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    The Republican Party and the Scourge of Extremist Violence

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    This editorial is the fourth in a series, The Danger Within, urging readers to understand the danger of extremist violence — and offering possible solutions. Read more about the series in a note from Kathleen Kingsbury, the Times Opinion editor.

    On Oct. 12, 2018, a crowd of Proud Boys arrived at the Metropolitan Republican Club in Manhattan. They had come to the Upper East Side club from around the country for a speech by the group’s founder, Gavin McInnes. It was a high point for the Proud Boys — which until that point had been known best as an all-male right-wing street-fighting group — in their embrace by mainstream politics.The Metropolitan Republican Club is an emblem of the Republican establishment. It was founded in 1902 by supporters of Theodore Roosevelt, and it’s where New York City Republicans such as Fiorello La Guardia and Rudy Giuliani announced their campaigns. But the presidency of Donald Trump whipped a faction of the Metropolitan Republican Club into “an ecstatic frenzy,” said John William Schiffbauer, a Republican consultant who used to work for the state G.O.P. on the second floor of the club.The McInnes invitation was controversial, even before a group of Proud Boys left the building and violently confronted protesters who had gathered outside. Two of the Proud Boys were later convicted of attempted assault and riot and given four years in prison. The judge who sentenced them explained the relatively long prison term: “I know enough about history to know what happened in Europe in the ’30s when political street brawls were allowed to go ahead without any type of check from the criminal justice system,” he said. Seven others pleaded guilty in the episode.And yet Republicans at the New York club have not distanced themselves from the Proud Boys. Soon after the incident, a candidate named Ian Reilly, who, former club members say, had a lead role in planning the speech, won the next club presidency. He did so in part by recruiting followers of far-right figures, such as Milo Yiannopoulos, to pack the club’s ranks at the last minute. A similar group of men repeated the strategy at the New York Young Republicans Club, filling it with far-right members, too.Many moderate Republicans have quit the clubs in disgust. Looking back, Mr. Schiffbauer said, Oct. 12, 2018, was a “proto” Jan. 6.In conflicts like this one —  not all of them played out so publicly — there is a fight underway for the soul of the Republican Party. On one side are Mr. Trump and his followers, including extremist groups like the Proud Boys and the Oath Keepers. On the other side stand those in the party who remain committed to the principle that politics, even the most contentious politics, must operate within the constraints of peaceful democracy. It is vital that this pro-democracy faction win out over the extremists and push the fringes back to the fringes.It has happened before. The Republican Party successfully drove the paranoid extremists of the John Birch Society out of public life in the 1960s. Party leaders could do so again for the current crop of conspiracy peddlers. Voters may do it for them, as they did in so many races in this year’s midterm elections. But this internal Republican Party struggle is important for reasons far greater than the tally in a win/loss column. A healthy democracy requires both political parties to be fully committed to the rule of law and not to entertain or even tacitly encourage violence or violent speech. A large faction of one party in our country fails that test, and that has consequences for all of us.Extremist violence is the country’s top domestic terrorist threat, according to a three-year investigation by the Democratic staff members of the Senate Committee on Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs, which reported its findings last week. “Over the past two decades, acts of domestic terrorism have dramatically increased,” the committee said in its report. “National security agencies now identify domestic terrorism as the most persistent and lethal terrorist threat to the homeland. This increase in domestic terror attacks has been predominantly perpetrated by white supremacist and anti-government extremist individuals and groups.” While there have been recent episodes of violent left-wing extremism, for the past few years, political violence has come primarily from the right.This year has been marked by several high-profile acts of political violence: an attempted break-in at an F.B.I. office in Ohio; the attack on Paul Pelosi, the husband of the speaker of the House; the mass shooting at a supermarket in Buffalo by a white supremacist; an armed threat against Justice Brett Kavanaugh; a foiled plan to attack a synagogue in New York. More

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    It’s Time, Again, for My Brother Kevin

