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Josh Hawley is a conservative without a clue

Josh Hawley is a conservative without a clue
© Greg Nash

The story of the second Trump impeachment trial is a tale of two Republican senators, Josh HawleyJoshua (Josh) David HawleyOn The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal RNC raises nearly M in record off-year March donations Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl MORE (R-Mo.) and Sen. Ben SasseBen SasseOn The Money: Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl | Senate confirms SEC chief Gensler to full five-year term | Left-leaning group raises concerns about SALT cap repeal Senate GOP faces post-Trump spending brawl 15 Senate Republicans pledge to oppose lifting earmark ban MORE (R-Neb.)

Both are potential GOP presidential candidates but that’s where the similarities end. Sasse is a constitutional conservative. Hawley is a conservative without a clue. 

Sasse has a conservative voting record that horrifies Democrats but at least his criticism of President TrumpDonald TrumpSt. Louis lawyer who pointed gun at Black Lives Matter protesters considering Senate run Chauvin found guilty as nation exhales US says Iran negotiations are 'positive' MORE and his vote to convict the former president demonstrates he believes in the rule of law. 

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That is a lot more than you can say about Hawley who decided to acquit Trump. How can he justify being a serious conservative when his only fixed principle is doing anything that helps him get ahead? He can’t but most Republicans couldn’t care less.

While Sasse took his duties as a juror in the impeachment trial seriously, Hawley went out of his way to dismiss the tribunal and the defendant. To show his disdain for the proceedings, he watched parts of it from the Senate gallery while he caught up with his paperwork.

There have been only four presidential impeachment trials in the history of our great Republic, but this judgement was just like another day at the beach for the senator from the Show-Me state.

The GOP has morphed from being the conservative party to a Trump cult. Many of the 43 GOP senators who voted to acquit the former president just couldn’t take the heat generated by grassroots Republicans. Some of the Republicans who voted to convict already are facing censure from their state and local parties.

If you still don’t know why Hawley and 42 of his Senate GOP colleagues voted to acquit Trump, you can end the suspense with a close look at a new national survey conducted for the American Enterprise Institute (AEI).

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Four out of every five (79 percent) Republicans still have favorable views of Trump, despite a failed presidency that has already led to COVID-19-related deaths of almost half a million Americans and destroyed millions of jobs. On top of that telling statistic, only a third (32 percent) of the GOP faithful think Joe BidenJoe BidenBiden overruled Blinken, top officials on initial refugee cap decision: report Suicide bombing hits Afghan security forces Jim Jordan, Val Demings get in shouting match about police during hearing MORE’s election victory is legitimate.

The scariest thing about the results is the widespread GOP acceptance of violence as a political tool. Republicans were critical of peaceful Black Lives Matter (BLM) demonstrations, but they think violence is acceptable for conservative outcomes. 

Most Republicans indicated they support the use of force as a way to arrest the decline of the traditional American way of life. The GOP faithful are much more likely to support the use of violence as a means to a political end than independents (35 percent) and Democrats (22 percent).

Sadly, Hawley is a perfect match for these Republicans. Sasse is a man without a party. We may see a match up between the two senators in the 2024 GOP presidential race. Hawley will likely enter the race with a better chance than his colleague from Nebraska.

The many Republicans who support political violence aren’t likely to vote in a GOP primary for a politician like Sasse who adheres more closely to the Constitution than he does to Trump. Hawley is just the guy for this crowd supporting Trump and his attempt to undermine the 2020 election.

Hawley gave a fist salute to the pro-Trump protesters at the Capitol and the day of the riot. His casual dismissal of Trump’s impeachment trial and his encouragement of the extremists in the GOP should play well for him in the 2024 primaries.

Sasse is the only one of the seven Republican senators who voted to convict Trump and who aspires to be president. But his quest for the White House suffered a serious blow last week when he stepped up to stand up against Trump. I don’t admire his voting record, but I do admire his courage.

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Deadline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. Follow him on Twitter @BradBannon.