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GOP Watch Keeping an Eye on Republicans for You - Page 17

“Patriotism means to stand by the country. It does not mean to stand by the president or any other public official, save exactly to the degree in which he himself stands by the country. It is patriotic to support him insofar as he efficiently serves the country. It is unpatriotic not to oppose him to the exact extent that by inefficiency or otherwise he fails in his duty to stand by the country. In either event, it is unpatriotic not to tell the truth, whether about the president or anyone else.” ― Theodore Roosevelt Welcome to GOP Watch keeping an eye on Republicans for you. The Republican Party is using lies, hate, fear, alterative facts and whataboutism to stay in power and protect a comprised and corrupt Donald J. Trump, the Republican Party and Putin. The GOP is a danger to America and Americans.

The judge questioned the basis for the suit on several grounds, including legal standing, but she also expressed concern that segregating ballots could prompt some potential voters not to cast them.

A federal judge expressed bafflement Friday at the legal underpinnings of a Republican-led lawsuit seeking to disqualify some voters who recently registered in Georgia, just weeks in advance of a pair of hotly contested runoff elections that will dictate control of the U.S. Senate. The Georgia Republican Party, NRSC and the campaigns of Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue filed a suit Thursday arguing that data on new registrations indicate they include hundreds of voters who already cast ballots in other states with Senate races this year.

However, following a hearing that stretched to more than two hours Friday afternoon, U.S. District Judge Lisa Godbey Wood denied the Republicans’ request for an emergency order setting aside all ballots cast by tens of thousands of voters registered since the Nov. 3 election. Wood questioned the basis for the suit on several grounds, including legal standing, but she also expressed concern that segregating ballots could prompt some potential voters not to cast them.

“We do have a risk of suppressing other voters from coming in,” the judge said. “I’m concerned on a number of levels with what it would mean to at this point switch course. ... There might be voters who are confused about what it means to have your vote set aside for possible later questioning.” Earlier in the session, the judge scoffed at a GOP lawyer who claimed that data from matching voter rolls showed voters had cast ballots in two different Senate races or were about to do so. more...

First they lied about election fraud to sow distrust. Now they say voters don’t trust the election.
By William Saletan

Forsaken by the Supreme Court and defeated in the Electoral College, President Donald Trump has seized on a new basis for overturning the 2020 election: public opinion. On Tuesday night, he tweeted, “Poll: 92% of Republican Voters think the election was rigged!” The number was bogus, but there’s a deeper reason to reject Trump’s argument: It’s circular. For weeks, the president and his allies have been spreading lies about election fraud. Now, having manufactured distrust among Republican voters, they’re spinning that distrust as a basis to throw out the election.

Every fact-finding body has rejected Trump’s lies. He’s been stiffed by Trump-appointed judges, Trump-endorsed governors, pro-Trump election officials, and Republican state legislators. But in the court of public opinion, he has found an audience. In polls taken last month, 59 percent of Republicans attributed Trump’s defeat to “illegal voting or election rigging,” 74 percent blamed it on “voter fraud” or insisted it would be overturned, and 67 percent said Trump had actually won. These numbers are much worse than the distrust measured in previous elections, even in years when the margin was closer. more...

It may sound laughable, but it’s no joke—the GOP leadership and the right-wing media machine are colluding with Trump’s assault on democratic institutions.
By Sasha Abramsky

We are less than seven weeks away from the inauguration, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t counting down the seconds. For the last spasms of Trumpist rule are truly a sight and sound to behold. Trumpism is at this point nothing more than a blend of cultism and fascism, a violent, nihilistic howl against the pillars of American democracy unparalleled in presidential history.

Donald Trump and his acolytes know their gig is up; they can file lawsuits till they are blue in the face, but they’re not going to overturn the election results in multiple states simultaneously. They have reached a fork in the road: Accept the results and move on, or attempt to flex the presidential muscle in a way that launches America into an experiment with dictatorship. They have decided, at least rhetorically, to opt for the latter. And while they almost certainly don’t have the bite to match their bark, the very fact that people surrounding Trump are calling for dictatorship ought to send a chill up all Americans’ spines. Here’s a sampling of some of the Trump team’s doings this past week. more...

The president’s freshly pardoned ex-national security adviser retweeted a statement advocating suspending the Constitution.
By David Moye

Michael Flynn, President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser who was pardoned by the president last week for lying during the Russia investigation, wants Trump to declare martial law and “temporarily suspend the Constitution” until a new election is held. Flynn, who had been awaiting sentencing for lying to the FBI about his Russian contacts before Trump’s pardon, on Tuesday retweeted a news release from a right-wing Ohio group called We The People Convention asking the president to declare martial law so troops can supervise a do-over of the 2020 election.

Flynn tagged many conservative celebs in his post and added: “Freedom never kneels except for God.” The news release cites “massive, planned, illegal election fraud” carried out by Democrats. Trump lost the election handily to President-elect Joe Biden and no widespread fraud has been found. If the president doesn’t declare martial law, the statement retweeted by Flynn warns, “we will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands and defend our rights on our own.” A retired Army general’s support for the military takeover of U.S. government shocked many people on Twitter. more...

Former White House National Security Adviser Michael Flynn has checked in with a fresh dose of patriotism.
By Jack Holmes

Many of the high clergy in the Church of the Savvy have been calmly explaining for weeks that although Donald Trump's brazen and pathetic post-election behavior is corrosive to democracy, it does not technically count as a coup attempt. The president's myriad lawsuits attempting to throw out the results of democratic elections have not worked, these folks explain, therefore they were never going to work (Logic), and concern about them working—on the basis that no Law or Norm has much mattered for four years—was hysteria. This is too stupid to be a coup! It's just a grift, because these things are mutually exclusive. And besides, a coup involves using the military or the security apparatus to seize power. He's just getting laughed out of court.

Welp, now his former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, a man the president pardoned just last week for "any and all possible offenses" related to the Mueller probe, has endorsed a call for the president to "temporarily suspend the Constitution," "declare limited martial law," have "the military oversee a national re-vote," and "silence the destructive media." Wow! Sounds a bit like a coup. Maybe the best part is the idea that you can have "limited" martial law, or that suspending the Constitution would just be "temporary," or that the only organization that could oversee a legitimate election—read: one where Donald Trump wins—is the military. more...

John Dunphy

Trump supporters take joy in depicting themselves as ardent patriots who will tolerate no disrespect of the American flag and our national anthem. Now, however, the lunatic fringe of the Trump movement are demanding that their idol, who was so soundly defeated in last month’s election, stage a coup so that he can remain in office.

Sidney Powell, most recently employed as one of Trump’s lawyers and tasked with uncovering non-existent election fraud, retweeted a message that millions of Americans who love our country found chilling. The tweet reads: Dear Mr. President, We will not stand by and watch Foreign and Domestic enemies further destroy our Constitutional Republic. Eighty and more million of us request that you use the Insurrection Act, Suspend the December Electoral College Vote, and set up Military Tribunals immediately, to properly investigate and resolve the cyber warfare 11-3-20 issue. Further, we request you suspend the Jan 6 GA Runoff Race, and the January Inauguration until this issue is resolved. Respectfully, We The People.”

This tweet is nothing less than a request that Trump instigate a coup to remain in power and suppress any opposition to this blatant assault on American democracy. Other pro-Trump extremists share Powell’s desire to transform our nation from a democratic republic into an authoritarian regime. We the People Convention, which is a coalition of Tea Party groups, placed an ad in the Washington Times demanding that Trump invoke “limited martial law” so that the American military can supervise a new federal election. more...

By Ewan Palmer

Supporters of the QAnon conspiracy theory have unsurprisingly turned their backs on Mitch McConnell after he finally congratulated President-elect Joe Biden on his election victory. Followers of the radical movement who believe President Donald Trump is waging a secret war against satanic pedohiles, as well as pushing baseless claims that the election was rigged, were dismayed at the Senate Majority Leader and accusing him of being a traitor. Others said they will now leave the GOP or even form a new political party all together.

On Tuesday, McConnell announced that the "Electoral College has spoken" after it declared Biden had won 306 Electoral Votes and referred to him as the President-elect. Trump later criticized the Kentucky senator in a tweet: "Mitch, 75,000,000 VOTES, a record for a sitting President (by a lot)," Trump said. "Too soon to give up. Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!" Trump's message was tweeted along with an article detailing a number of high-profile conservative figures also criticizing McConnell for accepting Biden as the president-elect. more...

Christopher Krebs, Trump's former top election security official, said attacks on the election have undermined American democracy.

A Republican-led Senate panel provided a three-hour platform for allies of President Donald Trump to dispute the results of the 2020 election, with the hearing at one point devolving into a shouting match between the top Republican and Democrat on the committee. Throughout the partisan clash, Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee Chair Ron Johnson argued the forum was simply to evaluate information, while Democrats like Gary Peters countered it was giving oxygen to conspiracy theories undermining U.S. democracy.

GOP-called witnesses, including two Trump campaign lawyers described rampant fraud in Nevada, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania, some of which had been considered and scrapped in court, others of which had no basis. The one witness called by Democrats, the Trump administration’s former top election security official Christopher Krebs, served as a counterweight. He urged Americans to put baseless election disputes behind them and warned that false conspiracy claims had fueled violent threats to election officials — including himself.

“I think we’re past the point where we need to be having conversations about the outcome of this election,” said Krebs, who ran the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security agency until Trump fired him last month. The attacks from Trump and his GOP allies on the election, he said, are “ultimately corrosive to the institutions that support elections.” Krebs issued his plea at a hearing that grew increasingly contentious, while Johnson insisted without evidence that fraud had undoubtedly occurred at an indeterminable scale. It was Johnson’s last hearing as chair of the panel, and while he offered some words of comity to his Democratic colleagues, he also sparred bitterly with Peters, the ranking member. more...

Nicholas Fandos and Michael S. Schmidt - The New York Times

President Donald Trump lost key swing states by clear margins. His barrage of lawsuits claiming widespread voting fraud has been almost universally dismissed, most recently by the Supreme Court. And Monday, the Electoral College will formally cast a majority of its votes for President-elect Joe Biden. But as the president continues to refuse to concede, a small group of his most loyal backers in Congress is plotting a final-stage challenge on the floor of the House of Representatives in early January to try to reverse Biden’s victory.

Constitutional scholars and even members of the president’s own party say the effort is all but certain to fail. But the looming battle Jan. 6 is likely to culminate in a messy and deeply divisive spectacle that could thrust Vice President Mike Pence into the excruciating position of having to declare once and for all that Trump has indeed lost the election. The fight promises to shape how Trump’s base views the election for years to come, and to pose yet another awkward test of allegiance for Republicans who have privately hoped that the Electoral College vote this week will be the final word on the election result.

For the vice president, whom the Constitution assigns the task of tallying the results and declaring a winner, the episode could be particularly torturous, forcing him to balance his loyalty to Trump with his constitutional duties and considerations about his own political future. The effort is being led by Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., a backbench conservative. Along with a group of allies in the House, he is eyeing challenges to the election results in five states — Arizona, Pennsylvania, Nevada, Georgia and Wisconsin — where they claim varying degrees of fraud or illegal voting took place, despite certification by voting authorities and no evidence of widespread impropriety. more...

