There Are No Disputed States, Only A Mad President, Laid Bare
Unless you count the President saying it over and over and over and over and over again.
And on a recorded phone call this weekend with the Georgia Secretary of State that was distributed by the Washington Post, Trump’s “evidence” of fraud first and foremost is the comparative size of the crowd at his rallies. Which of course is proof of nothing. And he keeps returning to that. As evidence. Really. Read it; listen to it if you don’t believe me (I’ve just given you a link): it’s where he starts, and he keeps coming back to it. Then, after you do, tell me he’s not completely delusional.
As for the “disputed” states? The dispute as far as I understand it is Trump didn’t win, so how could he possibly have lost? That’s a question to be answered by soul-searching, not by trying to do a coup.
Because the Electoral College met, all states have certified their Election Day tallies, and all Electoral Vote totals have been forwarded to Congress and a bunch of other places, with all the prescribed paperwork attached, and official seals, and signatures by governors, some Democrat, more Republican, with no exceptions. It’s done.
The President calling Georgia’s Secretary of State and pressuring him to conjure up votes that would make him the winner, as Trump did this weekend, is the only attempt at mass fraud I see in evidence at this point that’s more than a conspiracy theory or some far-fetched “statistical analysis”.
Said Trump on the call with Brad Raffensperger, which was recorded:
“Fellas, I need 11,000 votes…”
“All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes.”
“There’s nothing wrong with saying, you know, um, that you’ve ‘recalculated.’”
Trump lost Georgia by 11,779 votes.
More out of Trump:
“Because, what’s the difference between winning the election by two votes and winning it by half a million votes? I think I probably did win it by half a million….they say it’s not possible to have lost Georgia.”
Replies Raffensperger, a Republican:
“Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong”.
Now Trump’s minions are demonizing Raffensperger for recording and allegedly leaking the phone call. I see no problem memorializing that conversation, for self-protection if nothing else. And beyond that you need to look at the timeline: the conversation happened on Saturday; wasn’t leaked to the Post until Sunday. What happened in between? Trump went on Twitter, lied about what was said, and called Raffensperger clueless. So there should be no shame, or blame, in someone using the tools available to them to set the record straight.
Getting back to the issues at hand involving the election, as I pointed out last week, and repeatedly before that, all states do audits and recounts, which have in every case underscored the security and accuracy of the election. (Many did extra this year just to be safe and because of Trump’s many preemptive attacks on the validity of the election if he lost). So has now-departed Attorney General Bill Barr, who was no fan of Democrats, as well as the now-departed people in Trump’s own administration in charge of election security.
In some cases, states recounted some ballots by hand — in Georgia, all of them — and under the supervision of law enforcement, not just elections officials.
A letter co-written by 10 former Secretaries of Defense including such Republican stalwarts as Dick Cheney and 2 of Trump’s puts the whole situation very well, and in context:
“Our elections have occurred. Recounts and audits have been conducted. Appropriate challenges have been addressed by the courts. Governors have certified the results. And the electoral college has voted. The time for questioning the results has passed; the time for the formal counting of the electoral college votes, as prescribed in the Constitution and statute, has arrived.”
That will be Wednesday, January 6th.
Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz’ version of sedition, which he unveiled over the weekend with the support of 10 other Republican Senators, couches opposing certified votes on that day as a common-sense kinda thing. That is just dumb and dangerous. And his statement in support of his vile machination is chock full of lies.
Starting where he asserts:
“Allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes”.
Yeah, because Trump is making allegations of voter fraud that exceed anything remotely rational. But that has nothing to do with getting to the “truth”. That’s the loser of the election being the biggest sore loser ever, who doesn’t have any proof, yet can’t bring himself to act like an adult.
If Cruz’ scheme was to pass and play out, the ultimate arbiters according to him of who would get to say if the election results in their state are legit or not would be state legislatures. Not the voters in swing states. And in most of the states Trump has been most vocal about, those legislatures are controlled by Republicans.
Anyway, even if Cruz’ effort was evenhanded and wasn’t aimed at reaching a foregone conclusion, one thing all of us have learned by now is enough is never enough. Even if Cruz’ connivance was allowed to proceed, and even if afterwards the conclusion still was no fraud, that still wouldn’t be end of discussion. How do I know for sure? Because we are so far past end of discussion already.
Since I’ve already been talking about it, let’s look at efforts to ensure voting integrity in Georgia, for instance: Trump first started in on voting machine system vendors who he shouted were algorithmically tipping the election away from him. So state elections officials did an audit of all the votes by hand. And the results were the same. And again after a subsequent machine recount.
So then all of a sudden, Trump says it wasn’t the votes that were screwy, it was “the envelopes” and voter signatures. So the state checked those too, picking a county that had shown one of the strongest swings away from Trump. When they did that, they found those envelopes and signatures were actually “99.99% accurate”. So of course now Trump’s saying they picked the wrong county to look at. You get my point…
Also, because while Trump still freely uses the word “fraud” when he Tweets and says stuff, nobody including his own lawyers are bringing hard evidence of widespread fraud to court, nor have they ever really attempted to.
So when Cruz writes:
“Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined.”
That is one of the biggest lies of all.
Neither of the cases considered by the Supreme Court to which Cruz refers, charged fraud, nor had any evidence of fraud attached. They both simply challenged election rules that had been set long before Election Day, and thus they could’ve been brought long before Election Day too. But weren’t a problem until Trump lost. How about that…?!
