January 4, 2021

CNN correspondent John Avlon's reality check today is about the meaning of facts.

"This week, we're going to be able to measure how many Republicans in Congress still believe in democracy. Because on Wednesday, a roll call will take place for what should be forever known as the autocrat caucus, led by Josh Hawley and Ted Cruz in the Senate and represented by what might be two-thirds of House Republicans.

"It will be a defining moment for our country and the Republican party because this is much more than a kabuki coup. This is not just a performative rite of passage for the Trumplestiltskins who want to run for president in 2024. This is a referendum on whether they believe laws, facts, and the voice of the people matter in the pursuit of power. And please don't be fooled by Trump's counterfeit concerns about election integrity. The recording shows President Trump has the ethics of a mob boss with a shakedown, coupled with a conspiracy theorists grasp of facts.

I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have.

"Is this really the guys the Republicans want to defend at the expense of their reputation and our democracy? I believe populists like Cruz and Hawley will try to dress this up a bit. They're asking to delay certifying the election to clear up unprecedented allegations of voter fraud. These are 'unprecedented' because of the brazen lies being repeated by President Trump and echoed by his enablers. These Senate Republicans are compounding the very confusion they say they want to clear up. And these senators know these are lies, that's why they've offered up no evidence of mass voter fraud. Because there is no evidence of mass voter fraud. That's why Trump's legal team has lost about 60 court cases to date.

"And if you want to know what's really going on, listen to Republican Senator Ben Sasse.

"Quote: 'We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there's a quick way to tap into the president's populist base without doing any real long-term damage but they're wrong and this issue is bigger than anyone's personal ambitions. Adults don't point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government.' "

"Of course, they're fundraising off this as well. This is a grift hitched onto a big lie. it will not work. If Republicans controlled the House and Senate, would they still try to override the election? And what is to stop any political party from trying to reverse the will of the people after this stunt? What would Republicans say if Democrats were the ones trying to do it? This is the kind of moral reasoning that's gone M.I.A. in the Trump years and is going to take years to undo the damage done.

"As Senator Mitt Romney said, 'I could never have imagined seeing these things in the greatest democracy in the world. Has ambition so eclipsed principle?' The answer is yes. As evidence, take a listen to Senator Josh Hawley less than one year ago.

The consequences of overturning a democratic election because you don't like the result and because you believe that election was somehow corrupted when in fact the evidence shows that it was not, talking about how elections can't be trusted, that's an interesting approach. I think it's crazy, frankly.

"Crazy is one word for it. in this case, seditious is another.

"And that's your reality check."

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