Curing the Donald Trump Spell: The Problem

126 Republican members of the House of Representatives signed an amicus supporting a frivolous challenge to President Trump’s election losses in swing states.  Reportedly, 140 members will support Louie Gohmert’s even more frivolous challenge to the certification of President-Elect Biden’s win. Every single Republican member of the House voted against impeachment of President Trump for withholding funds they themselves had appropriated to go to Ukraine in hopes of obtaining Russian-promoted dirt to use against Joe Biden. And while just a few Senators have overtly backed these frivolous challenges to Biden’s win, just Mitt Romney voted to convict the President in his impeachment trial.

A majority of the Republican Party has, thus far at least, made it clear they would abrogate the Constitution to see Donald Trump remain in power, even if it means trading away their own institutional prerogatives and dignity.

It’s unclear how much this rejection of democracy stems from recent trends in GOP culture and how much arises simply from a desire or perceived need to back Trump, who openly applauds authoritarians. My guess is that Trump just gave Republican permission to openly defy norms they’ve been quietly chipping away at for some time.

Still, Trump has made it clear he intends to keep milking the grift delegitimizing his own loss.

Two people familiar with the matter say that in recent days, Trump has told advisers and close associates that he wants to keep fighting in court past Jan. 6 if members of Congress, as expected, end up certifying the electoral college results.

“The way he sees it is: Why should I ever let this go?… How would that benefit me?” said one of the sources, who’s spoken to Trump at length about the post-election activities to nullify his Democratic opponent’s decisive victory.

That may exert political pressure on Republican elected officials. It will surely foster [more] violence among Trump’s followers.

That leaves the United States with a twofold task if it will be successful at stepping back from the brink of authoritarianism it faced on November 3: first, in the middle of a pandemic and a time of escalating inequality, to prove that democracy can still provide tangible benefits to Americans. That will require that President Biden not only choose to pursue policies to address the malaise that made Trump possible, but that he’ll succeed in implementing such policies. With limited exceptions, that will first require convincing a sufficient number of Republicans to act to benefit the US rather than just the party, or at the very least, to understand benefit to the GOP to be something other than lockstep loyalty to Trump. It requires doing so at a time when much of the GOP believes (Trump’s underperformance compared to down ballot races notwithstanding) that they need Trump’s support to get reelected in 2022, one stated reason why some Republican Senators may join Josh Hawley’s cynical support for Trump’s challenge on Wednesday.

But the vote on Jan. 6 to certify Biden’s win is viewed within the GOP as a painful litmus test. Republicans either risk blowback or a primary challenge by approving Biden’s win amid Trump’s baseless claims of widespread fraud, or they can align themselves with Trump’s attempt to subvert the election results.

Trump has already shown little regard for those who are criticizing the efforts in the House and Senate to block Biden’s win. The president attacked Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.) for the second time this week after Thune said Trump’s efforts to overturn Biden’s win will go down like a “shot dog” in the upper chamber.

The president urged Gov. Kristi Noem (R-S.D.) to run against Thune, though Noem has already said she will not run against Thune. Trump in a tweet called Thune a “RINO” on Friday — a Republican In Name Only.

In short, something will need to break — or at least chip away at — the spell of authoritarian sycophancy that Trump has over the GOP.

Some of this may come of its own accord. For example, if Democrats manage to win the Georgia run-offs, Trump may try to claim that Republicans lost only because he had no reason to boost turnout. Still, if the GOP does lose the Senate after Trump spent months denigrating elections in Georgia, ultimately Senators will put some blame on Trump.

Trump’s luster may fade of his own doing. After all, a key part of his mystique comes from a belief that he has had any more success as a businessman that any other rich heir would be with the same money. Trump Organization is badly underwater, even absent the legal troubles facing the company in New York State. The pandemic will continue to suppress business travel at least for another four months. The private bankers at Deutsche Bank who’ve kept Trump afloat in recent years resigned some weeks ago. While Trump, personally, is entertaining offers for some media venture, it’s not clear any of then will provide a way to bail out his family company.

And increasingly, Trump will be deplatformed. While a significant swath of political journalists will continue air his grievances (it’s more fun than covering the kind of substantive policy debates that will return to DC), starting in three weeks Twitter no longer has a commitment to label, rather than delete, his tweets that violate Twitter policy. Rupert Murdoch has (at least temporarily) lost patience with Trump. Trump appears to be banking on sustainably being more important to the MAGAt base than Fox News; he believes he can take his followers with him to OANN or a Newsmax channel. And he’ll succeed, at least at first, to a point. But deplatforming of other right wing icons has shown that a significant portion of followers won’t make the effort to move off mainstream platforms (say, from Twitter to Parler). Without the same ability to juice the central conflicts of the day, Trump won’t have the same ability to remain one pole in a deliberately stoked polarization.

These are all things that may happen of their own accord. In a follow-up, I’ll look at ways that may bring Trump some accountability going forward.

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169 replies
  1. joel fisher says:

    I’ve been thinking since he won in the primaries that he was a blessing in disguise: the GOP–their thinking, their actions and their people–are a curse on the US and Trump just might be their end. To the extent that he breaks the party into 2 pieces–the stone evil Trumpsters (Hawley) and the economic scum (McConnell)–and they destroy each other, how is that not a good thing? Granted the morons on the left couldn’t manage to translate a national loathing for Trump into 2020 down ballot success, but at least the Democratic party looks like it’ll still be around a fussin’ and a fightin’ on into the indefinite future.

  2. DAT says:

    Fintan O’Toole, writing in NYRB called Johnson and Trump necrophiliacs. One in love with the British Empire, the other in love with coal mining jobs. Both in love with affirmative action for white male heterosexuals.

    • ernesto1581 says:

      also:
      “One of the reasons there can be no postmortem on Trumpism is that Trumpism is postmortem.”

  3. Bay State Librul says:

    Speaking of Fintan O’Toole….
    “Trump has unfinished business. A republic he wants to destroy still stands. It is, for him, not goodbye but hasta la vista. Instead of waving him off, those who want to rebuild American democracy will have to put a stake through his heart.”
    Curing the Trump spell….. not going to happen until he swallows his last cheeseburger

  4. harpie says:

    https://twitter.com/ArdenFarhi/status/1345403512134529026
    11:16 AM · Jan 2, 2021

    NEWS: Roughly a dozen Republican senators are in talks to join Missouri Senator Josh Hawley in objecting to the electoral college results when congress meets Wednesday, according to multiple Republican sources familiar with the ongoing talks.

    added: a phrase that just popped into my head:
    18 U.S. Code § 2384 – Seditious conspiracy
    https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/2384

    • harpie says:

      via cynthia kouril:
      https://twitter.com/lindyli/status/1345093321253912576
      2:43 PM · Jan 1, 2021

      In 1861 Congress expelled 11 Senators & 3 Reps for failing to recognize Lincoln’s win

      Can we summon the courage that our forefathers had? 140 House Republicans refuse to acknowledge Biden’s win (and thus their own, too). Do not seat them

      Mo’ seditionists >> mo’ Trumps

    • P J Evans says:

      I wonder how many of them were on the ballot they claim they object to.
      (IMO, any congresscritter wanting to challenge votes should be forced to defend their own seat, peacefully in a debate or out in the street with the white supremacists they’re supporting.)

      • harpie says:

        https://twitter.com/sahilkapur/status/1345423296544829441
        12:34 PM · Jan 2, 2021
        Here’s the list, and a screenshot of their demands. The last four “Senators” are actually Senators ‘ELECT”. Cruz is spearheading. Russia Ron is next.
        Added:
        Ted Cruz // Ron Johnson // James Lankford // Steve Daines // John Kennedy // Marsha Blackburn // Mike Braun // Cynthia Lummis // Roger Marshall // Bill Hagerty // Tommy Tuberville []

        • Honeybee says:

          Somehow this list (and the states these folks hail from) get me thinking about moving energy from Canada to the gulf. Just a thought. BTW We’ll be signing off from this location soon – great times watching EW grow into a force to be reckoned with since the FDL days.

    • PeterS says:

      So Ted Cruz et al want an investigation of the election results. They say “by any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.”

      What mixture of cynicism and blind stupidity leads these people to ignore the fact that the unprecedented number of allegations stem from one source, so the number by itself is not remotely the basis for an investigation. 

      FFS if you care about fires do something about the arsonist.

