At the state level, the Republican-backed bills purporting to fight electoral fraud are apparently partly conservative paranoia – but as such they are designed to ward off screams of fraud, allegations about ballots sent in from China or conjured up in Italy. That kind of averting strategy can fail, of course, but right now, exercises like the Arizona exam have mostly split grassroots conservatives rather than creating some kind of tea party wave that sweeps away all the whining lawmakers it does in the year 2020 failed to #StopTheSteal.
This type of wave should be watch out for anyone worried about a crisis in 2024 today. Undoubtedly, many Republican primary candidates will run in the next election cycle on issues that Trump has been robbed of; No doubt a few more figures in the style of Marjorie Taylor Greene and Matt Gaetzian will rise in 2022. The crucial question, however, is whether Trump and his allies will be able to consistently punish not just a lightning rod like Raffensperger or the dispersal of Republicans in the House of Representatives who voted for impeachment, but the much larger number of GOP- Officials who doomed the #StopTheSteal campaign by mere inaction – from the Republican heads of state in Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona to the ranks from there.
The same dynamic applies to the Republicans in Washington. In February, seven Republican senators voted to try Trump in his second impeachment trial; Just a few weeks ago, 35 House Republicans opposed him and voted for the January 6th investigation. Even in a future where the GOP recaptures the House and Senate in 2022, any attempt to overturn a clear Biden victory in 2024 would require most of the Republicans who cast those anti-Trump votes , switch completely to the Let’s Have a Constitutional Crisis team, with someone like Susan Collins or Lisa Murkowski giving the decisive voice. Which is only conceivable if a transformative political wave hits the Republican Party in the meantime – and even then hardly.
Then also remember that in the event of a Biden-Trump rematch in 2024, Biden, not Trump, will enjoy the powers of the presidency; Kamala Harris, not Mike Pence, will count the elections; and Trump will be four years older, likely not to run a fourth time, and therefore be a little less intimidating if lost. In this landscape, it’s at least as easy to imagine himself going into the good night more limply as it is to imagine top-to-bottom GOP enthusiasm for the big coup of ’24.
Which in turn doesn’t make the worries unreasonable; it just makes their attitude that we are all doomed seem extremely premature.
And potentially counterproductive, I would add, for a Democratic Party whose immediate problem is a much more common one: its ideas and leaders in the last election cycle were not as popular as their activists had imagined, and it is therefore not only vulnerable to the future Trumpian harassment, but also a relatively normal denial, where the democratic process works relatively smoothly – and instead rewards the Republicans.