Josh Hawley’s Naked Power Grab

Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley plans to object during the counting of the electoral votes in Congress on January 6. He also wants to be president.

Hawley’s December 30 announcement is nothing more or less than a cynical and naked attempt to grab power. Hawley knows full well that there is zero percent chance that Donald Trump is sworn in for a second time on January 20 and that Sen. John Thune is correct when he says that the challenge “would go down like a shot dog.” Therefore, he also knows that he will not have to live with the fact that he was the senator would turned the greatest and freest country ever into Belarus just so his party — and his faction of the party — could exercise power for four more years.

On the flip side, he knows that there are people out there who are stupid enough to believe that this stunt he is pulling is actually some principled stand against voter fraud. He also knows that I just violated Rule Number One of politics: don’t call voters, epically voters inside your own party, stupid. This way he can portray himself as a friend of the people and enemy of Washington (although I write this from the other Washington) who do not share the people’s concerns about election integrity.

He is a fighter, his Republican colleagues who acknowledge that 2+2=4 are surrender monkeys. By sucking up to Trump and his rabid supporters, he can position himself to be Trump’s heir, possibly even winning his endorsement in 2024.

Since I called people stupid for believing Hawley’s stunt is anything but that, I should probably prove it. Let’s take Hawley’s statement one paragraph at a time.

Following both the 2004 and 2016 elections, Democrats in Congress objected during the certification of electoral votes in order to raise concerns about election integrity. They were praised by Democratic leadership and the media when they did. And they were entitled to do so. But now those of us concerned about the integrity of this election are entitled to do the same.

There is no principle here other than revenge. Democrats delegitimized Bush in 2000 by saying he was “selected not elected,” in 2004 by questioning the integrity of the election in Ohio because of Diebold voting machines (sound familiar?) and in 2016 by implying that Russian meddling somehow made the election illegitimate (a 2018 poll showed two-thirds of Democrats believed Russia actually changed vote totals. Again, sound familiar?) and that Donald Trump was some sort of Russian sleeper agent. According to Hawley’s logic, it is now time for Democrats to get their comeuppance and know how it feels to have their win delegitimized.

But, as bad as those were and as frustrating as it is to see Democrats not get called out for peddling such nonsense, what is going on today is worse. Hawley cites 2004, but the Senate rejected the challenge 74–1, with only Barbara Boxer, who was the one to sign on to the challenge, voting in the affirmative. The challenge died in the House 267–31. Additionally John Kerry distanced himself from the effort.

No Democratic senator joined a House member in objecting to the 2016 results.

Citing someone else’s sins to justify your sin is wrong on the individual level and only encourages more dangerous escalation in future elections.

I cannot vote to certify the electoral college results on January 6 without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws. And I cannot vote to certify without pointing out the unprecedented effort of mega corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election, in support of Joe Biden. At the very least, Congress should investigate allegations of voter fraud and adopt measures to secure the integrity of our elections. But Congress has so far failed to act.

If Hawley wants to criticize Pennsylvania, he is free to do so, but there is a reason why the Trump legal team has repeatedly failed. The time for these challenges was before the election, not after millions of people cast their votes. No court, state or federal, is going to void the results of an entire election or throw out hundreds of thousands over the things Trump World was alleging, nor should they.

Yes, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court had some pre-election activist rulings, but such is life. Sometimes the refs are bad at their job, that is still no excuse to blame them for your loss.

Furthermore, the shift from a big Trump lead to a big Biden win was a result of a deliberate GOP policy (thou shall not pre-open ballots) that they said was needed to prevent shenanigans. Now, Trump World wants to use this shift to say the election had to have been rigged.

Also, what do Facebook and Twitter have to do with anything? Yes, Facebook and Twitter have rules of conduct that are enforced arbitrarily, fact-checking appears one-sided and sometimes fact-checking is just differing opinions, and hate speech codes seem designed to squash conservative opinions.

Yes, Twitter blocked a New York Post story about Hunter Biden that rather than being Russian disinformation turned out to be true, but what does that have to do with certified vote totals? In fact, Twitter’s censoring of the Post was a prime example of the Streisand Effect.

Congress is also free to investigate voter fraud, but given statements from Bill Barr and Chris Krebs and how hand recounts have affirmed initial machine counts, proponents of investigations, inside and outside of Congress, need to be willing to accept “no” for answer. That means Democrats get to participate as well and interviewing real witnesses, not cranks as we have seen in these faux state hearings held in various hotel ballrooms.

For these reasons, I will follow the same practice Democrat members of Congress have in years past and object during the certification process on January 6 to raise these critical issues

Again, Democrat misdeeds to not justify Republican misdeeds, especially when the Republican president seems to believe this has a non-zero percent chance of working.

Finally, what does “raise these critical issues” mean? Does Hawley intended to speechify on January 6 and that is it? Or does he intended to vote yes, bolstering his 2024 odds while forcing his colleagues to either vote no, thus risking a primary for acknowledging 2+2=4, or vote yes, thus giving their future Democratic opponents a great 30 second ad?

Josh Hawley will object to the electoral votes on January 6 and the sun will rise as it always does on January 7 and Joe Biden will still be set to be sworn in on January 20. But let no one pretend that Josh Hawley is a man of great principle. He wants to be president and if he has to drag the country through a muddy, futile debate over electors and sabotage his own party to do, then that is just the price of admission.

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Writing about politics and other interesting things. Contributing Writer to NewsBusters. Member of YAF’s National Journalism Center’s Spring 2019 class.

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Alex Christy

Alex Christy

Writing about politics and other interesting things. Contributing Writer to NewsBusters. Member of YAF’s National Journalism Center’s Spring 2019 class.

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