss, is raining down bombs on Ukraine. The 'Defeatocrats' better step up their game and stop bringing feathers to a machine gun fight.
James (NYC)
Another positive step would be to relegate the U.S. Senate to advisory status. Or better yet, just abolish it.
W Joseph (New Orleans)
Constitutional originalism and constitutional conservatism as practiced by Senators Cruz and Lee appear to be identical to Republican hypocrisy and disdain for the US Constitution and the will of the American voters, rejection of the peaceful transfer of power and the rule of law, and support of white supremacy. (What does Trump have on Cruz?) America is in need of a serious makeover before it destroys itself.
Frank O (Texas)
Funny how "Constitutional conservatives"/"originalists" always seem to find that whatever they believe now just happens to be what the "founding fathers" intended. From all that I have read, it's clear that the only thing they agreed upon was that the Constitution was better than the Articles of Confederation, and even that was a pretty close call. It was primarily George Washington's prestige that swung the votes to ratify. A good number of them not only disagreed vigorously, but cordially despised each other. I suspect that if even those in favor of ratification had been told that the Constitution should be considered perfect and eternal, they'd have fallen out of their chairs laughing.
Daniel J. Drazen (Berrien Springs, MI)
It's sobering to realize that there's only one way our current political malaise could have been avoided: None of this would have happened if Donald Trump had grown up.
R (CA)
It’s reasonable to expect self interested individuals will use loopholes in our governing documents to their advantage. It’s probably why Benjamin Franklin warned our government was designed to be a republic if people could keep it.
Nan Socolow (West Palm Beach, FL)
Senators Mike Lee and Ted Cruz shielded former president Trump from feeling defeat in November 2020. They're still shielding the former guy trying to overturn Joe Biden's election. Can't all the Senators and Congressmen who tried to overturn the 2020 election be prevented from running for office this November? Weren't Donald Trump's loyalists insurrectionists against the Constitution?
Aweesker Teddy (Colorado)
Good one, Jamelle! You nailed it. Very articulate. Stick with it and stick it to them. Enjoying your columns very much.
Tom Q (Minneapolis, MN)
All true. But, the most despicable conclusion from this editorial was not written. If given the opportunity, Cruz and Lee would do it all over again. For them, it really doesn't matter how they play the game. Only that they win. Just like Trump.
Donna (San Francisco)
All of these attempts to overturn the 2020 election results rely on a small and still shrinking fig leaf: the myth of the stolen election. It was a weak assertion when it was first made and seems even weaker today. More than a year and several months after the stolen election claim was first made, proponents have yet to provide any evidence that it was true.
Meanwhile, although one party is now aberrant, we continue to treat it as the loyal opposition. Job one on 01/21/21 should have been to rid the government of the FG’s appointees.
They fought and fight to retain and expand power. In this context, professed ideals are irrelevant ...
Gus (Chicago)
This is exactly why the Electoral College needs to go. One person, one vote! Neither Trump nor George W. would have been President.
Rex Page (California)
W didn’t even win the Electoral College the first time. The Brooks Brothers insurrection stopped the count, and a compliant Supreme Court installed him in the Oval Office.
Terry Phelps (Victoria BC)
GOP leadership were fully aware of the chaos their dastardly 'audit' plan would create in American democracy, they just didn't care. Since Newt and Tom Delay, GOP is about power and enrichment for their class. The only policy present at any time is tax cuts for the rich, I really don't think most of the GOP legislators actually care one way or another about their constituents - it's the money, the power and more of the same. Becoming a US congress member is seen as a way to get rich. Being a US senator is a great way to be even more rich or richer than you were when you arrived. The GOP's policy approach is the New American Fascism - however, it's the same path of who cares about America.
Frank O (Texas)
@Terry Phelps It's not that they didn't care. Creating chaos was exactly the point.
Terry Phelps (Victoria BC)
@Frank O Fair enough, but it proves they don't care, right?
SDG (brooklyn)
Throw the "original intentors" into this mix. Their claims about the 2nd Amendment, corporate campaign contributions, the the role of religion contradict the writings of the founders. Justice Scalia, among others, create an original intent that did not exist, and is nothing but a mirror of their own values that at times contradict our founding documents and writings. Our system is in trouble. Does the electorate have the will to correct it?
Ed (Collingswood, NJ)
If this - and many of the other revelations unearthed by the January 6 Committee concerning strategizing and tactical cooperation in order to overthrown the results of the 2020 presidential election - does not constitute collusion, what does?
Tony Francis (Vancouver Island B C)
Constitutions are often glorious declarations of human rights and freedoms. Once politicians get involved the facade of liberty and justice for all crumbles. Money and power trump sanity and morality.
TMSquared (Santa Rosa CA)
"'Constitutional conservatism' really seems to be...not a principled attempt...to live up to the values of the founding, but a thin mask for the will to power." For goodness' sake, there is no longer any "seems to be" about it. This has been an established fact for some years now, say, since Mitt Romney was the only GOP Senator to vote to convict Trump for his shakedown of Ukraine. Or, say, since Mitch McConnell threatened to attack Obama publicly if he revealed details of Russian interference in 2016. Or, maybe, since Newt Gingrich instructed his caucus to treat Dems as enemies in wartime, back in 1994. That the reporting on GOP authoritarian will-to-power remains confined to opinion columns such as this one--that it is still not reported as an enormously consequential fact--is a big part of the explanation for how we find a Utah GOP Senator conspiring with the President's chief of staff to overthrow constitutional govt. It's a big part of why Mike Lee will suffer no serious consequences for having done so.
General Decline (Five Stars)
Lee and Cruz? The entire republican caucus knew exactly what was being planned. Also fully aware of the mess it would create down the road. Excellent adventure my donkey. This is the new confederacy.
William Case (United States)
The impeachment of President Clinton and the two impeachments of President Trump were constitutional attempts to overturn presidential election results. In the future, all presidents whose party loses control of the House for Representatives will be impeached. The Electoral Count Act empowers Congress to overturn presidential elections by challenging and rejecting electoral vote. Electoral votes can only be rejected if both chambers of Congress concur, but in the future, any political party that controls both chambers of Congress during a presidential election year will overturn the presidential election if its nominee loses the election. But the Electoral Count Act is as unconstitutional as it is dangerous.The Constitution tasks Congress to count electoral votes and announce the totals. It does not empower Congress to challenge or reject electoral votes. The Constitution explicitly states that electors are to be appointed by states “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct.” It also explicitly states that electors shall “sign and certify” their ballots. Electoral ballots are certified before states deliver certificates of votes to Congress and Congress has no constitutional authority to challenge or reject them. If Congress refuses to repeal the Electoral Count Act, the Supreme Court should rule it unconstitutional.
John (Maine)
@William Case Terrifying analysis. There were several hours that our republic was in limbo as pro-Trump rioters stormed the Capitol on January 6th. Hundreds of millions of Americans could feel on that day that it could very well be the end of the American experiment. God help us if Republicans have control of both chambers of Congress in 2024 and Trump runs and loses. They had their practice round and are setting themselves up to succeed under the same circumstances in '24.
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
No. Impeachment is the only thing we have when a President breaks the law. Trump broke the law. Clinton might have as well.
William Case (United States)
@Smilodon7 I recommend getting rid of the Electoral Count Act, not impeachment. But no president has been impeached because of a crime. It's a political process. Nixon would have been impeached for a crime if had not resigned, but he may not have been convicted.
Stephen Merritt (Gainesville, Florida)
"Constitutional conservatives" are people who rely on a certain (generally unhistorical) reading of the Constitution as a means of preventing changes that they don't like. Frequently, these changes are ones that would make society fairer and more tolerant. However, as Mr. Bouie knows better than I, making society fairer and more tolerant means making white, male, cisgender power less exclusive. The degree of cynicism in these arguments means that the behavior of people such as Cruz and Lee isn't really surprising at all. They did just as we'd expect people to do who want to prevent society from becoming fairer and more tolerant.
Hugh G (OH)
Both Cruz and Lee are more concerned with their own political power than they are about the constitution. If by chance Ted Cruz lived in California, he would become the most liberal of the liberal to get himself elected. Luckily for us, as Mike Lee seems to have pointed out, Trump and his crew are too lazy to do anything but run around and claim the election was rigged without even bothering to do some basic things, like make up evidence.
Kevin McManus (CA)
No, Rafael Cruz would just get laughed at (loudly) if he were in California.
Ambroisine (New York)
@Hugh G Well, there was the case of the forged certifications, lest you forget. But speaking of forgetting… what has happened to the forgers?
Hugh G (OH)
@Ambroisine Well, someone made a half effort to do something apparently. As always, the question become will they be prosecuted. Trump's actions (or lack of) with regards to voter fraud seem to indicate he is only interested in using it as a scam to make money.
g. harlan (midwest)
As I have written in this forum before, for a variety of reasons, it is easy to vilify the likes of Cruz, Lee, Graham, etc. They are the face of insurrection and corruption in the GOP. But, the real problem lies in the creamy center of that cesspool, in the likes of people like Rob Portman, Susan Collins, Mitt Romney, Ben Sasse and a few others. They are the supposed "sane" wing of the party, but time after time they fail to demonstrate that sanity. They need to be overt and unrelenting in their opposition to the anti-democratic forces in their own party. They need to be willing to lose their power in order to insure the future of our nation. They cannot equivocate, but alas, it's all they do.