      • Rayne says:

        U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 4: Elections

        The Times, Places and Manner of holding Elections for Senators and Representatives, shall be prescribed in each State by the Legislature thereof; but the Congress may at any time by Law make or alter such Regulations, except as to the Places of chusing Senators.

        Bold mine. Sen. Ted Cruz doesn’t have a leg to stand on, especially after +59 lawsuits in which no evidence has been produced showing fraud or irregularities the states’ election authorities could not resolve before all 50 states certified their elections. He and the rest of his cohort of seditionists idiots are trying yet again the spaghetti test method to change the outcome of a little d democratic election — keep throwing pasta at the wall to see if something sticks. But his own state already tried the same approach and they didn’t have standing.

        Keep in mind Cruz was used by the Trump campaign and his “sponsors” — it’s Cruz’s primary campaign data which ended up shared with Trump. Cruz has also been cagey about the role Cambridge Analytica played. Is he rattling cages with this bullshit attempt in an effort to demand support because of his role in 2016?

        2015: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/dec/11/senator-ted-cruz-president-campaign-facebook-user-data

        2018: https://www.opensecrets.org/news/2018/03/before-trump-cambridge-analytica-was-on-team-cruz/

        (Sure would like to know what was in the RNC’s emails which were hacked in 2016.)

        • jonf says:

          I can do accounting pretty well but not law stuff. That said I have a question for you. If the republicans were to have the votes to declare Trump the winner despite the certified electoral votes of December 14, could the democrats appeal that vote to the Supreme Court?

          • Rayne says:

            Has never been tested that I’m aware of, but the Constitution says the states choose the electors and legislate how those electors shall vote the outcome of the election also run according to states’ legislation. Those electors have already cast their votes in December according to their states’ legislation; Congress’s role is certifying those electors’ votes but there is little to contest if the states already certified elections, and already resolved any lawsuits contesting the elections at state level. See https://www.brookings.edu/blog/fixgov/2020/10/21/can-the-electoral-college-be-subverted-by-faithless-electors/

            ADDER: Article II, Section 1 —

            Each State shall appoint, in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct, a Number of Electors, equal to the whole Number of Senators and Representatives to which the State may be entitled in the Congress: but no Senator or Representative, or Person holding an Office of Trust or Profit under the United States, shall be appointed an Elector.

            The Electors shall meet in their respective States, and vote by Ballot for two Persons, of whom one at least shall not be an Inhabitant of the same State with themselves. And they shall make a List of all the Persons voted for, and of the Number of Votes for each; which List they shall sign and certify, and transmit sealed to the Seat of the Government of the United States, directed to the President of the Senate. The President of the Senate shall, in the Presence of the Senate and House of Representatives, open all the Certificates, and the Votes shall then be counted. The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President, if such Number be a Majority of the whole Number of Electors appointed; and if there be more than one who have such Majority, and have an equal Number of Votes, then the House of Representatives shall immediately chuse by Ballot one of them for President; and if no Person have a Majority, then from the five highest on the List the said House shall in like Manner chuse the President. But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote; A quorum for this Purpose shall consist of a Member or Members from two thirds of the States, and a Majority of all the States shall be necessary to a Choice. In every Case, after the Choice of the President, the Person having the greatest Number of Votes of the Electors shall be the Vice President. But if there should remain two or more who have equal Votes, the Senate shall chuse from them by Ballot the Vice President.

            Congress really has a role when the number of electors is tied between candidates. Otherwise, The Person having the greatest Number of Votes shall be the President.

            • Jonf says:

              If the vote is contrary to the elector’s vote and assuming no evil doers, it would seem the Court would adjudicate the issue in favor of the electoral vote. If it is otherwise we have entered a self defeating constitution. Any time the minority party wins the electoral vote, the majority would defeat it making the vote something of a joke and people’s votes meaningless. But as I said,I am not the lawyerly one about here. This time the House is controlled by the democrats, so the issue does not present itself.

              • Eureka says:

                Were such to happen, the House votes by whole state contingents (not individuals) — at this time a GOP majority, so not controlled by the Democrats (which is the whole point of Trump exploring this coup angle). It’s in Rayne’s quote block above:

                But in chusing the President, the Votes shall be taken by States, the Representation from each State having one Vote

                • jonf says:

                  But the electors from each state have already chosen. And there was not a tie. How is it possible to overturn that? That is what troubles me. What role does congress rightfully have in overturning the vote? There already has been numerous challenges to the results and no fraud was shown.

          • P J Evans says:

            They need both houses to pull it off, and the Dems aren’t going to throw Biden and Harris away. (Some of them in the House are going to vote against Pelosi as Speaker, though.)

        • TooLoose LeTruck says:

          (Sure would like to know what was in the RNC’s emails which were hacked in 2016.
          ______________

          This, right here…

          I find it next to impossible to believe that the RNC did NOT get hacked back in 2016 and not one single bit of material has ever been dumped in public…

          • Maureen A Donnelly says:

            I’ve been saying this since we learned they were hacked. My hypothesis is that Don/Vlad showed the RNC what they had on them and whoosh–they all turned to lapdogs.

    • Frank Anon says:

      Pursuing bogus policy and frivolous votes surely doesn’t rise to the level of sedition. My fear is when the vote fails on January 6, which of these fools will abet the actual sedition forming in the street

      • P J Evans says:

        Gohmert certainly is. One or two of the Senators might go there. I’m not sure they realize the danger that puts them in themselves.

        • Molly Pitcher says:

          They are only putting themselves in danger if someone has the testicular fortitude to prosecute them for their sedition. My greatest fear is that no one it going to make these GOPers accountable for their actions. That will be an invitation for the next wanna be dictator.

  5. OldTulsaDude says:

    I don’t think Trump is smart enough or cares enough about details to have investigated on his own the methods being used to try to undo the election and keep him in power. Every Republican knows this case will fail; this suggests the activities were never meant to alter this election but are a dress rehearsal for future use. This also strongly suggests that an alarmingly influential arm of the Republican party is anti-democracy.

      • skua says:

        Yes. Thinking about the 6 January in terms of Trump wanting to create a spectacle that will outshine the final official step that makes him “45 – Trump The Loser” does explain some of his motivation I think – beside keeping the money flowing in from the rubes, and being poised to steal/rape/poison whatever comes within reach.

    • Min says:

      An alarming number of Republicans are not only anti-democratic, they are anti-republican, authoritarians in favor of a dictatorship. They are truly republicans in name only.

  6. harpie says:

    Here’s GOHMERT on NewsMax last night:
    https://twitter.com/atrupar/status/1345377936300453891
    9:34 AM · Jan 2, 2021

    Louie Gohmert on Newsmax: “But if bottom line is, the court is saying, ‘We’re not going to touch this. You have no remedy’ — basically, in effect, the ruling would be that you gotta go the streets and be as violent as Antifa and BLM.” [VIDEO]

    Gohmert says that if Congress doesn’t overturn Trump’s election loss, “it will mean the end of our republic, the end of the experiment in self-government.” [VIDEO]

    • harpie says:

      GOHMERT
      1] https://twitter.com/MEPFuller/status/1345386475987333120
      10:08 AM · Jan 2, 2021

      When I started covering House Republicans in 2013, a senior GOP aide told me to ignore the Steve Kings and Louie Gohmerts in the party.

      I pretty much did the exact opposite, and watched the whole party turn into Louie Gohmerts — and Louie Gohmert graduate to…this. [link to NewsMax]

      2] https://twitter.com/steve_vladeck/status/1345371749140082690
      9:09 AM · Jan 2, 2021

      Gohmert isn’t just a member of Congress; he’s one of the senior Republicans on the House Judiciary Committee—tasked with regulatory and oversight authority over federal courts. And he’s a former state trial and appellate judge.
      He knows better, even if those he’s scamming don’t.

      • ThoughtMail says:

        The Gohmert case would appear to be correctly decided. There can be no remedy because there is no injury (advisedly, yet). Is there even a foreseeable injury, and to whom?

        To whom is the rub or, at least, one of them.

        None of this is even ripe, yet.

