MINOT, N.D. — “Adults don’t point a loaded gun at the heart of legitimate self-government."

Those are the words of U.S. Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., who wrote them in a blistering critique of Republican efforts to overturn the national election delivered last night.

“Let’s be clear what is happening here: We have a bunch of ambitious politicians who think there’s a quick way to tap into the president’s populist base without doing any real, long-term damage,” he wrote shortly after his colleague, Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, announced he'd be opposing the election results in the Senate chamber.

The accuracy of that skewering is remarkable. Sasse has identified and described the motivations of some of his Republican colleagues perfectly.

They don't really believe the election was stolen. They're not really buying into the nutty-as-fruitcake legal theories President Trump and his space cadet lawyers have put forward in court.

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These people are trying to position themselves as the new leaders of Trump's rabidly loyal populist movement.

It's cynical and dishonest and fundamentally detrimental to our nation's political health.

I can only hope that North Dakota's congressional delegation — Sen. John Hoeven, Sen. Kevin Cramer and Congressman Kelly Armstrong — resist Hawley's nonsense.

It's one thing to question the vote counts and the decisions made by election managers in the immediate aftermath of Election Day.

It's quite another to still buy into these claims today.

Trump and his legal team have had weeks to make their fraud case. In courtrooms around the country, they've had every opportunity to lay some smoking guns on the table and convince not just judges but the American people that something untoward happened with the vote. In fact, nothing is stopping them from making their case outside of the courtroom. Trump and his hangers-on have massive social media followings. They could put their evidence directly in front of Americans if they wanted to.

They haven't been able to do it. Their supposed evidence of fraud is a listing wall built on a soft foundation of bluster and petulance and testimony from untrustworthy political cranks such as prolific North Dakota political gadfly Tore Maras-Lindeman.

If the theories and claims of someone like Lindeman are central to your case, you don't really have a case.

The Republican efforts to overturn the election are an embarrassment. Worse than that, they're un-American. We have a proud history in this country of peaceful transitions of power, from one administration to the next, even when those administrations are bitter enemies.

It gives me no particular joy to acknowledge Joe Biden as our next president — I believe his policy agenda will be detrimental to North Dakota and the country as a whole — but he won the election.

When you live in a republic like ours, one of the duties of citizenship is accepting that sometimes the people you disagree with get to be in charge.

Trump lost the election. Joe Biden won. There's another election coming.

Those are facts.

Let's expect our political leaders to deal in facts, not the fabulism perpetrated by the political fringe.

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Rob Port, founder of SayAnythingBlog.com, is a Forum Communications commentator. Reach him on Twitter at @robport or via email at rport@forumcomm.com.