RK (Portland)
Yes. I agree. The sane ones lack courage. My mind goes to probably crazy thoughts but I wonder if they are being blackmailed or their families threatened? Why on earth would they act like that otherwise?
John (OR)
@g. harlan Money, like Superman, can bend anything. And it has, including the Democrats, largely rightwards. The fiduciary responsibility of Corporatism infects most everything.
avrds (montana)
@g. harlan And don't forget all the Republican leaders who told their constituents, like Steve Daines from Montana did, that the election was stolen. There wouldn't have been an attack on the Capitol if they hadn't mobilized their troops (and convinced them to send their money).
Lawrence Zajac (Brooklyn)
What the term "constitutional conservative" truly signifies is not one dedicated to the constitution in either letter or spirit, but one who wishes this country be return to the conditions at the time the Constitution was written. I understand that is not the literal parsing of the term, but it is what many voters understand when someone claims to be one. It is simply another dog whistle.
ASPruyn (California - Somewhere left of Center)
To be a realist about one thing, the Electoral College, it will not likely disappear any time soon, nor will it be changed to deal with the extra two votes given each state due to their Senators. It would take a Constitutional Amendment to remove it from its place in the Constitution. But, a Constitutional Amendment, whether it comes from Congress or from a Constitutional Convention, will need the approval of 38 states to become part of the Constitution, so if 13 states object, it does not become law. I did the math recently, California, which would stand to gain power over the smaller states, due to its larger population if the Senators were removed from them count of Electors, would have a single vote in approving a new Amendment. The thirteen smallest states, which with their population added together do not even come close to California in size, would have 13 votes. Even expanding to the 16 smallest states, California still has more population. So if only three of the sixteen were willing to agree, it would still fail. And what would happen to the members of a small state’s legislature, if the legislature were to vote away that power? Most likely lose their jobs in the next election. And there are few politicians willing to go that far.
Jennie (WA)
@ASPruyn Then change the legislation that limits House members to 438. That does not require an Amendment.
John (OR)
@ASPruyn Perhaps the Senators should be augmented in the EC via some formula based on their states per capita productivity number, like a Powerball kinda thing where a multiplier is used to reweigh the states EC vote total. Maybe divide by quintiles with the middle set to Ø and the remains four at .5, .75, 1.5, and 2. AZ, MY, ME, KY, SC, AL, ID, WV, AR, and MS would see their EC vote halved. DC, MA, NY, AK, ND, CA, CT, WA, WY, and DE would see theirs doubled. Pay and votes for performance. The American way. Based on this data set anyways. https://www.statista.com/statistics/248063/per-capita-us-real-gross-domestic-product-gdp-by-state/
Smilodon7 (Missouri)
This all becomes much more interesting the day Texas turns blue. Suddenly the GOP will hate the Electoral College.
Paul Wortman (Providence)
The old saying, "Actions speak louder than words" apply to political hypocrites like Sens. Cruz and Lee. Cruz, in particular, should be banned from public office under Art. 3 of the 14th amendment which states: "No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress, or elector of President and Vice-President, or hold any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any State, who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress, or as an officer of the United States, or as a member of any State legislature, or as an executive or judicial officer of any State, to support the Constitution of the United States, shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof. " At least Sen. Lee knew better, but Cruz long ago made his Faustian bargain with Trump and deserves to join him in retirement.
Daoud (Spain)
@Paul Wortman I don't see how you can give Sen. Lee a pass. Clearly, he colluded with Chief of Staff Meadows in a failed attempt to deny certification. That they failed does not make them any less culpable. Just because they are a gang that couldn't shoot straight, doesn't mean they weren't trying.
Ambroisine (New York)
@Daoud Yes, Lee only turned away from the plot because he thought it would fail. Had he thought it would succeed, he would have merrily continued to hitch his wagon to the coup and it’s junta.
Bob R (Massachusetts)
What the author shamefully fails to mention when they talk about ‘the spirit of the Constitution and the Philadelphia Convention and everything that followed’ and the ‘principles of the Revolutionary War’ is that one of the founding principles of the constitution was slavery and the idea that it would be enshrined and the project of owning human beings to be used as chattel would be protected. Which it was formally for another hundred years and informally for at least another hundred years. An overlooked fact about the revolutionary war was that it came at a time when England and most of Europe was beginning to turn against slavery: it had become a very expensive proposition to quarter so many British troops in the colonies to protect against the increasing number of slaves and slave revolts. Unless the colonies broke from Great Britain slavery would in all likelihood would have ended much sooner. This pushed many colonists who were wary of revolution to the side of Independence. It’s important to be completely honest about the constitution and the American Revolution.
Shndlr (NH)
@Bob R Interesting sideshow that has zero to do with the subject at hand.
Don (Tucson, AZ)
This odd habit of thought is also common in the workplace. There are those who slavishly follow written procedures and cry foul at every divergence from their interpretation of it. Then there are those who make the effort to understand the purpose, follow procedure where it helps, and modify it as needed to accomplish the work. Slavishly following the Constitution instead of upholding the values it represents shows a fear of thinking for themselves that is unfortunately common among people.
Kevin McManus (CA)
Among Supreme Court conservatives. Fixed it for ya.
Don (Tucson, AZ)
@Kevin McManus Thank you, I agree. Instead of thinking about values the policies of American government should uphold, Republicans 'fixed' the Supreme Court to rule in their favor, gerrymandered states to 'fix' more representatives to their party than are proportional and are working hard to 'fix' all future elections so only they can win. To return to my point above: businesses can run this way for a while, but the inefficiencies of this kind of corruption allow competitors to defeat them. That is the path the US is on vs. other nations.
John (Pennsylvania)
Is this really a surprise to anyone? William Rehnquist, a known political operative and minority ethnic voter harasser/suppressor from his days in the Arizona GOP, cast the deciding vote on the Supreme Court in Bush vs Gore. Surely he would have put constitution first over party politics? Are you kidding me? It was a vote for a win in the GOP column. The amazing constitutional conservatives from the Pennsylvania house caucus all voted (with the exception of the brave Fitzpatrick from Bucks county) to block the PA skate and to disenfranchise those voters. This despite the fact that in ALL cases their winning vote margins in the 2020 election improved versus 2018. The traitors to democracy have yet to explain how PA voters keep them in office but voted to kick Trump out. Selective fraud I assume or just magic math?
BladeFan (Flyover Country)
"I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors." Thomas Jefferson: letter to Samuel Kercheval, July 12, 1816
This just shows that Republicans are wanting to change our democracy into an autocracy or dictatorship. In those societies, people like Cruz and Lee would rule over their constituents with iron hands as long as they supported the dictator in power. People like the two of them need to be voted out of office in this country for the good of our democracy and a government We the People can trust.
bleurose (dairyland)
@JW If we want to keep our democratic republic, we must vote out Republicans at every level. And to accomplish this, we must vote in Every. Single. Election. We need look no further than local school boards, county commissions and similar other such elections to see in plain view that it is the clearly stated Republican plan to "take over" everything. We cannot afford to sit out even one local primary election if we want to maintain this country. Not one.
Tom (Show Low, AZ)
The end justifies the means. How often have we heard that saw. The lust for power will always undercut democracy.
Claytronica (MA)
Constitutional originalism - now more than ever- is an indefensible, lazy, fear-based position. Over and over, it is wielded to keep the powerful in power. And it’s twin is the electoral college- which has simply got to go. Listen to the arguments against ranked choice voting- about the best they can come up with is “it’s too complicated!“ Our founders WANTED revisions and evolution of our guiding principles. Could we please evolve?
Barbara Snider (California)
Power-hungry with lots of money from greedy industrialists hanging on to out-dated technology. That’s who makes up the Republican party. They realized they could game the system - the Electoral College made it so easy. We need a democratic way to elect Presidents, as fool-proof as possible. That means counting the votes in each state - from all voters. If banks and other large companies can develop fool-proof electronic systems to count money, record transactions and allow the business of our country to hum along, certainly we can have smooth running elections. The only thing missing is the political will of politicians. They seem to have little imagination for anything democratic but lots of spunk for getting money from wealthy people who don’t really care for democracy. If our leaders really, honestly wanted a truly democratic country, the Electoral College would be gone and a smooth-running system of accessing polls and counting ballots would be in place in every state.
Daoud (Spain)
@Barbara Snider "They seem to have little imagination for anything democratic but lots of spunk for getting money from wealthy people who don’t really care for democracy. " This is precisely why the United States is not, nor has even been, a democracy: it's a plutocracy designed for the wealthy and serving them well.
Rita (California)
The so-called constitutionalists may have convinced themselves that what they were doing was constitutionally permitted. But the simpler explanation is that they used the Constitution as a fig leaf and voter fraud as a pretext for their coup. Mike Lee, Ted Cruz, John Eastman, Sidney Powell, and Rudi Giuliani are all lawyers. They knew that there was no credible evidence of the massive fraud that Trump was alleging as grounds to overturn the election. By December 14th, Trump had lost his legal challenges. Despite the lack of evidence, the conspirators devised plans to overturn the election, using voter fraud as a pretext. Fraud is not a constitutionally protected right. It is a crime. Throw them in jail.
