Cathy McMorris Rodgers
U.S. Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington speaking at the 2015 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland. (Photo: Gage Skidmore)

Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers revealed yes­ter­day that she is align­ing her­self with the fac­tion of the Repub­li­can Par­ty that is seek­ing to throw out the results of the 2020 Unit­ed States pres­i­den­tial elec­tion and uncon­sti­tu­tion­al­ly, ille­gal­ly keep Don­ald Trump in pow­er through the inverse of a coup d’état.

The Spokane-based Repub­li­can, who rep­re­sents the 5th Con­gres­sion­al Dis­trict (East­ern Wash­ing­ton) will be joined by mil­i­tant right wing U.S. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Russ Fulcher of Ida­ho in the doomed effort to keep Trump’s pres­i­den­cy going.

The Spokesman-Review notes:

The Inland North­west law­mak­ers rep­re­sent one side of a dra­mat­ic rift in the GOP as rough­ly half of con­gres­sion­al Repub­li­cans ques­tion the legit­i­ma­cy of November’s vote, ampli­fy­ing Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump’s base­less claim that the elec­tion was rigged.

The Trump cam­paign has repeat­ed­ly failed to prove its alle­ga­tions of wide­spread vot­er fraud, with Trump-appoint­ed judges, Repub­li­can elec­tion offi­cials and for­mer Attor­ney Gen­er­al Bill Barr all say­ing no such evi­dence exists.

McMor­ris Rodgers will have the dis­tinc­tion of being the only Repub­li­can from Wash­ing­ton State to par­tic­i­pate in the plot, as the state’s oth­er two Repub­li­cans have announced they will not be object­ing to the elec­tion results.

Oth­er Repub­li­cans, includ­ing Wash­ing­ton Rep­re­sen­ta­tives Dan New­house and Jaime Her­rera Beut­ler, have said they will vote to cer­ti­fy the elec­tion results. New­house and Her­rera Beut­ler joined eleven oth­er GOP law­mak­ers Tues­day in a let­ter argu­ing that only states have the author­i­ty to appoint elec­tors, while cit­ing unspec­i­fied “abus­es” and say­ing, “Peo­ple can­not trust a sys­tem that refus­es to guar­an­tee that only legal votes are cast.”

“Dis­en­fran­chis­ing vot­ers to sat­is­fy the whims of Pres­i­dent Trump betrays the Con­sti­tu­tion. No evi­dence exists to jus­ti­fy an objec­tion to the elec­toral count. Pres­i­dent-elect Biden and Vice Pres­i­dent-elect Har­ris won. Rep­re­sen­ta­tive Cathy McMor­ris Rodgers knows that. This mark of dis­hon­or will last through the ages,” said Wash­ing­ton State Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee in response.

Last month, McMor­ris Rodgers belat­ed­ly acknowl­edged that Joe Biden and Kamala Har­ris had won the 2020 pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in a not very gra­cious statement.

The state­ment read:

I want to thank Pres­i­dent Trump for four years of strong lead­er­ship for our coun­try. Even this week, we are see­ing the results of his vision with the approval and dis­tri­b­u­tion of a COVID-19 vac­cine far more quick­ly than experts said was pos­si­ble. I also want to con­grat­u­late for­mer U.S. Sen­a­tor and Vice Pres­i­dent Joe Biden on his elec­tion as Pres­i­dent of the Unit­ed States.

While we may dis­agree, par­tic­u­lar­ly on issues like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, my goal is to find com­mon ground when pos­si­ble to get results for peo­ple in East­ern Wash­ing­ton. I will also be com­mit­ted to hold­ing the Biden admin­is­tra­tion account­able to pro­tect life and free speech, fight for free­dom, and to ensure we renew, rebuild, and restore the Amer­i­can Dream. It takes each one of us doing our part to build a more per­fect union.

McMor­ris Rodgers appears to be one of those Repub­li­cans who is join­ing in the plot to over­turn the elec­tion not because she real­ly believes in the con­spir­a­cy the­o­ries espoused by so many of Trump’s rabid fol­low­ers, but because she has cal­cu­lat­ed that it’s just good pol­i­tics to be in the good graces of the Trump cult.

