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‘Moscow Mitch’ McConnell Invokes Benjamin Franklin To Justify His Refusal To Protect Elections

Taking on the US Senate floor on Monday, On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that ongoing criticism of his refusal to advance election security bills is “modern-day McCarthyism.”

“This Congress, this entire country, only works when we refuse to let baseless smears displace real debate,” McConnell said. “Benjamin Franklin said we have this republic if we can keep it. Among other things, keeping our republic means we can’t let modern-day McCarthyism win.”

The Kentucky Senator was referring in part to a New York Times editorial from the weekend that criticized his obstruction, saying, “Abusing the cause of election security to score political points is no way to safeguard the nation.”

He also complained about a Friday column from Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, who called McConnell’s actions “unpatriotic” and wrote, “The Kentucky Republican is, arguably more than any other American, doing Russian President Vladimir Putin’s bidding.”

Those columns follow McConnell’s refusal last week to advance legislation proposed by Democrats to ensure the safety of America’s elections.

McConnell’s obstruction of election security comes even as the body he presides over — the Senate — has recently shown that Russia targeted election systems in all 50 states.

It also comes after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned during his recent Congressional testimony that Russia is currently engaged in efforts to subvert the U.S. elections.

Joseph McCarthy used demagoguery to excuse un-American behavior. McConnell invokes the specter of McCarthy against his critics — but there are few things more un-American than allowing a foreign power to hurt the country’s elections.

But we shouldn’t be surprised. McConnell was the one who blocked efforts by President Barack Obama in 2016 to present a unified front against Russian election interference. Instead, McConnell pushed the Obama administration to understate the problem so that confidence in Trump’s campaign would not be hurt.


McConnell is in his third year of repeatedly weighing in on Russia’s side against protecting America’s elections. He will continue to be criticized for doing so from individuals and outlets who are concerned with keeping the integrity of America’s most vital civic function.

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