Daoud (Spain)
@Rita Other notable lawyers who refuse to stand up: Josh Hawley, Richard Shelby, Lisa Murkowski, Dan Sullivan, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Rick Scott, Mike Crapo, Jim Risch, Todd Young, Jerry Moran, Mitch McConnell, John Kennedy, Roger Wicker, Rob Portman, Lindsey Graham, Bob Haggerty, John Cornyn, Cynthia Lummis. Mitt Romney is also a GOP lawyer, although he did take the impeachment evidence seriously. Conspiracy is certainly illegal and these people were all complicit in many of the crimes committed by the previous administration, either through wanton ignorance or greater loyalty to party than to the Constitution. Lock them up, convict and confine them in a suitable super max prison: Guantonomo comes to mind
Tricia (California)
The popular vote in other countries signals the winner. We have a very broken system.
Meghann (Maryland)
@Tricia It's not broken. The man who the majority of the country voted for is in office right now. How does that indicate that the system is broken?
Lynda (Florida)
@Tricia The "system" for electing a president who will function as head of the executive branch---co-equal to the judicial and the congressional branches--- is indeed broken because of the obsolete idea of so called "state's rights". There needs to be one system administered according to federal rules for electing the president and vice president. Living in Alabama or Florida should not mean a voter has fewer rights than a voter living in Minnesota or New Mexico. The Electoral College should be eliminated because it gives unequal power to voters in Wyoming vs voters in New York. The president and vice president should be elected by popular vote using one system across the entire country (with a paper trail) until system integrity is confirmed.
Lynda (Florida)
@Meghann trump and allies are still asking for results of 2020 election. They insist on decertifying the results of the 2020 election. Any system which allows that nonsense is by definition broken.
Western Girl (Mountain West)
Thoughtful article. My husband and I just finished watching Ken Burns' thoughtful 2-part documentary about Benjamin Franklin. Interestingly, and the end of the documentary, Franklin's words at the end of his life about the constitution were about its fluidity. He felt the constitution was an important document to be used and changed when needed. One of the last things Franklin did was state his own evolved views about slavery. Using the constitution as a way to obtain personal power is no different than what Putin is now doing in Russia. These two senators need to look at themseslves critically and realize power has corrupted them.
Peter Lampke (South Salem, Ny)
The problem is that people like them aren’t capable of looking at themselves critically and if they could look into the mirror they’d be fine with what they see. The bar is set very low for half of Americans.
BladeFan (Flyover Country)
@Western Girl 'These two senators need to look at themseslves critically and realize power has corrupted them." Alas, you seek an impossible thing.
The Cooler (SWFL)
@Western Girl Agreed, but neither will see anything other than the abyss, when they look in the mirror.
GGOGOS1 (Lincoln NE)
Our democracy used to work in spite of the UNDEMOCRATIC ELECTORAL COLLEGE and in spite of the UNDEMOCRATIC representation in the Senate, for example South Dakota (about 500,000 population) having two Senators and California (about 30,000,000 population) also having two Senators! Republicans have been recently resorting to the anachronistic parchments of our founders in their effort to establish autocracy in our country!
Jorge (San Diego)
@GGOGOS1 -- California is just under 40 million, compared to Spain (47M), and Italy, France, and UK (about 60M each)-- with an economy bigger than all of them. Completely underrepresented in the Senate, as you said.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
Don’t forget our foremost constitutional scholar, Donald J. Trump claimed the Constitution granted the president "absolute power”. So I suppose that given that dubious claim then the claims made by the Trump handmaidens and actions taken by Cruz, Lee and the rest of the supplicants aren’t outlandish. But, should the party boss from Mar a Lago ascend again to his rightful station as our authoritarian president the constitution will be further “interpreted”-or ignored.
wryawry (the foothills of the headlands)
@Dan Don’t get me started on mal-de-lardo.
Marcelo Brito (porto alegre brazil)
These two "law makers" have twisted and perverted the meaning of honoring the letter and spirit of the Constitution. It is unfathomable to a foreign observer that such disqualified men may still partake in the daily life of the Senate , and cast aspersions on a dignified candidate to the Supreme Court without a roar of revulsion emanating from the whole country. Knowing of their deep involvement in overturning the election is moot ,unless they finally get to face actual consequences for their actions. The likes of Matt Gaetz still omnipresent , Marjorie Taylor Greene as obnoxious as ever, show that the slow grind of the Law makes ample room for those willing to twist and deface the principles that made the USA the beacon it has represented abroad for so long. Should there be a day of reckoning , the sooner the better.
JL22 (Georgia)
All true. The coup was planned. The Republican Congresspeople planned the insurrection with and for Trump. We have proof: Recordings, texts, emails, public admissions on videos. And absolutely nothing will come of it, and the next time they attempt it, they will succeed because they know no one within government will be held accountable, much less jailed or tossed out of Congress.
Geoff (wheat ridge)
It bothers me that most people with a HS diploma seem to understand the constitution better than senators. It is meant to be flexible, but your not supposed to "game" it. There are no constitutional ways to subvert the constitution. There are lots of scenarios that aren't specifically banned in the document, because as any constitutional scholar should know, it addresses unknown issues in a way that leaves the impression that the spirit of the constitution is more important than its words.
MadisonMarie (Madison, NJ)
I really can't read this stuff anymore. Although I suppose it is important to create a record for historians to read how the country fell into autocracy and the "American Republic" died, it is more than clear that NOTHING will happen to hold any of these actors accountable for insurrection. Leave us alone--help us to plan our emigrations elsewhere.But stop raising false hopes of any change here to save the democracy.
@MadisonMarie It is indeed depressing. The Republican trickle down was of amoral values not the wealth. Given their solid ecosystem of manipulative lies and unabashed lack of integrity, the way back to our better selves seems unimaginable to me.
David Stevens (Great Basin)
This is one of the truest, and saddest, comments I've ever read.
Len (PA)
@MadisonMarie You took the words (and thoughts) our of my mouth. We have been worn down by this political death of a thousand cuts. There is enough evidence on tape to choke a horse, yet indictments have been few and far between. If Trump gets re-elected we can kiss American Democracy goodbye.
OldMaywood (VA)
The word "constitutional" when used by the likes of Lee and Cruz doesn't mean what you think it should mean, Mr Bouie. What "constitutional" really means to them is, "I like it." And when they say something is "unconstitutional" it merely means, "I don't like it." And what they really like is power.
Rick Morris (Montreal)
The winner take all approach of the Electoral College in each state is the villain here. If it was based proportionally to the popular vote cast in each state, there wouldn't be enough votes available for Trump to tempt his allies to overturn the results.
ACA (Providence, RI)
I may be reading Senator Lee incorrectly here, but I think he is a cautionary note on just how hypnotic the claims of fraud were at the end of the election since he seems to have walked away when the evidence to support it didn't show up. I think that can be read a lot of different ways -- this column is one. But to me, it is partly a tale of how successfully the Trump disinformation campaign reeled in people whose natural tendency is to support normal constitutional processes. When I read stories about how comfortably people like Lee embraced the Election Lie, it is hard for me to know which is scarier -- that they were criminals and dishonest or that they were so easily misled that their actions appear criminal to anyone who resisted the hypnotic appeal of the Lie and the disinformation campaign. As for Cruz, I will not pretend to understand what this man does or why he does it. His talent seems to be for rationalizations rather than governing.
DCN (Illinois)
@ACA . They both have education and experience that pretty much guaranteed they were fully aware of the deviousness and dishonesty of the tRumpian effort. Had such keystone cops cast characters in the form of tRump and his various incompetent lawyers been in charge they might have succeeded. People like Lee and Cruz have no doubt carefully noted what needs to be done to make everything appear competent and legal for they next round.
Mikeweb (New York City)
@ACA It's painfully clear what's really going on here. People like Cruz and Lee aren't stupid. They and the once honorable GOP have long ago given up on the idea of persuading a majority of voters to their side with coherent arguments and policies with at least some basis in fact. Now their two-pronged strategy is fear and division rooted in religious fanaticism combined with good old-fashioned election manipulation. The GOP is the new Tammany Hall. The new political machine. And it's rotten to the core.
Pref1 (Montreal)
Criminals and dishonest or easily misled” They probably won’t admit to being naive and unintelligent so the first choice is probably the right one. “I am not a crook “ comes to mind, but they all say that don’t they.
Dirk Handlebar (Southern Utah)
To be fair to Lee, his texts also appear to demand evidence for voting irregularities from Meadows, and Lee seems to have cooled on the idea of contesting the election when that evidence never appeared (because there is none). For this Utah voter, the real problem is that Lee lied about his knowledge of and involvement with the plot.
MCH (New Orleans)
Lee's cover is blown. "Two weeks later, Lee would tell Meadows, 'If a very small handful of states were to have their legislatures appoint alternative slates of delegates, there could be a path.' And on Jan. 4, 2021, Lee told Meadows that he had been 'calling state legislators for hours today, and am going to spend hours doing the same tomorrow' in hopes of finding 'something from state legislatures to make this legitimate and to have any hope of winning.'"
Bob (Columbia MD)
@Dirk Handlebar. And for you, my good Utah voter, how bout your good Utah senator spent any number of “hours” calling state legislators in a different state seeking to enlist them in the conspiracy to overturn results of the American presidential election of 2020, arguably, the greatest, most important democratic election of all time? Yes, I agree Lee’s lies in service to futile coverup of his part in conspiracy make him anathema to any fair minded voter, but how about the very thing about which he lied? Outright subversion of the American presidential election of 2020? Oh, he was merely inquiring as to evidence? Spare us your thinly veiled “misinformation”.