Ronald J. Hansen Arizona Republic

In another sign of the lingering unrest over President Donald Trump's election loss, an Arizona group sent the National Archives in Washington, D.C., notarized documents last week intended to deliver, wrongly, the state's 11 electoral votes for him. Copies of the documents obtained by The Arizona Republic show a group that claimed to represent the "sovereign citizens of the Great State of Arizona" submitted signed papers casting votes for what they want: a second term for Trump and Vice President Mike Pence. Mesa resident Lori Osiecki, 62, helped created a facsimile of the "certificate of ascertainment" that is submitted to formally cast each state's electoral votes as part of an effort to prevent what she views as the fraudulent theft of the election.

"We seated before the legislators here. We already turned it in. We beat them to the game," she said. Osiecki said she and others associated with a group called "AZ Protect the Vote" have attended the postelection rallies protesting the results, including the daylong meeting in Phoenix that included Trump attorney Rudy Giuliani. She left that gathering upset that Gov. Doug Ducey wasn't supporting the president's efforts and she wanted to take further action. She and the others chose electors as a result. more...

(CNN) Michigan Republican Rep. Paul Mitchell told CNN that his disgust and disappointment with President Donald Trump's efforts to overturn the results of the election have led him to request that the clerk of the House change his party affiliation to "independent." Read his letter to Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel and House Republican Leader Kevin McCarthy below: more...

By Daniel Politi

The head of the Texas Republican Party threw what amounts to a tantrum after the Supreme Court decided to shoot down the effort by the state to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s election victory. Texas GOP chair Allen West issued a statement saying that “perhaps” it’s time for “law-abiding states to bond together and form a Union of states that will abide by the constitution.” Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton had called on the court to overturn the results in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, four states that were key to Biden’s victory. Attorneys general in 17 states and more than 100 Republican members of Congress backed the lawsuit that was shot down by the Supreme Court that said Texas doesn’t have the right to get involved in elections of other states.

West made his anger clear shortly after the Supreme Court issued its brief order tossing out the lawsuit. The Supreme Court “has decreed that a state can take unconstitutional actions and violate its own election law,” West wrote. “This decision establishes a precedent that says states can violate the US constitution and not be held accountable. This decision will have far-reaching ramifications for the future of our constitutional republic.” West went on to say that the “Texas GOP will always stand for the Constitution and for the rule of law even while others don’t.” more...

Jill Filipovic

This is extraordinary: a group of Republicans are asking the court to disenfranchise millions of Americans, just so their guy can stay put. That’s what we’re seeing play out, as 106 Republicans in Congress signed a lawsuit, backed by more than a dozen Republican state attorneys general, asking the US supreme court to overturn the results of a free and fair American election, because a Democrat won. It’s an egregious and unconscionable move, and suggests that the corrosive effects of President Donald Trump will remain even after he leaves the White House.

Trump lost fair and square. But the state of Texas has asked the supreme court to intervene in Georgia, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan; those four states, in turn, have asked the supreme court not to intervene, and to respect the results of the election and the will of their citizens. This is an extraordinary situation: a group of Republicans, still loyal to a president with waning power, are asking the supreme court to disenfranchise millions of Americans, just so their guy can stay put.

The fact that so many Republicans are going along with this authoritarian and undemocratic charade is clarifying, if depressing. Through four years of Trump, there were two main theories of Republican acquiescence: either Republicans really were supportive of the president, in all of his cruelty and incompetence and authoritarianism, or Republicans were simply scared of him and his hold over the Republican base, but secretly loathed the man and were anxious for a return to normal. Now, we’re seeing which theory was correct. more...

*** Trump and the rabid right our trying to steal the election and destroy our democracy in the process. The rabid right only cares about democracy and the constitution when they are out of power when they are in power they do everything they can to violate the constitution and destroy our democracy. ***

By Juliegrace Brufke and Scott Wong

More than 100 House Republicans on Thursday signed an amicus brief in support of the Texas lawsuit aimed at overturning the election results in four swing states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — that handed Democrat Joe Biden the White House.

“This brief presents [our] concern as Members of Congress, shared by untold millions of their constituents, that the unconstitutional irregularities involved in the 2020 presidential election cast doubt upon its outcome and the integrity of the American system of elections,” states the brief signed by 106 GOP lawmakers.

Outgoing Republican Study Committee Chairman Mike Johnson (La.) — one of President Trump’s closest allies in the House, having served on his impeachment defense team — helped lead the effort to garner support from his GOP colleagues for the brief. Johnson is joining the GOP leadership team in the new Congress. more...

“When is this nonsense detrimental to our democracy going to end?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said.

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer called on Republicans Thursday to drop plans for a hearing centering on alleged “irregularities” in the 2020 presidential election. The hearing, called by Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Chair Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) is scheduled to take place on Wednesday, just two days after members of the Electoral College meet to cast their 306 electoral votes for President-elect Joe Biden and 232 for President Donald Trump.

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have already certified their tallies, but Trump is continuing to push baseless allegations of voter fraud in battleground states where Biden won. Most Republicans are still refusing acknowledge Biden won the election. “When is this nonsense detrimental to our democracy going to end?” Schumer (D-N.Y.) said on the Senate floor. “To use a Senate committee to spread misinformation about our own elections, it’s beyond the pale.” Schumer said Johnson, a top Trump ally, should call off the “ridiculous” hearing and said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell should intervene. more...

Nearly half of voters cast absentee ballots in the election, a huge increase. If Republicans have their way, that might not last.
By Michael Wines

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s barrage of losses in court cases trying to undermine the election has not stopped Republicans from turning to battles they might be able to win — attempts to limit or undermine the future use of the vote-by-mail ballots that so infuriated Mr. Trump.

Absentee ballots constituted nearly half the votes cast in the 2020 election, and the experiment in mass voting by mail has been viewed by election experts as a remarkable success, one that was less prone to errors than expected and had almost no documented fraud. But that has not stopped Republican critics eager to follow the president’s lead.

This week in Georgia, as the president rages against the election he lost and the members of his party who oversaw it there, Republican state senators promised to make getting and casting mail ballots far more difficult.

The Georgia state senators pledged on Tuesday to eliminate no-excuse absentee voting, require a photo ID to obtain a ballot, outlaw drop boxes and scrap a court agreement to quickly tell voters about signature problems on ballots so that they could be fixed. more...

*** The election is over Trump lost by 7 million votes get over it. Trump and his republican enablers need to stop trying to steal the election. If you want to stop the steal, tell Donald J. Trump and his republican enablers to stop trying to steal the election. ***

By Daniel Villarreal

The attorneys general of Alabama and Louisiana have expressed interest in possibly joining a lawsuit filed by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton to have the Supreme Court invalidate election results in four key battleground states—Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. The suit seeks to have each state's lawmakers decide their electors, rather than having the electors reflect the will of their voting citizens.

"The unconstitutional actions and fraudulent votes in other states not only affect the citizens of those states, they affect the citizens of all states—of the entire United States," Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall said in a statement published Tuesday on Twitter. He pledged to join Paxton's case if the Supreme Court takes it up.

In a separate statement, Louisiana Attorney General Jeff Landry wrote, "Some states appear to have conducted their elections with a disregard to the U.S. Constitution. Furthermore, many Louisianans have become more frustrated as some in media and the political class try to sidestep legitimate issues for the sake of expediency."

Landry claims that because the Constitution leaves the power of deciding the time, place and manner of holding elections to state legislatures, the four aforementioned battleground states made changes to their elections to prevent further spread of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic without passing these changes through the legislature. Thus, Paxton's suit claims, the changes were unconstitutional and the states' election results should be invalidated. more...

Sarah Al-Arshani

Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah ripped into Republicans who are threatening to protest the Electoral College vote calling any attempt "madness." "This is madness. We have a process, recounts are appropriate, going to the court is approp & pursuing every legal avenue is appropriate, but trying to get electors not to do what the people voted to do is madness," Romney told Frank Thorp of NBC News. A spokesperson for Romney confirmed his statement to Business Insider.

President Donald Trump's campaign as well as a number of Republicans have waged lawsuits in multiple states seeking to overturn the results. President-elect Joe Biden was declared the winner after winning enough states to secure more the 270 needed electoral votes. It took weeks for Trump to allow Biden's transition. "It would be saying, 'Look, let's not follow the vote of the people, let's instead do it what we want, that would not be the way a democratic republic ought to work," Romney said.

On Tuesday, The Supreme Court rejected a request from Rep. Mike Kelly and a group of Pennsylvania state legislators to block the state's certification of its election results. December 8 is the"safe harbor" deadline, which means that while states are not required to certify their results by then if they do so those results are final and must be accepted by Congress. December 14 is the date set for the Electoral College to meet to formally certify Biden's win. more...

By Harper Neidig

Texas announced on Tuesday that it would be filing a lawsuit in the Supreme Court against four battleground states in an effort to halt presidential electors from finalizing President-elect Joe Biden's victory. Texas argued that electors from Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin should not be allowed to cast their votes in part because those states unconstitutionally changed their voting procedures during the coronavirus pandemic to allow for increased mail-in ballots. Biden won all four states.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (R) alleges that the new voting processes in the battleground states skewed the 2020 election results and asked the Supreme Court to delay next Monday's deadline for the Electoral College to make Biden's victory official. "Their failure to abide by the rule of law casts a dark shadow of doubt over the outcome of the entire election," Paxton said in a statement. "We now ask that the Supreme Court step in to correct this egregious error.” Paxton's 154-page complaint echoes the legal arguments made by President Trump and his allies in courts across the country seeking to overturn election results in Biden's key states. That legal effort, which has failed to notch any meaningful victories so far, has pushed dubious claims of widespread voter fraud and manipulation by elections officials. more...

By Ariane de Vogue and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) The Supreme Court on Tuesday denied a request from Pennsylvania Republicans to block certification of the commonwealth's election results, delivering a near fatal blow to the GOP's long-shot bid to invalidate President-elect Joe Biden's victory. The Supreme Court's action is a crushing loss for Trump, who has frequently touted the high court's potential to overturn his election loss. Just hours before the court's order was released, Trump made a direct appeal to state officials and members of the Supreme Court to assist him in his efforts to subvert the will of voters, as he continually and falsely suggested there was massive voter fraud during the election. "Let's see whether or not somebody has the courage, whether it's legislators or legislatures or a justice of the Supreme Court or a number of justices of the Supreme Court," Trump said. "Let's see if they have the courage to do what everybody in this country knows is right."

Tuesday's one-line order was issued with no noted dissents or comment from any of the nine justices. The court is made up of six conservative justices -- including Trump's three nominees -- Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh and Amy Coney Barrett -- and three liberals. The order marked Barrett's first vote on an election-related dispute. The quick action with no public dissents (justices may choose whether to announce their dissent) is a signal the Supreme Court may not want to get involved in the ongoing Trump challenges, said Steve Vladeck, CNN Supreme Court analyst and University of Texas Law professor. "The fact that the justices issued a one-sentence order with no separate opinions is a powerful sign that the court intends to stay out of election-related disputes, and that it's going to leave things to the electoral process going forward," Vladeck said. "It's hard to imagine a more quietly resounding rejection of these challenges from this court," Vladeck added. Tuesday marks the "safe harbor" deadline for the state under federal law. That means that when Congress tallies the electoral votes in January, it must accept electoral results that were certified before the deadline. more...

By Manu Raju and Jeremy Herb, CNN

(CNN) President Donald Trump's staunchest defenders on Capitol Hill are urging him not to concede even after President-elect Joe Biden wins the Electoral College vote next week, calling on their party's leader to battle it out all the way to the House floor in January as he makes unsubstantiated claims of widespread election fraud. The view of Trump's defenders is at odds with that of many top congressional Republicans, including leaders of the Senate, who believe the election will be over next Monday when electors cast their votes and make Biden's win official -- even though the Democrat's victory in the presidential race has been clear for weeks.

