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Josh Hawley tries (and fails) to defend his anti-election efforts

Josh Hawley seems eager to mount some kind of defense of his anti-election efforts. It's really not going well.
Image: Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. raises his fist toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the Capitol
Sen. Josh Hawley, R-Mo. raises his fist toward a crowd of supporters of President Donald Trump gathered outside the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021.Francis Chung / E&E News and Politico via AP Images

Sen. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.) seems aware of the fact that he has a political problem. In the wake of last week's attack on the U.S. Capitol -- which came after the Missouri Republican raised his fist in apparent solidarity with the mob -- the young senator has become a political "pariah" on Capitol Hill; he's been denounced by former allies; and Hawley faces multiple calls that he resign in disgrace.

Hallmark, one of the most prominent companies in Hawley's home state, this week asked that the GOP senator give back the money Hallmark's political action committee contributed, saying his recent anti-election actions "do not reflect our company's values."

Apparently eager to turn things around, Hawley appeared on Fox News this week, though it didn't help. Yesterday, the far-right senator tried again, writing an op-ed for the Southeast Missourian newspaper, explaining why he objected to Joe Biden's electoral votes last week, even after the insurrectionist mob attacked the U.S. Capitol.

Many, many citizens in Missouri have deep concerns about election integrity. For months, I heard from these Missourians -- writing, calling my office, stopping me to talk. They want Congress to take action to see that our elections at every level are free, fair, and secure. They have a right to be heard in Congress. And as their representative, it is my duty to speak on their behalf. That is just what I did last week.

This has become the most common argument among anti-election Republicans: a whole lot of Republican voters have "deep concerns about election integrity." What Hawley and his cohorts consistently fail to acknowledge is that these "deep concerns" exist because these voters have been lied to repeatedly by GOP officials who know better, but who see political utility in disseminating misinformation.

As to my specific objection: I objected with regard to Pennsylvania because the state failed to follow its own constitution. The Pennsylvania constitution has been interpreted by the state's courts for over a century to prohibit mail-in voting, except in clearly stated circumstances.

Recent changes to Pennsylvania's election laws were approved with near-unanimous support from Pennsylvania Republicans -- a point Hawley consistently and conveniently chooses to ignore.

I also objected to point out the unprecedented interference of the Big Tech corporations in this election in favor of the Biden campaign, not just in Pennsylvania but everywhere. Their interference in our democratic process has only accelerated in recent days.

I have plenty of concerns about powerful tech companies, but a senator objecting to election results because he believes Big Tech was involved in some kind of nefarious partisan conspiracy is silly.

Some wondered why I stuck with my objection following the violence at the Capitol. The reason is simple: I will not bow to a lawless mob, or allow criminals to drown out the legitimate concerns of my constituents.

This is so hopelessly bonkers, I'm a little surprised Hawley included it in his op-ed. The argument, in a nutshell, is that Hawley announced plans to object to the electoral-vote count, then a lawless mob attacked the Capitol in opposition to the electoral-vote count, and the senator followed through on his plans by doing exactly what the mob wanted him to do.

The Missouri Republican seems eager to characterize this as some kind of bold defiance of violent criminals. What he neglects to mention is that Hawley and the mob shared a common goal: interfering with the certification of the winner of the 2020 presidential election, as chosen by a majority of the American people.

If this is the best the GOP senator can come up with, it's increasingly obvious why so many are eager to see him step down.