Len (PA)
"But [Trump] did not win, and so our 'constitutional conservatives' fought to undermine and overturn our institutions so that one man would not have to face the pain of defeat." I agree with Mr. Bouie overall but on this point I differ. Senators Lee and Cruz were fighting for more than just to turn around an election that Trump clearly lost. They are fighting to keep Republicans in office because they have been seduced by the power of the office. Good god, in what other job could you be paid a BASE salary (never mind the staffing expense accounts) of $174,000, with all the trappings of being hailed "senator" at airports, restaurants, ball games, etc. Add to that that you only have to work about one or two DAYS a week. This was clearly not what the Founding Fathers envisioned for political representation when they wrote the Constitution. Virtually none of them thought to make a career out of being a politician! This was something one did for a time, then went back to their real jobs, like farming. This is one very real reason why Cruz and Lee have kissed Donald Trump's ring. I would bet the farm that they both despise him. But he is the passport to their getting re-elected. Until we establish term limits the country can expect there to be zero chance of political reform. We are on very, very thin ice here. If Trump gets back into the Oval Office we are done.
Mikeweb (New York City)
@Len I think they were also fighting to stay in power because they feared that once the DoJ wasn't in GOP hands they and the rest of their 'unindicted co-conspirator' cronies would be in legal jeopardy.
wryawry (the foothills of the headlands)
@Len There is a different word for that ring you mention.
Len (PA)
@wryawry Ha ha - well said, @wryawry. Well said.
Steve H. (Spain)
MTG and Madison Cawthorn are both being challenged in court on the grounds that as seditionists they are constitutionally barred from running for office. I would think those same rules would apply to Cruz and Lee and possibly some of the other players in this Shakespearean Tragedy. There seems to be plenty of hard evidence, texts, emails, phone records, PowerPoint plans to corroborate the facts. Let’s go DOJ, or are the laws only for the masses ?
avrds (montana)
@Steve H. Important point, but is anyone at the top paying attention? There is plenty of evidence -- and my guess is what we've seen to date is only the tip of the iceberg. But only the little people, who believed these elected representatives when they said that the Democrats had stolen the election, are paying the price. In America, the big fish swim free, to run for public office again and overturn another election whenever they so choose.
Richard (Denver)
It can be argued that the "spirit" of the Constitution, written by men of wealth and some who were slaveholders, was to preserve power for themselves. They wrote a document that effectively insured rule by the minority, weighted heavily to rural America. How do we justify that a state with 600,000 people has the same power in the Senate as one with 34 million? And in today's divided politics, it is impossible to change the Constitution. What to do? Fight hard against efforts to discredit local election officials which would put election result tabulations in the hands of self-interested political hacks. That's a good place to start.
Bucketomeat (The Zone)
Alas, it will be left to the will of the people to decide if these “constitutional conservatives” deserve another term in office or a term in prison. Let’s hope we do the right thing.
Stephen Csiszar (Carthage NC)
@Bucketomeat The right thing? Never. "We" will get exactly what we deserve in the next set of 'elections'.
@Bucketomeat Many people no longer have the "will" to do what would seem to be right for the country and, in most cases, themselves. They are manipulated and misled by the Republican lies and propaganda. The very notion that the Republican party is not only viable but likely to increase its power in '22 after what they've been engaged in since Reagan is surreal.
Dave (Seattle)
I recently watched Ken Burns documentary on Ben Franklin. Franklin was older than most of the other founders but lived long enough to see the Constitution completed. When asked if the founders had created a monarchy or a republic he replied "A Republic, if you can keep it." The Constitution is far from a perfect document but it has allowed for representative democracy for more than 230 years. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz claim to love the Constitution but they really just want power and one party rule.
Marc (Vermont)
As far as I can tell, nearly all of the cases of what has been called voter fraud, outright fraud, mistake, and error have been by Republican voters, including Mr. Meadows. I have never heard one Republican politician mention this or even use it as an example of why they are so concerned about "election integrity". As for the attempts to subvert the constitution, whether by ignoring votes, calling fraud, fomenting an insurrection - well those are , I assume, Republican attempts to bring about "election integrity"
JSL (Norman OK)
@Marc I suspect Republicans have convinced themselves that there is a lot of voter fraud out there. Because of their own arrogance, because they live in a bubble, they think fraud is the only way to account for Republicans losing. So they use this as an excuse for their own fraud. The “everybody does it” rationale. Of course, everybody doesn’t do it in the real world. But it is easy for them to believe in a false rationale when it keeps them in power.
Ray C (Fort Myers, FL)
If Biden had devoted his inaugural address to a fire and brimstone defense of our democratic institutions and a pledge to punish the coup plotters to the full extent of the law, with public hearing to begin the next day. would his approval ratings be worse than they are now? Biden mistakenly believed Trump's influence would wane and sane Republicans would retake control of the Party. When (not if) Republicans retake control of Congress in November, the first order of business will be to disband the Jan 6 investigation and replace it with Hunter Biden investigations. The coup plotters will go their merry way, but ready for action in 2024 if Trump should happen to lose the election.
Marvant Duhon (Bloomington Indiana)
The article is good, but errs when it claims the self-proclaimed "Constitutional Conservatives" such as Lee and Cruz care even a whit about the letter of the Constitution. The Constitution forbids any bill with revenue provisions from starting in the Senate (read the Federalist Papers if you want to know why). Both Lee and Cruz have enthusiastically promoted starting several bills with revenue provisions in the Senate, and voted for them. The Constitution has two quite clear clauses on emoluments. Trump has profligately violated both, and Lee and Cruz have supported this. And let there be no question, Lee's attempts to overturn the 2020 election were against not merely the spirit, but the letter of the Constitution. "Constitutional Conservative", like "fiscal conservative" and "defender of family values", is a lie - a big lie, since the Republicans proclaiming themselves as such are solidly on the other side.
Jack Purdy (Baltimore)
Senator Lee’s email trove was released early last week, but none of the network shows invited him on to defend his actions, nor was any mention of the emails made on Meet The Press, Face The Nation or any other political gabfest. Why not? My guess is, network execs are already worried about “access” if the Republicans take control of Congress. It’s shameful.
Howard Rubinstein (Brooklyn, NY)
I suspect these senators refused invitations to appear.
Gabbyboy (Colorado)
@Jack Purdy Where’s Rachel when you need her? Or Chris Cuomo for that matter?
Cathy Gately (Chicago)
Trump and Cruz need to be facing federal charges for subverting a legitimately run election. The Department of Justice charges would focus their attention on staying out of jail instead of re-election hopes.
Tom Tuna (Michigan)
Understood. But many of their constituents believe, against all evidence and reason, that Dems are a pedophilia-driven, satanic cabal. Many would also prefer Vladimir Putin as a leader, instead of Joe Biden. You can't make this up. Yet, this is reality. The rot doesn't lie with Ted Cruz or Mike Lee. It goes deeper than that, to the base constituency. Cruz and Lee are power-hungry hucksters who happen to know how to lie, misinform, and manipulate. Cruz has been doing it for a longer period of time, but both are quite adept liars. It doesn't help that their consituents are easily bamboozled. Just confirm to their faces what is already in their confirmational bias bubbles, and that is all that is needed. If it's done in a certain way that impresses further, well then, that person is GOP presidential material!
ED (Uptown)
These people are dangerous idealogues, charlatans, and thinly-cloaked fascists. They have no place in American leadership.
Schneb (Ann Arbor)
There's a parallel between Putin and the Republicans. Both are dangerous because and as they flail about in decline. The challenge is to avoid a literal or figurative nuclear incident or Constitutional meltdown. Putin has watched as neighboring countries turned to the West, shrinking his realm and highlighting its flaws. He's created terrorist incidents and small, winnable border wars to whip up popular sentiment. Repubs have been staring declining demographics in the face for decades and used Fox News propagandizing and then Tea Party extremism and gerrymandering, and finally Trump's con-man act to turn out votes. For Dems, riding out the downward spiral of both Putin and the Repubs is the challenge. If they (which is really 'we') can also stave off civilizational collapse due to climate change that'd really be something.
Mikeweb (New York City)
@Schneb There was a time that the GOP attempted to vie for the center, but Perot likely cost them the White House in '92 and '96 by swooping in from the right. They learned their lesson. Most people forget about Perot garnering more 3rd party votes than anyone else in more than a generation. He was an early flicker of the right-wing populism that would eventually bloom into the tea party and the utter train wreck we're trying to deal with today.
Kev (USA)
Exposing them for the frauds they are is good but nothing will change. Mark Meadows is being investigated for voter fraud, yet he was one of the loudest claiming there was rampant voter fraud. The GOP seem to be projecting everything they do onto the Democrats. The GOP supporters either have short memory or don't care about events such as Jan 6. There's no winning with GOP supporters. In Wisconsin, gerrymandered GOP majority legislature have given a former Wisconsin supreme court justice close to $700,000 to decertify the Wisconsin electoral votes... and they called the Dems a bunch of sore losers when Trump won in 2016. The GOP is utterly unhinged but what can we really do about it?
Dominique (Branchville)
The title, "Mike and Ted's Excellent Adventure", made me laugh out loud for a second, after that nothing was funny about the ongoing assault against, We the People by these men who would do anything, yes, for "the will of power." Warning alarms have been going off in the New York Times, and elsewhere, for two years- is anyone listening? Where is the DOJ? Where are the Democrats? The Republicans are in dress rehearsal for 2022 and opening night, 2024 where they plan for the show to run forever.
