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Secessionists Joined the (Failed) Republican Effort to Steal the Election

Kook behind the “New Nevada” movement is now smack-dab in the middle of the new GOP consensus.
December 11, 2020
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A handful of Trump supporters carry flags in front of the U.S. Supreme Court on Friday, Dec. 11, 2020. Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, along with support from other states and members of Congress, filed suit to invalidate millions of votes as well as President-elect Joe Bidens victory. (Bill Clark / CQ-Roll Call / Getty)

[Editor’s note: Soon after this article was published, the U.S. Supreme Court rejected the lawsuit described here.]

A group of secessionists out West who have branded their states “New California” and “New Nevada”—no word from New New York—filed an amicus brief today joining with 100-plus Republican leaders urging the Supreme Court to cancel the legally cast votes of millions of Americans in four states and reinstall President Donald Trump against the will of the people.

This is not a trolly take on American news using the tropes normally employed to describe events in Third World countries. It is a simple accounting of what the totalitarian party has become.

The majority of the Republican party establishment—including the president himself, the runner-up in the last presidential primary, the House majority leader, and the chief law-enforcement officials in 17 states—is teaming up with a crank secessionist movement for a coup.

That is where we are at.

The latest distinguished gentleman to join this effort is Robert Thomas, a real-life Cousin Eddie-style conspiracist living somewhere near a nuclear testing site in Nevada but filing with the Court as a member of the (Old) California bar. Thomas is currently the chairman of the New Nevada State movement.

In an amicus brief written in support of the Texas attorney general’s proposed constitutional coup-via-SCOTUS, Thomas begins by addressing the question of standing, stating that the creation of “New California State and New Nevada Sate [sic] is to stop the lawless actions of Governors Newsome [sic again] and Sisolak.”

A rocky start, sure, but in fairness to Mr. Thomas, we can likely attribute these errors to the frankly elitist Supreme Court policy rejecting briefs in his natural form: cut-out magazine letters pasted onto a piece of construction paper.

Thomas’s closing request for the Court is to validate the standing of two new states that have seceded from the Union as well as to approve the efforts of his comrades-in-arms to invalidate the election by judicial fiat.

There it is. “Judicial restraint” in action.

This astonishingly undemocratic filing echoes the tin-foil screeds Thomas has been sending off to local media outlets and, I presume, shouting about at his local supermarket. Last year he wrote a letter to the editor of the Pahrump Valley Times about how Nevada was a “tyrannical democracy” and that laws that usurp God’s rights are “not to be obeyed.”

Here’s the thing. Crazy, bored coots in Nevada tootling off letters to the editor about the end times and overthrowing tyrants is nothing particularly new or noteworthy. If Jon Ralston had a nickel for every one of these guys he’s met out there he’d be Jeff Bezos.

What’s new is that the coot claiming that democracy is tyrannical and must be disobeyed is making an argument that fits perfectly with the other Supreme Court briefs being filed by a preponderance of the members of a major political party.

Ted Cruz has offered to argue something not too dissimilar from Thomas’s secession+coup SCOTUS double header. Liddle Marco thinks these filings are indistinguishable from those oh-so-heinous court cases that “redefined marriage.” (Marco wanted to maintain the more traditional, Biblical marriage of one man fucking a porn star while his third wife is in labor.)

Again: 17 Republican AGs have filed briefs alongside Thomas, supported by 126 members of the House of Representatives (up from 106 just yesterday. Momentum!). The president’s Twitter feed indicates that, if anything, he doesn’t think the secession+coup gambit goes far enough. Meanwhile, graybeard conservative “thinkers” are signing a letter in support of a similar scheme.

That’s what it has come to in December 2020. The crazy FW: FW: FW: email guy ranting about how “democracy is tyranny” is a replacement-level participant in a Republican party and conservative establishment for whom overthrowing tyrannical democracy is now the entry-level position.

The New Nevada Party is the GOP and the GOP is the New Nevada Party.

Tim Miller

Tim Miller is The Bulwark’s writer-at-large. He was previously political director for Republican Voters Against Trump, communications director for Jeb Bush 2016, and spokesman for the Republican National Committee.