Democrats have only a razor-thin 219-211 advantage in the House of Representatives (with five current vacancies). Although state officials declared Republican Mariannette Miller-Meeks the winner in the state’s Second Congressional District after she won her race by just six votes out of nearly 400,000 cast, and though she took the oath of office in Washington in January, Nancy Pelosi set the ball rolling for the House of Representatives to overrule the state and award the seat to Miller-Meeks’ Democratic opponent, Rita Hart.
She has refused to concede the race, claiming that 22 disallowed ballots should have made her the winner if counted. The House has the rarely used power under the Constitution to arbitrate “elections, returns and qualifications of its own members,” and in 1969, Congress passed the Federal Contested Elections Act to set up a clear process governing how it should hear and decide such cases. So now Democrats have initiated an investigation by the House Administration Committee, a full-scale review into the election that could lead to impounding ballots, a hand recount and ultimately a vote by the full House to decide the election.
But…but… I thought members of the House and Senate refusing to accept the state-certified results of the 2020 Presidential election was an attack on democracy itself (although this too is allowed under the Constitution)! Well, that was Republicans, you see, and the complaining candidate was Donald Trump. Come on. Be reasonable. Besides, why would anyone suspect that the review of the Iowa House election would be subject to partisan bias and manipulation?
“One hundred percent, pure partisan politics,” said Representative Rodney Davis of Illinois, the top Republican on the Administration Committee. “It wasn’t too long ago that many of my Democratic colleagues were saying a certificate of election by state officials were sacrosanct.”
You have to admit he has a point. However, it is also fair to point out:
- A six vote margin in a single district in a single state is a far cry from the almost 7 million votes by which Biden defeated Trump, and the need to flip at least three states to change the results in the Electoral College.
- A Presidential election is far more important and consequential that any House contest.
- Unlike the Iowa race, it is known exactly what the source of uncertainty is.
So the analogy is weak. Nonetheless, for the Democrats to pursue this course while simultaneously claiming that they care deeply about the public’s trust in elections and the integrity of the republic shows just how ruthless and dedicated to achieving power at any cost the party is.
But I guess we already knew that.