Paul (Brooklyn)
Again, you correctly point out the dangers of two of Trump's stooges trying to endanger democracy but don't point out you and the far left's part of the problem on the other side ie female/minority privilege, CRT, cancel culture, white male/generational shame, cancel culture, defunding police and other divisive policies. Only when you can unite the majority in the middle like Lincoln did during the Civil War, the danger will be over and democracy saved. Otherwise as Lincoln so notable said, the carnage/divisiveness will go on.
Toby Shandy (Shandy Hall)
@Paul One group has policies you don’t like. The other wants to overturn democracy. Perhaps there’s a difference in priority here.
Paul (Brooklyn)
@Toby Shandy Thank you for your reply. Very true, or as I like to say it, one impedes progress, the other imperils democracy. Why not have a Lincoln who can advance society by eschewing the two extremes on either side ie with their identity/social engineering obsession. It's not rocket science.
BChad (Brooklyn)
On the face of it, Mike Lee's behavior trying to help Trump retain the presidency does not comport with his alleged interpretation of the Constitution. I can only conclude that he is deluded, or seduced, blotting out all consideration of ethical conduct, perhaps being hypnotized by Trump's persona. I have no idea. I think less of Cruz who, to me, has behaved consciously immorally, revealed during his questioning of Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson. I still cannot fathom why people believe in Trump. I just don't get it.
Janet MICHAEL (Silver Spring)
Cruz and Lee are Supreme Court wannabes ! They are so delusional that they think they already have the power to rule on the Constitution as the Court does.They certainly have a right to their opinions-they do not have the right to go to State Legislatures and try to persuade them to subvert a legal election.They stepped over the line of legality-they should have to answer for it.
Perhaps it's time we revisit Trump's mid insurrection call to Senator Mike Lee's phone instead of to Sen. Tommy Tuberville's. If Trump is anything like most smartphone users, he'll go to recents in the call history, rather than typing in a contact. And, since M and L are nowhere near T on the keyboard, we can make an educated guess here. Mike Lee may have been lauded as a constitutional wunderkind, but apparently unfettered pursuit of power was too potent siren song for him and his fellow Jan. 6 jamokes to ignore.
JDW113 (Milwaukee)
Correction: They are "self-proclaimed" constitutional conservatives. Their actions on January 6 and the leadup to that date demonstrate there is nothing "conservative" about them at all.
Brian (Downingtown, PA)
Ted Cruz and Mike Lee are not constitutional conservatives. They are radical right-wing extremists--and they represent a clear and present danger to our democracy.
Dennis Quick (Charleston, South Carolina)
The bottom line is Republicans know they can’t win a national election without cheating and manipulating (and without the electoral college, which, to their anger and chagrin, failed to help them in the last election). And if their cheating and manipulating fail them in 2024, their next step could very well be an all-out armed assault on the Capitol far bloodier than Jan. 6. Put nothing past them.
Robert (New York)
"Remember the first rule of politics. The ballots don't make the results, the counters make the results. The counters. Keep counting." -Boss Tweed, the most corrupt politician of his day. What Senators Cruz. Lee and Trump did and continue to do is not to honor their oath to "protect and defend the Constitution" and honor the will of the people, but to engage in politics by "any means necessary", including subverting the vote and the Constitution itself. What are the consequences of dishonor and violating one's oath of office?
Keith Lee (Bishop, CA)
As Jamelle Bouie reports in his article, Cruz and Lee were working diligently to execute their "attempted self-coup" and overturn the presidential election. Treason is defined as the crime of betraying one's country, especially by attempting to kill the sovereign or overthrow the government. One must ask the obvious question, what federal US law protects the government against treasonous acts and do Cruz and Lee's actions rise to the level of treason?
Allo (HI)
Why would this prominent lawyers be so desperate to hang on to a low pay job in DC? Benefits? Or maybe it s not so low pay when you count it all in?
Christine A Roux (Northwest)
The constitution means very little to these people, nor does the flag. There is no substance to what they say. They have self-eliminated. Now let us turn to the 2022 elections and skewer the republicans (in the state of Washington -- Bob Sutherland, Vickie Kraft, and Brad Klippert, according to a petition posted today in a NYT article)) who continue to peddle the lie to the people and try to overturn the 2020 election. Expose these people. Cruz and Lee are cooked. Gone. Now let's go for the more obscure conservatives hungry for illegitimate power.
Willie734 (Charleston, SC)
These guys aren't "serious" scholars - constitution or otherwise. They are power-mongers and social warriors who use any and all of their influence to retain power and keep those "others" down. To my mind, Cruz et. al. "read" the constitution like they "read" the Bible they so lovingly stroke. They hit the parts that they like or that "prove" their point and they dismiss the parts that go against their agenda. No one could read and understand the New Testament and the life of Jesus and be a "conservative" in its modern American sense. Just so, no one could read the constitution and do the many nefarious things these people were doing after the election. These emperors have no clothes.
Shndlr (NH)
Ted Cruz, the Ivy league, former supreme court lawyer, whiz bang from Texas, quickly showed he has zero backbone in 2015 when Trump trashed his wife, his father, and everything about him - and after Trump beat him for the nomination - became the top Trump boot-licker. This excellent piece by Mr. Bouie further proves the deep involvement of Cruz and Lee in the coup conspiracy. Both, along with Trump, should be indicted for treason. Most Americans are deeply frustrated that this has taken so long and nobody has really been held accountable for the murderous rampage and attempted overthrow of democracy. A minimal, acceptable outcome of the Jan. 6 committee for me, and probably most people, would be some type of felony indictment of Trump, and conviction, even with no jail time, simply to eliminate Trump from ever running for president again. THAT should be goal one.
84 (New York)
If the coup had been successful what did the plotters have in mind for all of us? It scares me to think about what Mr. Trump had planned for the country.
Leslie (Arlington Va)
Yes of course, Donald Trump is the fertile ground on which all constitutional conservative legislators plant their flags as long as they are 100% sure they are given cover from constitutional conservative Supreme Court Justices (and their wives) too.
Dave (NJ)
"fidelity to the Constitution and the original intent of the founding fathers." They, along with the others, will go down in history as what happens when you get corrupted by greed and power. How quickly you are able to abandon the very principles you got involved in politics in the first place.
Tguy (two solitudes, Quebec)
Disheartening to read that the birth of democracy is on ventilator and the people will but pray for it to be okay.
Patrick Stevens (mn)
The Trump Republican Party is a criminal conspiracy. With the help of Mitch McConnell it has managed to take over the leadership of out court system, and soon, with the aid of Foxnews, will control both houses of congress. The people controlling the party have no interest in democracy or freedom or individual rights. Their only interest in power and control. Americans must wake up to the massive fraud in front of their faces. Half of us live in poverty. Eighty percent of us struggle to pay our debts and monthly bills. The only free people in America are the one percent of us who have bought our governments and are now pulling the strings.
Impartial (Away fro D.C.)
The senators are still dwelling in the past. Maybe, they are Originalists. After Trump’s success with the base of racial politics of hate, they do not want to miss the chance of impressing the base. Hanging on to the long coat tails of power is easier than the slow march or climbing the steep political ladder. They are smart to know which side of the white bread to butter. Politics is a slippery slope. Hard to climb. Easy to slip into the gutter.
April (NYC)
To be fair they have found individuals that purposely committed voter fraud. They just didn’t vote the way these two expected. Maybe it’s a case of where you feel like everyone is doing it because the people you know are doing it.
R. R. Clark (Leesburg, VA)
The media needs to keep the heat on Lee. The public needs to fully understand that his arrogance on his supposed love for the Constitution is phony and hypocritical. His deceptiveness should be exposed so that he no longer has the ability mislead the public. The media can fulfill its public service role in this matter. Don't let it go until Lee is gone.
Demosthenes (Chicago)
The lawless and corrupt Trump regime revealed a lot — not just about administration cronies. It showed so called conservatives believed not a word of what they said about the Constitution. All they believe in is taking and holding power. That’s it. Freedom? No.
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
I had respect for Mike Lees’s father, a person that exhibited morals and ethics and served as solicitor general for our country. However, along comes “constitutional scholar” Lee with the two most important credentials a good politician from Utah needs-religious and party affiliation-and any other qualifications are not needed (see Burgess Owens and his storied past). I never would believe that Lee would supplicate himself to a person with traits his religion abhors or attempt to concoct some type of means to a coup, something expected from other Trump hang-arounds. Cruz has always groveled from first election of Trump I suppose attempting to no longer be a target of Trump’s wrath-and to insure his job, whatever it is in the Senate, is preserved. But Lee? The voter’s in Utah will hold Lee in high esteem for his actions to assist in the coup-and still continue to perpetuate the big lie about mail in ballots and fraud-ignoring the fact his election was conducted through-here it comes-mail in ballots courtesy of the state Republicans. I can only ponder what Lee’s father would say today. As for Cruz-he will keep groveling as long as he needs without shame.
Chris (NYC)
It’s 2022 and we have massive problems on our hands. Why are we still talking about the 2020 election? Move on. The Dems are going to look pathetic if they think Jan 6 is a strategy for this year’s elections.
J. Daniel Von Peartree (Upper Upper West Side)
I am amazed to learn that Lee has written a book. Lee and Cruz deserve each other and like the other Ivy League “Conservative Constitutionalist” Hawley are so transparent in their attempts to use the Constitution as a pretext to assert their warped beliefs that it’s comical but sadly not funny because of how radically dangerous these elected officials are to the Constitution.
bud carlos (Blaine WA)
Perhaps Bob Woodward should disclose his source for writing that Lee was shocked by Eastman’s plan to delay final certification of the election and “had heard nothing about alternative slates of electors.” Perhaps Woodward and Costa should correct the record.
rick (CT)
This is an excellent article. While not being a constitution scholar, it would seem that these people are guilty of sedition. Is the DOJ asleep?