    This Thanksgiving, for the first time in years, my brother Kevin and I could both say we’ve had enough of Donald Trump. But that’s not to say he and I agree on much else. Once again, here’s Kevin with his annual view from the starboard side of the Dowd family:The midterms are over, and the results are disappointing. A red wave did not materialize, and the Democrats and President Biden were not made to pay for their actions of the past 22 months.These include the Afghanistan debacle; cashless bail, which favors criminals over victims; 40-year-high inflation; a two-year invasion at our southern border; record gas prices; a dangerous drawdown of the strategic petroleum reserve; the further decline of our education system; the weakening of our military; and the total embrace of wokeness to divide the country. All of that, with the president’s approval rating deep underwater and 81 percent of Americans believing that the country is headed in the wrong direction, should have produced the anticipated Republican surge. But the president emerged from the elections thinking that Democrats’ relatively good fortune was due to his policies, not in spite of them.Republicans must take a large share of the blame. Their messaging was late or nonexistent, letting Democrats persuade swing voters to believe the only issues that mattered were Trump, abortion and the supposed threat to our democracy.Candidates must fit their district. Don’t pick a conservative for a moderate district. Intrusions by Rick Scott and Lindsey Graham on hot-button issues hurt. The Republicans must persuade supporters to vote early, not wait for Election Day. Democrats often amass large leads from early voting, forcing Republicans to come from behind.Donald Trump is radioactive. His insistence on picking candidates based on their loyalty to him cost Republicans control of the Senate in consecutive elections, and his attacks on other Republicans are despicable. Historians will judge his presidency in more generous terms than the media does now, and we will be forever in his debt for saving the country and the Supreme Court from Hillary Clinton, but his effectiveness has passed.His announcement that he will run again was greeted with resounding silence from Republicans the next day. Rupert Murdoch stripped Trump of the formidable Fox defenses. Trump’s isolation was made plain at his announcement party, where the only member of Congress in sight was Madison Cawthorn, who lost his own primary.A third Trump run will simply settle old scores with political enemies and the press and ignore the repair work that the G.O.P. needs to be done.The Democrats’ better-than-expected results emboldened Mr. Biden, to the nation’s detriment. He will likely run again (he’d be 82 at his second inauguration) and said after the midterms that he intends to change “nothing.” “The more they know about what we’re doing, the more support there is,” he said, as if his policies were a luscious bœuf bourguignon simmering over the heat of roiling inflation.There are some bright spots. Republicans have won the House and ended the torturous reign of Nancy Pelosi. With that victory come the purse strings, which should put Democratic profligacy on the skids.Republicans’ first order of business should be impeaching the odious Alejandro Mayorkas, the homeland security secretary, who has presided over the disgraceful situation at the border, wearing incompetence like a badge of honor. In just the last fiscal year under his watch, over 2.4 million migrants have been encountered at the border, over 500,000 have evaded capture, and over 850 deaths have occurred.Republican hopes for 2024 must rest with their new superstar, Ron DeSantis, who won almost 60 percent of the vote in his race to be re-elected governor of Florida, paving the way for four new G.O.P. House members. His handling of Hurricane Ian was only his latest feat, building on his popular defense of parental rights in education, his support of the police and his fight against wokeism.The pandemic lockdowns, spurred by teachers’ unions, resulted in a disastrous drop in the nation’s test scores and pulled back the curtain to what children were being taught. I do not want my elementary school grandchildren hearing about sexuality from a stranger or being labeled an “oppressor.” Stick to math and reading; there is enormous room for improvement.Republicans must now wait two more years for redemption. The Senate field in 2024 has Democrats defending 23 seats. With two more years of Biden’s mistaken policies, rising crime in our major cities, bone-crushing inflation and an impending recession, Republicans should have another golden opportunity. Carpe diem.Here’s hoping for the new year,Kevin.The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: The New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. More

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    College Athletes and Ideals for Women’s Body Image

