The Corner

Politics & Policy

Election Challenges: The Barbara Boxer Precedent

My new Bloomberg Opinion column.

In January 2005, Senator Barbara Boxer, a California Democrat, objected to counting Ohio’s electoral votes for President George W. Bush. It made Page A19 of the New York Times. It didn’t haunt her for the rest of her career. I didn’t remember her involvement myself, until the current Republican challenge to Joe Biden’s electoral victory brought it back into the news.

That challenge has drawn a ferocious reaction. The Republicans behind it are being accused of subverting our form of government and lacking patriotism. They’re asking why they are getting so much more heat. Josh Hawley, the Missouri Republican who was the first senator to say he would object to the certification of Biden’s election, made a point of citing Boxer and other Democrats who acted similarly after Republicans won the presidency. A lot of Republicans say they’re being treated more harshly because of media bias. That’s part of the explanation.

But there are other reasons the Republican campaign against 2020’s electoral result is a bigger story, and a more alarming one, than previous Democratic election protests. . . .

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.