EDITORIAL: Mastriano isn't a hack. He's much worse

The Dispatch Editorial Board
A screenshot from state Sen. Doug Mastriano's Wednesday, July 29, Facebook Live video that has since been deleted.

One thing's for certain: State Sen. Doug Mastriano is an embarrassment. 

But his crusade to disenfranchise more than 6 million Pennsylvanians is something much more insidious.

Mastriano, R-Adams, Friday jumped on a podcast with President Donald Trump's former chief political strategist, Steve Bannon, and, while boosting his brand among the alt-right, proclaimed he would introduce a resolution that would overturn Democrat Joe Biden's victory in Pennsylvania and hand the state to Trump.

In a historical context, it was an astonishing admission, especially coming from a man who styles himself a patriot and devotee to the U.S. Constitution.

Suddenly, it's state lawmakers, not voters, who decide presidential elections, Mastriano determined. 

News flash, senator: There are no kings in these United States.

Mastriano's shocking call for tyranny — rooted solely on the fact his side lost — was merely the conclusion of a week where, through his own actions, the senator was exposed for the craven oligarch he really is.

On Wednesday, Mastriano spearheaded a "hearing" in Gettysburg, where Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani spouted the same falsehoods about alleged voter fraud that have been laughed out of even the country's most conservative federal courts.

Later that day,  Mastriano slavishly traveled to Washington. While attending a meeting with the president, one clearly intended to pressure Republican state lawmakers to crown Trump an unelected monarch, Mastriano was notified he had tested positive for COVID-19, reported The Associated Press.

Less than two days later, Mastriano was on Steve Bannon's show, following his sovereign's marching orders, without any sense of irony or shame.

Thankfully, GOP leaders in the state House weren't having it. 

It's almost comical that a man so allegedly enamored with personal liberty is, in fact, just a lowly lap dog.

President Donald Trump arrives to speak at the White House, Thursday, Nov. 5, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Now, Mastriano isn't alone, of course, in his servitude. This past week, several Republican state lawmakers introduced legislation that would declare, falsely, that Biden's victory in Pennsylvania is "disputed." It's a cynical, desperate attempt to involve the U.S. House of Representatives, which, because Republicans control more state delegations than Democrats, would likely appoint Trump to a second term.

And, on Tuesday, U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-Butler, petitioned the U.S. Supreme Court to toss more than 2 million mail-in ballots in Pennsylvania because, well, the Democrats who overwhelmingly cast a majority of those votes committed the crime of backing the other guy, reported The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Again, Pennsylvania's result are not in dispute. Local election officials, Republicans and Democrats, have combed through the results and proven, without question, Biden won the state by more than 81,000 votes. Court after court has rejected the Trump campaign's spurious claims. Even U.S. Attorney General Bill Barr, one of Trump's most stalwart defenders, said Tuesday the election was without widespread fraud. 

The fact is, the election is under siege from snake oil salesmen shilling their wares to eager conspiracy theorists who've convinced themselves of their own persecution. 

No, Mastriano isn't alone in his campaign to undercut democracy itself for a generation.

But it is still shocking when a man who so regularly spouts his love of freedom is exposed as nothing more than a vassal doing his master's bidding.