Press "Enter" to skip to content

Opinion The triumph and tragedy of the Senate’s electoral count reform

Julian Zelizer: Democracy usually means that the side that wins a majority gets to govern, but that principle goes into limbo in contested elections. Zelizer says there needs to be some higher authority that can resolve election disputes. He says Senate bill would cut elected politicians out of the process, transferring most of the power to courts. The bill deserves to pass, but the fact that it's necessary shows that America’s self-governing capacities have diminished, Zelizer writes. The pattern of close elections in the 21st century (not just 2020 but also 2016, 2004 and 2000) is that they are doubted and delegitimized by the losing side, he says. Zelizer adds, but there will be more trouble ahead.

Doug Mastriano pushed Trump’s stolen-election fictions, but if he wins, he could defy evidence and certify Republican electors instead. Al Gore urged his supporters to accept the Supreme Court’�s decision ending Florida recount in 2000, but progressive candidates in the post-Trump era might instead tell supporters to take to the streets.