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U.S. Senator James Lankford is lying about the 2020 election, and he is allying with some of the dumbest people in Congress to ensure that nobody will ever again trust the U.S. democratic process.

Lankford’s disingenuous moral outrage was on full display in a Thursday tweet, in which he tossed some number salad that offered no acceptable justification for his party’s current Benghazi-ing of the election. 

“In 2016, 30% of Americans believed Russia influenced the election. Congress held hearings & investigations to get to the bottom of it,” Lankford tweeted. “Now, 46% of Americans think there was voter fraud in 2020 & they’re being told ‘move on, get over it’. That’s not reasonable–we deserve answers.”

Opinion by George D. Lang

Lankford’s data completely falls apart if you give it a mean look, so here I go.

According to Morning Consult, the percentage of polled Americans in December 2016 who believed Russia interfered in the then-recent election was 32 percent. Considering that the Director of National Intelligence did not release its findings, titled Assessing Russian Activities and Intentions in Recent US Elections, until January 6, 2017, the issue was not yet on most people’s radar. By March 2017, Morning Consult’s percentage had jumped from 32 to 41 percent. By citing this early number that illustrates just how little we knew at the time, Lankford is being willfully obtuse. 

By July 2018, when President Donald Trump sided with Russian President Vladimir Putin against the findings of his own intelligence services, an NBC/Wall Street Journal poll reported that 65 percent of Americans believed Russia had interfered. This was also around the time that Trump announced he would host Putin at the White House, so Trump was driving this number skyward with his trolling of the intelligence apparatus. 

At the time, Lankford tweeted about the intelligence community’s findings like they were articles of faith. 

“Russia tried to meddle in our 2016 elections – they’ll be back in 2018 and 2020,” he tweeted on July 17,2018. “We must be prepared by helping states strengthen election systems.”

On Thursday, he seemed to backtrack on that unusually rock-ribbed statement.

“My Democrat colleagues were focused on fixing potential problems from 2016 yet in 2020 when we have actual problems (my emphasis) they tell us to move along. We know there are real problems with fraud in our elections, we should fix it.”

So, when Russia interfered in the 2016 election, that was not an “actual problem”? 

Lankford then cites “46% of Americans think there was voter fraud in 2020 & they’re being told ‘move on, get over it.’ Well, we know that Trump received 46 percent of the vote, but is that the same as 46 percent of Americans? Of course not. 

And do all of those Trump voters believe there was voter fraud? Well, considering that Lankford’s boss, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, recently conceded that Joe Biden is the president-elect, Lankford is obviously cooking the stats or is simply not good at this. 

An exhausting series of recounts in key swing states have not changed results, and even outgoing U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr found that there was no evidence of widespread voter fraud in 2020. 

But Lankford and his insufferable colleagues, U.S. Senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Rand Paul of Kentucky, are alternately feeding off and stoking a disinformation campaign that is being lovingly disseminated by Lankford’s new friends at Newsmax, Facebook, former journalists Lou Dobbs and Maria Bartiromo at Fox Business, and the Parler Home for Sad Neo-Nazis. 

Stomaching Lankford’s sanctimony is not easy, but his outright lies are beyond the (very) pale. 

As news filters out about a massive breach of U.S. agency servers by Russian cyber forces, we need serious people paying attention to the real world. Instead, Oklahoma has a dangerously unserious senator focused on a right wing fairy tale ginned up by pro-authoritarian Fox News hosts. 

Americans cannot afford to have unserious people like Lankford serving in the U.S. Senate. I implore Oklahomans of conscience and conviction to kick out the jams on finding a great candidate for 2022.

Last Updated December 17, 2020, 8:34 PM by Brett Dickerson – Editor