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Editorial: For shame: Sen. Josh Hawley’s plan to challenge Biden victory desperate — and dangerous

Editorial: For shame: Sen. Josh Hawley’s plan to challenge Biden victory desperate — and dangerous

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This editorial was composed by the editorial board of The Kansas City Star.

Sen. Josh Hawley’s decision to challenge the election of Joe Biden as president is dangerous nonsense and desperately wrong in every way.

Missouri’s junior senator has said he’ll challenge the Electoral College results when Congress opens presidential ballots Wednesday. He was the first senator to make such a pledge.

If he follows through, both houses of Congress will needlessly debate the outcome of this year’s election as millions of Americans battle a pandemic. What a waste.

Missourians must see Hawley’s decision for what it is: misguided ambition, coupled with a shockingly cynical approach to democracy. Hawley’s lust for the White House, he is telling us, is more important than your right to vote.

He should forgo the challenge Wednesday. If he does not, Missourians should never forget his craven effort to throw away the votes of millions of Americans.

It is anti-democratic. Any challenge to Joe Biden’s election has no basis in fact.

“I cannot vote to certify the Electoral College results on January 6,” Hawley said last week, “without raising the fact that some states, particularly Pennsylvania, failed to follow their own state election laws.”

News flash, Sen. Hawley: Allegations of ballot irregularities and state law violations have been raised repeatedly in Pennsylvania and other states. They are false. Judges have rejected them dozens of times. Election officials of both parties have rejected them. Recounts and signature-matching have revealed no substantial voting errors.

The allegations are not only wrong, they defy logic. Why would Democrats fix election results in only a handful of states? Why wouldn’t they fix votes for Senate and House races in places like Kansas? The answer is self-evident: They didn’t.

President-elect Biden won a fair, free election Nov. 3 by 7 million votes. The voters’ choice has been ratified by electors in the states, whose ballots will be confirmed by Congress today. Any suggestion otherwise is unpatriotic and fraudulent.

Hawley doesn’t stop at fraud, however. In his statement last Wednesday, the Republican senator says he’s still mad at Twitter and Facebook.

“I cannot vote to certify,” he said, “without pointing out the unprecedented effort of mega corporations, including Facebook and Twitter, to interfere in this election, in support of Joe Biden.”

Again, to no one’s surprise, Hawley has the facts wrong. There is evidence Facebook, in particular, was more supportive of President Donald Trump than the Democratic nominee.

Twitter? The social media site has published more than 5,700 Trump tweets and retweets just this year. That’s pretty leaky censorship.

But even if Hawley had the facts right, he would be wrong on the Constitution. Exercising free-speech rights in an election is not interference. It’s, um, free speech.

To overturn a presidential election based on someone’s speech would shred the First Amendment, rendering democracy irrelevant. Maybe that’s Hawley’s goal.

Missourians cannot ignore Hawley’s assault on their most fundamental right, and senators of both parties should denounce it.

If the senator’s challenge is upheld and Congress returns Donald Trump to the White House, the very idea of popular sovereignty in the U.S. will be gone. Dictators in China, Iran, Venezuela and other countries are undoubtedly chuckling at this possibility.

Josh Hawley has enabled them, and he should be ashamed. Everyone else should denounce this bogus challenge motivated by naked ambition — and never forget it.

Copyright 2020 Tribune Content Agency.


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