But conservative House Republicans argue that next week doesn't mark the end of Trump's desperate efforts to overturn the election results, which he has failed to do through scores of fruitless lawsuits and brazen efforts to pressure state and local leaders to subvert the will of voters and appoint new slates of electors to the Electoral College. They said that Congress should engage in a full-throated debate over the results in key states because of their allegations of fraud, which have yet to be borne out in court. Asked if Trump should concede next Monday, Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio said bluntly: "No. No way, no way, no way."

"We should still try to figure out exactly what took place here. And as I said that includes, I think, debates on the House floor -- potentially on January 6," Jordan, a trusted Trump confidant, told CNN. It is not unusual for a losing candidate's most fervent supporters to take their case to the House floor -- something that occurred after the 2016, 2004 and 2000 presidential races. But it is unusual for the losing candidate to mount a weeks-long public campaign aimed at sowing discord and distrust over a pillar of democracy, something that Trump has done relentlessly since losing the race. Even if Trump loses a bevy of GOP support for his unprecedented quest after next week, the backing of his staunchest supporters is likely to only encourage the mercurial President to continue his barrage of attacks against the integrity of the elections. more...

CBS News

Senator Kelly Loeffler repeatedly refused to acknowledge that President Trump lost re-election in November, as she debated her Democratic opponent, Reverend Raphael Warnock, on Sunday ahead of twin Georgia runoff elections that will determine which party controls the Senate. Asked specifically about President-elect Joe Biden's victory in Georgia and whether she agreed with Mr. Trump's unfounded accusations of widespread voter fraud, Loeffler sidestepped the matter. "The president has every right to every legal recourse, and that's what's taking place," Loeffler said. The senator later alleged, without any supporting details, irregularities in the November elections and repeated Mr. Trump's right to "legal recourse" without acknowledging that the president's campaign has lost round after round of post-election court challenges, including in Georgia, which has already certified its results. more...

Darla Mercado, CFP®

Republican election officials in Georgia on Sunday continued to rebut Donald Trump’s false claims of voter fraud, as the outgoing president tries to pressure the governor to help overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s win in the state. “The president’s statements are false, they’re misinformation,” Gabriel Sterling, voting system implementation manager for Georgia, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” on Sunday morning. “They’re stoking anger and fear among his supporters.” “This undermines democracy,” said Sterling, who is a Republican. “We have got to get to a point where responsible people act responsibly.” Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger also countered the president’s baseless claims of election fraud on Sunday morning in an interview on “This Week” with ABC. “We’ve never found systemic fraud, not enough to overturn the election,” he said. more...

Brooks’ words have raised alarm bells with progressives — and if I wasn’t familiar with the law that controls the counting of electoral votes, I might be concerned as well.
By Dean Obeidallah, host of "The Dean Obeidallah Show"

GOP Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama wants to scare the more than 80 million Americans who voted for President-elect Joe Biden into thinking that there is a chance he and other Republicans in Congress could overturn the 2020 election results. To this end, Brooks stated Wednesday that he’s planning to challenge the Electoral College votes when they are reviewed by Congress on Jan. 6. As Brooks put it (without any evidence): “This election was stolen by the socialists engaging in extraordinary voter fraud and election theft measures.” Brooks also shared he’s actively seeking to recruit additional GOP members of Congress to join his efforts to prevent Biden from becoming the 46th president because as he sees it, “Donald Trump won the Electoral College by a significant margin.”

Brooks’ words have raised alarm bells with progressives, with my SiriusXM radio Wednesday night getting a flood of concerned listener calls. And if I wasn’t familiar with the law that controls the counting of electoral votes, I, too, might be concerned. But here’s the bottom line: Brooks’ partisan, fevered dream isn’t going to happen. And on some level, we should thank Brooks for raising this issue now, well ahead of the Jan. 6 date when a joint session of Congress counts the electoral votes. (While nothing is technically impossible, the only way for Brooks to be successful would be for House Democrats to join him in rejecting the electoral votes — and that ain’t happening.) more...

Matthew Brown, Nicholas Wu - USA TODAY

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala., says he will challenge the tally of Electoral College votes when Congress officially certifies the results of the presidential election on Jan. 6. The move, while unlikely to succeed, has generated praise from the president. In an interview with Politico, Brooks said he'd challenge the election results, calling the process "badly flawed" without evidence and echoed false claims from President Donald Trump that mail-in voting is "unconstitutional." The congressman said he would pursue the effort if a member of the Senate also joined him in challenging the certification, though he noted none have so far come forward. Brooks said he has had "indirect" conversations with Republican senators about the matter. more...

By Brian Stelter, CNN Business

Trump is Trump. There's nothing new to say about the man. But there is still lots to learn about his enablers. So many people, from GOP functionaries to Fox News hosts, are helping him to undermine democracy by denying the election and attacking reality. So many people are complicit. People like Maria Bartiromo. Formerly an acclaimed journalist, known around the world for making CEOs tell the truth, now she tees up Trump to recite lie after lie. Her Sunday morning call with Trump on Fox News was his first "interview" since he lost the election, but it wasn't a real interview at all. He wasn't ready to acknowledge that he lost, and neither was she. He displayed delusional weakness. She was complicit. And she's far from the only one.

GOP leaders stay silent
Ron Brownstein on CNN Sunday night: As Trump's conspiracy theory about the "rigged" election "gets more and more fantastical and far-reaching, implicating the DOJ, the FBI, and Republican governors, the silence of Republicans in Congress — Mitch McConnell in particular, Kevin McCarthy in particular, who are allowing this poison to spread in the American political system — looks more and more like a modern analogue to the silence of Republican congressional leaders during the rampages of Joe McCarthy in the early 1950s. I think history will have no trouble finding a parallel between Mitch McConnell's efforts to kind of look the other way and what so many Republican leaders did until Joseph Welch said, at long last, sir 'have you no decency?'"

Trump is backsliding
He lost the election nearly four weeks ago yet he refuses to admit it. Judging by his tweets, he's spiraling even deeper into denial. The Bartiromo interview was a sign that he's prepared to do battle in public -- a disturbing display of weakness that some people interpret as strength. His Thanksgiving evening Q&A with reporters was another sign of the same thing. After holding a call with members of the military, he fielded questions for the first time in three weeks — the "longest gap" of his presidency — mostly by deflecting and deceiving. When he walked out, one reporter asked "Is this the language of a dictator?" and another said, "Mr. President, some people say you're denying reality." more...

By Juan Williams, opinion contributor

Here's what former President Obama thinks about the far right. Their brains are numbed by the din of the right-wing echo chamber. Conservative talk radio and clickbait websites drown their capacity to think with noisy, repeated messages of fear and grievance, he told The Atlantic magazine. It requires them to "go along with conspiracy theorizing, false assertion, fantasies that Donald Trump and Rush Limbaugh and others in that echo chamber have concocted," the former president said in an interview to promote the release of his new book, "A Promised Land." The first Black president is baffled that right-wing talk hosts have succeeded in marketing Trump as a hero for working-class white people.

Trump is neither a stand-up for the little guy, a Robin Hood populist, nor a John Wayne or Clint Eastwood type of "classic male hero" in Obama's eyes. To Obama, Trump is a rich-guy cartoon character: "Richie Rich - the complaining, lying, doesn't-take-responsibility-for-anything type of figure," he told Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic. He explained: "I would not have expected someone who has complete disdain for ordinary people to be able to get attention and then the following from those very same people." Obama did several interviews for his bestselling book last week. In every sitdown, he found his way back to discussing the political power of right-wing media. In an interview with CBS's "60 Minutes" he talked about "truth decay." more...

By Lauren Vella

The Pennsylvania Supreme Court on Saturday rejected a last-ditch bid from Republicans including Rep. Mike Kelly (R-Pa.) to halt the certification of the 2020 election results in the Keystone State. The court's decision delivered the latest blow for Republicans, President Trump and his campaign to overturn election results in a battleground state that President-elect Joe Biden won by over 1 percentage point. In an order released on Saturday night, the state supreme court vacated a preliminary order by the Commonwealth Court and dismissed the case.

"Upon consideration of the parties’ filings in Commonwealth Court, we hereby dismiss the petition for review with prejudice based upon Petitioners’ failure to file their facial constitutional challenge in a timely manner," the order read. The ruling comes after state Commonwealth Court Judge Patricia McCullough on Wednesday ordered state officials to halt further steps to certify the state's election results one day after Gov. Tom Wolf (D) certified the Keystone State's results for Biden. Following McCullough's order, Pennsylvania secretary of commonwealth Kathy Boockvar and Wolf appealed the order to the state supreme court. The latest order by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court reverses McCullough's decision. more...

Jan Murphy

HARRISBURG — Declaring the results of statewide electoral contests in the 2020 general election to be in dispute, a group of Pennsylvania House Republican lawmakers has announced its intention to introduce a resolution calling for Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to withdraw their certification of the Nov. 3 election results in the presidential and other statewide contests.

Citing what they described as election law compromises, irregularities and improprieties associated with mail-in balloting, pre-canvassing, and canvassing, the 26 lawmakers stated in a news release issued late Friday afternoon the issues raised about the election have “undermined our elector process and as a result we cannot accept certification of the results in statewide races.” The proposed resolution, if it gets introduced, has only a short life since the legislative session ends on Monday. All pending bills and resolutions will die at its conclusion.

A spokesman for House Speaker Bryan Cutler, a Lancaster County Republican, said Mr. Cutler was not involved in writing the resolution. Mr. Cutler also has not scheduled any session days to consider it before the session’s end. A spokesman for House Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, a Centre County Republican, repeated on Friday what his caucus leaders stated earlier: They are standing by tradition of the popular-vote winner in the presidential race getting the electors. more...

*** Pardons are for the guilty. If Trump did nothing wrong why does he need a pardon? If the Trump administration did nothing wrong why does he need to pardons them? If Trump’s family did nothing wrong why do they need pardons? ***

By Sarah Polus

Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) called on President Trump to “wield the presidential pardon power effectively and robustly” while appearing on Fox News’s "The Ingraham Angle" on Tuesday. The House Judiciary Committee member, a vocal Trump ally, told anchor Tammy Bruce that "President Trump should pardon Michael Flynn. He should pardon the Thanksgiving turkey. He should pardon everyone from himself to his administration officials to Joe Exotic if he has to.” He continued, “You see from the radical left a bloodlust that will only be quenched if they come after the people who worked so hard to animate the Trump administration with the policies and the vigor and the effectiveness that delivered for the American people.” more...

Investigators focused on a sale of at least $1 million of stock in Cardlytics, a financial firm whose board the senator once sat on. They closed the case this summer without charges.
By Katie Benner, Adam Goldman, Nicholas Fandos and Kate Kelly

WASHINGTON — Early this year, Senator David Perdue, Republican of Georgia, sold more than $1 million worth of stock in the financial company Cardlytics, where he once served on the board. Six weeks later, its share price tumbled when the company’s founder announced he would step down as chief executive and the firm said its future sales would be worse than expected. After the company’s stock price bottomed out in March at $29, Mr. Perdue bought back a substantial portion of the shares that he had sold. They are now trading at around $120 per share.

The Cardlytics transactions drew the attention this spring of investigators at the Justice Department, who were undertaking a broad review of the senator’s prolific trading around the outset of the coronavirus pandemic for possible evidence of insider trading, according to four people with knowledge of the case who described aspects of it on the condition of anonymity. Though Mr. Perdue alluded to the federal inquiry in a campaign ad this fall, its details have not been previously reported.