          • @pwrchip says:

            Rayne:
            “Who else has Gohmert been talking with about this seditious plan?”
            A. a handful of would-be electors
            “Gohmert and a handful of the would-be electors sued Pence in federal court on Monday in a long-shot bid to throw out the rules that govern Congress’ counting of electoral votes next week. It’s an effort they hope will permit Pence”
            12/28/2020 02:21 PM EST
            https://www.politico.com/news/2020/12/28/gohmert-suit-pence-overturn-trumps-defeat-451485

          • ThoughtMail says:

            Sure. That might get some traction against what Gohmert has been doing, but it’s not what his pleadings were, was it? I really don’t know what his pleadings were, and really don’t care to waste the time finding out because they’re facially preposterous. Even reading the whole of the judgement would be busywork that I’m not prepared to do. Even the judge wasn’t prepared to do any more than necessary to squash it (which was his job, not mine).

            U.S. v. Gohmert et al. could be interesting, though.

          • BobCon says:

            I don’t know if it will be Gohmert — he’s been around long enough to make me think he is cagey about directly plotting with nuts.

            But based on the Q*n*n types incoming, I would put even money that at least one House Republican and/or their staff gets exposed this year in a genuine criminal conspiracy.

        • P J Evans says:

          The court pointed out that the proper defendant would be the House and the Senate. There can’t be injury to individual members. (The states they’re objecting to don’t include Texas and Gohmert wasn’t an elector from any state.).

    • harpie says:

      https://twitter.com/stevenmazie/status/1345543016933634048
      8:30 PM · Jan 2, 2021

      Fifth Circuit affirms district court ruling that @replouiegohmert lacks standing to bring his ridiculous election-stealing lawsuit involving VP Pence [screenshot]

      https://twitter.com/RMFifthCircuit/status/1345543515070210054
      8:32 PM · Jan 2, 2021

      The Fifth Circuit cuts everything short on the stupid Gohmert suit with these brutal disposition. A very conservative panel btw.

      I cannot explain how unusual and dismissive it is for the Fifth Circuit to summarily affirm without even responsive briefing. They might as well have stamped “please go away you silly person” on the top. […]

      • harpie says:

        Speaking of Pence, his chief of staff had this to say:

        https://twitter.com/Acosta/status/1345513103895748608
        6:31 PM · Jan 2, 2021

        Statement from VP Pence Chief of Staff Marc Short:
        “Vice President Pence shares the concerns of millions of Americans about voter fraud and irregularities in the last election….”

        Short statement continued: “The Vice President welcomes the efforts of members of the House and Senate to use the authority they have under the law to raise objections and bring forward evidence before the Congress and the American people on January 6th.”

        Adam Klasfeld:
        https://twitter.com/KlasfeldReports/status/1345535134200688647
        7:59 PM · Jan 2, 2021

        Pence refusing to back Gohmert’s stunt lawsuit via the DOJ was never about defending democracy but keeping his fingerprints off the cosplay overthrow.

        His secondhand statement doesn’t allege fraud or irregularities, only “concerns.”
        His meek, lawyerly evasion, via @Acosta

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          Every time Pence does something cowardly and infuriating, I get some genuine joy over remembering he thought he was going to run against president clinton in 2020 and was the future of the GOP. He’s certainly enough of a weasel to embrace fascism, but his faux pious act went out of fashion with the election of president Obama. He’s backed Trump every step of the way and will get absolutely no political benefit from it. He might as well blackmail Trump and retire to a lifetime of terrible takes as a fox news political contributer.

  7. Peterr says:

    In the UK, Dr. Daisy Fancourt leads the UK Covid-19 Social Study at University College London. She’s got a great piece up at The Guardian that summarizes what they’ve learned over the course of the pandemic, based on a weekly analysis of ongoing survey data about how people have been acting during the pandemic. It’s a wonderful piece, with lots of links to underlying research (and not just her own). These two paragraphs jumped out at me (emphasis added):

    It was only as lockdown was eased that compliance began to decrease. Partly, people felt the situation was safer. But other factors contributed too. For many, the new rules were simply too complex to understand. While during lockdown 90% of adults in the UK reported feeling they understood the rules, by August this figure was just 45% in England. Conflicting rules across UK nations, frequent changes to rules, and confusion about dates of announcement (as opposed to dates of implementation) exacerbated the situation.

    But the message from the government about adherence also changed after the revelations about the actions of Dominic Cummings, which were followed by a decrease in compliance. Returning to a single event might seem like bearing a grudge, but it was pivotal for many reasons. During lockdown the message on compliance was clear: social restrictions were vital to stop the spread of the virus, so everyone had to play their part; no excuses, no exemptions. But Cummings changed the tone: if you could find a loophole in the rules, it somehow became acceptable (and defensible) to break them. The enemy changed from being the virus itself to being the measures designed to curb the virus.

    That internal link goes to a study in The Lancet with the title “The Cummings Effect: politics, trust, and behaviours during the COVID-19 pandemic.”

    Here in the US, we don’t have as easily identifiable date to point to, but Trump clearly pivoted in this same direction, supported by GOP elected officials, and cheered on by GOP voters. What made this pivot possible, IMHO, is that it fits the story that the GOP has been telling voters for decades:
    +Regulations are bad
    +Mandates are evil
    +Greed is good
    +Wealth is proof that you are better, smarter, and more important
    +Poverty is what you get when people are lazy
    +Government is the problem

    This mindset will not go away on January 21 and it must not be ignored.

    It must be challenged with facts, not assertions. It must be exposed as a fraud by a countervailing narrative of the successes we have achieved when we work together. Most critically, those who push this narrative must be called out, called to account, and pushed aside.

    • John Lehman says:

      +Wealth is proof that you are better, smarter, and more important
      Also at the foot Mammon’s alter could be the corollary:
      +Poverty is proof that you are a worse, dumber, and less important

      • P J Evans says:

        There’s always been a strain of that thinking in the US. It especially applies to people who aren’t white males.

        • John Lehman says:

          Yes, there’s a human tendency to live in our own bubbles and borders, to be irrationally scared of and defensive of the “others”. We really aren’t to much different from each other whether a poor bum on the corner or a rich snob on the hill. The more our common humanity is realized the better off we’ll be.

        • John Paul Jones says:

          There’s a character in a Willa Cather novel. I forget his name, but he’s old, rich, and a social Darwinist. He has a line (roughly) that he hates poor people because they stink in the nostrils of God. So yeah, the attitude goes back at least to the 1870s, and possibly earlier. Been at least 40 years since I read through Cather, so forgive me if I’ve got it a little skew-whiff.

          • Troy P says:

            This goes back at least as far as Samuel Smiles and his book “Self Help” (1859). The ridiculous notion that poverty was a moral failing and that success was a sign of moral virtue. The kindest spin I could put on this is that it is a low rent reading of Weber’s Protestant Ethic and the Spirit of Capitalism and it underpins Libertarian “thought” to this day.

    • Stephen Calhoun says:

      GOP has been telling voters a lot of things, so a comprehensive assessment would nail it all down.

      The culture war has been around a long time. Was it not William F. Buckley who wrote “I would rather be governed by the first 2,000 people in the telephone directory than by the Harvard University faculty.” Heather Cox Richardson writes about how the south won the cultural civil war.

      The acculturation which leads to contempt for the educated, embrace of creationism, fusion to white supremacy, (etc.) has in our day morphed into a binary sketch: the rural ‘real Americans’ of white main street versus the decadent atheistic/humanistic cosmopolitan ‘exotic’ elites.

      imo

  8. John Lehman says:

    “These are all things that may happen of their own accord. In a follow-up, I’ll look at ways that may bring Trump some accountability going forward.”

    You mean other than the gates of hell?

  9. Krisy Gosney says:

    With Rush Limbaugh most likely passing away this year or next, will his absence help break the GOP voter’s spell they’re under? I think yes because he is the one that has burrowed deep into families after all these years. And then there is his elderly audience who will be passing on too. I think an elderly father, mother, grandparent, etc spouting propaganda and policing the rest of the family to tow the propaganda line has had a major influence at voter level and their absence will likely free some space in families for individual thinking. Will all this ‘passing away’ make a huge difference? Not right away but I think it will eat away at the GOP propaganda stranglehold slowly but steadily.

    • ButteredToast says:

      Agree with you that Limbaugh bears a large share of blame for the utterly brainwashed state of most Republican voters. I really hope you’re right that his passing will help some of these folks to return to reality, but I just don’t see it making much of a difference. By now the RW alternate reality is bolstered not just by other talk radio programs, but also TV, Facebook posts, “news” sites like Breitbart, Parler, etc…plus fundamentalist pastors who say Democrats are inherently evil. And it’s a competition among RW media to become as radicalized as possible (for example, Newsmax cutting into Fox ratings). It’s similar to Trump’s administration appointees: every time I think he couldn’t find anyone worse, he always does.

