My memory can get a little fuzzy, but I remember on Election Night in 2020, there came a point, probably a bit after midnight, that I was supremely confident that Joe Biden had won the election. Part of it was definitely that the Fox News election desk had called Arizona for Biden, but it was more rooted in being satisfied that once all the mail-in ballots were counted, especially in Pennsylvania, that there was no way that Trump could win. It wasn’t even going to be close. My analysis was correct and, although I hadn’t really been overly worried, my relief was tremendous. Trump had lost, and that’s all that mattered to me. I noted some disappointing results elsewhere but these hardly dented my elation.
I kind of laughed at him when he said they had been all ready to have a huge celebration and then “Poof” his lead just disappeared. I wasn’t even shocked when he refused to concede and claimed a bunch of fraud had taken had place. I never expected him to concede. When he told the nation he had won Pennsylvania by “a lot,” I knew otherwise.
To be honest, I can’t say I was alarmed or disappointed by Trump’s performance because alarm and disappointment had been my default setting for the four years of his presidency. But I did worry a bit that we could be headed into choppy waters and that the transition might not be smooth and orderly. I wondered if the military would have to haul him out, but I had no doubt that they would if it became necessary.
As the ensuing weeks unfolded and Trump’s lawyers put on an absolute clown show in courtroom after courtroom, I was mostly just amused that he was showing so little dignity. The highlight of it all was Rudy Guiliani’s appearance at “the Four Seasons” in Philadelphia, which was timed perfectly to the election officially being called for Biden.
I noted, because it’s my job, when all the other boxes were scheduled to be checked. I knew when the Electoral College would meet in the respective states, and I knew that January 6 was the day that Congress would count the votes. I also understood that January 6 was the last possible chance Trump might have to do something crazy, and I noticed that he asked his supporters to show up and protest.
But none of this gave me the slightest worry that Biden might not actually become president at noon on January 20.
Yet, in the fever swamp that Republicans occupy, the picture was quite different.
“A week before Jan. 6, on a Zoom call organized by far-right Christian Nationalists seeking to reinstall Donald Trump in the White House, a man with a booming baritone voice bowed his bald head and began to pray,” Rolling Stone reports.
Said the man: “We remember the promises of old… We know we overcome Satan by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony and not loving our lives unto death.”
He added: “God I ask you that you help us roll in these dark times, that we fear not the darkness, that we will seize our Esther and Gideon moments. We’re surrounded by wickedness and fear, and dithering, and inaction. But that’s not our problem. Our problem is following Your lead…. I pray that… we’ll seize the power that we had given to us by the Constitution, and as well by You, providentially. I pray for the leaders also in the federal government, God, on the Sixth of January that they will rise up with boldness.”
That bald-headed man with the booming baritone voice was Pennsylvania state senator Doug Mastriano who is now the Republican Party’s candidate for governor in the Keystone State. A week before January 6, he was absolutely fixated on the date. It was the day he hoped to “seize the power.”
His performance is caught on video tape.
It’s not an exaggeration to compare this to having a video tape of John Wilkes Booth meeting with Samuel Arnold, George Atzerodt, David Herold, Michael O’Laughlen, Lewis Powell and John Surratt to plot the kidnapping of President Abraham Lincoln.
On March 17,  Booth and the other conspirators planned to abduct Lincoln as he returned from a play at Campbell General Hospital in northwest Washington. But Lincoln did not go to the play, instead attending a ceremony at the National Hotel.
Booth later caught up with Lincoln on April 14 at the Ford Theatre. On April 26, Booth was shot in the neck and killed while resisting arrest. Thankfully, he never became a gubernatorial candidate, let alone for Lincoln’s own Republican Party.
As a citizen of Pennsylvania, I find it outrageous that an outright insurrectionist and coup-plotter could conceivably become my governor. A self-respecting nation would smash this man and his movement, not let them take their chances at the ballot box. The 14th Amendment says that Mastriano should be ineligible to serve in any office in the United States.
Section 3 of the 14th Amendment, adopted during Reconstruction to punish members of the Confederacy for taking up arms against their country in the Civil War, declares that “no person shall” hold “any office, civil or military, under the United States, or under any state, who, having previously taken an oath” to “support the Constitution,” had then “engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”
On Tuesday, August 9, 2022, Mastriano appeared before the U.S. House of Representatives’ committee investigating the January 6 attacks and refused to answer any questions.
Trump ally Doug Mastriano’s virtual appearance Tuesday before the House January 6 committee only lasted about 15 minutes and “he didn’t answer a single question,” according to a source familiar with the matter.
Mastriano’s attorney cut off the virtual appearance soon after it began, the source said. His lawyer, Tim Parlatore, took issue with several procedural matters related to the deposition, and raised questions about the legality of the subpoena that Mastriano received from the panel, the source added.
On January 6, Mastriano illegally stormed the Capitol grounds, although he did not enter the building itself and has not been charged with a crime. In truth, he was a major organizer of the mob that attempted to “seize the power” that day, which is why the committee wanted his testimony.
Campaign finance records show that State Sen. Doug Mastriano’s campaign spent thousands of dollars on charter buses ahead of the Washington D.C. rally that ended with supporters of President Donald Trump violently storming the halls of Congress last week during an insurrection.
He took an oath the defend the Constitution and then used his own campaign funds to finance a wholly unlawful and ultimately deadly effort to keep Trump in office despite having lost his bid for reelection.
And he did it in the name of the Constitution and in the name of Jesus.
I wasn’t too concerned about Trump’s childish refusal to lose with dignity, but I take Mastriano very seriously. He engaged in both sedition and blasphemy, and for the former reason he should not be appearing on Pennsylvania’s ballot.