Investigators found that Cardlytics’ chief executive at the time, Scott Grimes, sent Mr. Perdue a personal email two days before the senator’s stock sale that made a vague mention of “upcoming changes.” The timing of the message prompted additional scrutiny from investigators in both Washington and Atlanta. But ultimately they concluded the exchange contained no meaningful nonpublic information and declined to pursue charges, closing the case this summer. more...

The GOP lawmaker's buying and selling of shares in a financial tech company on whose board he once served has become a campaign issue.
By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — As the ravages of the novel coronavirus forced millions of people out of work, shuttered businesses and shrank the value of retirement accounts, the Dow Jones Industrial Average plunged to a three-year low. But for Sen. David Perdue, a Georgia Republican, the crisis last March signaled something else: a stock buying opportunity. And for the second time in less than two months, Perdue’s timing was impeccable. He avoided a sharp loss and reaped a stunning gain by selling and then buying the same stock: Cardlytics, an Atlanta-based financial technology company on whose board of directors he once served.

On Jan. 23, as word spread through Congress that the coronavirus posed a major economic and public health threat, Perdue sold off $1 million to $5 million in Cardlytics stock at $86 a share before it plunged, according to congressional disclosures. Weeks later, in March, after the company’s stock plunged further following an unexpected leadership shakeup and lower-than-forecast earnings, Perdue bought the stock back for $30 a share, investing between $200,000 and $500,000. Those shares have now quadrupled in value, closing at $121 a share on Tuesday.

The Cardlytics transactions were just a slice of a large number of investment decisions made in the early days of the pandemic by Perdue and other senators. They stirred public outrage after it became clear that some members of Congress had been briefed on the economic and health threat the virus posed. The transactions were mentioned briefly in a story published by the Intercept in May. Now that Perdue is locked in a pitched battle for reelection in a Jan. 5 runoff, his trades during a public health and economic crisis have become an issue in what already has become a negative, expensive campaign that will determine which party controls the Senate. more...

by Will Bunch

OK, so you haven’t seen so many slam dunks since the USA “Dream Team” won the 1992 Olympics, as Team Trump’s ace legal department actually embraces My Cousin Vinny while racking up a courtroom won-loss record that rivals the 1976 Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It’s been more than two weeks since the media and all other reputable observers called the 2020 election as a resounding win for Joe Biden, and yet President Donald Trump and his minions continue to press a case for overturning the result that’s melted faster than the stuff running out of Rudy Giuliani’s hair or his wherever.

Yes, it’s so easy to laugh at the ridiculousness of Trump’s scheme — which he telegraphed for months before Election Day — to somehow get judges, or state legislatures, or the Electoral College to anoint him the victor of an election he couldn’t win by getting the most votes, even in the battleground states that handed him the White House in 2016.

The latest proof of the pathetic nature of the president’s plot to allege widespread voter fraud, with zero actual evidence, came Saturday when a Republican, straight-outta-the-Federalist-Society jurist here in Pennsylvania — U.S. District Judge Matthew W. Brann — dismissed his campaign’s latest election challenge with prejudice,” using words like a “Frankenstein’s monster” and “unhinged” to describe the case argued by Giuliani last week. Yet as that was happening, the Trump campaign was demanding a reality-defying third recount that will surely ratify his loss in Georgia, much like the quadruple-amputated knight in Monty Python and the Holy Grail continuing to insist that “it’s only a flesh wound.”

But it’s time now for all the laughter to die in outrage. Because we need to state in the clearest and most unambiguous terms what is happening in America in November 2020: The president of the United States is using the power of his office to try to overturn, by any means necessary, the fair and democratic election that will remove him from office. In a nation that stakes its claim to “exceptionalism” on 44 peaceful transfers of power (despite one that wasn’t) over 231 years, its current leader is attempting a coup. more...

Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and Michigan Republican Chair Laura Cox urged the board to adjourn for 14 days to allow a full audit and investigation.

National and state Republicans have mounted a last-ditch effort to keep Michigan's Board of State Canvassers from certifying results from the presidential election. In a letter sent Saturday, Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel and Michigan Republican Chair Laura Cox urged the board to adjourn for 14 days to allow a full audit and investigation so "numerical anomalies and credible reports of procedural irregularities" can be addressed.

"To simply gloss over these irregularities now without a thorough audit would only foster feelings of distrust among Michigan's electorate," the letter reads, echoing talking points from the Trump campaign. Republican U.S. Senate candidate John James also has requested a delay for similar reasons. The letter was first reported by MLive.com. more...

By Michael Warren, CNN

Washington (CNN) On Friday morning, just hours before his office helped certify that Joe Biden won the state's 16 electoral votes, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger was insistent he still supported Donald Trump and wished the President were heading to a second term. "I wish he would have won, and especially in Georgia," said Raffensperger in an interview with CNN's Amara Walker on Friday. "I certainly cast my vote for him, but the results are what the results are."

In stating the simple truth that Biden won Georgia, even if the margin was by a slim 12,000 votes, Raffensperger has opened himself up to the wrath of his own party, turning this self-proclaimed "conservative, Christian Republican," into a pariah inside the Georgia GOP.
Both the state's Republican US senators have called for Raffensperger's resignation. The Republican governor publicly pressured him to investigate groundless charges of a fraudulent election. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham called Raffensperger directly to discuss how absentee ballots might be thrown out (though Graham has said he was merely asking about signature verification). Raffensperger's wife has even received death threats over text message.

The worst of the pressure has come from the President. "Georgia Secretary of State, a so-called Republican (RINO), won't let the people checking the ballots see the signatures for fraud. Why?" Trump tweeted on November 13. "Without this the whole process is very unfair and close to meaningless. Everyone knows that we won the state." Even with the presidential race certified, the pressure is not off the GOP secretary of state. The January 5 runoff elections for both of the state's US Senate seats will determine which party controls the Senate, meaning all eyes in the world of politics will remain on Georgia until then. more...

Commentator Guy Benson said Republicans would have screamed their heads off if Democrats tried to reverse the 2016 election.
By Ron Dicker

Conservative commentator Guy Benson said on Fox News Thursday that Donald Trump’s maneuvering to overturn his election defeat would have enraged Republicans if Hillary Clinton had tried the same thing after losing to Trump in 2016. (See the video below.) “I think conservatives would rightly have been in the streets screaming their heads off and I would have been right there with them because that’s not what we do in this country,” Benson, a Fox News contributor and Fox News Radio host, told Martha MacCallum. “That would be a shocking departure from our system of governance and the transfer of power in this country. I think this is a very dangerous path to even consider, let alone go down.”

Benson touched on some of Trump’s strategies, including his “longshot” plot in Michigan to overturn President-elect Joe Biden’s convincing victory in the battleground state. Trump invited two top GOP state legislators to Washington on Friday in what is seen as an attempt to pressure them into decertifying the result. MacCallum tried to “both sides” the lame-duck president’s disruptive, baseless and undemocratic election flailing.

“There are some that say that the seeds of distrust in the election are sort of paving the way for the president to say that it was illegitimate over the course of the next few years if he decides that he wants to run again,” the host said. “We know that on Hillary Clinton’s side, she told Joe Biden not to concede under any circumstances in this election. So it’s been fraught on both sides from day one and who knows what we would be seeing on their side if the outcome had been different.” more...

Republican support for Trump’s election-fraud claims isn’t just damaging to Biden and democracy—it’s damaging to Republicans too.
Ronald Brownstein

Congressional Republicans may be engaged in the political equivalent of a murder-suicide by abetting Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him. By reinforcing Trump’s baseless narrative that he actually won the vote, Republicans could be suffocating President-elect Joe Biden’s already-slim chances of attracting any meaningful support from rank-and-file Republican voters, which will make it much tougher for him to build bipartisan coalitions in Congress. But by supporting Trump’s claims—either overtly or through their silence—Republicans are simultaneously cementing his position as the dominant figure in the GOP, snuffing out their chances of reconsidering the course he has set for their party.

“Clearly, a lot of Republicans in Congress hoped that the election would be a bookend to Trump’s influence in the party,” the GOP consultant Alex Conant told me. “By allowing this episode to prolong, it’s created a near certainty that his influence will persist.” The longtime GOP strategist Bill Kristol, a leading Trump critic, says this dynamic shows how deeply Trumpism is engrained in the party. It increases “the chances of mindless partisan opposition to Biden and a refusal to repudiate conspiracy theorists,” Kristol told me. “It just makes for a more extremist Trumpism party even if Trump retires from politics on January 20.” more...

By Matthew Chapman

On Thursday, writing for The Atlantic, Ron Brownstein broke down how the GOP is jeopardizing its own political future by letting outgoing President Donald Trump wage war against the results of the election. “Congressional Republicans may be engaged in the political equivalent of a murder-suicide by abetting Donald Trump’s claims that the election was stolen from him,” wrote Brownstein. “[B]y supporting Trump’s claims — either overtly or through their silence — Republicans are … cementing his position as the dominant figure in the GOP, snuffing out their chances of reconsidering the course he has set for their party.”

The behavior of Republicans in the wake of Trump’s loss, from Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) allegedly leaning on the Georgia secretary of state to throw out mail-in ballots to Wayne County GOP canvassers trying to block certification of votes in Detroit, have set the tone, wrote Brownstein. Meanwhile, “The grassroots change is that fewer voters from the losing party in the presidential race are willing to give the winner any honeymoon.”

All of this points to a divided government that will see more Republican obstruction than ever before, wrote Brownstein — “Yet as much as the GOP’s continuing deference to Trump constrains Biden’s options, it also limits the ability of congressional Republicans and potential 2024 candidates to question, or even just recalibrate, the outgoing president’s polarizing direction for the party.” And the fact that Trump is floating a 2024 run himself makes it less likely rivals will even enter the field. more...

Some GOP governors who for months toed Trump’s line on coronavirus, are performing U-turns on mask-wearing
Tom McCarthy

Some GOP governors who for months toed Trump’s line on coronavirus, are performing U-turns on mask-wearing. After Republicans won big on election night in the state of Iowa, in America’s heartland, Governor Kim Reynolds claimed vindication for her light-handed approach to the coronavirus pandemic. “It was a validation of our balanced response to Covid-19,” Reynolds said of the vote. “One that is mindful of both public health and economic health.” That was two weeks ago. Since then, the trajectory of the pandemic in Iowa, as elsewhere in the American midwest, has taken a sharp and tragic turn.

Daily confirmed cases of Covid-19 and hospitalizations are up 100% in Iowa since election night, and daily deaths are up more than 50%, hitting 41 on Tuesday. Nationwide, the United States has passed 250,000 confirmed deaths – about twice as many as any other country. Like other Republicans torn between fighting the pandemic and fighting the culture wars, Reynolds spent months dismissing the need for a mask mandate in her state, calling it a “feelgood” measure. But new warnings from local hospitals of a dangerous overload finally drove Reynolds to reverse course this week. “The pandemic in Iowa is the worst it has ever been,” she said. “No one wants to do this. I don’t want to do this.” The reluctance to “do this” is not exclusive to Reynolds – but it is exclusive to one of America’s two major political parties. more...

Analysis by Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large

(CNN) Fresh off a surprisingly pedestrian election win on November 3, Lindsey Graham has decided to take on a new role: The most aggressive enforcer of the idea that President Donald Trump maybe -- just maybe! -- didn't lose the 2020 election. In recent days, the South Carolina Republican has reached out to election officials in at least three states -- Georgia, Arizona and Nevada -- to inquire about the process by which, among other things, signatures are verified on mail-in ballots. Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, told CNN that Graham had called him to urge the removal of ballots amid the ongoing hand recount in the state. "I got the sense it implied that then you could throw those out for any, if you look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures," Raffensperger told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on Monday night. "So that's the impression that I got."