      At this point, I’m convinced that RW media is the biggest hindrance to any return of political sanity and also to Democrats’ ability to compete in “red” states/districts. RW propaganda is the biggest driver of the political polarization discussed so much in the media (often as if it’s arising spontaneously). Without it, a Trump-like candidate, if somehow nominated, would have suffered a Goldwater-scale defeat. I think it was Roger Ailes who once remarked that Nixon would never have needed to resign if he had a Fox News.

      • Frank Anon says:

        I ran for local office in the last few years, I “friended” as many people in the district I could find on Facebook. I get their Facebook Live videos, I see their threads, they just don’t believe this stuff, they inhabit it. The violent words and vitriol come from men and women, young and old. Plus, even gentile disagreement from their own teammates is given a single chance to profess their wrongness before the hate defends on them. This kind of belief doesn’t go away because something happened, it mutates when the circumstances of its creation change. My guess is there becomes an explosion of cells with this ideology, guns and anger, kind of a way larger right wing Red Brigades. If there is shooting in DC of note on the 6th, it’s going to be bad, I think

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          It really doesn’t seem like maga voters can be systematically influenced in a top-down manner by Fox anymore. The explosion of qanon has really crystallized that for me. The mob is in the driver’s seat now. Ofc Fox et all are responsible for priming them for this.

          Did you win?

        • Ginevra diBenci says:

          Frank Anon, that is what I am seeing as I monitor rightwing media. It isn’t coming from the outlets as much as it from the rabid commenters and those disinforming each other on social media. The momentum is terrifying–not something Trump could stop, I fear, in the unlikely event he wanted to. He didn’t start this but he sure fed it and now it is out of control.

    • Jonf says:

      It does appear as if sedition is running the game we are in at the moment. I understand that may even be punishable as treason. Imagine that.

      • bmaz says:

        NO! There is absolutely nothing you complain about that constitutes “treason”. Seriously, this shit is so tiring.

        And, no, First Amendment politically protected free speech you disagree with is not necessarily “sedition”.

        • jonf says:

          I agree treason is too far. But these folks are planning to overturn the election that was certified on Dec 14 by the electors of each state. And that after numerous challenges by Trump and co. So what am I to make of the possibility? If they take a vote the dems can defeat it in the House this time, but does that mean next time the conservatives control congress they can overturn it?

          • Rayne says:

            It. Is. Not. Treason. Jesus Christ on a flipping pogo stick, stop using the word. We’re going to treat it like Popehat treats RICO around here.

            See 18 U.S. Code § 2381 – Treason:

            Whoever, owing allegiance to the United States, levies war against them or adheres to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort within the United States or elsewhere, is guilty of treason and shall suffer death, or shall be imprisoned not less than five years and fined under this title but not less than $10,000; and shall be incapable of holding any office under the United States.

            Treason has a specific legal definition which is related to traditional kinetic warfare; the first criteria for treason is a formally declared state of war and an identified enemy. Nothing these members of Congress and Trump’s lawyers are doing fits that definition; their actions more closely match rebellion and insurrection and/or seditious conspiracy under U.S. Code Chapter 115.

            What they are doing may fit the definition of seditious conspiracy but having rarely experienced sedition by elected officials we lack roadmaps for addressing it both to suppress it now and to discourage it in the future.

            And yes, so-called conservatives are likely to treat any opportunity to gain and retain power as they wish; this is the single most important reason why Americans who believe in a liberal democracy should continue to work at local, state, and federal level to ensure there is no way for so-called conservatives to further their anti-democratic aims.

            We really need to stop calling them conservatives because the only thing they are conserving is the power of white supremacy. We need to stop calling them Republicans because they do not believe in a democratic republic. They are the Grand Old Party of White Supremacy and its ongoing colonialist aspirations.

            • bmaz says:

              This is really true.

              “We really need to stop calling them conservatives because the only thing they are conserving is the power of white supremacy. We need to stop calling them Republicans because they do not believe in a democratic republic. They are the Grand Old Party of White Supremacy and its ongoing colonialist aspirations.”

              Maybe there needs to be a new word and, no, I am not sure what it is.

              There is no minimizing the insanity being expressed currently by far too many in the GOP. But stretching to term it things that it clearly legally is not is not helpful in the least.

              • subtropolis says:

                I’ve been complaining for years about the continued use of the word “conservative”, even for the most extremist of right-wingers. During this last so-called administration that appellation has become plainly absurd. Although I think that it fits, I understand why “fascist” is problematic. But “extremist” seems to me to fit the bill quite nicely.

            • graham firchlis says:

              “We really need to stop calling them conservatives….”

              No sense allowing the Right to control vocabulary. Settle on a term then repeat it incessantly, even gratuitously, until it is adopted into common usage.

              While there are conservatives among us, essentially all of them now self identify as Independents or nominally as Democrats. Membership in the modern Republican Party consists entirely of Reactionaries, whose intent is not conservation of the status quo but rather the imposition of a mythologized status quo ante, the “good old days” when women and people of color knew thier place and were made to keep it.

              Near all of these Reactionaries favor Radical methods including coercion, deception and/or violence to achieve thier ends.

              Radical Reactionaries. That is what they are, and what they should be called. I suggest we call them that, relentlessly.

  10. madwand says:

    And the news from down here in GA is that we can expect recounts and court suits galore if Republicans lose and maybe even Democrats if its close which by all indications its’s a dead heat right now per Atlanta Journal Constitution reporter on MSNBC. So stay tuned the fun is just starting.

    I would like to see Trump just slowly become more irrelevant but he will find a way to keep his hand in the game. That is what he does and as someone has noted he is not going to stop between now and January 20, and he will not after. We should all be wary of the protests planned for the 6th in DC. I’ve seen a lot written on protests from the right, not sure whether left wing groups plan to make it a party. If so then violence is almost a given. The only question is how much and how long.

    • rip says:

      Not so sure you need anyone other that right-wing nut jobs and paid actors to have a “party” in DC and elsewhere. I’m guessing that the actors are assigned L/R roles in the costume room – perhaps based on their physical attributes.

      • madwand says:

        Mayor of DC was on John Capeharts show this AM and indicated they are prepared and interacting and coordinating with the Capital Police and the Secret Service to limit weapons. Proud Boys on the other hand are giving out information on how to smuggle weapons into DC. We will see shortly.

  11. Nehoa says:

    The House majority should refuse to seat all of those planning to vote against certification of the election results. If they think there was a problem with the voting, their elections can not be certified either. Can’t have it both ways folks.

  12. skua says:

    If Trump goes to OANN then I’m thinking that his fervent supporters could follow so as to keep themselves inflated with all that “winning and greatness” froth and bubble.

    Fox will respond so as to keep profitable. Options visible:
    1. Turn super-Trump; elections were biggest crime ever, Biden’s socialist totalitarian Deep State destruction of liberty, defence of the Constitution by citizens’ brave action. This option would have Fox pulling out all the stops and aiming for maximum emotionality so that just about all Trumpists stay with Fox. (But c.f. with NYPost “Stop the insanity”. Though maybe like the tobacco companies, Murdoch just wants multiple brands to sell to different markets.)
    2. Go WWE, polarized. Have multiple foolish treacherous “liberal” presenters being constantly schooled by “smart and patriotic” Inghams, Tuckers and Turleys. Make a false and enbubbling representations of American political conflicts.
    3. ? (How else can they maintain viewer numbers? Get new viewers – where from?)

  13. Bobby Gladd says:

    Article II, Section 1, clause 2. See also Amendment XII. Full stop. Congress does not get to VOTE on “certifying” the incoming President on Jan 6th. Not even via 3.USC.15.

    Ted Cruz‘s last minute “emergency audit” stunt is clearly unconstitutional on its face. The electoral college certification deadline ship sailed in December.

    Some clauses of the Constitution are difficult to interpret. These are not among them.

    I get that a lot of people are upset at the election outcome. Totally get it. But they have had two months and unlimited funding to make the case for substantive “election fraud.” (Begging the question of, ‘what have they done with the money?’ Hmmm…) They have failed to do so.

    President Trump himself repeatedly claims he has “absolute PROOF” that he won the election—Bigly. Well, I guess it’s Top Secret. Declassify it, bitch. Loudly and angrily yelling the same vague assertions over and over is not the same as providing legal evidence. All it will ultimately beget is violence.

