Josh Hawley has not made his case.
A lawyer, law professor and former Missouri attorney general who is now a U.S. senator from Missouri, Hawley said Wednesday he will object next week when Congress meets to certify President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory. But his arguments are weak.
He began his short statement by noting that some Democrats objected to the certification of electoral votes in 2004 and 2016, raising concerns about election integrity, and that they were praised for doing so.
"... those of us concerned about the integrity of this election are entitled to do the same," he said.
Except that this election is unlike 2004 and 2016 — and, indeed, any other recent election — in that it has been investigated, litigated and dissected without turning up any evidence of widespread or systemic fraud.
Lawsuits have been filed only to be dismissed; votes have been counted, recounted and in some cases counted a third time. Signatures have been verified. President Donald Trump's former Attorney General William Barr said the U.S. Justice Department uncovered no evidence of widespread voter fraud, and just before he resigned, he said there was no reason to appoint a special counsel to look into the president’s claims about the 2020 election. The former director of the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency for the Trump administration, Christopher Krebs, called this the most secure election in American history.
Hawley knows all of that. He also knows that his Republican counterpart, U.S. Sen. Roy Blunt, officially recognized Biden as president-elect a couple of weeks ago, and on Wednesday, Blunt said in a statement, "I will not be joining in any objection.”
In fact, it doesn't appear Hawley has widespread support among Republicans in Washington, or back in Missouri, either.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has been trying to prevent this, and Hawley also knows that because Democrats control the House, this is a pointless move. Senate Majority Whip John Thune said attempts to overturn the election "would go down like a shot dog."
Ron Richard, the former Joplin mayor, former speaker of the Missouri House and former president pro tem of the Missouri Senate, considers himself a diehard Republican. Yet Richard, who was the elector representing Missouri's 7th Congressional District earlier this month for the Electoral College vote, told us: "I don't know what he (Hawley) is up to. I guess he's running for president."
There is no end game here that we can see, except as it benefits Hawley. And for what? 2024?
As Richard said: "What's done is done."