Graham told CNN that Raffensperger's allegations was "ridiculous." But a staffer for the Georgia secretary of state affirmed Raffensperger's version of events to CNN on Tuesday. "What I heard was basically discussions about absentee ballots and if a potentially ... if there was a percentage of signatures that weren't really, truly matching, is there some point we could get to, we could say somebody went to a courtroom could say, 'Well, let's throw (out) all these ballots because we have no way of knowing because the ballots are separated,' " said Georgia election implementation manager Gabriel Sterling.

Graham, even as he was defending his call to Raffensperger, revealed to reporters that he had also reached out to election officials in two other states where the vote count between Trump and President-elect Joe Biden was quite close -- and where the President has insisted, with zero proof, that there were shenanigans involved in the ballot counting. That claim, however, was almost immediately disputed by Nevada Secretary of State Barbara Cegavske, who said she had not spoken to Graham (or any other member of Congress) about the vote count in the state. Graham told reporters he was not sure who he had talked to in Nevada (uh, OK) and that he had spoken with Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey in Arizona. more...

By Eric Levenson, CNN

(CNN) Since Covid-19 hit US shores, Republican governors in the Upper Midwest and Northern Plains have largely taken a hands-off approach. The results of that strategy have been poor. When adjusted for population, no states have had more new Covid-19 infections, hospitalizations and deaths over the past seven days than North and South Dakota. The nearby states of Iowa, Wyoming, Nebraska and Idaho are not far behind.

This surge has pushed hospitals to the brink even as businesses have struggled to keep up a healthy work force. In response, several of these governors have acknowledged the failures of their permissive strategies and pushed for stricter health rules and mask mandates to prevent the virus's spread. "We've relied on people to be responsible," Wyoming Gov. Mark Gordon said Friday, "and they're being irresponsible." Yet other governors, including in South Dakota, have continued to resist taking actions like requiring masks. Here's a look at how these governors have dealt with the fall surge. more...

Two days later the chair tweeted a new and very different message.
Jordan Liles

Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel published and later deleted a tweet that suggested a U.S. future under a Joe Biden-Kamala Harris presidential administration. On Nov. 8, 2020, The Associated Press (AP) projected that former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden had defeated President Donald Trump and would become the 46th president of the United States. Trump has yet to concede and is fighting Biden’s win in various courts claiming vote fraud.

Three days after AP’s projection, a tweet mentioning Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the deciding vote in the U.S. Senate was posted on the Twitter account @GOPChairwoman, from Republican National Committee Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel. It suggested the reality that the Biden-Harris administration is beginning in January. It is true that the tweet was deleted. McDaniel’s tweet appeared to be aimed at supporting Republican U.S. Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the upcoming Georgia runoff elections. The date for the runoff was set for Jan. 5, 2021. more...

Jeh Johnson also discussed national security implications of delayed transition.
By Adia Robinson and Adam Kelsey

President Donald Trump's former national security adviser argued Sunday for Republican Party leaders to explain the true outcome of the presidential election to their voters rather than continuing to appease the president as he promotes baseless claims of voter fraud. "I think as every day goes by, it's clearer and clearer there isn't any evidence," John Bolton said on ABC's "This Week." "But if the Republican voters are only hearing Donald Trump's misrepresentations, it's not surprising that they believe it."

"It's critical for other Republican leaders to stand up and explain what actually happened: Donald Trump lost what, by any evidence we have so far, was a free and fair election," he continued. The appeal from Bolton, who has been a sharp critic of the president's since leaving his national security post in September 2019, came on a morning in which Trump, via Twitter, made one of his first acknowledgements of President-elect Joe Biden's victory -- albeit while repeating his unsubstantiated claim that the election was rigged. He tweeted again to say that he was not conceding.

"This Week" co-anchor Martha Raddatz noted that the president's refusal to accept the election's results is delaying the transition to the Biden administration and holding up intelligence briefings for the president-elect. She later quizzed former Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson in a separate interview on the importance of the changeover. more...

By Ben Mathis-Lilley

A Republican president who gained his position via litigation related to vote counting in a swing state ordered his attorney general to fabricate evidence of Democratic voter fraud, sources from 2007 said.

The Republican president originally took office after a right-wing majority on the Supreme Court—including one member whose wife is a Republican activist and who was appointed by the president’s father—ruled that the swing state in question should stop counting votes. (At one point before the ruling, a mob of the president’s supporters shut down vote counting themselves by storming a public building.) If the votes cast in this state had been properly counted, the Republican might have lost his race, so he sued to stop that from happening.

Later, he would win another presidential election in part by encouraging a factually meritless but politically effective far-right campaign to challenge the legitimacy of a Democratic figure’s well-established credentials.

The Republican president, in collaboration with his aggressive attorney general and other members of his party, attempted to gain further political advantage by sensationalizing alleged incidents of Democratic voter fraud that did not stand up to legal scrutiny. As the Washington Post reported in 2007, the administration pressed federal prosecutors to pursue cases of alleged Democratic Party–related fraud in the weeks before the 2006 midterm elections in politically crucial areas of the country. A number of prosecutors declined to cooperate; five of them were then removed from office amid what the Post described as “Republican complaints” about their resistance. more...

Anne Applebaum wrote the book on why people choose to collaborate with authoritarian regimes. So what does she think of the GOP?
By Ezra Klein

The most alarming aspect of the past week is not Donald Trump’s anti-democratic efforts. He is doing exactly what he has always done, exactly what he said he would do. It’s the speed at which Republican elites have consolidated support around him. Without the Republican Party’s support, Trump is just the loser of an election, ranting ineffectually about theft as a way to rationalize defeat. With the Republican Party’s support, he’s a danger to the country.

Some Republicans, like Lindsey Graham, have wholeheartedly endorsed Trump’s claims. On Monday, the South Carolina senator said that Trump should not concede the election and that “Republicans win because of our ideas and we lose elections because [Democrats] cheat.” Others — including Vice President Mike Pence and Sens. Marco Rubio and Josh Hawley — have signaled solidarity with the president, while not quite endorsing his conspiracy theories. The message is clear: When faced with the choice of loyalty to Trump and the legitimacy of the democratic process, Republicans are more than willing to throw democracy under the bus.

Anne Applebaum is a staff writer for the Atlantic, a senior fellow of international affairs at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies, and most recently the author of Twilight of Democracy: The Seductive Lure of Authoritarianism. In it, Applebaum, once comfortable in center-right elite circles, grapples with why so many of her contemporaries across the globe — including right here in America — have abandoned liberal democracy in favor of strongman cults and autocratic regimes.

We discuss why most politicians under increasingly autocratic regimes choose to collaborate with the regime, how Graham went from outspoken Trump critic to one of Trump’s most vocal supporters in the US Senate, why the Republican Party ultimately took the path of Sarah Palin, what we can expect to happen if and when a much more capable demagogue emerges, and much more. more...

Opinion by Colbert I. King

Four days before President Barack Obama taking the oath of office in January 2009, radio talk-show host Rush Limbaugh declared, “I hope he fails.” In August 2009, eight months after Obama became president, pastor Steven L. Anderson of Faithful Word Baptist Church in Tempe, Ariz., told his congregation that he prays for the death of Obama. Anderson said: “I’m not going to pray for his good, I’m going to pray he dies and goes to hell.”

Not to put too fine a point on it, the preacher said: “I’d like him to die of natural causes. I don’t want him to be a martyr; we don’t need another holiday. I’d like to see him die, like Ted Kennedy, of brain cancer.” The following month, during Obama’s Sept. 9, 2009, speech to a joint session of Congress, South Carolina Republican Rep. Joe Wilson shouted, “You lie!,” while boorish behavior flourished in the GOP seats.

A year later, Sen. Mitch McConnell said in an Oct. 23, 2010, interview published in the National Journal: “The single most important thing we want to achieve is for President Obama to be a one-term president.” It was like that for the eight years that Obama and Vice President Joe Biden were in the White House. Make no mistake, Republican congressional leadership, and many right-wing commentators, didn’t honor the Obama-Biden victories in 2008 or 2012. They never wished them well during their eight years of service. Instead, they looked for every opportunity to obstruct their leadership. more...

The justice railed against COVID restrictions, same-sex marriage, abortion, and the alleged persecution of conservatives.
By Mark Joseph Stern

On Thursday night, Justice Sam Alito delivered the keynote address at this year’s all-virtual Federalist Society National Lawyers Convention. The Federalist Society, a well-funded network of conservative attorneys, has come under unusual scrutiny after Donald Trump elevated scores of its members to the federal judiciary. Its leaders insist that it is a mere debate club, a nonpartisan forum for the exchange of legal ideas. But Alito abandoned any pretense of impartiality in his speech, a grievance-laden tirade against Democrats, the progressive movement, and the United States’ response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Alito’s targets included COVID-related restrictions, same-sex marriage, abortion, Plan B, the contraceptive mandate, LGBTQ non-discrimination laws, and five sitting Democratic senators.

Ironically, Alito began his pre-recorded address by condemning an effort by the U.S. Judicial Conference to forbid federal judges from being members of the Federalist Society. He then praised, by name, the four judges who spearheaded a successful effort to defeat the ban—or, as Alito put it, who “stood up to an attempt to hobble the debate that the Federalist Society fosters.” Alito warned that law school students who are members of the Federalist Society tell him they “face harassment and retaliation if they say anything that departs from the law school orthodoxy.” more...

“A wax museum is less cold-blooded than these people are,” Chris Cuomo said of the Republicans whose positions have flipped 180 degrees.
By Lee Moran

The hypocrisy of President Donald Trump’s biggest sycophants was on full display in a supercut that CNN’s Chris Cuomo aired on Wednesday night. The montage features footage of prominent Republicans who mocked Democrats as “crybabies” following Trump’s 2016 election victory over then-Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. In the video, Kayleigh McEnany, who is now the White House press secretary, says “no one should question” Trump’s win. Fox News’ Sean Hannity calls Democrats “sore losers,” while former White House counselor Kellyanne Conway criticizes them for not accepting the election result, even though Clinton conceded.

Now that Trump is refusing to acknowledge defeat in the 2020 election and making unfounded allegations of mass voter fraud, Cuomo noted how Republicans’ positions on elections have conveniently flipped 180 degrees. “Shame on them,” Cuomo said. “A wax museum is less cold-blooded than these people are.” more...

The GOP response is "nothing more than a pathetic political performance for an audience of one: President Donald John Trump,” he said.
By Rebecca Shabad

WASHINGTON — Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi denounced President Donald Trump and Republicans on Thursday for sowing doubt in and refusing to accept the presidential election results. “The election is not in doubt," Schumer said at a joint news conference with Pelosi on Capitol Hill. "This is nothing more than a temper tantrum by Republicans, nothing more than a pathetic political performance for an audience of one: President Donald John Trump.”

Schumer said the results of the 2020 presidential election cannot be compared to the 2000 election, which came down to Florida and a difference of several hundred votes. “Joe Biden's victory in the Electoral College has been secured by several states, where tens of thousands of votes separate the candidates," he said. "Joe Biden leads Wisconsin by 20,000, Pennsylvania ... 50,000, Michigan ... 146,000. That's the facts. Biden's won. Nothing Republicans or Trump can do will change that.” more...

