On January 6, Congress is due to confirm the vote of the electoral college.
Despite all the evidence available, the American constitutional process, and longstanding democratic norms, Dec. Republican senators have announced that they will object to this certification. One of them, Senator James Lankford (R-OK), has since reversed course in a statement: "Our Constitution and law require that I accept the final decision of states about an election."
The 13 senators who still want to object will not succeed in the end, but it is a marked escalation from what was still largely cheap talk by Republicans Supporting repeated attempts by the President to reject the results of the 2020 presidential election.
Although President Donald Trump had large chunks of the GOP backing him in his previous efforts to question President-elect Joe Biden's victory and complain about the results, the most recent (and final) effort was to focus on the certification vote of Congress to concentrate started with Senator Josh Hawley. On December 30th, Hawley issued a statement saying he could "not vote to confirm the results of the electoral college," ostensibly because of his belief that "some states, particularly Pennsylvania, have not obeyed their own state electoral laws" . He also accused Facebook and Twitter of meddling in Biden's favor (Hawley made a name for himself by cruising against Big Tech).
Three days later, eleven other senators, led by Senator Ted Cruz, announced that they would "reject voters from disputed states" unless a "10-day emergency review" of election results was completed. Their argument rests in large part on the fact that many people have questions about the legitimacy of the elections – and every role the president and prominent Republicans played in sowing doubt by challenging conspiracy theories that have been widely debunked.
On the night before the Georgia Senate runoff election, both Republican candidates announced their rejection of certification within a minute on Twitter. Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler said she would vote against the certification as her colleague Senator David Perdue tweeted a clip from an interview saying, "I agree I would (object)," and requested his Senate colleagues to join the certification effort. Both Loeffler and Perdue have since lost their races – possibly leading to Lankford's reversal.
As Cameron Peters explained to Vox, Hawley, Cruz, and the other Senators' plans are a long way from the entire GOP conference on board to object to what is normally a superficial process.
Still 14 Republican senators – about a quarter of the conference – are nothing. The current list of 13 objections to senators is:
Senator Josh Hawley (R-MO)
Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI)
Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX)
Senator Kelly Loeffler (R-GA)
Senator David Perdue (R-GA) (Perdue's term expired before the runoff election, so he is no longer a member of Congress and therefore cannot vote.)
Senator Steve Daines (R-MT)
Senator John Kennedy (R-LA)
Senator Marsha Blackburn (R-TN)
Senator Mike Braun (R-IN)
Senator Cynthia Lummis (R-WY)
Senator Roger Marshall (R-KS)
Senator Bill Hagerty (R-TN)
Senator Tommy Tuberville (R-AL)
In the House of Representatives, more than 100 Republican members announced that they would appeal on January 6th. These numbers do not come close to the level necessary to actually reject the vote in the electoral college.
Electoral College certification is likely to pass
Vox's Andrew Prokop has more on the procedural details of what happened on Wednesday, but in short, Vice President Mike Pence will begin the electoral college vote count. If even a member of the House of Representatives and a Senator object, both houses must vote. As Prokop explains, "both the House and the Senate must vote for the objection to be successful." Ultimately, there aren't enough Republicans to actually turn down the electoral college votes, but it's an opportunity for potential hopefuls of 2024 like Pence, Hawley, and Cruz to be in the spotlight.
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR), another potential 2024 candidate, has objected to this latest attempt to overturn the presidential election results. This dividing line is likely to play a role in the 2024 Republican presidential primary as the candidates are along the Trump axis that the party has realigned.
Cotton isn't the only Republican senator to oppose these efforts. Previous reports have shown that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and Senate Majority Leader John Thune are both opposed to splintering the Republican caucus in a vote that either defies Trump or completely denies the legitimacy of the election. As Cameron Peters wrote for Vox, Sens. Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney and outgoing Senator Pat Toomey issued fierce statements "opposing the doomed – but alarmingly undemocratic – plan to reject the Biden voters."
According to CBS News, the full list of Republican Senators who support certification is:
Senator Roy Blunt (R-MO)
Senator Richard Burr (R-NC)
Senator Shelley Moore Capito (R-WV)
Senator Bill Cassidy (R-LA)
Senator Kevin Cramer (R-ND)
Senator Susan Collins (R-ME)
Senator John Cornyn (R-TX)
Senator Tom Cotton (R-AR)
Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK)
Senator Rob Portman (R-OH)
Senator Mitt Romney (R-UT)
Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE)
Senator Richard Shelby (R-AL)
Senator John Thune (R-SD)
Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA)
Senator Roger Wicker (R-MS)
Toomey's statement criticized the offending senators: “A fundamental, defining characteristic of a democratic republic is the right of people to choose their own leaders. The efforts of Senators Hawley, Cruz, and others to dismiss the 2020 presidential election results directly undermine that right. "
He rejects the flimsy arguments put forward by the abusive senators, arguing that "allegations of losing an election fraud cannot justify overturning an election".
Hawley responded to Toomey in an email to his colleagues telling the senior member to "avoid putting words into each other's mouth" and wrote, instead of discussing the issue via press release, "maybe we could have a debate in the Senate. " In particular, Hawley was the first to issue a press release on the matter.
In a Monday tweet, President Donald Trump mistook the certification-backing group for the "surrender caucus" claiming it would be "shamed for being weak and ineffective." Trump also specifically called out Cotton, warning him that "Republicans have pros and cons, but one thing is for sure, THEY NEVER FORGET!"
For all other hopes for 2024, it is a clear shot over the bow to speak out for certification. The message is clear: if a longtime Trump ally like Cotton can be dropped so easily, so can anyone else.
Support Vox explanatory journalism
At Vox, we want to answer your most important questions every day and provide you and our audiences around the world with information that empowers you through understanding. Vox's work reaches more people than ever before, but our distinctive brand of explanatory journalism is consuming resources. Your financial contribution is not a donation, but it does allow our staff to continue offering free articles, videos and podcasts to everyone who needs them. Please consider contributing to Vox today, starting at $ 3.