    • ButteredToast says:

      One of the most telling indicators that these people are completely full of bunk (besides the utter lack of evidence, of course) is that even Bill Barr wasn’t able to put together a misleading case. Do they really think that Barr, of all people, wouldn’t have loved to help keep an authoritarian-minded Republican as president if he could get away with it? Oh, I forgot—we now know Barr is Deep State. He orchestrated a cover-up for Trump and co. just to hide how he is actually in cahoots with Soros and Hillary Clinton. (/snark, in case it’s unclear)

  14. Thomas says:

    I don’t buy that Trump will have insurmountable cash flow problems. His base is a money printing machine for him, not to mention all the other new opportunities that will open up for him overseas. Ex-presidents only get richer,

    • P J Evans says:

      Most countries don’t want him, and he’s not that rich – his British courses are money-sinks. His base got him only $200 million “to fight the election”, and that money mostly didn’t got to the election fights.

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      The man drove three casinos into the ground, and his faculties have significantly decayed since then.

      • Rayne says:

        I’m going to disagree with the context of driving three casinos into the ground. If you think like a crook, disposing of a money laundering vehicle by bankruptcy is a nifty way to eliminate evidence while ensuring one has ample opportunity to eliminate tax obligations especially on money one doesn’t want to report. Thomas is a bit short sighted on this point; the Trump org business continues to provide money laundering facilities — even those ‘failing’ golf courses in Scotland and Ireland — as well as other opportunities to siphon off money from the public.

        Trump’s faculties have decayed, certainly, but Trump org hasn’t. What Fred Trump taught his son has now been passed on to his grandchildren and their partners. We’re going to have to lop more than one head off this hydra.

        • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

          Very good point – much of their wealth seems to come from strategic inflation of losses

          • Rayne says:

            Steeply padded invoices — that was one of Fred Trump’s SOPs, take incoming invoices from contractors, pad them, then bill out goods and services rendered to the recipient entity from Fred Trump’s company, All County Building Supply & Maintenance. So every expense Trump org casinos paid was likely padded steeply, to the point where expenses would appear to crush the business. Trump org takes each casino into bankruptcy, which allows the business to renegotiate its debt even while it continues to pay inflated prices for services and goods. Once the debt is renegotiated — and the mortgagor may have received a cut of the padding along the way for all we know, thereby losing nothing on the renegotiation — the bankrupt takes the loss against taxes. In Trump’s case, paying virtually no taxes for a decade, IIRC correctly.

            It’s really difficult to think like a crook if you’ve been thoroughly indoctrinated into GAAP accounting with transparency short of damaging proprietary information, seeing ethical operation as enhancing goodwill, brand value, and the bottom line. But Trump never learned to do business that way; he was the “dumbest goddam student I ever had,” according to one of his marketing profs at Wharton. Perhaps he wasn’t dumb, though; perhaps he reflected in his academic output what his father taught him: how to be a crooked operator.

      • bmaz says:

        Why? Cy Vance the Junior is one of the most feckless politicians in history. He is a self serving weathervane that has accomplished little, if anything, other than sliding Ivanka and Jared. I guess that is something.

  15. pseudonymous in nc says:

    There’s power in winning elections, but the power to nullify an election is something else entirely. Power on steroids. So why not try it? What’s the worst outcome? Not any kind of consequences in the current political environment, not when Republicans are always the protagonists of the drama.

    Congressional Dems need to go ballistic on Thursday once the challenges go to debate. Dem leadership needs to have a list of participants already drafted out based upon their effectiveness, as well as being from the states in question. And they should feel free to use unparliamentary language (at least in the House, since Mitch may try to invoke Rule XIX).

    • PeterS says:

      Yes, but the carefully honed arguments and biting invective will have exactly what effect on the likes of Jim Jordan and Matt Gaetz?

      • Eureka says:

        Jordan and Gaetz (et al.) aren’t the audience.*

        *Well, they are for the “Fuck around and find out” part of it all…

    • Eureka says:

      Excellent — but maybe we should start a helpful list ourselves, given past performance of leadership vs the wisdom of the EW crowd.

      PA:

      Mary Gay Scanlon (who I say without hesitation regardless of format, which I cannot quite envision) (also likeliest to swear as needed, in my estimation)

      Madeleine Dean (like Scanlon, retains the muscle memory of *training* for a toothsome impeachment that got switched to a 5k run-walk, and for one of Barr as well)

      Dwight Evans; maybe Brendan Boyle

      GOPers need to get involved — perhaps the single instance where a participation trophy would be merited — now would be a great time for Brian Fitzpatrick to decowardize. (Merely failing to affirmatively join the coup doesn’t count.)

      Senate-side, Toomey can bring his twitter game (chokes on beverage) to the floor.

      Other suggestions (and) for other states?

      Ah, fuck it — can we just send in Fetterman on a guest pass?

      • MB says:

        Here’s a fantasy scenario for next week:

        If for some improbable stroke of fate, the Senate ties 50-50 on the electoral vote objection, What Would Mike Pence Do? Jan. 6 is too early for Kamala to do anything in the way of tie-breaking…

        • Eureka says:

          Oh! The DeVoses will send in a drone fly to whisper sweet don’t you even think about it nothings into Pence’s ear, and he’ll speak the Biden word before fleeing the country.

          But seriously, even when Trump isn’t saying things aloud like ‘what’s in it for me to quit this’, I wonder how much he’s extorting from the stable money oligarchs in go-away payments, what blackmail deals he’s cutting (ahem, Prince pardon — tho Trump needs that, too). (Ooh, maybe even brokering his _own_ pardon in that deal; Trump gets a Pence pardon on a 25th pause, then comes back to pardon Prince; *or makes Pence do both*.)

  16. BobCon says:

    I appreciate this kind of methodical analysis — it’s the kind of thing that tends to be missing from a lot of election post mortems. Writers latch on to one path and ignore all other possibilities.

    I think a lot of pseudo analysis acts as though it is a given that Trump will be a fixture for the next four years, but I don’t think that is at all clear. I think far too many assume all radical Republicans are fungible and the base will follow any of them. I think it is unclear whether any of them will have Trump’s appeal, and I have at least some doubts that someone like Cruz or Hawley will swallow their egos and back another nominee, especially someone like Romney.

    I think far too many analysts take it as a given that Trump voters are universally aligned with right wing policies, and I think it is clear that there are many millions who voted for him purely for personality and branding reasons. That doesn’t mean they’ll switch to the Democrats in large numbers, but they may sit out.

    And given the events of the past year, I think most analysts are fairly ridiculously assuming far too much predictability. We should not assume there won’t be some big event for good or ill coming out of the blue. We can’t know what that is, but we can think harder about how different sides will react.

    Smart GOP analysts (there are still a few) should be biting their nails over how this plays out. Not because the Democrats are brilliant strategists, but because the GOP leadership is becoming increasingly unmoored from basic math, and that is a rotten foundation to build from.

    • PeterS says:

      You make a good point about predictability. Few people understand how unpredictable and random events are, because everything makes sense with the benefit of hindsight.

      • BobCon says:

        When the Democrats took over the House at this time two years ago, none of the chatter about whether not Trump would be impeached took the possibility of Rudy and Ukraine into consideration. How could they?

        I think it is up in the air whether Trump is at serious legal risk for anything we know about, but no smart person should discount the possibility that he above all others has risks we don’t know about. But almost no Beltway pundits include this uncertainty in their attempts at analysis.Even though this is Trump we’re talking about.

  17. dashc says:

    The hypocrisy on the right is never ending.

    so now via sedition they want to give Trump a participation trophy? Really?

    and, by doing so they want to effectively cancel the results a free and fair election. Talk about “cancel culture.” These clowns are worthless and by all means need to be held to account.

  18. John Langston says:

    Perhaps the republicans will split into two, conceiving a MAGA party and a “conservative” party? Now where will the oligarchs spend all their influence money?

    • PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

      Why would the maga party give up the existing infrastructure built by the gop? It is a lot of work to start a new party and build that infrastructure.

