You can tell these Republicans are lying because of what they say. There is no “unprecedented evidence” of voter fraud to talk about, so Senator Ted Cruz has premised this farce of an audit on the “unprecedented accusations” of voter fraud.

Sure! An unprecedented amount of piss sprayed on enough legs might sell a few umbrellas, too. The only problem is when the customers figure out your game, turn around, and beat you to death with them.

What is the effect of “raising questions” this way, and speaking out for Americans who don’t trust the results of the election? First it gives permission to continue doubting the results and denying the evidence before our eyes. Second, and surely this is the effect — it allows second- and third-order demagogues and conspiracy theorists on social media to put you in a good light. A prominent QAnon-style conspiracy theorist whose posts are viral on Instagram suggested to followers that the protests aimed at Senator Hawley’s family residence were part of an ongoing attempt to assassinate and kill Republicans who are standing up in the secret war against the Biden coup. The elected Republicans who died of COVID before being seated are casualties of this ongoing dirty war, dontcha know.