Why are all those involved in this attempt to subvert our election walking free and many still holding office? They are paid with our tax dollars. It appears nothing will be done to hold them to account for their actions. I wonder what our government will look like in the near future? The discussion of any attempt to hold them accountable looking partisan - when only one party in a two party system is attempting to uphold the ideals of our country's founding - it has to be partisan. Who else would do it?
Tom Hayden (Minneapolis Mn)
The basic rule of shamelessness is, if you can’t win, cheat.
Kape (Ca)
They are conspirators. Shame on this country for not defending its democracy
Bach (Grand Rapids, MI)
All of this consternation for the equivalent of a petulant 13 year old who can’t accept the fact that he lost the Student Council election. Mike Lee and Ted Cruz have the rest of their lives to experience the daily pangs of cowardice. This is one Schadenfreude I don’t mind making. Enjoy!
Blunt (New York City)
Not that it really matters for this article but I really wonder how many 13 year olds in our country (especially ones growing up in the red states) know the meaning of the word “petulant.”
EFh (Louisville)
There is an understood prerogative in any democratic government, that representatives will speak for their constituents and that they will speak truthfully. It has always been assumed that the American people will, with time, be able to smell out the liars and vote them out. American history has shown that in the past, this assumption has been borne out. Crooks and liars have often gained high office, but they have generally left in disgrace with little residual political power. In our time this assumption is being put to the test as never before. Now many Americans, fed up with “posers” who recite a politically correct litany of truisms, are choosing to support opportunists who compete in spouting the most outrageous fabrications imaginable. The danger that is inherent in this insanity is often lost on poorly educated Americans that have an inadequate understanding of our history, as well as political opportunists who have weaponized the bigotries and naiveties of this large and easily manipulated population.
John Bps (Canada)
And these are the people Americans are rushing to put into power? Are the American people deficient or something? Oh right, they’re just a product of the American educational system…
sue (Poughkeepsie, NY)
Your analyses are always welcome and spot on.
kpavlovic (Maryland)
Looks like overt acts in furtherance of a conspiracy.
eclectico (7450)
Yes, yes, yes. Our very founders recognized that if the candidates were not men [sic] of good will and intention, our democracy would fail. They realized that details cannot be precisely defined by words, that words can be manipulated, twisted in many ways, if not to convince, to confuse. It's the overall spirit that counts, and it is totally essential that the loser in a democratic election, concede expeditiously.
bluecedars1 (Dallas, TX)
Whenever I hear someone describe themselves as 'Constitutional originalist/conservative', it tells me they believe in the 'original' document, that allows public/political purchase to white, property owning (people were 'property') men, only. All others are to be servants or slaves. This is the crux of modern political conservatism.
Pete (Boulder)
In an ideal world, voters in Utah and Texas would punish Lee and Cruz for not protecting the Constitution. Sadly, this is not likely to happen and the DOJ is not going to shield the American people either. Perhaps a successful coup, hastening the end of the enfeebled American democratic experiment, would have been preferable to the slow drip, drip death that we are experiencing. The Founding Fathers would truly be horrified as to what has happened to their grand design.
Dianne (Florida)
@Pete Eliminate the electoral college...that is the issue...
Dan (Southwestern, Ut)
@Pete The majority of voters in Utah who display their maga flags to this day, will hold Lee in high esteem for fighting the cursed “radical left” fraud-filled election and attempting to keep their seditionist hero in office. As for Cruz and Texas-we know the answer.
ws (köln)
It´s not about the real Constitution - once a tremendous progress that became an outdated legal document full of flaws and gaps leading to a blockade of badly required legislation, to a distorted election law and to an inadequate regulation of High Court system to mention just a few popular issues over the centuries and that is currently crying for reforms almost every day simply to become functional again. In reality it´s about a symbol of a substitute religion recalling the "good old days" when "Constitution" was a narrative for the entire "shining city on the hill", when America was regarded as first and best in the world in all aspects by the Americans and when claim was taken for reality by everyone. A backward-looking utopia in the sense of an American-style "everything was better in the past".
Charles Lux (Saint Louis, MO)
There are always two Sith. One to embody power, the other to crave it. Ted's always been the cravin' one. Lower the voting age to 16. Statehood for DC and PR. Interstate Compact replacing the Electoral College. Pack the SC. Done. Now we can have an actual Republic.
Guy Walker (NYC)
This is the Southern Strategy on steroids. This is the sidestepping that empowers Jim Crow. And all the while real decisions outside of the playpen are made by Citizens United. What is really bugging America isn't the slipping away of the American Dream, as that myth was played out by J.Edgar Hoover and the assassinations of MLK, JFK and Bobby and the housecleaning the FBI performs so successfully since in Mueller's report after Comey breached protocol. Yes, a conflict it is not (to put it in legalese) for the Constitution is being re-written to enable law and order to embolden the caste system allowing some to be able to vacation inside the Capitol with freedom of speech emblazoned with confederate flags. Ted and Mike's Excellent Southern Strategy.
Sam (MA)
Many parts of the Constitution as written are hopelessly outdated and need to be brought into the age of the telegraph at least, let alone into the age of the Internet. But you can count on Republicans everywhere to block any attempts to do so as long as their own narrow self-interest in power is not served.
ExDoc (Chesapeake Watershed, MD)
Unfortunately, it appears that neither Cruz, Lee nor any of the other GOP Senators who claim (?feign) allegiance to the Constitution will suffer any consequences from their efforts to subvert our democracy as many voters of the trumplican party seem to not understand how our gov't works. We must do a better job of educating our children about what used to be called civics if we are to protect our democracy.
Dianne (Florida)
@ExDoc Good luck with that plan of educating our children about what used to be called civics...new Republican versions of "civics" are truly Orwellian.......check out DeSantis and his actions against teachers in Florida with legislation that are Hitlerian in design...we are doomed ...at least in the short term in this country.
Mostly_Bitter_Old_Man (Somewhere_on_the_Fringe)
It has always been the case that opportunity, education, intelligence, background, etc cannot predict a person's character (Cruz, Lee, Hawley being examples). As for the Constitution, or laws in general: much like the bible - a determined person (or better yet, a determined lawyer) can find whatever they want in the documents to try to justify any position they want to justify. And, often they succeed.
JFR (Yardley)
Conservatives are conservative only insofar as their money, their power, or their influence is at risk. In all other contexts, all rules, whether moral, legal, or Constitutional, are to be ignored and subverted. Humans, I suppose all animals are extraordinarily persistent in their base desires to ignore the truth and to act in their own personal self-interest. I just thought we were better than that.
Deirdre (New Jersey)
We should be asking about the texts that Mike Lee sent to Mark Meadows where he says he was calling legislators in Wisconsin to overturn election results. How many elected Republicans called, or harassed, or promised, or threatened state legislators over election results?. There was no proof of any fraud that would have changed the results. These efforts are anti democratic and according to some state laws illegal. When did abuse of power become ok? How many members of congress were actively engaged in calling state legislators?
Dianne (Florida)
@Deirdre But no one seems to care..that is the problem..many see these actions as legitimate ...done with good motives..to stop the steal....Trump's big lie has prevailed...
GL (North NY)
@Deirdre You mean the way Trump called and attempted to intimidate GA Sec of State Raffensperger?
rich (hutchinson isl. fl)
A populace that does not realize that its very democracy is at stake in the next two elections, will get what they deserve. And by the time they realize what has happened a minority dictatorship will make certain that they can't do anything about it. Let's be clear: The attempted coup was not a stunt, a demonstration, or just a riot. It was an illegal attack on the fairly elected government of our nation. And what is plain is that nothing other than the effective prosecution of that illegal activity, starting at the top with Donald J. Trump and the end of Trumpism in the Republican party, is absolutely necessary to save the American democracy.
Jim Dennis (Houston, Texas)
@rich I give it about a fifty-fifty chance that major violence happens around the second week of November, 2024. It could be averted if the coup leaders get convicted before then, but is appears that democrats are too weak to do that. Garland sits around claiming he will follow where the law leads him, yet we saw the coup on live television. Trump can literally shoot someone in the face on 5th Avenue and Garland would do nothing.
Russ Payne (WA)
But Jamelle, please don't call this constitutional conservativism. There's got to be a straightforward way to describe a conservative who does have unflinching loyalty to the constitution, even if such people are hard to find right now. You've just made the compelling case for denying that Mike and Ted are who they say they are. Please don't debase the language by handing them the term they so covet.
Jeff (Ny)
He called it “constitutional conservatism” because that’s what it is.
daytripper (Dallas)
Ah, the king is wearing no clothes. It's nice to read the 'constitutional conservatives' exposed in such a concise manner. as it is refreshing to read the phrase: 'spirit of the founding and, or constitution" reintroduced into the public lexicon. I might suggest, in my youthful brazenness, that next we reintroduce the preamble of the constitution to the unwashed masses! Of course, to broaden our discussion of the founders' intent to include the preamble would force a reexamination of the concept of the constitution as a living document, it might also broaden the breath of public discourse on the nature of our democratic republic - nah, why would we want to examine anything other than the rights of the economy in our public debate.