  19. Chris.EL says:

    Dear people, some of these comments are just beyond incredible! So many good, smart, *analytical* minds! Not a bit of my statement is given with anything but wholehearted compliment.
    ~~~~~~~~
    This retweet from popehat (Twitter — Ken White) mystifies me:

    “DPRK News [email protected]_News
    1/2/2021
    “Conservative wing of United States republican party seeks to restore founder Abraham Lincoln’s vision of rebellion against lawfully elected government, stripping black Americans of citizenship, and statues of confederate traitors in places of honor.”
    ~~~~~~~~~
    Popehat regularly retweets this news bureau and generally the news bureau makes sense. I guess I’m wondering if there is a joke here and I don’t get it. The remark is sort of accurate, isn’t it?
    ~~~~~~~~
    Also parlertakes; we read parler so you don’t have to. WORD.

    • BobCon says:

      It’s a joke account that usually mocks the GOP, often comparing Trump unfavorably to Kim. I think it occasionally gets taken seriously, on a smaller scale than The Onion.

        • Chris.EL says:

          BobCon, bmaz thank you for the clarification… makes these posts even funnier — but seriously, since I’m a native Californian, graduated from high school at the time of the Berkeley – People’s Park RIOTS, I’m not a follower or proponent of Civil War genesis or trivia.

          In my perception CivWar was a dead issue, past event, but obviously there are a lot of citizens in the US still hanging on to hope of finishing the conflict and prevailing.
          ~~~~~~~~~
          Wish we could concentrate on helping folks in this country that are down, depressed, hungry, sick, out of work, out of a home… Hate to say it again, but Trump is off his rocker. Just read a really looong piece by George Conway — a stunning critique of Trump’s psychopathology (previously published in The Atlantic but pinned top of his Twitter). Only a self-employed booby could “rise” as far as Trump.

  20. Stacey says:

    I’m becoming quite convinced that Trump sees himself as benefitting from the R’s loosing Georgia, and therefore sort of pulling for it, not just because it sticks it to Turtle as many commentators have noted, but because a loss there sure ratchets up the violence potential, strengthens their “rigged election” plea, AND is a way better fund-generator for Trump’s grift than their winning it ever could be!!!

  21. Raven Eye says:

    I’m concerned about the effect upon the electorate of the second order effects – and beyond – of this rubbish.

    I don’t talk to anyone around here about election results. Even though Oregon’s vote-by-mail system works well, the frothy right tend to foam a bit, they don’t wear masks, and they are enraptured by the “fraud and corruption” in those “other” states. But talking to a neighbor yesterday I got a little more insight.

    Education: When the discussion turned to schools and managing the non-classroom part of it, he claimed his kid only got about 30 minutes of Zoom from the teacher – and she didn’t do much. He said that he and his wife were effectively doing home-schooling; but that was probably OK because the kid wouldn’t be exposed to “…all that propaganda”.

    The product will be future voters.

    Vaccination: He expressed concern that kids would be involuntarily vaccinated when they showed up at schools. This is one of those statements that is so mis-informed that it almost stops you in your tracks. (Where is he hearing this crap? Newsmax?)

    I explained that as far as I knew, the vaccines hadn’t been approved for children and that trials would only begin once researchers had a good handle on reactions and efficacy in the adult population. I even mentioned medical ethics.

    I also mentioned that involuntary inoculations of children wouldn’t be legal. However, down the road, when there was a vaccine available for children, it might be difficult to place a child in public school without proof of vaccination. In my mind I can see a rush on home-schooling kits and enrollment in private (largely religious) schools. More safe havens against “propaganda”.

    I related to him the statement by one of our county commissioners – at a regular meeting – that you get vaccinated to protect yourself, not other people.

    And since it seemed like the time to make him a little more uncomfortable, I added a point about herd immunity: The herd doesn’t give a shit if you die…As long as the herd remains viable. To reinforce, I said that all these advocates for some kind of “natural” herd immunity don’t care if a lot of people die. Life sucks. And in modern times, herd immunity has never been achieved on a wide scale without vaccinations.

    In some respects this is a little amusing because he knows I spent years in the basement of a very large five-sided building – and sometimes wonders what I know. But that amusement evaporated pretty quickly when I realized that I was talking with some version of the future electorate – those 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc. order effects.

    For much of that, we have can thank the eruption (or some other term) of the kind of things we are seeing right now with these Republican Party life forms who (some at least) know what the Constitution says, but feel empowered to spin their own version of it for no certain result.

    And Trump still controls the “football” and will instinctively lash out until his last hour in the White House.

    For more entertainment, check out: https://wildprotest.com/

    • bmaz says:

      Involuntarily vaccinated at school? Horrible! However, pretty sure I got most of my vaccinations as a kid, including the sugar cube, from the school nurse. And everybody else did too. It was not a problem. People are just nuts now.

      • P J Evans says:

        I don’t remember getting many vaccinations at school, but the last time I got a smallpox shot, that’s where I got it. The sugar cubes – they gave those at schools, but that was because schools had the space and the records for families; they were giving them to *everyone*. My whole family went for those, all at once, like everyone else.

      • ThoughtMail says:

        Hahahaha. I never got the sugar cube. That was new technology!

        I got one of the first Salk vaccines (being in Canada at the time), without the inducements. And I don’t believe that my parents consented, in any substantial way, to any of it. I suspect that your experience was roughly the same.

        I suppose the regime was, basically: consent to vaccines or homeschool your kids. Still a good idea, in some ways.

        • bmaz says:

          Heh, I have no recollection as to whether there was a consent form or not. I don’t think so, but who knows? I was pretty young. It was just what you did. I remember there being consent forms for simple field trips back then, but not on getting vaccinated. Were me mum still alive, she would know. I sure don’t recall any dispute as to whether polio or measles were bad enough that everybody ought be vaccinated.

          • Chris.EL says:

            Clearly remember the sugar cube, Oakland elementary school c. ~1960?
            (… ‘twern’t no vaccination, ’twas just a little bit of sugar… kids will gobble it up, right? The administrative side of the school must have received permission, or maybe just used the blanket custodial permissions already in place?)…
            ~~~~~~~~
            My mom’s dad was an MD, Stanford grad. ~1929; before that an electrical engineer Wash. state. During medical school he wired houses for $1 an hour in Palo Alto. Times sure have changed?

            • bmaz says:

              I gladly gobbled the sugar cube as opposed to another shot. But I was already getting allergy shots, so a common shot did not ever really freak me out.

          • ThoughtMail says:

            CONSENT FORMS ?????? !!!!!!!

            I swear, on a stack of whatever religious books you choose that, in grade school or high school, I never saw a single consent form. For my kids, yes; but not for anything I did.

            FREEDOM!!!!!! ;-)

            • P J Evans says:

              The ones I remember were for field trips (permit letters). I don’t think that way back they did consent forms for a lot of things where parents expect them now. With field trips, is was because we were going to be Somewhere Else and parents are need-to-know on that.

        • Ruthie says:

          Having raised an immune compromised child, it makes me incredibly angry how easy it is to pass on vaccinations and still attend school. Some of those vaccinations are only 60-70% effective, which means people like my son could be at risk even after being vaccinated. The level of selfishness shown by some is exceeded only by their ignorance.

      • rg says:

        Let’s not forget, those vaccinations at school have been pre-approved (in writing) by the child’s parents. So, not involuntary at all.

        • bmaz says:

          I am not so sure that was the case at all as to when I was a kid.

          And, as to the extent they have to be now, parents that refuse to have their kids vaccinated should have to deal with such ignorance at home. Because that is what anti-vax assholes deserve. This stuff is not a joke.

      • Raven Eye says:

        After the chat with the neighbor, I saw a couple of online headlines about Fauci suggesting that vaccinations might be mandatory for kids in schools.

        I can hear Frothy Right Radio: “Caller – you raise a good point. If Fauci mandates vaccinations for school kids, what’s to stop the radical left educators from forcing vaccinations on our children once they get them inside the schoolhouse?” This is the old dodge for deniability: “I was just asking a question that I’m sure will be asked by millions of parents”. The propagandist’s “obvious question” tool.

        One tool that Rush fine-tuned is the unlinked chain of facts. A statement like: “The earth…is flat” is offered up as factual and correct. Except that the ellipsis hides the missing links in the chain: “The Earth is round, while a pool table is flat”. There is a lot of that going on in right wing media.

        (A favorite Rushism: In 1994 or ’95 a cube-neighbor listened to Rush’s radio show before it really took off – and I actually heard this: A caller stated that it would be ironic of events in Sarajevo would result in some of the World’s major powers being drawn into a conflict with each other. Rush’s question? “Caller – I don’t get your point.”)

