• Wed. Dec 2nd, 2020

Abbreviated Pundit Roundup: Democracy really was on the ballot

ByAdiantku

Nov 20, 2020

Politico:

Could GOP states ignore voters and send Trump delegates to the Electoral College?

It’s unlikely. Here’s how the byzantine body really works.

The votes have been cast. The counting is almost done. Now, the group in charge of the final step of the presidential election is about to take the stage: the Electoral College.

Normally, the Electoral College does its business performing the will of state voters in relative obscurity. But there is more scrutiny on the process this year because President Donald Trump and his allies have refused to concede the 2020 election. Critically, Trump allies urge going a step further, floating the idea that Republican-controlled state legislatures should ignore the vote for President-elect Joe Biden in their states and send Trump’s slate of electors to the Electoral College instead.

But their theory vaguely waves away how the Electoral College actually works in practice, which stems from the Constitution, as well as from state and federal laws putting the constitutional text about the electors into practice.

“Just on the legal side, there’s pretty much impossible-to-overcome obstacles to” the idea of legislators overriding voters, said Adav Noti, chief of staff at the Campaign Legal Center and a member of the National Task Force on Election Crises.

However unlikely, Trump is attempting a coup. That’s the point, not that he’ll fail.

You need to carry two thoughts in your head at once

1. Trump is actually trying to steal the election, however ineptly.

2. He’ll fail. But that doesn’t make 1. any better or less bad.

Wisdom too often never comes, and so one ought not to reject it merely because it comes late. ~ Felix Frankfurter https://t.co/FyYz1CDhy1

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) November 19, 2020

Ben Sasse and Mitt Romney have had sharp anti-Rudy Giuliani statements.

WaPo:

Trump uses power of presidency to try to overturn the election and stay in office

President Trump is using the power of his office to try to reverse the results of the election, orchestrating a far-reaching pressure campaign to persuade Republican officials in Michigan, Georgia and elsewhere to overturn the will of voters in what critics decried Thursday as an unprecedented subversion of democracy.

After courts rejected the Trump campaign’s baseless allegations of widespread voter fraud, the president is now trying to remain in power with a wholesale assault on the integrity of the vote by spreading misinformation and trying to persuade loyal Republicans to manipulate the electoral system on his behalf.

In an extraordinary news conference Thursday at the Republican National Committee headquarters, Trump’s attorneys claimed without evidence there was a centralized conspiracy with roots in Venezuela to rig the U.S. presidential election. They alleged voter fraud in Atlanta, Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and other cities whose municipal governments are controlled by Democrats and where President-elect Joe Biden won by large margins.

USA Today editorial:

Sure, sex is great, but have you ever watched Donald lose Georgia TWICE?

— Randi Mayem Singer (@rmayemsinger) November 20, 2020

Donald Trump whiffs on what’s left of his presidency as COVID-19 deaths pass 250,000

Our View: As the coronavirus war hunts down Americans waiting for vaccines, the commander in chief settles scores and denies Joe Biden a presidential transition.

No one expected President Donald Trump to be as gracious in defeat as was George H.W. Bush in 1992, the last time an incumbent was defeated. And perhaps only the starry-eyed would think Trump might implement a more aggressive pandemic response now that the numbers are surging again.

Even so, in the past couple of weeks, unable to face reality and unwilling to concede his election loss to Joe Biden, Trump has sunk to new levels of depravity and narcissism.

That press conference was the most dangerous 1hr 45 minutes of television in American history. And possibly the craziest. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you’re lucky.

— Chris Krebs (@C_C_Krebs) November 19, 2020

WSJ

Trump Broadens His Efforts to Overturn Election Outcome

As key states prepare to certify their results, the president is pressuring Republicans to back his fraud claims and refusal to concede

No evidence has emerged of widespread fraud, and several of Mr. Trump’s lawyers have told judges across the country that they don’t believe such fraud occurred.

Advisers to the president say that even though he understands he won’t win the fight, he remains intent on pushing the legal battle as far as it will go because “he believes he was robbed,” one adviser told associates.

Some also see the fight as important to keeping the Republican base fired up ahead of two coming Senate contests in Georgia, which will determine which party controls the chamber. Democrats already hold the House.

Yes and that’s why we said he was an existential threat https://t.co/fg10SwNjBv

— Greg Dworkin (@DemFromCT) November 19, 2020

Business Insider:

Trump and his allies have won zero out of the 21 lawsuits they’ve filed since Election Day

  • President Donald Trump’s campaign and Republican officials have filed nearly two dozen lawsuits since Election Day in an effort to contest the results of the 2020 election.
  • The campaign filed lawsuits and motions to intervene in cases in swing states Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, and Pennsylvania.
  • They’ve notched zero victories, 15 cases where they’ve withdrawn or lost, and have 6 cases pending.
  • Scroll down for a list of lawsuits the Trump campaign and Republicans have filed and where they stand.

