|2020 Nov 21
POLITICAL GAME THEORY
What is the best winning political strategy for Republican members of Congress right now? The question each of them needs to answer for themselves is: How should I respond to Trump's current behavior in light of his loss to Joe Biden in the presidential election? There are a few possibilities, none of them have good outcomes, so the members are forced to choose the outcome which has the least negative consequences.
In light of the danger that Trump's behavior poses on many fronts, including the welfare of this country's inhabitants, and the threats posed to national security, each of them should be protesting Trump's behavior and calling for action on a number of fronts. Of course, they perceive this option as antithetical to Trump's large support base — which they perceive as also representing their electoral base — and if they value reelection they should not antagonize this base by criticizing Trump. Getting reelected has always been their highest priority.
Support Trump's argument that the election results are fraudulent
Like Mitch McConnell they could angrily insist that Trump has the right to pursue all his legal options in contesting the outcome of the election, until those legal options are exhausted. They perceive this as the "high moral ground" argument. On the other hand, Trump's arguments about election fraud are baseless, and have been refuted by each and every electoral commission in every state. So pursuing this option makes them look as foolish as Trump. It also pushes any supported transition activities to the limit of the lame duck period, also endangering national security.
Do nothing, remain silent.
Trump's reign (as he perceives it) will be over on 20 January 2021. That's less than two months away with large recesses in between. If they say nothing, they will not be perceived by their support base as critical of Trump, thus (probably) not impacting their reelection potential. Also they will not have to justify their position to national media audiences, which is sure to attract negative attention one way or the other. And this criticism will all blow over quickly once Biden assumes office, and has to deal with all the negative consequences that Trump hath wrought throughout his term in office, including these last two months. People will be blaming Biden because they will be occurring on his watch, not Trump's. Therefore, the probability of the electorate affixing blame to them for any untoward outcomes, as a result of their collective silence, will be pretty low.
The choice is clear for the "Do Nothing" party.