    More from our inbox:Elizabeth Warren’s Election Analysis: We DisagreeEric Adams and the MidtermsSue Republican LiarsA Matter of SpaceAudra Koopman, who ran track and field at Penn State, said she felt pressured to avoid sweets and to trim down. But even as she did, she didn’t feel like she performed better.Rachel Woolf for The New York TimesTo the Editor:Re “Women in College Sports Feel Pressure to Be Lean at Any Cost” (Sports, Nov. 14):Thank you for raising awareness about the risks of scrutinizing body composition in college athletes. I am a clinical psychologist specializing in eating disorders, and the highlighted profiles echo stories I have heard many times over.No evidence suggests that participating in a sport causes eating disorders, but rates of these illnesses among athletes are higher than the national average. Athletes who participate in endurance, weight-class or aesthetic-based sports are at heightened risk.A focus on metrics like body fat percentage and body weight may breed an unhelpful hypervigilance on restrictive eating, body size and burning calories. College-age men and women are often still maturing physically, and by taking drastic measures to change their bodies risk their physical and psychological well-being.They also risk missing out on the greatest pleasures of sports: being a good teammate and finding joy in competition even while competing at a high personal level.Deborah R. GlasoferNew YorkThe writer is an associate professor of clinical medical psychology, Columbia Center for Eating Disorders, New York State Psychiatric Institute.To the Editor:Women in college sports are simply the tip of the spear when it comes to our affluent culture’s widely promoted ideal of thinness for women. I lived in Nigeria for many years, and there plumpness in a woman is seen as a desirable signifier of affluence. So this ideal for women’s bodies is anything but universal or timeless.Athletes and dancers perform in public, and the moves that make up their routines are easier when there is less body fat to contend with.This fact extends into other areas of daily life. But though men perform these activities too, and can also have eating disorders, the fact that women are the focal point of this discussion, as they were when I was a professor of women’s studies at Rutgers, says something about the larger issue of gender ideals in our culture.Katherine EllisNew YorkElizabeth Warren’s Election Analysis: We Disagree Kenny Holston for The New York TimesTo the Editor:In “Democrats, Let’s Seize This Moment” (Opinion guest essay, Nov. 14), Senator Elizabeth Warren claims, “The so-called experts who called Democrats’ messaging incoherent were just plain wrong — and candidates who ignored their advice won.”I beg to differ. Surveys show that a large majority of Americans favor most Democratic policies — legal access to abortion, a fair and progressive tax structure, strong environmental regulations and worker protection, a reasonable minimum wage, not cutting Social Security or Medicare, and the Affordable Care Act. Yet many Democratic candidates barely squeaked by, and the Democrats lost control of the House of Representatives.It’s easy to know what Republicans stand for — even if it’s based on lies. It’s all over the media. I’m not sure that most Americans can say what Democrats stand for, although a large minority of Americans seem to think that we steal elections, and want to curtail the police, open the borders and hand out large sums of money to people who refuse to work. Why? Because the Republican message (often lies) is getting through.Democratic politicians may have great ideas, but they’re terrible at communicating them. Otherwise they’d have a much bigger majority in government.Shaun BreidbartPelham, N.Y.To the Editor:Democrats squeaking by in the midterms is not an overwhelming endorsement of President Biden’s spending and other policies. In many cases it’s voting for the least worst candidate.Has Elizabeth Warren not seen the polls about dissatisfaction with both former President Donald Trump and President Biden? If “none of the above” were a choice, it would likely have won on many ballots.As a centrist, I want elected officials to stop talking and writing about how great they are and how bad their opposition is. Rather, focus on what you will accomplish, bipartisan cooperation and problem solving.Many of my moderate Democratic friends would vote for Liz Cheney if she were a presidential candidate. Sure, she is more conservative, but she has demonstrated integrity, bipartisanship and intelligence. That would be a refreshing change.Gail MacLeodLexington, Va.Eric Adams and the MidtermsMayor Eric Adams views the Democrats’ poor performance in New York as validation of his messaging about crime and his brand of moderate politics.Sarah Blesener for The New York TimesTo the Editor:Re “Democrats See Adams at Root of State Losses” (front page, Nov. 18):Mayor Eric Adams did not lose four New York congressional seats. Asserting that he is to blame says, in essence, that the majority of voters who elected Republicans in swing districts chose poorly and that if voters had not been told crime was a problem, the Democratic candidates in those districts would have won.Mr. Adams has identified crime as a priority for his administration. By virtue of winning election, he is entitled to set his agenda. Whether the current increase in crime is a surge or a blip can be debated, certainly, but the idea that he should soft-pedal concerns about public safety to help other Democratic candidates is inappropriate.On the other hand, the fact that Republicans exploited perceptions about crime for electoral gain may be deplorable, but it is well within the rules of the game.The Democrats’ loss of New York congressional seats resulted from hubris around redistricting and willful ignorance about public perception of issues like bail reform. Eric Adams had nothing to do with either.Rob AbbotCroton-on-Hudson, N.Y.Sue Republican LiarsTo the Editor:Re “Misinformation on Pelosi Attack Spread by G.O.P.” (front page, Nov. 6):The notion seems firmly rooted among Democratic political leaders that since politics is rough and tumble, they should rise above it when the G.O.P.’s fabrication machine spews ominous conspiracy theories and baseless slurs to obscure reality.But since Republican politicians aren’t restrained by shame, common decency or respect for the truth, tolerating their falsehoods only encourages the right wing to wallow in fact-free filth. Instead, the victims of right-wing slanders owe it to themselves — and to us — to seek money damages for defamation from reckless Republican liars.First Amendment law protects scorching invective. But there’s a limit. Under the constitutional principles that govern defamation law, a political speaker is not free to knowingly utter falsehoods or to speak with reckless indifference to truth or falsity.That principle plainly applies to unfounded Republican claims about Paul Pelosi. It likewise applies to Newt Gingrich’s assertion that John Fetterman has “ties to the crips gang,” and to Donald Trump’s lies about a voting machine maker.Multimillion-dollar damage awards might deter Republicans from fouling the political landscape with lies designed to conceal their lack of answers to America’s problems.Mitchell ZimmermanPalo Alto, Calif.The writer is an attorney.A Matter of Space Hiroko Masuike/The New York TimesTo the Editor:Re “Dimming Hope Office Buildings Will Ever Refill” (front page, Nov. 18):Not enough housing? Too much office space? Go figure.Deborah BayerRichmond, Calif. More