Blunt (New York City)
Excellent article. We need this type of writing amplified, distributed widely, everyday, in every paper supporting a democratic America.
avrds (montana)
What does the Constitution even mean if individuals like Cruz and Lee can work to undermine a free election? Worse, they were supported by a league of Republican foot soldiers -- like my senator, Steve Daines -- out telling their supporters that the Democrats had stolen the election, raising money on their demonstrably false claims. None of these individuals appear to be facing any penalties, or any political costs. Again, what do our laws or the Constitution even matter if individuals are not held accountable for breaking them or stomping them underfoot?
Tim (Michigan)
@avrds A Texas women receives a prison sentence for accepting a provisional ballot and these false electors go unpunished? Where is the justice in that? I watched with alarm as the bogus electors tried to talk their way past a Michigan State Police officer. In Michigan it truly was a few good people standing in the breach against those who would overturn Democracy.
avrds (montana)
@Tim Yes, and many of the white men who actually did vote fraudulently in 2020 received probation or minor fines or slaps on the wrist. Or, in Mark Meadows case, are discovered but simply ignored. It's the little people who are the easiest to hold accountable. The big fish swim free.
Fran (Chicago)
@avrds Republicons think they are above the law, they say rules, truth, is what they say it is, not what you see, feel, or say…it’s always about them and their wants…..
Judy (At the beach)
A Constitutional democracy like ours cannot survive when one of its two political parties are only prepared to accept the results of a free and fair election when they win.
Blunt (New York City)
The problem is that we are NOT a constitutional democracy but a constitutional oligarchy. And our constitution is so archaic that we may as well be a constitutional monarchy.
dave d (delaware)
Excellent essay, but it fails to really get at the heart of the matter. Cruz and Lee’s fealty to Trump sought to not only undermine the Constitution, but also the democracy for which it stands. Manipulating the results to one’s own desires subverts the will of the people and ultimately makes a mockery of the democracy they have sworn to protect and defend. Democracy in a republic always hangs by the finest of threads. Manipulating the Constitutional safeguards that protect it is a direct attack on Our democracy. Constitutional scholars would certainly know that.
Nancy Rowe (Fort Lauderdale, FL)
Call it what it is. An attempted coup, not just a will to power.
Steve (Jeffersonville VT)
Excellent essay that is spot on target in my opinion. The term hypocrites sums those two up pretty well too.
Anna (Houston)
Two thoughts: 1. Every person who tried to overturn the results of the election did so, not because they really do ike Trump, but to establish the precedent to allow them to contest any election in which they did not win. 2. Isn't there something in the Constitution that talks about what will happen to members of Congress who participate in an insurrection? Why do these people still have their jobs? How bad does their conduct have to be before they get kicked out?
James Lacy (Massachusetts)
Congress can only censure Congress. The DOJ must do the work of prosecuting crime. I think you can guess how bad it has to get. This is America, our laws do not prevent crime, they simply form a means of punishment once a crime has been proven committed. Honest men need few laws.
R Ho (Plainfield, IN)
@Anna Third thought, if I may. The voting public has to care about your two points. It is clear they do not, How bad does it have to get before they get kicked out? This won't happen so long as conservative pundits (we're looking at you Stephens, Douthat, and Brooks) stop giving a pass to insurrectionists (Congressional GOP and SC wives) who cover themselves in the cloth of 'constitutional conservative.' 30-35% of the country has to care about our democracy.
Eli (RI)
@James Lacy Attempted coup is a crime that was committed by numerous individuals including the degenerate former occupant of the White House. Why are they not in prison already? Mr. Jamelle Bouie's column today provides incriminating evidence for felonies committed by Ted Cruz and Mike Lee of Utah. There are RICO statutes (Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act) that would help snare these low lives and throw them in jail.
Jimmy (Michigan)
We were taught that the Constitution was nearly infallible and any criticism would be unpatriotic. The Constitution is like a Cuban 1957 Ford. Still running, but very different from the original. Maybe a new model would be a better idea.
Patricia (Chapel Hill, NC)
@Jimmy The U.S. Constitution has worked pretty well for 200+ years, but it is a living document and needs continuous improvement. Replacement - not so much.
Dr. Schlitz (Mt. Moosilauke)
Spot on. The US Constitution has become like the scene in Idiocracy, in which large buildings are kept upright by scotch tape. It is now a Rube Goldbergian contraption that barely functions. Sadly, there is no clear path to fixing this mess.
James Lacy (Massachusetts)
Well, you’re right. However long ago, the John Birch Society, a Koch Special, put the nail in changing the constitution by hyping fear of a run-away convention. It has been debunked, but state legislatures still believe it. Therefore, amending the constitution is pretty much out of reach for the people that are supposed to have the power to do it. States amend their constitutions frequently. The federal not so much. Hell, the equal right amendment is still pending.
alan (MA)
"Ted Cruz of Texas and Mike Lee of Utah are two of the most prominent “constitutional conservatives” in the Senate." What is constitutional conservatism? Interpreting the Constitution in a way that ignores reality. There are 27 Amendments to the original Constitution which means that the Constitution is an evolving document. But of course, Conservatives don't believe in evolution.
@alan, “conservative”? More like retrograde reactionaries (or is that redundant?). They must be called out and held to account. Also, “friendly” media like The NY Times needs to take the velvet gloves off and call things as they are and not with euphemisms. “Conservative” media can’t utter the word “Democratic” without some sliming adjective before it; calling the likes of Trump, Cruz, Lee, Jordan and the rest of that gang “reactionaries “ instead of “conservatives” would be a lot closer to the truth and to reliable reporting.
Adrian B (Ohio)
@alan Constitutional Conservatism is applying conservatism, the lone ideology above all others that states "there must be in-groups whom the law protects but does not bind, alongside out-groups whom the law binds but does not protect" towards the Constitution, pure and simple.
Metastasis (Texas)
Originalism is a farce to cover a shifting set of wedge issues and priorities set by oligarchs. You show me a modern democratic country rigidly following an operating manual adopted by an agrarian society that owned people and I will show you a failing democracy. Oh, wait.
Pedter Goossens (Panama)
"If, under those conditions, Donald Trump had won the 2020 presidential election, neither Cruz nor Lee nor anyone else in the Republican Party would have disputed the outcome or contested the process. It would have been a shining example of the strength of our republic.". I am not sure at all of this "shining example". If Donald Trump would have won the election, it would have been the darkest day of US history!
Bruce (PA)
There is a cyclical irony to this. While our nation was founded on high ideals, it was initially run by a group of white male landholders, who were essentially the only ones allowed to vote. Over the decades we expanded our vision to allow all adult citizens to vote (with rare exception, such as prisoners), and while we retain the Electoral College, the outcomes are largely driven by popular vote. Yet, here is this group of privileged white men literally scheming to figure out how to partially return us to the “utopian ideal” of limited voting for the “right people” only, and always ready to step in and void a vote they don’t like.
Claytronica (MA)
@Bruce And adding to that irony – they are trying to re-create the very realities of our country‘s history that they would rather have redacted from our children’s history books.
Ellen (Williamburg)
@Bruce Had the popular vote decided the winner, we would not have had a Trump presidency. He lost the popular vote by 3 million votes. But he and his team were savvy and sneaky enough to game the Electoral College and install the loser in the highest office of our country. Can we get rid of the Electoral College yet? It is a vestige of slavery that subverts the will of the people.
Jennie (WA)
@Ellen No. You will never get the small states to vote for it. However, you could tilt it by removing the limit on the number of House members to 438. Double or triple the House and you will have an EC that much more closely matches the popular vote. And it's purely legislative, no Amendment required.
stan continople (brooklyn)
We see the same cafeteria style approach to the Constitution among the six conservative justices on the Supreme Court: a little of this, a little of that, whatever it takes to concoct your preordained decision. This tendency shows the major fallacy in attaching overwhelming authority to any collection of paper, from the Constitution to the Bible; their effective use ultimately requires good faith on behalf of their interpreters, all too frail, selfish, humans. The fact that these documents are either hundreds or thousands of years old, from times far removed from modernity, makes their interpretation even more questionable. I'll take the Delphic oracle.
GL (North NY)
@stan continople And Ginny never ever spoke to or colluded with Clarence about her involvement in insurrection.
@stan continople Yep! Just like the Bible...
Mike (Peterborough, NH)
There is a simple solution to all this gerrymandering, alternate slate of electors and whatever else the Republicans can make up: DO AWAY WITH THE ELECTORAL COLLEGE and count each vote, the winner being the one who gets the most votes.
Sal S (Philadelphia)
@Mike That would be nice. Wouldn't it be wonderful for a presidential campaign to visit all the states, not just "battleground" states? but it won't happen. Republicans have realized they don't need the popular vote (see Bush; Trump). to wield power.
Question Everything (Highland NY)
@Mike The former guy's planned Jan. 6th overthrow of a fair election evidenced by National Archive documents and various communications proves the Elector Count Act must be amended or nullified. Selling this to Republicans should be easy since using Eastman's outline, VP Kamala Harris could decide the 2024 POTUS election as VP Pence was encouraged to do. Gerry-mandering by human election boards can be done away with using a mathematical formula. It essentially slowly evolves a district's make-up using demographic data sets. This is a complex read but well-worth the time. https://math.osu.edu/osu-department-mathematics-newsletter/spring-2021/using-mathematics-combat-gerrymandering
RK (Portland)
The state officials- both Democrat and GOP—were the ones who consistently said something like, “No, actually our voting process was fine and our results valid. Don’t tell me we didn’t do our job correctly.” I am so grateful for the states. Can you imagine what would have happened under Trump has this been a federally controlled process? Elimination of the electoral college is a dream of many but first and foremost, states must control the voting processes.
