Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.) has issued a new public condemnation of the challenge to the electoral college results that some of his Republican colleagues in Congress are planning for January 6, when Congress meets to confirm the electoral vote totals. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) announced this week that he planned to challenge these totals when the numbers come up for Congressional consideration, and a selection of Trump-allied House members have done the same, meaning that the issue will move to debate, since at least one member of both houses of Congress will be on board with the challenge. Sasse denounced this planned challenge as amounting to pointing “a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.”
As Sasse outlined in a lengthy, substantive Facebook post, there is simply no legitimate evidence for election fraud at a scale that would come anywhere close to changing the outcome of the election. Bill Barr, who until very recently was on the job as U.S. Attorney General, offered this same conclusion. “For President-Elect Biden’s 306-232 Electoral College victory to be overturned, President Trump would need to flip multiple states,” Sasse succinctly noted. “But not a single state is in legal doubt.”
For Congress to throw out an electoral vote, sizable portions of both chambers have to agree to the move, and there’s zero indication that such a development is on the horizon. Republican leaders in the Senate have explicitly tamped down the idea of challenging the electoral vote totals, although Hawley evidently decided to go his own way.
No matter the fact that Biden is undoubtedly on track to be inaugurated as the next president after undoubtedly winning the recent presidential election, Sasse notes that the GOP theatrics still have a potentially seriously negative effect on the stability of the democratic process in the United States. What if increasing numbers of people simply no longer trust the system?
‘The president and his allies are playing with fire. They have been asking – first the courts, then state legislatures, now the Congress – to overturn the results of a presidential election. They have unsuccessfully called on judges and are now calling on federal officeholders to invalidate millions and millions of votes. If you make big claims, you had better have the evidence. But the president doesn’t and neither do the institutional arsonist members of Congress who will object to the Electoral College vote. Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage. But they’re wrong – and this issue is bigger than anyone’s personal ambitions. Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.’
Sasse also tied the theatrics to fundraising, noting that “[since] Election Day, the president and his allied organizations have raised well over half a billion (billion!) dollars from supporters who have been led to believe that they’re contributing to a ferocious legal defense.” In reality, the president’s legal team has floundered, big time.