Along with New­house, McMor­ris Rodgers par­tic­i­pat­ed in Ken Pax­ton’s failed law­suit ask­ing the Unit­ed States Supreme Court to toss out the elec­toral votes of Penn­syl­va­nia, Wis­con­sin, Michi­gan, and Geor­gia. This ill-fat­ed move earned the duo strong rebukes from Wash­ing­ton State’s edi­to­r­i­al boards.

“Through their poor deci­sions, McMor­ris Rodgers and New­house helped attack the oth­er states for elec­tion prac­tices Wash­ing­ton has proud­ly pio­neered,” The Seat­tle Times wrote. “Even though this anti-demo­c­ra­t­ic attack failed, vot­ers should hold New­house and McMor­ris Rodgers account­able for tak­ing part.”

“Infamy will stick to two Wash­ing­ton state rep­re­sen­ta­tives for back­ing Trump law­suit,” The News Tri­bune of Taco­ma declared. “Worse than throw­ing red meat to con­spir­a­cy mon­gers, two Wash­ing­ton mem­bers of Con­gress attempt­ed to debil­i­tate our democ­ra­cy, a fact that’s been signed and sealed for posterity.”

“It is obvi­ous that both New­house and McMor­ris Rodgers still have work to do to restore cred­i­bil­i­ty to a sys­tem they bad­ly dam­aged,” con­curred the Tri-City Her­ald.

An Ore­gon native, McMor­ris Rodgers began her polit­i­cal career in the Wash­ing­ton State House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives in 1994. She was cho­sen as the House Minor­i­ty Leader in 2001, and was Speak­er Frank Chop­p’s coun­ter­part until she left the Leg­is­la­ture to take over for George Nether­cutt, who vacat­ed his seat in 2004 to unsuc­cess­ful­ly chal­lenge Wash­ing­ton’s senior U.S. Sen­a­tor Pat­ty Murray.

McMor­ris Rodgers became House Repub­li­can Con­fer­ence Chair in 2013, one of the cau­cus’ most pow­er­ful posi­tions. She relin­quished the role in 2019, fol­low­ing House Repub­li­cans’ pum­mel­ing in the 2018 midterm elec­tions, and was suc­ceed­ed by Liz Cheney of Wyoming, Dick Cheney’s daughter.

Though McMor­ris Rodgers has always been able to win reelec­tion, she is a polar­iz­ing fig­ure in East­ern Wash­ing­ton. Her Demo­c­ra­t­ic con­stituents have an extreme­ly low opin­ion of her; many own signs or decals that read “Dump Cathy!”

A fun­da­men­tal­ist theo­con, McMor­ris Rodgers has an extreme­ly right wing vot­ing record and is, accord­ing to Pro­gres­sivePunch, the most right wing mem­ber of Wash­ing­ton State’s con­gres­sion­al del­e­ga­tion, with a com­pos­ite score of 4.03%. (Dan New­house has a score of 6.03%, which isn’t much bet­ter. For con­text, Prami­la Jaya­pal’s score is 99.18%. Jaya­pal rep­re­sents the 7th District.)

McMor­ris Rodgers’ most suc­cess­ful Demo­c­ra­t­ic chal­lenger to date has been for­mer State Sen­a­tor Major­i­ty Leader Lisa Brown, who held McMor­ris Rodgers to 55% of the vote in 2018. McMor­ris Rodgers had pre­vi­ous­ly won sev­er­al cam­paigns by mar­gins of greater than twen­ty points. Brown now runs the Depart­ment of Com­merce as one of Gov­er­nor Jay Inslee’s agency directors.

About the author

Andrew Villeneuve is the founder and executive director of the Northwest Progressive Institute, as well as the founder of NPI's sibling, the Northwest Progressive Foundation. He has worked to advance progressive causes for over two decades as a strategist, speaker, author, and organizer. Andrew is also a cybersecurity expert, a veteran facilitator, a delegate to the Washington State Democratic Central Committee, and a member of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps.

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