Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas), desperate to help Donald Trump gain power he didn't earn, filed a ridiculous lawsuit last week against, of all people, Vice President Mike Pence. It's a little convoluted, but the Texas Republican effectively asked the federal courts to use his case to empower Pence to unilaterally reject electoral college results he disagrees with.
Or more specifically, Gohmert asked a federal judge to let the vice president ignore actual electoral votes, and instead accept an alternate slate of fake pro-Trump electoral votes as if they were real.
By way of a follow-up, it seemed worth noting the case's failure.
A federal judge on Friday dismissed a last-gasp lawsuit led by a House Republican that aimed to give Vice President Mike Pence the power to overturn the results of the presidential election won by Joe Biden when Congress formally counts the Electoral College votes next week.... In dismissing the lawsuit filed by Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, and a group of Republican electors from Arizona, Texas U.S. District Judge Jeremy Kernodle, a Trump appointee, wrote that the plaintiffs "allege an injury that is not fairly traceable" to Pence, "and is unlikely to be redressed by the requested relief."
Soon after, a three-judge panel at the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals -- in this case, two Reagan appointees and a Trump appointee -- also dismissed the lawsuit out of hand.
After suffering predictable failures in court, Gohmert told one conservative news outlet that unless the results of the 2020 election are nullified, "it will mean the end of our republic, the end of the experiment in self-government." The irony of the comments appeared lost on him.
But that's not all he said. Complaining about his legal defeats, the GOP congressman added, "Basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you've got to go to the streets and be as violent as antifa and [Black Lives Matter]."
Gohmert soon after argued on Twitter that his remarks were not intended as an endorsement of violence -- which is the sort of denial that becomes necessary when a politician uses reckless rhetoric about street violence.
Over the holiday weekend, HuffPost's Matt Fuller tweeted an observation that stood out for me: "When I started covering House Republicans in 2013, a senior GOP aide told me to ignore the Steve Kings and Louie Gohmerts in the party. I pretty much did the exact opposite, and watched the whole party turn into Louie Gohmerts — and Louie Gohmert graduate to ... this."
It's an important point. Of course it's tempting to dismiss Louie Gohmert as a fringe and unserious figure. Of course it's easy to see him as a bumbling far-right lawmaker, who struggles to gain respect from his own colleagues. Gohmert is more of a cartoon than a congressman.
But the more Republican politics becomes radicalized, it's hard not to notice that the lines between Gohmert and the GOP "mainstream" are no longer clear.