Commentary

Commentary: Tennessee congressional delegation in destructive denial

January 4, 2021 5:00 am
WASHINGTON, DC - AUGUST 05: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) holds a mask to her face as she arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on "Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation" on Capitol Hill on August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Crossfire Hurricane was an FBI counterintelligence investigation relating to contacts between Russian officials and associates of Donald Trump. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

WASHINGTON, DC – AUGUST 05: Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) holds a mask to her face as she arrives for a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on “Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation” on Capitol Hill on August 5, 2020 in Washington, DC. Crossfire Hurricane was an FBI counterintelligence investigation relating to contacts between Russian officials and associates of Donald Trump. Blackburn is one of 12 senators challenging the results of the 2020 presidential election. (Photo by Erin Schaff-Pool/Getty Images)

Just hours before he would take the oath of office as a U. S. Senator from Tennessee, Bill Hagerty made another pledge, one of loyalty to the deranged notions of Donald Trump to challenge documented results of the 2020 presidential election.  Hagerty, like Sen. Marsha Blackburn and nearly all of our state’s Republican members of the U.S. House, will put party over country (and logic, and evidence) to vote against the routine certification of the Electoral College tallies from several states.

Our congressional delegation has access to high-quality primary sources via the Library of Congress, not to mention staffers capable of finding neutral and valuable fact-checked material in the public record.  The fact most of our congressmen and both of our Senators are relying on rumor, fabrication, and innuendo from the deepest recesses of the right-wing blogosphere indicate they are not interested in truth, only in servile fealty to Trump and his most sycophantic followers.

Bill Hagerty (Wikipedia)
U.S. Senator-elect Bill Hagerty (Photo: Wikipedia)

Just to remind all of the foolishness of the Trump position, let’s recall the words of Christopher Krebs, Trump’s director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security at the time of the election.  He told an interviewer, “Paper ballots give you the ability to audit, to go back and check the tape and make sure that you got the count right. And that’s really one of the keys to success for a secure 2020 election; 95% of the ballots cast in the 2020 election had a paper record associated with it. Compared to 2016, about 82%…That gives you the ability to prove that there was no malicious algorithm or hacked software that adjusted the tally of the vote, and just look at what happened in Georgia. Georgia has machines that tabulate the vote. They then held a hand recount and the outcome was consistent with the machine vote.”

Undeterred, Trump’s dead-enders have flooded the courts with dozens of spurious cases, consistently losing in rulings from judges of all political stripes.  Six of our Tennessee congressmen — Tim Burchett, Scott DesJarlais, Chuck Fleischmann, Mark Green, David Kustoff, and John Rose — even joined a frivolous Texas suit critiquing how Pennsylvania conducted its elections.  The U. S. Supreme Court took all of one paragraph to reject hearing these frivolous claims that lacked standing.

Christopher Krebs, Trump’s director of Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security, verified the security of the 2020 election, noting Georgia’s hand recount was consistent with voting machine totals.

In the frantic rush to find any way to deny Trump’s huge loss, the rush to the courts has yielded bizarre claims.  Politifact noted last month, “Sometimes courts rejected cases where the pro-Trump briefs were riddled with errors. One was based on an affidavit that attempted to cite results from precincts in Michigan, but actually cited ones in Minnesota. (The statistics about Minnesota were wrong too.) One lawsuit filed by [Trump’s sometime lawyer Sidney] Powell claimed wrongdoing in Edison County, Mich.— a place that doesn’t exist.”

The 2020 presidential election results are clear and undeniable.  Joe Biden secured more than 81 million votes, more than seven million more than Donald Trump.  The Biden/Harris ticket topped Trump/Pence in electoral votes, 306 to 232.

Most of our Tennessee congressional delegation this week will dishonor their oaths of office by participating in a doomed charade that pleases one sore loser but needlessly will cause harm to our democratic institutions.  Surely, they will say they are only seeking resolution of “issues,” but that is a self-fulfilling bit of nonsense. They grab dust and toss it in the air, then say we must let this dust settle.  The shame of their behavior should stick to them for all their days.

 

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Mark Harmon
Mark Harmon

Mark D. Harmon is a professor of journalism and electronic media at the University of Tennessee, and a member of the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee.

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