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    In Georgia Runoff, a Campaign Cliché Rules: It All Comes Down to Turnout

    With control of the Senate no longer at stake, the race between Herschel Walker and Raphael Warnock is drawing less attention. Both sides are pulling out all the stops to drive voters to the polls.ATLANTA — One month before the Nov. 8 midterm elections, several of Georgia’s grass-roots organizing groups huddled to plan for what they saw as an inevitable outcome: another Senate runoff.This plan, formulated by the same organizers who helped elect the Democratic senators Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, included budgeting for an added month of canvassing and door knocking, increasing staff outside of the Atlanta area and recording robocalls that could start reaching voters the day after Election Day.Halfway into Georgia’s four-week runoff period, that plan is now in full swing. And grass-roots organizers are not alone. Georgia Democrats and Republicans have poured a combined $38 million into television ads, hired more than 700 additional field staffers and extended invitations to governors, senators and at least one former president ahead of Election Day on Dec. 6.Campaigns and allied groups are feverishly knocking on doors, waving signs and sending text messages imploring Georgians to head back to the polls for the second time in less than a month. All the while, Mr. Warnock and his Republican opponent, Herschel Walker, are traveling alongside high-profile surrogates to re-energize supporters.“If you want to be on top of your game in Georgia, you plan for runoffs,” said Hillary Holley, executive director of Care in Action, the political arm of the National Domestic Workers Alliance, who helped do just that before the general election.Yet, all of this activity is facing some new hurdles: A 2021 law shortened the window for campaigning, giving candidates just four weeks — including the Thanksgiving holiday — to make their final appeals to weary voters. And the stakes, along with national attention, diminished significantly when the Democrats clinched control of the Senate earlier this month, downgrading the race from a final battle over control of the chamber to a fight over whether Democrats would win a 51st vote.Herschel Walker, the Republican candidate for the Senate, during a campaign stop in Peachtree City, Ga., this month.Nicole Craine for The New York TimesA child colored in a drawing of Senator Raphael Warnock, the Democratic incumbent, during a campaign stop in Cumming, Ga.Nicole Craine for The New York TimesThat reality may have hit Republicans hardest. Mr. Walker’s troubled campaign must not only convince his voters to return but also try to persuade those who rejected him in November to change their minds.Democrats’ biggest challenge is fighting complacency, by finding a message that excites their base and at the same time appeals to voters who don’t often support the party.Georgia Senate Runoff: What to KnowCard 1 of 6Another runoff in Georgia. More

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    Is Donald Trump Ineligible to Be President?

