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Josh Hawley is the most dangerous man in America

Hawley’s former mentor said after the Capitol riots that supporting him politically had been ‘the biggest mistake I’ve made in my life’

Skylar Baker-Jordan
Friday 08 January 2021 15:48 GMT
El senador republicano Josh Hawley ha criticado los esfuerzos para estudiar Watergate después de que el ex abogado de la Casa Blanca, John Dean, quien trabajó con Richard Nixon, fuera invitado a brindar testimonio público esta semana ante el Comité Judicial de la Cámara.
El senador republicano Josh Hawley ha criticado los esfuerzos para estudiar Watergate después de que el ex abogado de la Casa Blanca, John Dean, quien trabajó con Richard Nixon, fuera invitado a brindar testimonio público esta semana ante el Comité Judicial de la Cámara. (AP)

There is a photo of a Senator from Missouri — young and handsome, hair perfectly coiffed, suit beautifully tailored — which has circulated on social media since lawless rioters stormed the Capitol on Wednesday night. In it, the man in question raises a defiant fist in salute of the braying mob he is about to unleash upon the very heart of our Republic. It is a chilling image, one of a person with a clear lust for power. Donald Trump is our past, but this young man, already a powerful politician, could be our future.

Josh Hawley is the most dangerous man in America. He was before the attempted coup. He certainly is now. Like Trump, he has wicked ideas. Unlike Trump, he is not stupid. He knows, surely, that this election was not stolen. He knows, surely, that there was no widespread voter fraud. He knows, surely, that the American people elected Joe Biden and Kamala Harris freely and fairly. He knows, surely, but it seems he does not care.

This is a man who apparently cares only about his own political advancement. He ran for Missouri Attorney General in 2016, promising not to use it as a springboard to higher office. Then, he promptly ran for US Senate in 2018. Barely two years into his first term, he is now jockeying to be the anointed successor of Donald Trump, his eyes firmly fixated on 2024.

This is why many believe he contested the results of the 2020 election in the first place. Presumably, it is why all of the Senators who objected did. The only nefarious plot to steal the election is their own, after all.

Some, when faced with an insurrection on their doorstep, had a change of heart. Just-defeated Senator Kelly Loeffler was one of them, saying in a speech from the floor of the Senate that the attempted coup which she supported not twelve hours before had “forced me to reconsider.” She went on to lament “the violence, the lawlessness, and siege of the halls of Congress.” While she didn’t disavow the very conspiracy theory which had prompted the violence and which she had peddled herself, at least she had the shame to pump the breaks as we neared the precipice of fascism.

Not so Josh Hawley. While quoting Abraham Lincoln — who was no doubt spinning circles in his grave — that there can be “no appeal from ballots to bullets,” he persisted in contesting the election results. Unlike Loeffler, who at least understood that what she was doing was legitimizing the very demands and aims of the terrorists at the gates, Hawley didn’t blink. He saw an existential threat to the Republic and shrugged, while winking to those who had just tried to overthrow the US government. At least that’s how it looked to me. It must have looked that way to his mentor, former Missouri Senator John Danforth, as well, considering he said in the wake of the riots that supporting Hawley’s political development and helping to advance him to the Senate was “the biggest mistake I’ve made in my life”.

There would never have been an objection if it weren’t for Josh Hawley. He was the first Senator to announce his intention. That looks like a calculated move meant to endear him to the Red Hats, one which prompted his fellow Senators (all, like Ted Cruz, with ambitions of their own) to jump on the seditious bandwagon he was riding over the Rubicon.

He was their fledgling leader. He is their leader now. And he will likely remain their leader for years to come.

More than half of Republicans believe Donald Trump won this election or are unsure of the results. Those are the people Hawley was peacocking for, and to them he is undoubtedly a hero. There is a lot of talk about Hawley miscalculating, or his political machinations backfiring, but let’s make no mistake: There are a large number of Americans who saw what happened yesterday and nodded approvingly, and they vote in Republican primaries. Hawley knows this, and with his refusal to back down, he just became the frontrunner for the Republican nomination.

That is a frightening prospect. For all the damage Donald Trump did — and he did a lot — utter disaster was averted only because of his bungling incompetence. A capable authoritarian could do so much worse.

That is what makes Hawley so dangerous. He is no bumbling fool. He is a shrewd figure who knows what’s what, and can achieve whatever he sets his sights on.

Last night, Josh Hawley should have disqualified himself from high office, but it is entirely possible that instead, his actions will simply propel him to even greater heights. God help us when they do.

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