Jill Filipovic

When the president refuses to concede, it has a tangible impact on the nation’s future. Why are Republicans enabling this? The Republican party has spent four years enabling Donald Trump: backing up his lies, defending his most egregious misbehaviors, shattering longstanding democratic norms to keep his, and by extension their, iron grip on power. But by refusing to push him to concede an election he clearly lost, they’re truly following him off a cliff – and threatening to take America with them. Donald Trump lost the popular vote by 5 million. He was handily trounced in the electoral college, too. There is no real question that he lost the election and Joe Biden won.

And yet, predictably, the president who has spent his entire time in office denying the facts that are in front of his face is insisting that the clear results of this election must be the result of malfeasance. We know that to assuage his own ego and maintain his position, he will say and do just about anything. We know that he is not a statesman or a person who cares about anything beyond himself; we know he is happy to tear the nation apart at the seams if it means he gets what he wants. And we know that many members of the Republican party have thus far aided and abetted him.

But there was some question of when enough would be enough. Surely there was some line the president could cross that would directly imperil America itself and make Republicans finally say: enough. Now, the president is mounting what in any developing country would be called an attempted coup. He is spreading outright lies about America’s system of free and fair elections, claiming he won when he didn’t. His sycophantic legal team is pulling issues out of thin air to undermine the American system of voting. He is wielding his power to try to install himself as an unelected leader. He is refusing to concede so that he might find some way to illegally grab power. And Republicans are letting him. more...

Attorney general has authorised prosecutors to look into ‘substantial allegations’ of voter fraud, despite a lack of evidence. Plus, Trump sacks defense secretary
Molly Blackall

Good morning. The attorney general, William Barr, has authorised federal prosecutors to investigate “substantial allegations” of voter irregularities in the election, despite a total lack of evidence. Trump supporters reacted to the news with joy, while lawyers and election officials expressed skepticism. The justice department official overseeing voter fraud investigations resigned a few hours later.

The news came after Donald Trump’s campaign team insisted he had no intention of conceding the election, with one senior campaign adviser saying “the word is not even in our vocabulary right now”. But even Fox News isn’t buying it. The famously Trump-supporting news outlet cut away from a White House press briefing that repeatedly peddled the Trump campaign’s accusation that “illegal votes” were being counted. more...

Guardian News

Along with the president himself, the vast majority of Republican politicians have refused to accept Trump's election loss.more...

Alana Wise, Claudia Grisales, NPR

Congressional Republicans have mostly declined to outwardly acknowledge the widely reported election results that show President-elect Joe Biden leading comfortably in both the popular and electoral vote. This comes as GOP standard-bearer President Trump continues to baselessly attack the integrity of the election, alleging that fraudulent ballots had robbed him of the White House win.

This was no more evident than on Monday, when Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took to the Senate floor to urge Americans to "respect the rule of law and trust our institutions" as the full election process was conducted. "Obviously, no states have yet certified their election results. We have at least one or two states that are already on track for a recount. And I believe the president may have legal challenges underway in at least five states," McConnell said.

Though McConnell is technically correct states have not certified, that process won't change the overall result of the election. And the legal challenges have mostly been dismissed so far. "Our institutions are built for this. We have the system in place to consider concerns. And President Trump is 100% within his rights to look into allegations of irregularities and weigh his legal options," he continued, declining to adopt Trump's language alleging outright fraud and a stolen race. more...

Senator Mitch McConnell, the majority leader, slammed Democrats for expecting the president to quickly concede and said he had every right to pursue legal challenges.
By Nicholas Fandos and Emily Cochrane

Leading Republicans rallied on Monday around President Trump’s refusal to concede the election, declining to challenge the false narrative that it was stolen from him or to recognize President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory even as party divisions burst into public view.

Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the top Republican in Congress, threw his support behind Mr. Trump in a sharply worded speech on the Senate floor. He declared that Mr. Trump was “100 percent within his rights” to turn to the legal system to challenge the outcome and hammered Democrats for expecting the president to concede.

In his first public remarks since Mr. Biden was declared the winner, Mr. McConnell celebrated the success of Republicans who won election to the House and the Senate. But in the next breath, he treated the outcome of the presidential election — based on the same ballots that elected those Republicans — as unknown. more...

By Rick Rojas and Emily Cochrane

Senators David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler of Georgia on Monday called for the resignation of the state’s top elections official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, as they accused his office of failing to oversee an honest and transparent election without evidence or citing specific concerns.

Their extraordinary joint statement on Monday came as a rift among Republicans in Georgia has intensified as Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s lead over President Trump has steadily grown, pushing the president’s supporters to lash out against Mr. Raffensperger, who is a Republican.

“We believe when there are failures, they need to be called out — even when it’s in your own party,” the senators said in their statement, which did not offer any specific allegations or explain how they believed Mr. Raffensperger had fallen short.

“Honest elections are paramount to the foundation of our democracy,” they said. “The Secretary of State has failed to deliver honest and transparent elections. He has failed the people of Georgia, and he should step down immediately.” more...


Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, did not contradict President Trump’s false claims that the election was stolen from him. President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. unveiled his coronavirus task force. Mr. Trump fired Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense. more...

State of the Union

Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan tells CNN's Jake Tapper that he's seen no evidence of widespread voter fraud, despite President Trump's unfounded claims. video...

Biden projected winner by AP, NBC
Victor Williams

LANSING, Mich. – A rally was held in Lansing by supporters of President Donald Trump Saturday. Attendees were energized by the president’s declaration he will not concede the election to former Vice President Joe Biden. Supporters flooded the steps of the State Capitol after it was announced Biden had won enough electoral votes to become the next President of the United States.

Tempers flared in the crowd with some supporters unwilling to accept the results of the election. State Republican lawmakers have issued a subpoena for election records to investigate the ballot-counting process at the TCF Center. The investigation will take a look into the, as of now, baseless claims of voter fraud among absentee ballots. more...

If you are a person of color or call yourself an American, supporting the Republican Party is doing so against your own self-interest and against the best interest of our country.
A. B. Man III

As a person of color, why would you support a party that is actively using alternative facts, voter suppression, voter intimidation, gerrymandering, hate, fear and racism against of people of color? As a person of color, why would you support a party of racist and white supremacist, some of which want to kill you? Racist and white supremacist want to kill people of color, law enforcement offers and those who disagree with them, as an American why would you support that. Black people have died for the right to vote, supporting a party that is using voter suppression, voter intimidation, hate, fear and racism against black people and people of color is disrespecting all the people of color who gave up their lives so you could vote. As a person of color, why would you support a party that uses people of color as the boogieman to scare white people into voting for them? As an American why would support that?

Make no mistake about it this not the age of Lincoln it is the age  of Trump and in the age of Trump the Republican Party has become the  party of corruption, alternative facts, voter suppression, voter  intimidation, gerrymandering, hypocrites, hate, fear, racism and white  supremacist. The Democratic Party is no longer the Party of racist and  white supremacist, the Republican Party is. The Democratic Party is not  using alternative facts, voter suppression and voter intimidation, hate,  fear, racism against of people of color, the Republican Party is. The  programs that democrats try to protect and enhance are programs that  help people of color, the middle class and the poor while the  Republicans are actively trying to destroy any programs that help people  of color, the middle class and the poor. The system crashes from time  to and we all need help when it does if Republicans have their way there  will be no help for people of color, the middle class and the poor the  next time the system crashes. more...

Election officials in US battleground states are still fighting to limit their usage with only days left until 3 November
Jess Hardin - guardian.org

On the East Side of Youngstown, Ohio, a steady stream of early voters drop off completed absentee ballots into the new drop box outside the Mahoning County Board of Elections. Gloria Phifer is one of them. The 68-year-old retired mail carrier drove about 15 minutes to the former hospital-turned-county office center. She doesn’t mind walking, so she found a parking spot outside, walked up to the entrance and dropped her ballot into the red drop box – the only one in the county.

“My fellow mail carriers, god bless them and everything, but I thought it would easier just bring it down here,” Phifer said. “This is an important election and I wanted to just make sure [there were] no problems.” In response to safety concerns spurred by the coronavirus pandemic and worries about potential mail delays, drop boxes are popping up all over the country – in many places for the first time. The largely secure voting method has long been available to voters in states like Colorado and Washington. But amid the partisan battles over access to the polls, election officials in battleground states are still fighting to limit their usage with only days left until 3 November.

Directives from Ohio secretary of state Frank LaRose and Texas governor Greg Abbott – both Republicans – limit drop boxes to one per county. In Harris county, Texas, home to Houston, that’s one box for 4.7 million people. For the 228,000 residents in more sparse Mahoning county, a single drop box could result in a lengthy trip to the Board of Elections. In stark contrast, for the 2.3 million residents of King county in greater Seattle, there are 73 24-hour drop boxes within easy reach of voters. more...

By Nicholas GoldbergColumnist

So now it is official: The same Republican senators who in 2016 refused to consider Merrick Garland’s appointment to the Supreme Court because, with eight months to go, it was supposedly too close to the presidential election, have now confirmed Amy Coney Barrett with just eight days left before the election. This is so unprincipled, so inconsistent and so cynical that it defies the imagination. It is the flip-flop of the century, undertaken by the Republicans for one reason: Barrett’s confirmation ensures a conservative majority on the high court for the foreseeable future.

But here is one good thing that could come of this shameful episode. With millions of people still casting their votes before Nov. 3, perhaps the Barrett confirmation will open Americans’ eyes, once and for all, and show them who they’re dealing with. Perhaps it will persuade them to reject the radical and hypocritical Senate Republicans at the polls.

Barrett’s confirmation, after all, is only one of many irresponsible moves by the Senate majority, led by the craven Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky), who long ago threw his lot in with President Trump. In recent years, he and his caucus have grown not just more extreme in their ideology but more unscrupulous in their tactics.

Not only did they refuse a hearing to Garland (giving that seat instead to Trump appointee Neil M. Gorsuch), but not long after, McConnell and his colleagues rammed Brett Kavanaugh’s nomination through without a comprehensive investigation of the sexual assault allegations against him. The Senate majority also slow-walked the confirmation of lower court judges during the final years of the Obama administration — and then sped them up when Trump came into office. The Senate majority ignored evidence, disregarded facts and refused to hear additional witnesses before acquitting Trump in a half-baked impeachment trial in February, thereby giving the imprimatur of the upper house to the president’s high crimes and misdemeanors. more...

Swedish university finds ‘dramatic shift’ in GOP under Trump, shunning democratic norms and encouraging violence
Julian Borger in Washington

The Republican party has become dramatically more illiberal in the past two decades and now more closely resembles ruling parties in autocratic societies than its former centre-right equivalents in Europe, according to a new international study. In a significant shift since 2000, the GOP has taken to demonising and encouraging violence against its opponents, adopting attitudes and tactics comparable to ruling nationalist parties in Hungary, India, Poland and Turkey. The shift has both led to and been driven by the rise of Donald Trump.

By contrast the Democratic party has changed little in its attachment to democratic norms, and in that regard has remained similar to centre-right and centre-left parties in western Europe. Their principal difference is the approach to the economy. The new study, the largest ever of its kind, was carried out by the V-Dem Institute at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, using newly developed methods to measure and quantify the health of the world’s democracies at a time when authoritarianism is on the rise. Anna Lührmann, V-Dem’s deputy director, said the Republican transformation had been “certainly the most dramatic shift in an established democracy”. more...

Madison Cawthorn says the remark, which has been removed, was meant to "condemn left-wing identity politics" that are "dangerous and divisive."
By Dareh Gregorian

A House candidate considered a rising star in the GOP launched a campaign attack website accusing a critic of going "to work for non-white males, like Cory Booker, who aims to ruin white males running for office." The language on Madison Cawthorn's "Moe Taxes" website was changed Thursday night after it was first reported by the website The Bulwark. Cawthorn blamed poor "syntax" for the racist message, which he said didn't "convey my intended meaning."