    How does a democracy protect itself against a political leader who is openly hostile to democratic self-rule? This is the dilemma the nation faces once again as it confronts a third presidential run by Donald Trump, even as he still refuses to admit he lost his second.Of course, we shouldn’t be in this situation to begin with. The facts are well known but necessary to repeat, if only because we must never become inured to them: Abetted by a posse of low-rent lawyers, craven lawmakers and associated crackpots, Mr. Trump schemed to overturn the 2020 election by illegal and unconstitutional means. When those efforts failed, he incited a violent insurrection at the United States Capitol, causing widespread destruction, leading to multiple deaths and — for the first time in American history — interfering with the peaceful transfer of power. Almost two years later, he continues to claim, without any evidence, that he was cheated out of victory, and millions of Americans continue to believe him.The best solution to behavior like this is the one that’s been available from the start: impeachment. The founders put it in the Constitution because they were well acquainted with the risks of corruption and abuse that come with vesting great power in a single person. Congress rightly used this tool, impeaching Mr. Trump in 2021 to hold him accountable for his central role in the Jan. 6 siege. Had the Senate convicted him as it should have, he could have been disqualified from holding public office again. But nearly all Senate Republicans came to his defense, leaving him free to run another day.There is another, less-known solution in our Constitution to protect the country from Mr. Trump: Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, which bars from public office anyone who, “having previously taken an oath” to support the Constitution, “engaged in insurrection or rebellion” or gave “aid or comfort” to America’s enemies.On its face, this seems like an eminently sensible rule to put in a nation’s governing document. That’s how Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who has drafted a resolution in Congress enabling the use of Section 3 against Mr. Trump, framed it. “This is America. We basically allow anyone to be president,” Mr. Cicilline told me. “We set limited disqualifications. One is, you can’t incite an insurrection against the United States. You shouldn’t get to lead a government that you tried to destroy.”This was also the reasoning of the 14th Amendment’s framers, who intended it to serve as an aggressive response to the existential threat to the Republic posed by the losing side of the Civil War. Section 3 was Congress’s way of ensuring that unrepentant former Confederate officials — “enemies to the Union” — were not allowed to hold federal or state office again. As Representative John Bingham, one of the amendment’s lead drafters, put it in 1866, rebel leaders “surely have no right to complain if this is all the punishment the American people shall see fit to impose upon them.”And yet despite its clarity and good sense, the provision has rarely been invoked. The first time, in the aftermath of the Civil War, it was used to disqualify thousands of Southern rebels, but within four years, Congress voted to extend amnesty to most of them. It was used again in 1919 when the House refused to seat a socialist member accused of giving aid and comfort to Germany in World War I.In September, for the first time in more than a century, a New Mexico judge invoked Section 3, to remove from office a county commissioner, Couy Griffin, who had been convicted of entering the Capitol grounds as part of the Jan. 6 mob. This raised hopes among those looking for a way to bulletproof the White House against Mr. Trump that Section 3 might be the answer.I count myself among this crowd. As Jan. 6 showed the world, Mr. Trump poses a unique and profound threat to the Republic: He is an authoritarian who disregards the Constitution and the rule of law and who delights in abusing his power to harm his perceived opponents and benefit himself, his family and his friends. For that reason, I am open to using any constitutional means of preventing him from even attempting to return to the White House.At the same time, I’m torn about using this specific tool. Section 3 is extraordinarily strong medicine. Like an impeachment followed by conviction, it denies the voters their free choice of those who seek to represent them. That’s not the way democracy is designed to work.And yet it is true, as certain conservatives never tire of reminding us, that democracy in the United States is not absolute. There are multiple checks built into our system that interfere with the expression of direct majority rule: the Senate, the Supreme Court and the Electoral College, for example. The 14th Amendment’s disqualification clause is another example — in this case, a peaceful and transparent mechanism to neutralize an existential threat to the Republic.Nor is it antidemocratic to impose conditions of eligibility for public office. For instance, Article II of the Constitution puts the presidency off limits to anyone younger than 35. If we have decided that a 34-year-old is, by definition, not mature or reliable enough to hold such immense power, then surely we can decide the same about a 76-year-old who incited an insurrection in an attempt to keep that power.So could Section 3 really be used to prevent Mr. Trump from running for or becoming president again? As a legal matter, it seems beyond doubt. The Capitol attack was an insurrection by any meaningful definition — a concerted, violent attempt to block Congress from performing its constitutionally mandated job of counting electoral votes. He engaged in that insurrection, even if he did not physically join the crowd as he promised he would. As top Democrats and Republicans in Congress said during and after his impeachment trial, the former president was practically and morally responsible for provoking the events of Jan. 6. The