Sen. James Lankford, R-Okla., appears on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Tom Williams/Pool via AP, File)
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Three weeks before Joe Biden begins his term as 46th President of the United States, many GOP officials, including Oklahoma Senator James Lankford, still refuse to accept voters’ will. Lankford recently joined Texas Senator Ted Cruz in contesting the results of the 2020 election, which took place over two months ago, was officially certified last month, and has been upheld in court by over 80 Federal judges. 

Trump or a GOP president appointed nearly half the judges who ruled in favor of American voters’ will. 

Lankford, elected to the United States Senate in 2014 following a 5-year stint as a Representative, has a storied history of misanthropic policies, as well as bending to the will of Trump. With a master’s degree in theology, a former Baptist minister, Lankford’s stance on LGBTQ communities earned him a Hall of Shame ranking from the Human Rights Commission. 

He fares no better in other humanitarian policies, stating climate crisis is a myth and propaganda, supporting the Patriot Act to wiretap citizens, and voting multiple times to repeal Obamacare. In April 2020, Lankford was one of only 8 Senators to vote against the initial Coronavirus relief bill

Lankford also has a habit of flip-flopping his positions to pander to the GOP base. Initially, the Senator pushed back against Trump’s refusal to share daily briefings with President-Elect Biden, stating he will step in if the 46th President is not apprised of national security matters. However, Lankford quickly walked back his words in an interview with far-right media organization NewsMax.

In Oklahoma, Lankford’s populism is well-known. While initially proposing Juneteenth as a federal holiday and scraping Columbus Day, he changed his tune a week later. Lankford and his co-sponsor quickly withdrew the amendment they first presented to promote racial justice and equity. In response to criticism, Lankford defended himself by stating he “doesn’t see race.” 

Racism, racist policies and racial injustice are A hallmark of Oklahoma’s history since before statehood. While Lankford has received accolades for suggesting families of different backgrounds share a meal together and is currently a member of the 1921 Tulsa Race Massacre Centennial Commission, he consistently votes for policies that harm BIPOC in Oklahoma and across the country. Lankford has repeatedly stated he does not believe systemic racism exists.

It seems free and fair elections are also fake news for the Senator. Lankford, a co-sponsor of the bipartisan Secure Elections Act in 2018, now contests an election’s security just two years later. Using the GOP’s tactic of promoting misinformation and sowing discord through vague platitudes, Lankford claims his objection stems from “potentials for problems” in the 2020 election results. 

Lankford insists he is only getting involved in the election results because “Americans are concerned about voter fraud,” citing an unnamed poll and ignoring the Supreme Court’s unanimous 9-0 ruling in favor of the election results. Three of the votes to uphold Biden’s decisive electoral victory were from justices appointed by Trump since the 2016 election.

Senator Lankford, your political temper tantrum only confirms that you care more for your political allegiances than for the citizens you were elected to represent. To quote Maya Angelou, “When someone shows you who they are, believe them.” 

Oklahoma Senator Lankford’s term ends in 2022, at which point he will be up for re-election.

Erika Stone is a graduate student in the Master of Social Work program at the University of Oklahoma, and a graduate assistant at Schusterman Library. A Chess Memorial Scholar, she has a B.A. in Psychology...