        • bmaz says:

          There is nothing easy about this. Fully understand there may be flat earthers as to vaccine. But if that is who a person is to be, fine; just do not impose such ignorance on to all children in your relevant community.

    • PeterS says:

      On vaccination, I see that the British Medical Journal is asking the NYT to correct its article that claims UK guidelines allow two Covid-19 vaccines to be mixed. An important correction I believe, as vaccine misinformation is dangerous stuff.

      • timbo says:

        Yeah, just read about the “mixing” thing in the San Jose Mercury News Sunday paper today. It’s ludicrous.

  22. jonf says:

    I wonder if I got this right. The republicans want an extra ten days to audit the vote. Never mind they have had since Novemer3. Those next ten days and are critical to uncovering the 8 million vote fraud or so they seem to say. Why would the democrats agree to that nonsense? I sure hope someone finds the balls to tell them to take a hike, This must end now.

    • P J Evans says:

      They’re trying to claim Pence has the authority and it’s in there somewhere that they can’t cite. It’s bullshytt and being pushed by, among other idjits, Peter Navarro who is neither a legal nor a constitutional expert.

      • Ollie says:

        hey PJ Evans: I just posted the link to the doc that sen cruz put out and he mentions all this crap. He wants 5 senators, 5 reps and 5 supreme court justices, LMAO who will then take it to the states and THEY will decide if they should change the vote, lol. I quoted some of the highlights. I feel like the pus is starting to drain………gagging here.

        • madwand says:

          Cruz is in Georgia this AM spouting the SOS and standing in front of a David Perdue sign. I wouldn’t give him the time of day but people should make no mistake, this attempt has legs and rural Georgians are coming out. Burke County, a largely rural county which normally has 100 early voters has reported 3800 early voters and a further 800 or so absentee ballots. Hard to tell who is coming out more, they’re keeping a lid on it.

          • mass interest says:

            Madwand, what do you mean by “they’re keeping a lid on it?”

            Are the early and absentee votes counted as they come in, or on the designated day of the runoff?

            • madwand says:

              The article I quoted there was in the paper addition, not the website of the Augusta Chronicle this morning and gave the numbers I quoted approximately. There was no breakdown or exit polling that I saw. Burke is largely rural so I assume mostly Republican, and it would be interesting to see if there is a break among Trump voters, but couldn’t tell from the article.

  23. PhoneInducedPinkEye says:

    Had a chilling thought today: vaccine insurgency in some red states. Masks and other proven weapons against a virus have been cynically demonized by many R’s for political points. What happens when Biden takes office and starts directing a proper vaccine distribution effort?

    Will republicans with 2024 hopes start blocking shipments of the vaccine? Will they turn a blind eye to armed pickups hijacking and destroying shipments?

    A national vaccination program, especially under a D president, encapsulates so many of the benefits of modern society that Rs have been lambasting and sabotaging in the pursuit of power.

  24. Ollie says:

    https://www.cruz.senate.gov/
    Sen Cruz put out this statement. I’m going to vomit.

    “”But, whether or not our elected officials or journalists believe it, that deep distrust of our democratic processes will not magically disappear. It should concern us all. And it poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations.

    “Ideally, the courts would have heard evidence and resolved these claims of serious election fraud. Twice, the Supreme Court had the opportunity to do so; twice, the Court declined.

    “On January 6, it is incumbent on Congress to vote on whether to certify the 2020 election results. That vote is the lone constitutional power remaining to consider and force resolution of the multiple allegations of serious voter fraud. “In 1877, Congress did not ignore those allegations, nor did the media simply dismiss those raising them as radicals trying to undermine democracy. Instead, Congress appointed an Electoral Commission-consisting of five Senators, five House Members, and five Supreme Court Justices-to consider and resolve the disputed returns. “We should follow that precedent. To wit, Congress should immediately appoint an Electoral Commission, with full investigatory and fact-finding authority, to conduct an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states. Once completed, individual states would evaluate the Commission’s findings and could convene a special legislative session to certify a change in their vote, if needed. “Accordingly, we intend to vote on January 6 to reject the electors from disputed states as not ‘regularly given’ and ‘lawfully certified’ (the statutory requisite), unless and until that emergency 10-day audit is completed.

    “We are not naïve. We fully expect most if not all Democrats, and perhaps more than a few Republicans, to vote otherwise. “……blah blah blah. Stupid fuckers. NOW I can go and read the comments. Great report Marcy. Tomorrow is going to be interesting. I wish Nancy P wouldn’t seat those traitors. Trying times…….

    • skua says:

      T.Cruz prob has fantasies about repeating the deal that underpinned the 1877 commission.

      “As Henry Adams, a black Louisianan, lamented, “The whole South—every state in the South—had got into the hands of the very men that held us as slaves.”

    • madwand says:

      “”But, whether or not our elected officials or journalists believe it, that deep distrust of our democratic processes will not magically disappear. It should concern us all. And it poses an ongoing threat to the legitimacy of any subsequent administrations.” I’m not wishing for this investigation and I don’t think it will be voted in, however if it is, then the first question would be who fermented this shit? It would become pretty clear, in a short while that Republicans were responsible, they are undermining democracy, and this has been their game plan for awhile now. It’s one of my Congressman’s regular themes. The game is rigged they say, but the only game being rigged is the one the Republicans are rigging.

    • P J Evans says:

      Saw images of this several places on Twitter, but didn’t read because my stomach isn’t that strong.
      (I also expect law school graduates to know better.)

  25. Franktoo says:

    The most important thing – in my dreams – we can do is restore limits on the power of the “imperial presidency” that were trampled by Trump and Barr:

    The easiest place to start might be with abuse of the presidential pardon power. Citing Trump’s precedent of pardoning family members, Biden could say he feels a family obligation to pardon Hunter. However, instead of acting unilaterally, Biden will let Congress decide. If Congress doesn’t pass an amendment to reform the presidential pardon power in 2021, Biden could say that he will interpret Congress’s lack of action as an endorsement of Trump’s precedent and that he will then pardon Hunter and others. Hopefully, Republicans will be more interested in limiting Biden’s power to pardon (especially as a lame duck) than in actively supporting the precedents Trump set.

    During impeachment, Trump refused to let his closest advisors testify. The DoJ Office of Legal Counsel has always maintained that presidential advisors are immune from compelled Congressional testimony and that lower court rulings to the contrary were wrongly decided. Since the DoJ won’t indict a president and Congress can’t compel witness testimony that might convince a president’s party of presidential wrongdoing, impeachment is now impractical. This makes it imperative for the DoJ to insist that cases from the Trump era are no moot and get a ruling from the Supreme Court. If the Republicans preferred, however, the issue could be rendered moot by amendment. Congressional oversight is a bipartisan issue.

    Finally, Barr has asserted that no presidential actions broadly authorized by Article 2 can expose a President charges of obstruction of justice – contrary to the precedent set by the House Watergate Impeachment Committee. If Republicans aren’t willing to work with the Democrats to establish the principle that a president can obstruct justice using his Article 2 power, the DoJ would be forced to establish this principle in the Supreme Court by pursue the obstruction of justice charges by Trump outlined in the Mueller report. I think the Republicans would prefer to pass an amendment rather than have Trump stand trial.

  26. Mitch Neher says:

    Ms. Wheeler wrote: “In short, something will need to break — or at least chip away at — the spell of authoritarian sycophancy that Trump has over the GOP.”

    The only way I can think of to break Trump’s spell over the GOP is to make Trump cry like a child in front of cameras and microphones.

    An excessively literal spanking of Trump might just get that job done.

    It’d be for their own good.

    • Leila512 says:

      RE: Current and future GOP. Has anyone read John Dean & Bob Altemeyer’s book “Authoritarian Nightmare”? It provides a research and history-based model for understanding why there are so many intransigent, ardent enablers of this nightmare we’re in. Published in August 2020, the final chapter is prescient. I found it a helpful, if scary, way to understand why so many Trump supporters seem to vote against their own interests and why the GOP congresspeople are supporting these seditious acts. Wondering if anyone here agrees or disagrees, and if so for what reasons? (Sorry if this has been discussed already,,,)

      • Mitch Neher says:

        Trump and his worshippers are well beyond the reach of rational understanding at this point.

        I recommend a quick reading of “Ubu Roi,” a play by Alfred Jarry, reputed to be the origin of absurdist theatre.