overwhelming evidence gathered and presented by the House’s Jan. 6 committee has only made clearer the extent of the plot by Mr. Trump and his associates to overturn the election — and how his actions and his failures to act led directly to the assault and allowed it to continue as long as it did. In the words of Representative Liz Cheney, the committee’s vice chair, Mr. Trump “summoned the mob, assembled the mob and lit the flame of this attack.”A few legal scholars have argued that Section 3 does not apply to the presidency because it does not explicitly list that position. It is hard to square that claim with the provision’s fundamental purpose, which is to prevent insurrectionists from participating in American government. It would be bizarre in the extreme if Mr. Griffin’s behavior can disqualify him from serving as a county commissioner but not from serving as president.It’s not the legal questions that give me pause, though; it’s the political ones.First is the matter of how Republicans would react to Mr. Trump’s disqualification. An alarmingly large faction of the party is unwilling to accept the legitimacy of an election that its candidate didn’t win. Imagine the reaction if their standard-bearer were kept off the ballot altogether. They would thunder about a “rigged election” — and unlike all the times Mr. Trump has baselessly invoked that phrase, it would carry a measure of truth. Combine this with the increasingly violent rhetoric coming from right-wing media figures and politicians, including top Republicans, and you have the recipe for something far worse than Jan. 6. On the other hand, if partisan outrage were a barrier to invoking the law, many laws would be dead letters.The more serious problem with Section 3 is that it is easy to see how it could morph into a caricature of what it is trying to prevent. Keeping specific candidates off the ballot is a classic move of autocrats, from Nicolas Maduro in Venezuela to Aleksandr Lukashenko in Belarus to Vladimir Putin. It sends the message that voters cannot be trusted to choose their leaders wisely — if at all. And didn’t we just witness Americans around the country using their voting power to repudiate Mr. Trump’s Big Lie and reject the most dangerous election deniers? Shouldn’t we let elections take their course and give the people the chance to (again) reject Mr. Trump at the ballot box?To help me resolve my ambivalence, I called Representative Jamie Raskin of Maryland, who sits on the Jan. 6 committee and taught constitutional law before joining Congress. He acknowledged what he called an understandable “queasiness” about invoking Section 3 to keep Mr. Trump off the ballot. But Mr. Raskin argued that this queasiness is built into the provision. “What was the constitutional bargain struck in Section 3?” he asked. “There would be a very minor incursion into the right of the people to elect exactly who they want, in order to obtain much greater security for the constitutional order against those who have demonstrated a propensity to want to overthrow it when it is to their advantage.”The contours of the case for Mr. Trump’s disqualification might get stronger yet, as the Justice Department and state prosecutors continue to pursue multiple criminal investigations into him and his associates and as the Jan. 6 committee prepares to release its final report. While he would not be prohibited from running for office even if he was under criminal indictment, it would be more politically palatable to invoke Section 3 in that case and even more so if he was convicted.I still believe that the ideal way for Mr. Trump to be banished for good would be via the voters. This scenario is democracy’s happy ending. After all, self-government is not a place; it is a choice, and an ongoing one. If Americans are going to keep making that choice — in favor of fair and equal representation, in favor of institutions that venerate the rule of law and against the threats of authoritarian strongmen — they do it best by themselves. That is why electoral victory is the ultimate political solution to the ultimate political problem. It worked that way in 2020, when an outright majority of voters rejected Mr. Trump and replaced him with Joe Biden.But it’s essential to remember that not all democracies have happy endings. Which brings us to the most unsettling answer to the question I began with: Sometimes a democracy doesn’t protect itself. There is no rule that says democracies will perpetuate themselves indefinitely. Many countries, notably Hungary and Turkey, have democratically undone themselves by electing leaders who then dismantled most of the rights and privileges people tend to expect from democratic government. Section 3 is in the Constitution precisely to help ensure that America does not fall into that trap.Whether or not invoking Section 3 succeeds, the best argument for it is to take the Constitution at its word. “We undermine the importance of the Constitution if we pick and choose what rules apply,” Mr. Cicilline told me. “One of the ways we rebuild confidence in American democracy is to remind people we have a Constitution and that it has in it provisions that say who can run for public office. You don’t get to apply the Constitution sometimes or only if you feel like it. We take an oath. We swear to uphold it. We don’t swear to uphold most of it. If Donald Trump has taught us anything, it’s about protecting the Constitution of the United States.”Surely the remedy of Section 3 is worth pursuing only in the most extraordinary circumstances. Just as surely, the events surrounding Jan. 6 clear that bar. If inciting a violent insurrection to keep oneself in office against the will of the voters isn’t such a circumstance, what is?The Times is committed to publishing a diversity of letters to the editor. We’d like to hear what you think about this or any of our articles. Here are some tips. And here’s our email: the New York Times Opinion section on Facebook, Twitter (@NYTopinion) and Instagram. More

