The Republican Party has already burst at the seams in the wake of Trump's defeat: conservative columnist
Donald Trump. (NumenaStudios /

Almost three weeks after Election Day — with President-elect Joe Biden having won 306 electoral votes and defeating President Donald Trump by more than 6 million in the popular vote — Trump has yet to concede and continues to claim, without evidence, that the election was stolen from him through widespread voter fraud. Some prominent Republicans, including Sen. Mitt Romney, are urging Trump to acknowledge Biden's victory, while others won't say a word against the president. And conservative Washington Post opinion writer Jennifer Rubin, in a November 23 column, argues that these divisions with the GOP need to become a litmus test — and that Republicans who refuse to accept the election results should become pariahs.

Rubin explains, "The Republican Party has split in two…. In one half of the former GOP stand President Trump, his pathetic enablers in his campaign and in right-wing media, and the vast majority of Senate and House Republicans, including frequently discussed 2024 challengers: Sens. Ted Cruz of Texas, Tom Cotton of Arkansas, Josh Hawley of Missouri, Marco Rubio of Florida. These Republicans seem to ignore the attempted coup taking place in front of their eyes by the candidate they claimed just a few weeks ago was not so bad after all. They refuse to acknowledge that President-elect Joe Biden is the legal, legitimate winner."

Rubin goes on to slam "anti-democracy Trump loyalists" who "choose willful ignorance."

"When Trump is actively trying to overturn an election and disenfranchise millions of voters, targeting heavily Black cities, silence is consent," Rubin notes. "In the other half of the party, we see individuals from varying ideological backgrounds but who share a fundamental belief in democracy and the rule of law."

Republicans who are showing that they value the rule of law, according to Rubin, range from Romney to Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan.

"In the Senate, Ben Sasse (Neb.), Susan Collins (Maine), Lisa Murkowski (Alaska) and Mitt Romney (Utah) swiftly recognized the results of the election," Rubin observes. "Belatedly, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania joined them. In the House, Reps. Fred Upton (Mich.), Francis Rooney (Fla.), Adam Kinzinger (Ill.), John Shimkus (Ill.), Paul Mitchell (Mich.), Tom Reed (N.Y.), Denver Riggleman (Va.), Will Hurd (Tex.), Don Bacon (Neb.), Don Young (Alaska) and John Curtis (R-Utah) have acknowledged Biden is the winner. Republican governors in Utah, Vermont, Massachusetts, Maryland, Arkansas, New Hampshire and Ohio have affirmed Biden is the legitimate winner."

Trump supporters have been quick to threaten those who acknowledge reality with GOP primary challenges, but Rubin has a different idea: use primary challenges to rid the GOP of Trump loyalists who don't value the rule of law.

"If pro-democracy Republicans want to recover their party," Rubin argues, "they should consider primary challenges to pro-Trump authoritarians, independent runs for state and federal office, and even formation of a new party or movement. They can use their leverage in state legislatures and in Congress and refuse to automatically caucus with Republicans."

Rubin wraps up her column by emphasizing that Democrats and non-Trumpian Republicans should come together and smash Trumpism.

"We, in effect, have three parties now: the Democratic Party, the Anti-Democracy Trump Party and the Pro-Democracy Republican Party," Rubin argues. "Once the Anti-Democracy Trump Party is marginalized, we might have functional government again. The Democratic Party and the Pro-Democracy Republican Party should put their heads together and devise a strategy to bring that about — quickly, and certainly before 2024."