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Inhofe: Objecting To Electoral College Results Hurts Country, Helps Dems

Chris Polansky
Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) speaks with reporters on the grounds of the Tulsa Police Academy following a May 14, 2021, press conference.

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.) told a conservative group on Wednesday that he believes there are two main threats to the American electoral system: Democrats pushing to move from the Electoral College to a national popular vote in presidential races; and Republicans who are delegitimizing the Constitution by objecting to Electoral College results.

"I don't want to sound hysterical on something like this, but: it's over. You go to a popular vote, no one's going to vote for Republicans. They're not going to carry anything. That's the seriousness of the problem that we have," Inhofe told the Heritage Foundation at a virtual panel discussion

Inhofe said the importance of the Electoral College to the Republican Party was evident in 2016, when Donald Trump was elected president despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton.

He said votes to reject the Electoral College results by many Congressional Republicans, including all five members of the Oklahoma House delegation, were violations of the oath of office and unconstitutional acts.

"Good, conservative Republicans don't understand this," Inhofe said. "By supporting the Jan. 6 vote, they were supporting the Democrats."

"Oklahoma is the reddest of the red states and they don't even know it," Oklahoma's senior senator said. "On Jan. 6, Republican activists tried to take balloting away from the states and give it to the feds, exactly what [Senate Majority Leader Chuck] Schumer and the Democrats have been trying to do for several years. They actually got some of the Republican Congressmen to throw in with the Democrats in rejecting the Electoral College.

"That just happened. Our own members. In fact, five of them were members of Congress from my state of Oklahoma. They all joined in on this thing because it sounded good and it was popular. But, particularly you young people that are here, I want to talk to you after this about ways that you can do things that are unpopular that are the right things to do, and it does take a little bit of courage to do," Inhofe said.

"Any time we have our own members of the United States Congress joining into something like this, it's scary," Inhofe said.

Inhofe said he was proud of the 44 Republican senators who voted "correctly" on Jan. 6, which included himself and fellow Oklahoma Republican Sen. James Lankford, who had initially planned to reject the will of the voters in certain states that voted for now-President Joe Biden but changed course following the pro-Trump attack on the Capitol.

Inhofe recounted being confronted by fellow Republicans who were "filled with hate" while booing him at the Oklahoma Republican Party convention on April 10. He said it was regrettable, when "all [I was] trying to do was save the system" with his vote to certify Biden's legitimate electoral win.

"It's been a tough time," Inhofe said.

Chris joined Public Radio Tulsa as a news anchor and reporter in April 2020. He’s a graduate of Hunter College and the Craig Newmark Graduate School of Journalism, both at the City University of New York.
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