The Pennsylvania Senate contest, which included Trump-backed talk show superstar Mehmet Oz, was the pivotal battle of the midterm elections, with the outcome determining which party controls the Senate the following year. The primary outcome of the Pennsylvania governorship, on the other hand, might have far-reaching implications for the country’s political destiny.
Republican voters chose state Sen. Doug Mastriano, one of the country’s most outspoken opponents of the 2020 presidential election outcome. Mr. Mastriano’s November election could pose a direct threat to American democracy in the future.
Mr. Mastriano worked relentlessly to derail Joe Biden’s 2020 triumph in Pennsylvania, anticipating the state legislature to reject the results and select its own slate of electors for Donald Trump, a guy he admires. Mr. Mastriano got the Justice Department to investigate his fraudulent claims.
Because neither state GOP leaders nor the Justice Department supported him, his tactic did not cause a major constitutional problem. If he is elected governor in 2024, there is no doubt that he will use his authority to reject free and fair election results if voters in the key swing state choose for a Democrat.
His impact on the method would be substantial. The governor of Pennsylvania appoints the secretary of state, the state’s chief elections officer who verifies vote counts. The governor also signs the certification. Mr. Mastriano has already declared that he will require all voters to re-register, a ruse aimed to deny the right to vote to a large number of individuals.
Despite voter rejection, his secretary of state may certify a slate of disloyal presidential electors for Congress to count in 2024. The Electoral Count Act of 1887, which rules how Congress calculates electoral votes, may allow a party majority in the House to adopt this bogus slate even if the Senate votes against it.
Mr. Mastriano’s ascension, as well as that of other election skeptics who have won GOP primaries this year, needs two swift responses. Voters in general elections must reject candidates who breach lawful election outcomes due to delusion or partisan calculation. Maintaining the democratic order is more important than dealing with inflation, Ukraine, rising gasoline prices, and the covid-19 pandemic. Voting should be conducted correctly.
Meanwhile, Congress must update and explain the fundamental tenets of the democratic system, beginning with the antiquated Electoral Count Act. A partisan legislative majority or vice president should not be able to invalidate a presidential election, and a governor should not be allowed to submit a large number of fictitious electors.
A change would make it more difficult for federal legislators to object to state voters while still allowing for proper judicial scrutiny of state election officials’ actions. Senators Susan Collins (R-ME) and Joe Manchin III are leading a bipartisan effort to write legislation (D-WV). The window for passing legislation before this year’s midterm elections, when Republicans have a chance to retake control of Congress, is rapidly dwindling.