“The syntax of our language was unclear and unfairly implied I was criticizing (New Jersey senator) Cory Booker,” he said in a statement he posted on Twitter. "My intended meaning was, and is, to condemn left-wing identity politics that is dangerous and divisive. I have condemned racism and identity politics throughout my campaign." The intended target of the attack was Tom Fiedler, a political journalist turned university dean who now works for a local news organization in North Carolina. Cawthorn argued Fiedler "advocates" for Moe Davis, the Democratic candidate in North Carolina's 11th congressional district. more...

How the Trump campaign used big data to deter Miami-Dade’s Black communities from voting
By Sarah Blaskey, Nicholas Nehamas, C. Isaiah Smalls II, Christina Saint Louis, Ana Claudia Chacin, David Smiley, Shirsho Dasgupta, and
Yadira Lopez

Donald Trump’s team knew they couldn’t win the 2016 election simply by persuading people to vote for Trump. They also had to make sure Hillary Clinton supporters didn’t come out to the polls. So the campaign and its allies used big data to target Black communities along Miami-Dade County’s historically disenfranchised Interstate 95 corridor. There, residents became some of the 12.3 million unwitting subjects of a groundbreaking nationwide experiment: A computer algorithm that analyzed huge sums of potential voters’ personal data — things they’d said and done on Facebook, credit card purchases, charities they supported, and even personality traits — decided they could be manipulated into not voting. They probably wouldn’t even know it was happening.

Internally, Trump’s staff described this part of their operation with a term that went beyond the usual strategy of negative campaigning. They called it “deterrence.” The campaign blasted these voters selected for deterrence — usually wavering Hillary Clinton supporters — with advertisements, disinformation and misleading messaging designed to convince them to lose faith in Clinton and not show up to the polls, according to an investigation by the Miami Herald and the U.K.’s Channel 4 News, which exclusively obtained a massive cache of internal Trump campaign data from 2016.

What exactly went into the selection algorithm isn’t known — the Trump campaign’s machine-learning model remains a black box. But however sophisticated the model, it produced clear results: In Miami-Dade, more than 116,000 Black people identified by the campaign as potential voters were selected for deterrence, roughly half of all Black voters in the county.

That was almost twice the rate of deterrence for non-Black voters, a Herald analysis shows. Not only were Blacks far more likely to be selected for deterrence, but even non-Black voters were more likely to be on the deterrence list if they lived in Black communities like those along Interstate 95 heading north to Broward County. “The laser-like focus on suppressing Black turnout is clear,” said Dan Smith, a political scientist at the University of Florida who reviewed the Herald’s analysis of the campaign data. “It’s very striking.” more...

*** Republicans quest to pack the court system continues. ***

Tucker Higgins

Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee voted unanimously on Thursday to advance the nomination of Judge Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court over a boycott from the committee’s Democrats. The vote paves the way for the full Senate to confirm Barrett to the high court on Monday, ahead of the Nov. 3 election between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden.

Trump has repeatedly pressed for Barrett to be placed on the high court in time to resolve any election-related litigation, a request that Democrats see as a plain call for the court’s conservative majority to declare him the winner if the outcome is contested. The swift action by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and Judiciary Committee Chairman Lindsey Graham, R, S-C., to meet Trump’s deadline will make Barrett the first justice in history to be confirmed so close to Election Day.

Barrett, who was a professor at Notre Dame Law School until Trump nominated her to serve on the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals approximately three years ago, will be the sixth Republican-appointee on the nine-judge Supreme Court, and Trump’s third nominee. Trump nominated her to the high court last month after the death of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, a liberal icon who served on the bench for 27 years. Ginsburg expressed a dying wish not to be replaced until after the election.

As Ginsburg’s replacement, Barrett is expected to shift the court’s center of gravity decisively to the right, potentially imperiling the Democratic agenda items on health care, abortion access and the Second Amendment. In focus is a Nov. 10 case the court will hear over the constitutionality of Obamacare, also known as the Affordable Care Act. more...

By Katherine Fung

Ahead of Amy Coney Barrett's Supreme Court confirmation vote, Republicans for the Rule of Law, an anti-Trump GOP group, blasted five Republican senators for flip-flopping on their 2016 position on confirming Barack Obama nominee Merrick Garland. The ads—targeting Senator Ted Cruz, Senator Chuck Grassley, Senator Marco Rubio, Senator Ron Johnson and Senator Rob Portman—highlight the senators' comments from 2016 when they said Supreme Court justices should not be confirmed during an election year.

These remarks come in stark opposition to the current efforts to fill the late Justice Ruth Bader Ginsberg's vacancy before November 3. "It would be bad to move forward in the middle of a hotly contested presidential campaign," Grassley says in a clip from 2016 featured in the ad. A senior member and former chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Grassley has argued that confirming Barrett is different from the case of Garland, Obama's 2016 Supreme Court nominee, because Republicans now control both the White House and the Senate, unlike the divided government of four years ago. more...

QAnon has become a linchpin of far-right media—and the effort to preemptively delegitimize the election.
Renée DiResta

Whether President Donald Trump wins or loses, some version of QAnon is going to survive the election. On the day of the vice-presidential debate between Mike Pence and Kamala Harris, the individual or group known as “Q” sent out a flurry of posts. “ONLY THE ILLUSION OF DEMOCRACY,” began one. “Joe 30330—Arbitrary?—What is 2020 [current year] divided by 30330? Symbolism will be their downfall,” read another, darkly hinting at satanic numerology in Joe Biden’s campaign text-messaging code.

Vague, foreboding messages that could mean anything or nothing—these are the hallmarks of QAnon, the far-right conspiracy theory, built around Q’s postings on internet message boards, in which Trump is heroically battling a global cabal of devil-worshipping pedophiles. But something noteworthy lurked in Q’s final post of the night: “SHADOW PRESIDENT. SHADOW GOVERNMENT. INFORMATION WARFARE. IRREGULAR WARFARE. COLOR REVOLUTION. INSURGENCY.”

Color revolution. This was the first time Q used the term. Originally a reference to mass protests such as the one in Ukraine in 2004, when citizens wearing orange clothes and carrying orange banners rallied to bring down a government, it became a catchphrase that authoritarian governments use to discredit pro-democracy movements as the handiwork of the CIA. Q was using color revolution in just that way. more...

As tech platforms battle with QAnon conspiracy theorists, some Republicans are opening the door to the fringe group

The QAnon world is no longer simply a social media community trafficking in conspiracy theories. It’s increasingly a new constituency for the GOP — one that’s fired up like the rest of the MAGA movement, warring with tech giants and ready to battle through Election Day on behalf of a struggling president. Just this month, President Donald Trump has retweeted and highlighted several accounts with a history of posting QAnon content. He’s stoked conspiracy theories that originated in the QAnon world, even to the detriment of his own supporters. And along with other Republicans, he’s increasingly allowed into the arms of his MAGA movement a group that had been dismissed as fringe nonsense.

While both groups started from very different places, both MAGA and QAnon supporters share the belief that Trump is fighting conspiracies emanating from inside the Deep State — a notion Trump himself has invoked. “MAGA world kind of sees Trump as this epic hero, and QAnon does the same exact thing,” said Kristen Doerer, managing editor of Right Wing Watch, a nonprofit that tracks far-right groups.

The QAnon movement suffered another blow on Thursday when YouTube became the latest platform to block some content from QAnon believers. Facebook in August announced a ban on QAnon groups with “discussions of potential violence,” expanding it to a blanket ban on QAnon-affiliated groups and pages in early October. Twitter’s approach was narrower, simply banning nearly 7,000 accounts back in July. The Facebook and Twitter moves came in response to reports that QAnon pages had been spreading pandemic-related misinformation, as well as inspiring acts of violence nationwide.

But QAnon has already found other ways to survive. Parts of the GOP are falling into an uneasy relationship with the QAnon conspiracy theory, which alleges in part that a cabal of demon-worshipping, pedophile elites live in Washington and will stop at nothing to maintain their power. more...

*** Trump is right the election will be rigged; he is using voter suppression to rig (steal) the election. ***

The president’s lawyers are finding traction with their efforts to quash voting by mail.

President Donald Trump is increasingly finding success in his strategy to restrict voting by mail — using lawsuits to stop late-arriving ballots from being counted in swing states. After failing to stop any states from automatically mailing ballots to all registered voters, Republican attorneys have starting to make inroads on a different issue — limiting when any ballots can be counted.

In Wisconsin, federal judges halted a plan to count ballots received up to six days after Election Day. In New Hampshire, a lawsuit calling on the state to tally ballots arriving up to five days late was rejected. And in Georgia, an appeals court dropped a three-day deadline extension for ballots. These legal fights are shaping up to be one of the most important factors in determining whether Trump or Democratic nominee Joe Biden is inaugurated as president in January.

Democrats, backed by some election officials, are pushing to have state deadlines extended due to fears the beleaguered United States Postal Service will struggle to deliver the millions of extra expected ballots on time. Republicans argue, with minimal evidence, that prolonging the counting period will lead to fraud and unnecessarily extend the presidential election.

It’s a fight that could continue in the days, or even weeks, following the Nov. 3 election. The margin of victory in a handful of states is expected to be so razor-thin that late ballots could determine who wins. Even following the election, Democrats will likely push for states to wait for outstanding ballots while Republicans will ask for them to be excluded, arguing, in part, that there’s no way to prove all of the late-arriving ballots were mailed prior to the election because of the lack of a postmark. more...

By Sarah Moon and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

(CNN) The California Republican Party said Wednesday it will not comply with the state's cease-and-desist order over unofficial ballot drop boxes placed in at least four counties, escalating a brewing political showdown ahead of the November election. The unauthorized ballot boxes, which state officials have called illegal, have been found in at least four counties across the state: Los Angeles, Ventura, Orange and Fresno. "Ballot harvesting program will continue," California Republican Party spokesman Hector Barajas said in a statement to CNN.

The fight over the unofficial drop boxes comes as the coronavirus pandemic has led to historic interest in mail-in voting, even as President Donald Trump and the GOP have spent months attacking the integrity of mail ballots and fighting in court against drop boxes. Trump has repeatedly made unfounded claims that the election tally will be fraudulent because of the proliferation of mail-in voting and drop box usage and has warned that he may not agree to a peaceful transfer of power due to those misleading beliefs.

The party made their intentions clear in a letter to the California Secretary of State on Wednesday. In the letter, attorneys for the state GOP say all of the ballot boxes deployed by the party are indoors, staffed by volunteers or party officials, secure and not labeled "official." While images of the ballot boxes have shown the boxes labeled as "official," the state GOP said it did not authorize the use of that term and had it removed. more...

Republicans have run the place into the ground. Yet voters keep electing them to state and national office. Why?
Adam Weinstein

BESIDE A TRUMP-FLAGGED BOAT AT A DOCK IN FORT LAUDERDALE—It looms ever closer, like a poorly conceived sequel to a decades-old movie even most of its fans would like to forget. There’s a mostly new cast, many of them as old as the original players; a ton of money being invested in the production; and a lot of media effects that couldn’t be dreamed of when the first one came out. It’s a slow-moving catastrophe. It’s entirely predictable. It’s Bush v. Gore 2: The Actual Boogaloo. It’s going to suck. And of course, it’s set in Florida again.

