Happy Thursday. Here’s what you need to know to start your day:
Trump is still tweeting out bizarre calls to “overturn” the election, while pressuring fellow Republicans to stay in line.
The Texas lawsuit to nullify the election results in four states is a clownish legal stunt. Seriously, it’s way dumber than you think.
Nevertheless the GOP attorneys general in 17 states are backing the suit.
A congressional floor challenge to the Electoral College vote on January 6 now seems a near-certainty.
As Mona Charen writes, “We are now at the stage when a critical mass of the Republican party has adopted Trump’s disordered personality for its own.”
On Wednesday, 3,054 Americans died of COVID-19. The president made no comment.
Welcome to the Countdown Journal. There are four (4) days until the Electoral College votes and 41 days until the Inauguration of Joe Biden.
Trump is no longer really pretending. First, he said he would present compelling evidence in courts. That failed. Then he tried to get legislatures to intervene. That failed. Then he tried to get SCOTUS to intervene. That’s ongoing, but it won’t work.
So here we are:
The Texas case is a moronic omnishambles.
Andy McCarthy has been Trump-friendly, or at least Trump-adjacent for much of the last four years. But his analysis of the Texas lawsuit is scathing.
Already under indictment for securities fraud, Attorney General Paxton is currently caught up in yet another corruption investigation — one that has roiled his office. Now, he has filed a lawsuit so frivolous and so blatantly political that the top appellate lawyers in his office evidently declined to endorse it.…
There is, however, no way the Supreme Court is going to entertain Texas’s lawsuit. There is also no way, I suspect, that Paxton doesn’t know that.
No, really. It’s really stupid… pure undiluted idiocy. Read Philip Bump:
It is a lawsuit that people with much more legal expertise than myself have dismissed out-of-hand as ridiculous given the legal case being made. But it is also a lawsuit that makes statistical claims that are so bizarre, it falls well within my area of expertise to point out that on that rhetoric alone, it’s a disaster.
The lawsuit’s statistical case comes down to this question: How many zeros will it take for you to be sufficiently impressed that you’ll ignore basic logic? The author of the lawsuit appears to have settled on the number 15…
“The same less than one in a quadrillion statistical improbability of Mr. Biden winning the popular vote in the four Defendant States — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin — independently exists when Mr. Biden’s performance in each of those Defendant States is compared to former Secretary of State Hilary [sic] Clinton’s performance in the 2016 general election and President Trump’s performance in the 2016 and 2020 general elections,” it reads. “Again, the statistical improbability of Mr. Biden winning the popular vote in these four States collectively is 1 in 1,000,000,000,000,000.”
Just complete nonsense.
As predicted, support for this legal insanity has become the new GOP loyalty test.
Despite dozens of judges and courts rejecting challenges to the election, Republican attorneys general in 17 states on Wednesday backed President Trump in his increasingly desperate and audacious legal campaign to reverse the results.
The show of support, in a brief filed with the Supreme Court, represented the latest attempt by Trump loyalists to use the power of public office to come to his aid as he continues to deny the reality of his loss with baseless claims of voter fraud.
The abject hackery of some GOPers is just embarrassing:
Sen. James Lankford @SenatorLankfordGlad to see Oklahoma joined Texas in this important pursuit for the facts. @realdonaldtrump and Americans deserve to know the truth in this election & all outstanding questions must be answered by the courts. https://t.co/jwG7Q1zHWO
Brad Heath @bradheathSeventeen states filed a brief in the Supreme Court just now in support of Texas' request that the justices throw out the results of the presidential election in four other states that didn't support President Trump. https://t.co/1sldfhrkbl
As predicted, expect a shambolic floor challenge on January 6. (And don’t be surprised if it is backed by a dozen or more GOP senators.)
Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, Trump’s conservative allies in the House have been privately buttonholing GOP senators, seeking to enlist one to join in objecting to slates of electors on Jan. 6, according to multiple people familiar with their effort who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss their plans.
On that day, Congress will meet in a joint session to count the electoral votes and declare Joe Biden as the 46th president — with Pence presiding. But if a member of the House and a member of the Senate challenge a state’s results, the whole Congress would vote — and the GOP plotting all but assures the routine process could take a dramatic turn, forcing Republicans to choose between accepting the election results or Trump’s bid to overturn the outcome.
We have now reached the stage where it isn’t just that Republicans fail to rebuke Trump. It isn’t just that Republicans are frightened into silence by fear of the base. We are now at the stage when a critical mass of the Republican party has adopted Trump’s disordered personality for its own. The Republican party is, in this iteration, a danger to American democracy. Our urgent task is, to borrow a phrase, to repeal and replace it.
It’s getting ugly out there. Via the NYT:
Kim Ward, the Republican majority leader of the Pennsylvania Senate, said the president had called her to declare there was fraud in the voting. But she said she had not been shown the letter to Congress, which was pulled together hastily, before its release.
Asked if she would have signed it, she indicated that the Republican base expected party leaders to back up Mr. Trump’s claims — or to face its wrath.
“If I would say to you, ‘I don’t want to do it,’” she said about signing the letter, “I’d get my house bombed tonight.”
1. YouTube Still Spreading MAGA Disinformation
YouTube announced with great fanfare this week that it was going to “remove misleading videos about the outcome of the election.” The justification being that the company would remove election-related content that violates its community guidelines prohibiting “spam and scams.” This new policy earned YouTube plaudits in much of the mainstream press and scorn among the MAGAhucksters who need a street corner to hawk their wares.
There’s just one problem.
The whole thing is a performative charade.
2. The “Intellectual” Right’s Assault on Democracy
Former Secretary of Education Bill Bennett, whose best-selling Book of Virtues made him rich, regularly appears on Fox News giving credence to some of Trump’s wild claims of a stolen election. “I believe this election was fixed,” he said this week, noting “systematic corruption” and “statistical anomalies” that made it improbable that Biden won.
Roger Kimball, who is publisher of Encounter Books and won the prestigious 2019 Bradley Prize “for advancing liberty and preserving democratic culture,” has amplified claims of suspicious vote tallies in multiple jurisdictions, mostly cities with large black populations.
Leading the pack of Trump apologists, the Claremont Institute’s scholars and publications have not only echoed Trump’s claims of a fraudulent election, but even “testified” that the 2020 elections violated state laws and the Constitution before “hearings,” which were in reality nothing more than get-togethers that Rudy Giuliani organized with a handful of state legislators.
Deranged old man.
Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrumpRIGGED ELECTION!
Eric Kleefeld @EricKleefeldRush Limbaugh: “I actually think that we’re trending toward secession. I see more and more people asking what in the world do we have in common with the people who live in, say, New York?” https://t.co/tmQocGVoi4
1. A Political Obituary for Donald Trump
America under Trump became less free, less equal, more divided, more alone, deeper in debt, swampier, dirtier, meaner, sicker, and deader. It also became more delusional. No number from Trump’s years in power will be more lastingly destructive than his 25,000 false or misleading statements. Super-spread by social media and cable news, they contaminated the minds of tens of millions of people. Trump’s lies will linger for years, poisoning the atmosphere like radioactive dust.