Cruz and the other treacherous Republican Members of Congress have latched on to a theme that Trump and his most fervent supporters have been echoing for a few weeks: it’s not that they don’t have evidence of fraud or haven’t shown evidence of fraud, it’s that courts won’t hear it.
When they say this they’re talking about “statistical analysis” they’ve and/or Trump’s lawyers put together, which in almost all cases boils down to “Trump couldn’t possibly have lost, so he couldn’t really have lost.” But not evidence of actual voter fraud.
As to the argument that all these cases have been tossed from the court on the basis of “standing”, not “merit”, that’s also a bunch of bunk. Many, in state courts, which is the proper place to bring this kind of action, have been tossed on the basis of merit. And in federal court, judges are required to consider standing first, before they move on to merit, and if they determine the person or group suing can’t be the person or group suing, or are suing the wrong person or group, they go no further. So it’s not some kind of plot by the courts either.
Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley is probably none-too-pleased that Cruz big-footed him on the whole challenging the Electors thing, since he’s the one that started it, at least in the Senate. So he added some lies of his own to the noxious soup this weekend, alleging:
“More than 2.5 million Pennsylvanians voted on November 6 (or after).”
No they didn’t. They voted on Election Day, November 3rd. Pennsylvania did allow for mail delays, and agreed to count ballots cast on November 3rd to be counted as long as they arrived by November 6th. But votes cast on November 6th would not have been counted. (BTW, North Carolina allowed for even longer mail delays. But no one’s challenging them. Perhaps because Trump won there, so there it’s legit?) Also, in Pennsylvania those few ballots that were postmarked on time but did not arrive on time, were separated out by the state, just in case somebody eventually wanted to challenge them. But they were not great enough in number to have an effect on the outcome, so no one did.
Is there possibly an issue that laws were passed in Pennsylvania that should’ve been invalidated? Could be. But those laws and/or rules were in effect as far back as the Presidential primaries. So they could’ve been challenged way way before the election if they were so “obviously” illegal. Not just after your guy lost.
So none of this is really an effort to challenge election laws, it’s an effort to change election results.
And rules or laws under which citizens voted in good faith is not wrongdoing or fraud on their part in any way shape or form. And thus not a reasonable basis for change, at least not retroactive change that would result in their votes getting thrown out completely.
Not to mention the fact that the state legislature in Pennsylvania is controlled by Republicans, and they passed those new voting laws in the first place. So unless their intention all along was to set a legal trap by which to try to reverse the election results in the event Trump lost, there’s no malfeasance at all evident anywhere. Except, perhaps, in Hawley’s mind.
The reason I feel compelled to take the time to point these things out, is this is what Trump is hearing, and it fuels him and eggs him on.
And while I hope these Republicans like Cruz, like Hawley, will go down in infamy, and their naked attack on Democracy remembered for the ages with the most negative connotations possible, at least part of the reason they’re doing it is because their raw meat demanding base is eating it up.
How/when does that change?
- Best case scenario: when Joe Biden comes in, people stop getting sick as much from COVID-19, and the economy manages to recover. That creates some momentum for Democrats.
- Worst case scenario: these same Republicans carry their grievances for the next several years, maybe win back the House and keep the Senate in 2022 or 2024, and then they wouldn’t even have to bother with a coup; they could just overturn election results if they don’t like them. Because in the end, that’s what they’re trying to do here, no matter what they say or hide behind. So if they can in the future, they will.
The only thing that’s still “good” about where the country stands now, is at this point the American people still have the power to determine who they elect to run this country for them.
And what the American people just proved is if they vote, the scoundrels do not win.
Which means we’ve all got to talk a lot about why Democracy is important and deserving of our protection, even among those Americans who just want to live their lives, and don’t care that much about politics, and don’t see how one affects the other.
You may not agree with me about this next part, and that’s OK, but to me, ultimately this is all about race, and the inevitable end to White dominated America. Which was presaged by President Obama’s election. Because Republicans and whom they represent will inevitably lose their ability to win as long as they win the votes of most White men. All this is really about for them is staying in power long after that time comes, even if they have to force an end to Democracy to do it.
And being almost up-front about this is something Trump made OK. It’s OK to “hate thy neighbor”. More than that: to be proud of it. And it’s OK to say you didn’t lose an election just because you campaigned really hard and felt entitled to win.
And that’s why I cringe every time I read something saying “Trump didn’t start this”, because though that’s true, he made it OK. We all have our own prejudices and judge people for many different reasons based on all kinds of things. It’s another thing to feel completely free to act on those thoughts and feelings. And a big part of the reason civil society exists at all is because we don’t.
One final note today: This went less noticed, but Trump spent a lot of his spare time this weekend reminding us of other reasons why he shouldn’t be President:
- Perversely “taking credit” for the slow vaccine roll out by Tweeting it’s because he got it to the states so fast, they didn’t know what to do with it. Well, doesn’t that scream out for enclosing along with them some kind of instructions or guidelines for distribution?
- Whining about why is Dr. Fauci so much more popular than he is, when he’s actually Dr. Fauci’s boss?
- Again dangerously downplaying the severity of the virus, complaining that other countries routinely under-count cases, so why shouldn’t we too?
So the correct course of action is to lie because other countries do? Hell no. We’re better than that. But lying is the answer to a lot of Trump’s questions. Except, us Americans are not afraid of the truth, because we as a nation have an uncanny and unmatched ability to pull together and innovate and overcome all kinds of challenges. If we face those challenges head on. At least we used to…