Ted Cruz concern-trolls 140 cowardly Republicans

It’s cowardly to shout for blood when you know you won't be shedding any

Senator Ted Cruz led a joint statement by seven sitting senators and four senators-elect intending to join the growing number of Republicans who will register objections, and presumably vote against the certification of the Electoral College votes on January 6th.

"The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.

The letter continues:

"And those allegations are not believed just by one individual candidate. Instead, they are widespread.  Reuters/Ipsos polling, tragically, shows that 39% of Americans believe ‘the election was rigged.' That belief is held by Republicans (67%), Democrats (17%), and Independents (31%).

Who do you think put the lie out there that the election was rigged? Who benefits from Americans believing it? Why should a senator like Ted Cruz, who has argued many cases before the Supreme Court, put aside his entire legal education, experience, and understanding of the U.S. constitution, to side with know-nothings and ignorant conspiracies? This is concern-trolling of the highest order.

Dear reader, I had this article already written and ready to publish before Cruz’s letter hit the press. It was originally written as an expression of disgust at 140 Republicans who are about to embrace a humungous lie in order to make cynical points with voters who they say are “pressuring” them to “do something” because those voters are holding to President Trump’s pernicious lie that the election was stolen from him when in fact he lost fair and square, by the same rules he won it in 2016.

But I have now edited the headline and the article to include Cruz’s letter. Cruz, joined by Sens. Ron Johnson, James Lankford, Steve Daines, John Kennedy, Marsha Blackburn, and Mike Braun, and Senators-Elect Cynthia Lummis, Roger Marshall, Bill Hagerty, and Tommy Tuberville, say they don’t seek to change the election results, but they are using that exact forum to make a point that doesn’t need to be made because it was litigated 144 years ago.

Most conservatives would agree that some of the decisions made during the coronavirus pandemic were problematic. From excessive lockdowns, to unequal and punitive prohibitions on houses of worship, or selectively applied policies that targeted Hasidic Jews in New York City, to federal and state judges monkeying with long-established election processes and procedures during an election cycle, there were definite and valid reasons for complaint.

I have beaten the drum over and over again that judges and election officials were injecting uncertainty into the election process during the last months of the election cycle. I had predicted that this would result in a mess when the election was close in critical swing states. Even with my own misgivings, the actual election results were actually clearer and less ambiguous than I expected.

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In Georgia, Arizona, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, and Michigan, President Trump lost by a margin larger than would require a formal recount. In Georgia, which implemented a new voting system this year, and suffered an embarrassing failure during the primary elections, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and Governor Brian Kemp, both Republicans, ordered a hand recount, a machine recount (requested by the Trump campaign), and an audit of absentee ballot security envelope signatures in Cobb County, as requested by the Georgia Republican Party. All the results pointed to a fair, accurate, and correct election with greater than 99.99% reliability.

The issues with decisions taken during the election cycle should have been, and in many cases, were—including the Supreme Court—taken up before the election. Now that the results are final, the political cynical Trumpists have decided to use hindsight to pursue their goal. It’s like a time-traveller going back in time to kill a baby Hitler. Infanticide can be justified when you know the outcome, but it’s still wrong to kill a baby. In this case, in hindsight we may disagree with the outcome of various election procedural decisions, but it doesn’t justify a lie that those decisions changed the outcome of the election, and it doesn’t justify killing the election as the cure.

In 1876, there were legitimate problems with competing slates of electors, which led to legislation curing that defect. For 144 years, we haven’t had that particular problem, though there have been a few objections, mostly grandstanding for show. In this election, Cruz indicates that his purpose is to force another round of the 1877 commission, to resolve disputed returns.

But there is no dispute of that kind here, and there is no dispute that could possibly induce Vice President Mike Pence to entertain “competing slates of electors"“ and read them into the record, or for Congress to debate not “regularly given” or “lawfully certified” elector slates. There are only unproved, benighted, and debunked accusations, the wildness and ill-preparedness of which have drawn the ire of several judges, who spared no words. And these were Trump-appointed judges! Cruz knows better than to waste the Supreme Court’s time with such detritus.