Two decades after the 2000 election, which history may remember as the real beginning of the end of American election legitimacy, the fate of billions of sentient beings on earth may again turn on what happens here. The stakes are familiar: Florida’s considerable bucket of electoral votes has gone to the winner of every election since 1996. The two Republican presidents on that list didn’t get the most votes nationwide, mind you, but they got Florida and hence official White House portraits. Winning Florida is so crucial that even Donald Trump probably understands the state’s importance. (The owner of Mar-a-Lago is one of the purest types of Florida Men: a transplanted New Yorker who endlessly bitches about New York.) more...

By The Associated Press

The United States depicted at the Republican National Convention is a scary place. It is wrenched by economic uncertainty, social upheaval, political dysfunction, runaway immigration, violent streets and existential threats from abroad. Republicans want voters to see the need for drastic change. The nation’s only choice, they say, is Donald Trump. Why Republicans would paint such a bleak portrait and whether things really are as they say: more...

Bill Leong

You reported in “Republicans Paint Dark Picture,” (Aug. 25), that Republican Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida, on opening night of the GOP national convention, warned the faithful of the consequences of a democratic victory: “They’ll disarm you,” he declaimed, “empty the prisons, lock you in your home, and invite the MS-13 to live next door.” Is it possible that GOP politicians think so little of the intelligence of the average Republican voter that they feel they need no more than this level of political discourse? more...

Avlon: This is an unprecedented power grab
New Day

CNN's John Avlon examine Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's history of obstructing judicial nominees. Source: CNN. video...

Los Angeles Times Opinion

To the editor: I find it laughable that suddenly the Republicans in Congress are developing a conscience, after more than three years of enabling President Trump running ripshod over our democracy. Any fair-minded observer can easily see how they have been willing accomplices. ("As Trump's fortunes sink, Republicans start to distance themselves in bid to save Senate," Oct. 9) The statement by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) that his party needs to remain in power as a "firewall to stop the Democrats" is a brazen expression of his own hypocrisy, after refusing to pass hundreds of bills sent by the House and gloating about it. more...

The court found that Abbott's intention was to make it easier for Texans to vote.

What happened: A federal appeals court has reinstated Texas Gov. Greg Abbott’s order limiting the use of absentee ballot drop boxes to one location per county, regardless of population. Just before midnight Monday Texas time, a unanimous three-judge panel of the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals lifted a district judge’s preliminary injunction against Abbott’s October 1 directive.

Fifth Circuit Judge Stuart Duncan said the lower court erred by failing to view the governor’s order as part of a broader initiative aimed at making it easier for Texans to vote amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. “Critics were clearly clueless about the legality of my action & simply voiced prejudicial political opinions,” Abbott wrote in a celebratory tweet.

The background: Civil rights groups and Democrats complained that the one-dropbox-location-per-county rule that Abbott abruptly imposed two weeks ago unfairly burdens large urban counties and has the potential to deter voters and create health hazards. However, Duncan said the rule would have a “de minimis” impact on voters, at most. more...

By Sarah Moon, Stella Chan and Paul LeBlanc, CNN

Washington (CNN)The California Secretary of State and Department of Justice have sent a cease and desist order to the California Republican Party to remove unofficial ballot drop boxes placed in at least three counties, officials announced in a news conference on Monday. "These unauthorized drop boxes are a disservice to state and local election administrators who have spent months working on the placement and deployment of official ballot drop boxes," California Secretary of State Alex Padilla said.

Images of the unofficial boxes showed that some had been labeled as "official," Padilla explained, adding that his office received reports of the unofficial boxes being deployed by the state Republican Party in Fresno, Los Angeles and Orange counties. California state law does not allow for the use of unauthorized vote-by-mail ballot drop boxes. Only county election officials have the authority to oversee drop boxes and ensure that they're in compliance with the law. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, however, said Monday that his office received "disturbing reports" that some Republican Party officials are not willing to remove the "unofficial" boxes. more...

*** Why is the GOP fighting mask mandates, are they trying to kill America citizens? ***

Judge denies GOP effort to end Tony Evers' mask mandate, upholding governor's ability to issue health orders
Molly Beck, Patrick Marley Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

MADISON - A Wisconsin judge on Monday blocked an effort by Republicans to end Democratic Gov. Tony Evers' statewide mask mandate at a time when coronavirus cases are surging. The conservative group that brought the lawsuit promised to immediately appeal, and Republicans who control the Legislature took an initial step Monday to eliminate a separate COVID-19 order from Evers that limits business occupancy.

St. Croix County Circuit Judge R. Michael Waterman denied a request by those who sued to suspend the mask requirement and ruled the governor has the power to issue multiple health emergency orders in response to the same pandemic. Republican lawmakers hired private attorneys to go to court to support the effort to eliminate the mask requirement instead of taking a vote just weeks before an election to end the order. more...

Republicans sought to normalise her rushed nomination while Democrats maintained a laser-like focus on the future of Obamacare
David Smith in Washington

That was rich. Senate Republicans, otherwise known as Donald Trump’s Praetorian Guard, lined up on Monday to pay pious homage to Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the separation of powers and the halcyon days of political bipartisanship. A visitor from outer space might have thought that they were the upholders of civics and civility at the start of Amy Coney Barrett’s supreme court hearing on Capitol Hill. No matter that Trump has played divider-in-chief or that Republicans blocked Barack Obama’s nominee to the court in 2016. It was a morning of hypocrisy and healthcare.

Lindsey Graham, chairman of the Senate judiciary committee and the Trump appreciation society, reminded everyone that both Ginsburg and her ideological opposite, Justice Antonin Scalia, were confirmed almost unanimously. “I don’t know what happened between then and now,” he said, wistfully. “We can all take some blame but I just want to remind everybody there was a time in this country where someone like Ruth Bader Ginsburg was seen by almost everybody as qualified for the position of being on the supreme court, understanding that she would have a different philosophy than many of the Republicans who voted for her.”

No justice has been confirmed so close to a presidential election. Graham, who promised not to confirm a justice in an election year (saying “Use my words against me”, which plenty of Democrats are), acknowledged one point everyone could agree on: “This is going to be a long, contentious week.” As senator after senator drew their battle lines, 48-year-old Barrett, sitting silently in a big black face mask, resembled a prisoner in the dock. more...

GOP promoted fake "official" drop-off sites at churches and gun stores. Officials say they're illegal
Igor Derysh

The California Republican Party is operating unofficial ballot drop boxes that Secretary of State Alex Padilla said on Sunday were in "violation of state law." Jordan Tygh, a regional field director for the California Republican Party, promoted an "official ballot drop off box" on Twitter and urged followers to message him for "convenient locations" to drop their ballots last week, The Orange County Register first reported. One voter reported an "Official Ballot Drop Box" that was "approved and bought by the GOP" outside of a Los Angeles area church before it was removed after county officials warned on social media that it was "not an official vote by mail drop box and does not comply with [state] regulations for drop boxes," according to KCAL.

The boxes were set up across Southern California in front of churches, gyms, and gun stores by the California GOP, according to The Washington Post. And at least one chapter of the state Republican Party in northern California has also rolled out its own drop-off sites, echoing President Donald Trump's baseless allegations over the "security" of mail voting even though it has been repeatedly shown to be safe and secure.

"CONSERVATIVE VOTER ALERT!," the Fresno GOP said while announcing a list of unofficial locations to drop off ballots. "President Trump is very concerned about the lack of security with mail in ballots. Don't take a chance that your vote will not be counted. Once your ballot arrives in the mail, mark your ballot completely and then walk it in, as soon as possible, to one of the secure locations listed below. Make sure your vote counts!" Padilla, a Democrat, said on Sunday that it was illegal to operate unofficial ballot drop boxes. more...

Owens rails against identity politics despite the fact that her Blackness is the only reason she’s become such an elevated figure within the GOP.
Kali Holloway

Candace Owens’ BLEXIT Foundation—founded to give people the false impression that Black voters are abandoning the Democratic party en masse for Republicanism—reportedly put together Saturday's campaign event thinly disguised as an official government function, where Donald Trump spoke to a pro-police Black and Latinx audience from the Truman Balcony during what was in effect his first in-person rally since his trip to Walter Reed. Two thousand people were reportedly invited to hear his “Remarks to Peaceful Protesters for Law & Order,” but many of the few hundred who showed up had their travel and lodging costs paid by Owens’ group, which described the official White House event as a “HUGE outdoor rally,” ABC reported Saturday morning.

The problem is, every time they align with Candace Owens, white Republicans prove just how uninterested they truly are in making inroads with Black folks. It’s tempting to chalk up their use of Owens—a conservative Black woman who carries no water with the vast majority of Black voters—as a consequence of white conservatives’ ignorance about Black folks’ most pressing concerns. But that’s far too generous an assessment of a ploy that’s as tired as it is sinister. Owens isn’t actually there to be white conservatives’ emissary to the Black community. Rather, she’s a tool of racist propaganda and deflection—a Black mouthpiece who propagates and validates anti-Black talking points, while exploiting her own race to shield white racists, like Trump, from charges of racism. more...

Yelena Dzhanova

For nearly 40 years, the Republican National Committee was barred from engaging in voter intimidation tactics and "ballot security" measures like paying law enforcement to appear at polling sites. But in 2018, a federal judge lifted the restriction, ending the 1982 consent decree. This year will be the first time in nearly four decades that a presidential election is held without this agreement in place — an addition to the heap of challenges already influencing voters amid a global health crisis.

The coronavirus pandemic has upended US elections, bringing on postponed primaries, changes to in-person polling sites, and a battle over expanded vote-by-mail.  "We've never seen a presidential election quite like this one because the dynamics of it are just so different," Jon Greenbaum, chief counsel and senior deputy director for the Lawyers' Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, told Business Insider. more...

Stuart Stevens says he now realizes the hatred and bigotry of Trumpism were always at the heart of the GOP.
David Corn

When Donald Trump decided to back-burner the coronavirus crisis and reboot his reelection campaign with superspreader events in June, he headed to an arena in Tulsa, Oklahoma, to present his case for four more years. In front of an audience of maskless fans standing side by side, Trump performed his usual routine. He threw out buzzwords (“law and order,” “left-wing radicals”). He boasted. (“I have done a phenomenal job” responding to the pandemic.) He denigrated his opponent as “Sleepy Joe.” He obsessed over personal grievances and slights, devoting much time to slamming news outlets that had recently shown video of him walking gingerly down a ramp after delivering a commencement address at West Point. What was mostly missing from Trump’s speech: ideas.

Although he referred to his tax cuts for the wealthy, his appointment of conservative judges, and his “beautiful” wall on the US-Mexico border, Trump had little to say about economic policy, national security, health care, education, housing, the environment, and other subjects. Moreover, he offered no agenda for a second term other than vague promises of making everything swell. Days later, during a friendly Fox News “town hall,” Sean Hannity asked Trump to spell out his plans for a second term. He replied by rambling on about his inauguration and attacking John Bolton. more...

I’ve worked on winning Republican races across the South, and I’ve never seen a racist appeal like Trump's succeed. Why won't his party challenge him?
Stuart Stevens Opinion contributor

About a year ago, I finished writing a book in which I posited that race was the original sin of the modern Republican Party and that the rise of President Donald Trump is based more on white grievance than any other factor. It was a conviction I had come to after over 30 years of working in Republican politics, including five presidential campaigns. To me it seemed an inescapable if depressing reality.  

My first campaign was for a congressional seat in Mississippi among a white Republican (my client), a white Democrat and a Black Independent. I quickly realized anything we could do to increase the profile of the African American would help divert votes from the Democrat to the Independent. It was our best play, since there was little we could do to attract African Americans to our own campaign. more...

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