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    Mary Peltola Wins Bid to Serve Full Term in the House for Alaska

    Ms. Peltola became the first Alaska Native woman elected to Congress earlier this year when she won a special election in the state.Representative Mary Peltola, Democrat of Alaska and the first Alaska Native woman to serve in Congress, on Wednesday won a full term in the House, according to The Associated Press, holding back three conservative challengers.Ms. Peltola first won the seat in an August special election to finish the term of Representative Don Young, a Republican who died in March. Her victory, which flipped the seat for Democrats for the first time in 50 years, was considered an upset against Sarah Palin, the former governor and vice-presidential candidate. With her latest success, Ms. Peltola has secured a full two-year term as the lone representative for the state of Alaska. The loss for Republicans in the state ensures that they will hold 220 seats in the House — a razor-thin margin with just two races yet to be called — when leaders had hoped to pad that majority with as many additional seats as possible.“WE DID IT,” Ms. Peltola exulted on social media, posting a video of a dancing crab. With 136,893 votes after two rounds of tabulation, Ms. Peltola secured 54.9 percent of the vote, The Alaska Division of Elections said. Ms. Peltola defeated two of her Republican rivals from the special election — Ms. Palin and Nick Begich III, who is part of a prominent liberal political family in Alaska — as well as Chris Bye, a libertarian.Ms. Palin received 45.1 percent support, with a total of 112,255 votes. Mr. Begich received a total of 64,392 votes before being eliminated in the second round, while Mr. Bye was eliminated in the first round with 4,986 votes.State law allows absentee ballots to be counted up to 15 days after Election Day if postmarked by then and sent from outside the United States. Election officials decided to wait to tabulate rounds of ranked-choice voting until all ballots were counted.Because none of the candidates appeared to have secured more than 50 percent of the votes by Nov. 23 — 15 days after Election Day — Alaskan election officials tabulated the next round of votes once all ballots were counted.With the establishment of an open primary system ahead of Mr. Young’s death in which the top four candidates could advance regardless of party, four dozen candidates jumped into the race to replace him. Ms. Peltola was able to secure a spot in the general election, along with Ms. Palin and Mr. Begich.While Ms. Palin and Mr. Begich split the conservative vote, Ms. Peltola assembled a coalition of Democrats, centrists and Alaska Natives behind her “pro-family, pro-fish” platform. A Democrat had not held the seat in half a century, since Mr. Young had replaced Mr. Begich’s grandfather, a Democrat.“Our nation faces a number of challenges in the coming years, and our representatives will need wisdom and discernment as they work to put America on a more sound path,” Mr. Begich said in a statement congratulating Ms. Peltola on her victory. While the majority of his supporters voted for Ms. Palin, 7,460 of them ranked Ms. Peltola and helped push her over the majority threshold.Ms. Peltola worked to highlight her bipartisan credentials, often speaking openly about her friendship with Ms. Palin on the campaign trail. With just a couple of seats determining which party controls the House, she could potentially play a critical role should Republicans seek to win over Democratic votes for must-pass legislation and any effort to approve bipartisan measures.While Ms. Peltola took office only in September, shortly before the midterm elections, she quickly took over pushing for legislation Mr. Young had introduced and hired multiple Republican aides on his staff.Ms. Peltola has also allied herself with her state’s two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski and Dan Sullivan, to pressure the Biden administration to reconsider a key drilling project in Alaska and ensure more federal support was granted to the state after the remnants of a typhoon damaged some communities.She received an emotional and warm reception at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention last month, where attendees waved cutouts of her face and endorsed her candidacy. Mr. Young’s family also endorsed her and filmed an ad for her, bestowing her with one of his signature bolo ties. More