It bothers me to no end that several of Georgia’s congressional delegation, along with potentially both Georgia’s senators, both of whom are locked in a close runoff election against Democrats, will go along with a lie, and protest the Electoral College results.

Up to 140 Republicans are expected to sign on to a lie that President Trump didn’t lose the election in November. The fact that so many Republicans are willing to sign their name to it doesn’t make it any less of a lie. The fact that some of the decisions made during the pandemic injected uncertainty into the election doesn’t make signing an objection to the Electoral College results any less of a lie. The fact that a few Democrats in previous elections made similar objections doesn’t make it right to do it bigger this time. And the fact that this lie could have been true had there really been massive fraud doesn’t make lying justified.

It does make 140 or more Republicans into liars, however. Whether they’re willing to lie just to look good to their constituency, in order to score points for the next time they’re up for election, or if they really believe that, without a shred of real evidence despite dozens of failed lawsuits and research, the election was “stolen” from Donald Trump, they have made themselves liars.

Lying is wrong, especially when the lie is by elected representatives who take an oath to defend and protect the U.S. constitution. A lie of this size and scope is wrong in any context. It’s not a faded, muddy line of shadows and shades of grey. It’s a bright, shining, sharp line between doing the right thing, preserving the American form of federalism and peaceful transition of power, and cynically hiding behind others who will do the right thing.

It’s not just a lie, it’s a cowardly lie, because most of those telling it are depending on Democrats acting out of self-interest and enough Republicans who will do the right thing to save them from the consequences of the lie. If the lying Republicans really believed that their lie would result in Trump prevailing to subvert and overturn the EC results, they would think again very carefully about what side of the bright line they stood on.

It’s cowardly to be one of the crowd shouting for blood when you know that it won’t have to be shed, and certainly not shed by the ones shouting for it.

The only reason I (and I am joined by the other editors here at The Racket News) can think of why Cruz would write such a shallow and ill-prepared letter is to avoid a roll call vote on certification. By stating their goal is to appoint a commission like the one in 1877, consisting of five Senators, five House Members and five Supreme Court Justices, to conduct a 10-day emergency audit, he could avoid the embarrassment and political career suicide of having their votes recorded for or against certification.

This only adds more cowardice. Voting against certification is embracing the lie, but avoiding the vote, while embracing the lie as the reason for concern-trolling, is even worse. What would a 10-day emergency audit find, that hasn’t already been found, claimed, litigated, rejected with prejudice, and boldly repudiated despite personal threats against them.

We already know the results of the January 6th Congressional session to certify the Electoral College. It will be certified. Vice President Mike Pence has signaled he is going to do the right thing. The objections will send the House of Representatives and the Senate into separate, two-hour session where these Republicans will grandstand and shout for blood into the Congressional Record. Were their remarks in any other forum than congressionally protected speech, free from libel and slander laws, they’d be worried about lawsuits. Were their remarks able to sway votes and change minds, they’d be worried about overturning the constitution for the benefit of one old man who wants to stay in the White House despite losing the election.

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Their remarks will change no minds, will sway no votes, and will simply be spoken to be quoted later in fundraising emails. They will become liars for no reason other than to cynically and falsely show they were willing to call for blood, when they had no intention of doing so. They are hypocrites, cowards, and liars.

All of these yellow Republicans, including Cruz and those who seek to avoid going on record, whose contempt for their own constituents is only surpassed by their own vanity deserve to be removed from office for violating their oath and the public trust.

I am only sad that the election for David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler required a vote before the January 6th session. I’d like to know if they’ll participate in the pusillanimous lie before I cast my ballot, but like many potentially bad decisions, I had to vote before I will know the answer.

I can only hope that I don’t suffer the remorse of hindsight.


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