I talked to a lot of Republicans about Trump undermining the election results and our democratic system. They either actually believe Trump was wronged, or they’re willing to play along. Either way, they truly do not care. https://t.co/njbFfvP727

— Matt Fuller (@MEPFuller) November 20, 2020

Kurt Bardella/USA Today:

Biden’s top unification task: Expose Trump team wrongdoing, restore trust in government

Biden needs a government-wide audit to find every ounce of Trump administration mismanagement and corruption. Unity hinges on transparency and trust.

President-elect Joe Biden has made unity a central tenet of his governing philosophy. In order to have unity, we have to have trust. In order to have trust, we have to have transparency. Right or wrong, the American people have bought into the narrative that there is much to distrust about government. Until that divide is repaired, unity is all but impossible to achieve.  

The federal government is in desperate need of sunlight.  

“Rudy Giuliani is a mess,” writes @RobinGivhan. “As a culture, we like to believe that with age comes wisdom. The truth of it may be that age only makes people more obviously what they’ve always been.” https://t.co/8iigWGJ3e6

— James Hohmann (@jameshohmann) November 19, 2020

ABC7NY:

Disturbing new details in alleged plot to kidnap Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer

There is new and disturbing information in the alleged militia plot against the governor of Michigan.
The 14 men charged had far more violent plans than just a kidnapping, according to federal and state authorities.
New filings claim there was a Plan B the militiamen had drawn up, that involved a takeover of the Michigan capitol building by 200 combatants who would stage a week-long series of televised executions of public officials.
And, according to government documents now on file in lower Michigan court, there was also a Plan C — burning down the state house, leaving no survivors.

More Michigan news: Lawmakers are flying into DC to meet with President Trump tomorrow, at his request.

— Amy Gardner (@AmyEGardner) November 19, 2020

A lawyer friend adds:

Actually, under MI law, the Governor certifies the electors to the Electoral College, not the board of canvassers or the Legislature. Shenanigans with the board of canvassers can’t stop Big Gretch from certifying as she is the only one with the power to do so under MI law.

My sister Dolly has ‘put her money where her mouth is’ look out, a vaccine is in the way!!!Current occupant in the WH wants to make sure he gets the credit for what scientists have been working on around the clock to create. Follow the science! God bless us all!

— Stella Parton (@StellaParton) November 18, 2020

Amanda Marcotte/Salon:

The crackpot factor: Why the GOP is worried about turning out the vote after Trump

Future GOP candidates lack Trump’s secret sauce for attracting new voters — his appeal with Crank-Americans

Donald Trump’s attempts to steal the election are fruitless. His legal theater is going nowhere, and it’s becoming apparent that this is more about shaking down credulous supporters for cash than about actually overturning the election results. Michigan pounded another nail in Trump’s coffin Tuesday, when two Republicans who were blocking the vote certification in Wayne County, which includes Detroit, relented in the face of public outrage. It’s all over but the grifting, which will likely continue as long as Trump keeps getting people to give him money for his “legal defense” — money that is being funneled through a PAC and likely straight into Trump’s pocket.

Yet the Republican establishment is still tiptoeing around Trump, coddling his fragile ego by refusing to admit he lost the election. Some are going a step further, such as South Carolina’s Sen. Lindsey Graham, who has been exerting pressure on state officials to toss out legally-cast ballots. Why are all these Republicans so afraid of Trump, who will no longer be president in 63 days?

The main reason appears to be that Republicans really are worried about their electoral prospects after Trump. The record Democratic turnout in the 2020 election — President-elect Joe Biden turned out 14 million more voters than Hillary Clinton in 2016 — caused many Republicans down-ballot from Trump to sweat their re-election prospects. Luckily for them, however, Trump also turned out an eye-popping 10 million new voters, which was enough to save the skins of many GOP candidates, even as Trump lost by slender margins in swing states.

No more happy talk about the “uniquely American transition of power.” Trump presidency and this post-election period confirm that the US is *less* committed to democratic norms – and has *weaker* institutional safeguards for democracy – than peer wealthy democracies.

— David Frum (@davidfrum) November 19, 2020

Arizona will follow in a week. Nevada and Wisconsin will certify on December 1. The electors will cast their votes on December 14. Congress will count those votes on January 6. That is what’s going to happen. All the rest is antidemocratic noise.

— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) November 20, 2020

The antidemocratic noise is a very serious problem. But it it will not prevent Biden from becoming president.

— Benjamin Wittes (@benjaminwittes) November 20, 2020

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