Anthony (Western Kansas)
It is strange that two so-called Constitutional conservatives support a man that has no idea about the Constitution. Furthermore, since the original Constitution supported slavery (and the Electoral College that strangely still exists), these men should not be trusted with anything.
Rick Morris (Montreal)
@Anthony Trump was merely an empty vessel, very popular but to less than half the country - that unscrupulous, smarter Republicans attached themselves in order to grab and hold on to power. His paucity of knowledge in anything revolving government didn't matter.
Clare Cy (Upstate, NY)
The reason Republicans can continue to insist, nearly two years after a result that was supported by the popular vote, the Electoral College, numerous recounts and almost 60 failed court challenges, that the outcome is wrong is not because reality, at least as a rational person would observe it, is on their side. Joe Biden won because of the votes of people of color, GLBTQ people, and women. In their minds, these voters are not legitimate, and they should not have the right to vote. Any victory that relies even in part on those groups is therefore, by definition, illegitimate. Numbers of votes don’t matter, Electoral College results don’t matter, recount results don’t matter and what the Courts rule doesn’t matter. Ignoring the voices of people they deem shouldn’t be full citizens is what matters. So, Democrats (and anyone else who is reality-based) arguing the facts is talking past Republicans. They do not live in a fact-based world any longer. They live in a world that existed prior to at least the 15th Amendment, if not the 13th, and so they believe they should be the ones controlling both the composition of the voting population and the outcome of elections. No one but them are “real Americans,” and that makes the votes of people not like them automatically suspect and to be challenged and rejected, and any victory based upon those votes to be considered illegitimate. And we ignore this mindset at the peril of our rapidly diversifying democratic republic.
King (Houston)
@Clare Cy "Joe Biden won because of the votes of people of color, GLBTQ people, and women." Partially true, in my opinion. But the deciding factor was Trump's demonstrably incompetent response to the pandemic. I'm afraid that, without Covid, he would still be our President. And that, without Covid in 2024, he could be our President again. I've been observing Cruz since his first Senate race, and can confidently state that he has not accomplished or offered a single constructive thing. A complete and total waste of skin. To him, our constitution is just a tool to help grab and hold power. That works here in Texas, but can't imagine he has any path to the White House, even if he could buy Trump's blessing. But maybe I'm just naive.
Paul (Pensacola)
@Clare Cy - You say "Democrats (and anyone else who is reality-based) arguing the facts is talking past Republicans. They do not live in a fact-based world any longer". I used to believe that, but no longer. The truth is worse than that - the GOP know the facts, they just DON'T CARE. Is a fact inconvenient to their thinking? Just ignore it because it really matters only to others. That's what we are dealing with, people who don't care about truth and, more importantly, don't care what you think.
Andrew (Ithaca, NY)
@Paul I agree that Ted Cruz and the rest of the Ivy League educated Republican office holders do know better, but unfortunately there are millions of voters that really do believe that Trump won the 2020 election. They get their information from Fox and other right wing sources who have peddling this story since the election, and they think they are right in their beliefs.
Perry (AZ)
Once Senator Lee realized that evidence of fraud existed he proceeded to violate his oath to defend the Constitution against all enemies foreign and domestic. We can only hope that the voters will hold him responsible since Republicans have become the enemy within.
Marco Polo (Australia)
@Perry did you mean to say “that NO evidence of fraud existed”?
Katrin (Wisconsin)
@Perry Are you missing a word? Senator Lee realized that no evidence of fraud existed, but he went ahead with that lie anyway.
Marcelo Brito (porto alegre brazil)
@Perry you hit the hammer spot on, when you wrote:"we can only hope"
Bruce Rozenblit (Kansas City, MO)
Intent, context, spirit, tradition, and precedent mean nothing to these people. They use their skills not to enforce the rules, but to defy them. All language must be interpreted. All prose must be read with regard to context and intent. People who claim to be conservatives have been battling against these norms since the days of the Old Testament. In ancient times, the more liberal rabbis argued about God's intent while the conservative rabbis said God said this so we must do exactly that, no exception. The rabbis argued for the good of the people, with them as the arbators of right and wrong. Lee and Cruz do the same except they argue for power with them at the top. They seek unfounded technicalities and word play to achieve power over the majority. This is not how a democratic republic is supposed to operate. These two and their cohorts are threats to liberty while they cloak themselves in the banner of liberty. That's exactly how modern day dictators get elected into power. Then once in power, change the laws so they cannot be removed. Intent, context, spirit, tradition, and precedent lay the foundations of our nation. We didn't get it all 100% right at the beginning, but we have evolved over the centuries to make it better. These two would throw all that out for power, and almost did.
Paul (San Mateo)
@Bruce Rozenblit “These two would throw all that out for power, and almost did.” All Constitutional originalists and Federalist Society members are guilty here. To proffer that we have neither learned anything or progressed passed the thinking of (wonderful, gifted) White males (who rose to meet the moment) is insulting to both America and humankind.
GL (North NY)
@Bruce Rozenblit Maybe it's time to see attorneys for what they are, people who know how to break the law, not serve it.
CRL (California...and The World)
@Bruce Rozenblit "We the people of the United States, in order to form a more perfect union, establish justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity, do ordain and establish this constitution for the United States of America." In order to form a more perfect union ... is key. We aren't perfect, we're trying to be more perfect ... which is a never ending process. Do we have the staying power?
haigh (NY)
Our constitution was an extremely admirable document two and a half centuries ago, when populous countries were usually monarchies and Britain's attempt to create a republic without a king had failed. However, at the time, no one was considering a populist democracy and it is an extremely flawed document as a basis for what we think we have or want- that is a legitimate populist democracy where every voter has equal say in their representation, regardless of relative wealth and connections. What isn't often discussed is what a poor document it is even for establishing a democratic republic and how this was the case even at the time the compromise for it was reached. Now we seem to be stuck with it, but it would at least be nice if the only constitutional scholars we tend to hear from are partisan hacks, such a Lee and Cruz, who interpret the constitution in any way that serves their partisan interests. It is interesting that they are both Senators, when it is the two senator per state rule that has done more damage to this country than any other flaw in our "sacred" document- bolstering slave states originally and now giving inordinate power to our most rural ones, including several former slave states. Can't we at least admit that our defacto king, our archaic constitution, is terribly flawed, instead of democracy's great masterpiece and a beacon for the rest of the world? Is there a single important politician brave enough to say, "the king has no clothes?
Paul (San Mateo)
@haigh Apologies in advance that I provide no link or source, but I read a few years back that, while the US Construction was the model for newly forming countries 50 or so years ago, the current/recent dominant/preferred model is Canada’s parliamentary constitution. Even before our Trump/Jan 6 canary in the coal mine, other forming democracies chose wisely - as the flaws of the US Constitution become so evident today.
haigh (NY)
@Paul You could construct a reasonably good constitution using the U.S. model as a template,- there is something to be said of having a president that is directly elected by the people. You would obviously need to scratch the electoral college and also giving state representation in the senate that is so unfair to voters in more populous states- we no longer live in a state-centric country and the political divide is mostly between rural and urban culture, both here and all over the world- that is the more religious, superstitious and less educated vs the rest of us more science and info based types, speaking generally, of course. Congress, obviously, should have as much say about federal court appointments as the senate, even if the senate had some semblance of democracy.
David Stevens (Great Basin)
@haigh As a resident of the same state as Sen. Lee I want to apologize to the nation for his behavior, lack of decorum, duplicitousness, and embarrassing harassment during the Judiciary hearings for Justice Jackson. Given that, the reality in Utah is that the only ways to remove him from the Senate are to catch him in an act of flagrante delicto (not likely), or to primary him, as only one Democrat has won national office in our state in many years, and he was voted out two years later in favor of a republican carpetbagger. And to primary him is even a misnomer as candidates are chosen in heavily partisan caucuses and primary results are often overridden in favor of the party bosses' fair haired boy. We are stuck with him so Democrats, please, shout him down at every opportunity, Please.
FunkyIrishman (member of the Liberal majority)
This is the way it has been for awhile now: one set of laws, rules and ways of comporting for Democrats, and a whole other sets of laws, rules and way of comporting for republicans. This is especially true for when Democrats are in power, and if those laws, rules and ways of comporting don't benefit republicans, then they make up even another set. It used to be on the fringe, but it is now mainstream for the republican party. Can you imagine (even just a couple of administrations ago) for one party to complete ignore the party in power, their President and the right (granted in the Constitution) to appoint a Supreme Court judge? OF COURSE not, but that is where we are. Furthermore we are either on the cusp of having republicans make up ALL of the rules, or breaking free with consecutive Liberal majorities (helped by demographics) , where republicans (in their current form) never hold power again. We shall see.
Chip (Wheelwell, Indiana)
@FunkyIrishman Bush v. Gore was the beginning of the end.
Barbarians at the Gate (Barbarians inside the Gate)
@Chip No, more basically, it was Nixon/Agnew that pulled the rug out from under all comity and political decorum. Reagan and Trump then set fire to the rubble. Newt, Rush, Fox News, and Mitch played major roles, too, in our dying democracy. With friends like them, we don't need enemies. Russia, China, Iran, and NoKo must love the intensity of our internal chaos and self-sabotage.
See also