The Politicization Of Electoral Objections

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Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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A handful of Republicans objected to the electoral certification for President-elect Joe Biden even after a riot broke out in the Capitol that left five dead and changed the votes of several Republican Senators.

Even before the riot, Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley set off a flurry of bipartisan criticism when he announced he would object to the certification. Hawley cited big-tech platforms’ alleged interference and election laws in Pennsylvania as his reasoning.

Former Democratic presidential candidate and Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar called Hawley’s announcement a “coup attempt.”

Republican Nebraska Sen. Ben Sasse said attempts to reverse the outcome of the election was a “dangerous ploy” in a statement posted to Facebook.

Hawley, however, has defended his decision to push forward with his objection, citing “legitimate concerns of my constituents” in an op-ed published Wednesday in Southeast Missourian.

Hawley also said that Democrats have objected in the past and were “praised for standing up for democracy” whereas he has instead been chastised.

Fellow Democrats did praise some of their colleagues for objecting in 2001, 2005 and 2017. There was, however, strong Republican opposition to Democrats’ objections, quite similar to this past election cycle.

Then-Vice President Joe Biden was forced to gavel down House Democrats 11 times in 2017 while certifying the 2016 election results, according to CNN.

Massachusetts Rep. Jim McGovern objected to the certification of Alabama’s votes, arguing that Russia interfered in the election, according to the report. McGovern’s objection was gaveled down because he didn’t have the needed backing from a senator.

Texas Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee began objecting based “on the massive voter suppression” but was quickly silenced by Biden who again had to remind the representatives that they needed a senator, according to CNN. (RELATED: ‘They Could Have Killed Us All’– Lindsey Graham Slams Security On Capitol Hill After Rioters Gained Entry)

Republicans criticized Democrats for raising objections, with some even booing California Rep. Maxine Waters as she pleaded for a senator to step up and back a bid for objection.

“It’s kind of embarrassing” Republican Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn of Texas said about the objections, according to Politico. Cornyn said Democrats lacked support from Democratic senators because “they realized it was just a protest and it wasn’t real,” according to the same report.

Former Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner said Democrats were hypocrites for alleging during the campaign season that President Donald Trump wouldn’t accept the election if he lost and yet were refusing to accept the results themselves, according to Politico. Gardner said the lack of Democratic backing in the senate “shows the respect for the people that the senators held.”

In 2005 a group of Democrats objected to counting Ohio’s 20 electoral votes, insisting the election was riddled with “irregularities” that favored former President George W. Bush, according to CNN.

Former Democratic California Sen. Barbara Boxer supported objectors challenging Ohio’s electoral votes. Lawmakers were sent back to their chambers for two hours to debate the challenge and vote on it. Ultimately, the votes were awarded to Bush.

Republicans were quick to dismiss the objections as nothing more than a political stunt and a “wild conspiracy,” according to CNN.

“But apparently, some Democrats only want to gripe about counts, recounts, and recounts of recounts,” Former Ohio Rep. Deborah Pryce said, according to the report. “So eager are they to abandon their job as public servants, they have cast themselves in the role of Michael Moore, concocting wild conspiracy theories to distract the American public.”

Former Ohio Rep. Bob Ney said it was a “sad day: in America to be debating the electoral votes.”

“Politics in America can be bitter. Campaigns can divide people and breed resentment. That is a given,” he said. “It also used to be a given that once a campaign was over the winner claimed victory, the loser accepted defeat, everybody else went on with their lives, and the country moved forward.”

“Now, unfortunately, it seems the bitterness and resentments do not end with the campaign. Instead, the divisions are stoked by individuals who simply do not like the results.”

Former Texas Rep. Tom DeLay called the objections nothing more than a “quadrennial crying wolf” while other Republicans said claims of voter fraud in Ohio were “Hollywood inspired,” according to The New York Times (NYT).

Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum called the objection process a “travesty” and said Democrats can’t get over their loss, according to the NYT.

“They’re still not over the 2000 election, let alone the 2004 election.”

Even during the 2001 certification when Democrats objected because of “overwhelming evidence of official misconduct,” Republicans were quick to shoot down the objections, with some yelling “Point of order! Point of order!” according to The Baltimore Sun.

Other Republicans tried to claim that debate regarding the objections was not allowed during the session, according to the report.