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    Lisa Murkowski Wins Re-election in Alaska, Beating a Trump-Backed Rival

    Ms. Murkowski was the only Senate Republican up for re-election this year who voted to convict former President Donald J. Trump in his impeachment trial after the Jan. 6, 2021, riot.Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, a centrist Republican, won a fourth full term on Wednesday, according to The Associated Press, overcoming a conservative backlash against her independent streak and her vote to convict former President Donald J. Trump for incitement of insurrection after the Capitol riot on Jan. 6, 2021.Ms. Murkowski was declared the winner after securing more than 50 percent of the vote, a mandated threshold under the state’s new ranked-choice system. She defeated Kelly Tshibaka, a conservative rival backed by Mr. Trump and the state Republican Party, and Pat Chesbro, a Democrat.While Democrats have maintained their control of the Senate, Ms. Murkowski is now positioned to remain a pivotal swing vote in the chamber and to wield significant seniority on the Senate Indian Affairs Committee and the Appropriations Committee, which controls government funding. A Senate runoff election in Georgia on Dec. 6 will determine if the upper chamber remains evenly divided, or if Democrats will secure a 51st seat.With 135,972 votes after multiple rounds of tabulation, Ms. Murkowski secured 53.7 percent of the vote, the Alaska Division of Elections said. Ms. Tshibaka received 46.3 percent and 117,299 votes, while Ms. Chesbro was eliminated in an earlier round with a total of 29,078 votes. “I am honored that Alaskans — of all regions, backgrounds and party affiliations — have once again granted me their confidence to continue working with them and on their behalf in the U.S. Senate,” Ms. Murkowski said in a statement. “I look forward to continuing the important work ahead of us.”In a statement, Ms. Tshibaka congratulated Ms. Murkowski, even as she criticized the ranked-choice system and Republican leaders in Washington for pouring millions of dollars into the race. She said the election “turned out to be another victory for the Washington, D.C. insiders who rarely have our best interests at heart.”The Aftermath of the 2022 Midterm ElectionsCard 1 of 6A moment of reflection. More

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    Sarah Palin Loses as the Party She Helped Transform Moves Past Her

    The former Alaska governor, once the standard-bearer of the G.O.P.’s dog-whistling, no-apologies culture, was no match for the same forces she rode to national prominence.It is hard to overstate just how much of a jolt to the political system Sarah Palin delivered when she defeated her first fellow Republican 16 years ago.He was Frank Murkowski, the sitting governor of Alaska and a towering figure in the 49th state. She was a “hockey mom” and the former mayor of a small, working-class town who vowed to stick it to the “good ol’ boys.” That race put her on the map with the national Republican Party and set her on a path that would change her life, and the tenor of American politics for years to come.Then, Ms. Palin was at the vanguard of the dog-whistling, no-apologies political culture that former President Donald J. Trump now embodies.Today, having lost her bid for Congress after years out of the spotlight, Ms. Palin is a much diminished force.She was, in many ways, undone by the same political currents she rode to national prominence, first as Senator John McCain’s vice-presidential nominee in 2008 and later as a Tea Party luminary and Fox News star. Along the way, she helped redefine the outer limits of what a politician could say as she made dark insinuations about Barack Obama’s background and false claims about government “death panels” that could deny health care to seniors and people with disabilities.Now, a generation of Republican stars follows the template she helped create as a hybrid celebrity-politician who relished fighting with elements in her own party as much as fighting with Democrats — none more so than Mr. Trump, who watched her closely for years before deciding to run for president himself. He ensured this month that he would remain in the spotlight, announcing another bid for the White House in 2024.But as the next generation rose up, Ms. Palin’s brand of politics no longer seemed as novel or as outrageous. Next to Mr. Trump’s lies about a huge conspiracy to deny him a second term, or Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene’s casual allusions to political violence, Ms. Palin’s provocations more than a decade ago can seem almost quaint.The Aftermath of the 2022 Midterm ElectionsCard 1 of 6A moment of reflection. More