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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 11/24/20

Profiles in Cowardice

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From Robert Reich Blog

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Financial regulators subject banks to stress tests to see if they have enough capital to withstand sharp downturns.

Now America is being subject to a stress test to see if it has enough strength to withstand Trump's treacherous campaign to discredit the 2020 presidential election.

Trump will lose because there's no evidence of fraud. But the integrity of thousands of people responsible for maintaining American democracy is being tested as never before.

Tragically, most elected Republicans in Washington are failing the test by refusing to stand up to Trump. Their cowardice is one of the worst betrayals of public trust in the history of our republic.

The only dissenting notes are coming from Republicans who are retiring at the end of the year or don't have to face voters for several years, such as Senators Mitt Romney of Utah and Ben Sasse of Nebraska.

Silent Republicans worry that speaking out could invite a primary challenge. But democracy depends on moral courage. These Republicans are profiles in cowardice.

But I've got some good news. The vast majority of lower-level Republican office-holders are passing the stress test, many with distinction.

Take for example Chris Krebs, who led the Department of Homeland Security's cybersecurity agency and last Tuesday refuted Trump's claims of election fraud -- saying the claims "have been unsubstantiated or are technically incoherent."

Trump fired Krebs that afternoon. Krebs's response: "Honored to serve. We did it right."

Or Brad Raffensperger -- Georgia's Republican secretary of state who oversaw the election there and describes himself as "a Republican through and through and never voted for a Democrat." Raffensperger is defending Georgia's vote for Biden, rejecting Trump's accusations of fraud. On Friday he certified that Biden won the state's presidential vote.

Raffensperger spurned overtures from Trump quisling Lindsey Graham, who asked if Raffensperger could toss out all mail-in votes from counties with high rates of questionable signatures. And Raffensperger dismissed demands from Georgia's two incumbent Republican senators, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue (both facing tougher-than-anticipated runoffs) that he resign.

"This office runs on integrity," Raffensperger says, "and that's what voters want to know, that this person's going to do his job."

Raffensperger has received death threats from Republican voters inflamed by Trump's allegations. He's not the only one. Election officials in Nevada, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Arizona are also reporting threats. But they're not giving in to them.

While we're at it, let's not forget all the other public officials in the Trump administration who have been stress-tested and passed honorably.

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Robert Reich, former U.S. Secretary of Labor and Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley, has a new film, "Inequality for All," to be released September 27. He blogs at www.robertreich.org.

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