        And cancel the “spanking,” too. Someday whose name I can’t remember said something like, “Everything looks smaller and smaller the closer we get to January 20th, 2021.”

  27. John Langston says:

    Trump can keep the grift going on after the inauguration. Keep the rube donors enthralled, troll a few lawsuits and cash-in on right wing media. Rush is on his last legs and this void needs to be filled.

    Now, Trump himself doesn’t have the discipline or knowledge to do a daily TV or radio show but he’s always good for a call-in spot, MAGA rally, or repeating a scripted lie.

    • Chris.EL says:

      News reports that Trump returned to White House and pulled a no-show for his fancy NY Eve party. Those folks that paid big bucks must feel gipped; soon they could be tired of it, as is the usual case, right?

      Photos of that night show Melania walking off the plane enveloped in some massive overcoat with what looked like a blanket underneath. Strange.

      • P J Evans says:

        That overcoat thing is feeding the rumors about a body double for her – it’s so very much not her style.

        • Chris.EL says:

          don’t know much about the body double thing, maybe she wanted to disguise her figure that day, very strange — although that leads me to think of some sort of serious health issue (hiding portable dialysis or oxygen concentrator?). We’ll never know. Maybe Trump will decide to give up this charade and exhibit some care for his wife and family.

          LIFE’S TOO SHORT, DUDE!

  28. Ruthie says:

    “That leaves the United States with a twofold task if it will be successful at stepping back from the brink of authoritarianism it faced on November 3: first, in the middle of a pandemic and a time of escalating inequality, to prove that democracy can still provide tangible benefits to Americans. That will require that President Biden not only choose to pursue policies to address the malaise that made Trump possible, but that he’ll succeed in implementing such policies. With limited exceptions, that will first require convincing a sufficient number of Republicans to act to benefit the US rather than just the party”

    I’m sure much of you will have heard/read about this, but The American Prospect has put together a detailed list of things Biden could accomplish just based on existing statute and/or executive orders, called the Day One Agenda. Unfortunately, neither Biden, who spoke to Congressional Democrats a couple/few weeks ago and implied he’s not about to play ball, nor party leadership seem willing to actually wield real power.

    https://prospect.org/day-one-agenda

    • timbo says:

      Or maybe it just involves putting enough of the grafters and corrupt in prison? Unfortunately, Trump has been busy pardoning some of them the past few weeks so they’ll no doubt back him or another authoritarian grifter candidate come the next Presidential election… now that moral considerations appear to be off the table when it gets to the giving out of pardons following an election.

  29. harpie says:

    MARCY: Lordy, there are tapes.

    ‘I just want to find 11,780 votes’: In extraordinary hour-long call, Trump pressures Georgia secretary of state to recalculate the vote in his favor
    https://washingtonpost.com/politics/trump-raffensperger-call-georgia-vote/2021/01/03/d45acb92-4dc4-11eb-bda4-615aaefd0555_story.html

    In a phone call on Saturday [YESTERDAY!], President Trump insisted he won the state and threatened vague legal consequences. Here are excerpts from the call. (Obtained by The Washington Post)

    • Chris.EL says:

      The votes are tucked into the spot vacated by Trump’s soul.

      Love the way the party had to pay $3 million dollars in Wisconsin just to add votes to Biden’s tally!! That’s the ticket!

      Might it be a good idea to discontinue the JANUARY inauguration pagentry to maybe Spring (cherry blossoms!) — just do the oath of office with a few and save the partying for warmer days?

      Trump and his “MAGA drones” are determined to do all they can to ruin Biden’s + Harris’ day!

  30. Vinnie Gambone says:

    To Rayne’s point about Casino losses. Add the $400 Million Trump will stiff Deutche bank for to $900 Million losses he already carries. In some bizzaro money laundering world, does that somehow make him an attractive partner for Money launderers? Wouldn’t they have to make a profit that exceeds the losses before paying taxes? Is it a Springtime for Hitler scenario? Dump money into trump and he buys stuff from your cohorts at outlandish prices and you get your money back.

    Reminds me of the old joke: If I had a dollar for every woman who found me unattractive, eventually they would find me attractive.

  31. Vinnie Gambone says:

    Look for appearances by Stone, Flynn, and others. Where are they today? There’s a war room somewhere and they are scripting events down to the moment Biden is confirmed. That is the moment the charges go off or whatever stupid actions they are going to take. Counter protesters should realize, if they don’t show up to provide an excuse for violence, the Proud boys will turn on them selves. I so hope they do bring weapons, get caught, and each have to pay lawyers and go to court etc. I absolutely hope no one but them gets hurt and by their own. “The true victor is not he who wins a hundred battles but he who avoids a hundred.” Don’t go. Gang fights are no good if there;s not another gang to fight with. Stone and Prince are planning something. Bet on it. Wondering if their permits allow big screen so they can show what is happening on the floor in congress.

    • Eureka says:

      Dunno about today or the rest, but Stone was hashtagging eattherich on Parler the other day. Unironically. Rudy was similarly Rudying.

      As to what they all do on Parler and the scripting you mention, no-name (to us) boosters give Trump Himself all credit for planning via their method of numerology — the jargon-name they’ve given it escapes me (tho they repeat it over and over and over, so newbies can look it up and learn, or just believe) — and his tweets.

      My head hurt for the FBI agents and others who have to monitor this shit everyday.

  32. Terry Mroczek says:

    The GOP has become a zombie party. With no ideas, no solutions to complex 21st century problems, they have turned to fictionalizing to remain in power and demonizing the Democratic party to turn attention away from their own transgressions. To motivate voters, they turned up the fear. It was their only strategy. It was only logical to assume that low-moral carpetbaggers like Limbaugh, Hannity, Levin, FoxNews, and the whole right wing fabrication machine would see GOP’s decay as a cash cow. I’ve seen it since the early 90’s. The only reason that it has accelerated is due to the social media platforms that make it easier to spread the lies. To turn down the heat, I believe the only way is go after their money. Whether it is defamation / slander lawsuits or some other legal remedy that hits the heart of their falsehoods – truth and facts MUST get back in the front seat if the democracy is to endure. By changing people’s minds to believe that the truth is false and what is false is true, they are stealing the right of the people to choose for themselves. Influence, yes, but it must be ethical. Manipulation and fraud is at the heart of their strategy and they must be disincentivized for lying if we are to step back from this brink of authoritarianism. Lawyers of America – what say you? Can a legal argument be made for defrauding the people of the United States for the purposes of keeping power they are not entitled to? Can the numbers of people involved who are making money peddling lies make a case for conspiracy?

  33. e.a.f. says:

    If there is no money in it, Trump will be out of the picture. He likes to of course be the center of attention and if that isn’t being provided, he like any toddler having a tantrum, will go to their room. In his case one of his golf courses. His maga followers may decide to follow some one else, like one of the 12 who will make bigger and better promises. Trump maybe able to obtain money from small “investors”, but it was interesting to read in today’s news that some of the corporate CEOs want Trump to stop this silly business and accept Biden is going to be the new president. Some had donated to Trump in the past. Now he has provided them with what they wanted, reduced taxes and rolled back regulations, and he is of no use to them any further. He isn’t president and he isn’t going to be at any future time. My quess is those CEOs see Trump now as a liability and he may find not many are interested in him any more. there will be others who are more useful to them.

  34. Ollie says:

    I am confused: I posted a comment a while back and it was removed. I had put the wrong email address. I asked about it and it reappeared. You Rayne had stated that the info wasn’t consistent. Usually? You put a note under their comment to be consistent. I didn’t say anything more but now another comment of mine is gone. Could someone let me know what’s happening? Thanks!

    • Rayne says:

      Ollie, I don’t know what happened to the comment you’re referring to which I think was back on December 19 or so; a lot of water has passed under the bridge since then. I won’t go into specifics about the spam+troll detection system; it kicks into a hopper or bin any comments posted by users which don’t meet its digital sniff test, so to say. Sometimes things as little as a typo can cause comments to get caught up in moderation. Sorry for the inconvenience but the system has kept the site from being overrun by gremlins for over a decade.

  35. skua says:

    Any great benefit to Congress Repubs in having Trump impeached before 20 January?
    Do-able?
    (Assuming here that Georgia does go Dem.)

    • timbo says:

      Pence gets to pardon conspirators instead of Trump. Not seeing that as an upside for Pence in the longterm politically though.

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