Saturday, November 21, 2020

The Lyin' in Winter


Cheriss May/NurPhoto via Getty Images via Business Insider.

We're at this bizarre moment when Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff winning the Georgia Senate seats—both of them—suddenly starts to seem conceivable. One thing is those exit poll numbers from 3 November:

Washington Post.

Biden won just 30% of the white vote (up from 21% for Clinton in 2016), but that was enough, combined with the overwhelming preference of Black and Latino voters, if only because there were so many of the latter, testimony to the extraordinary work of Stacey Abrams and thousands of people like her getting out the vote in historic proportions (not just minority members but also anybody under 45, who preferred Biden by 53% to 44%). 

But some Georgia Republicans are blaming Trump for depressing white turnout with his attacks on ballot security, and may now be making it worse for the GOP Senate candidates by insisting that it's still his election the voters should be worried about

“Republicans have the advantage in a vacuum — the problem is this run-off is taking place in the eye of a political hurricane of the president's own making,” Republican strategist Liam Donovan told Yahoo News. “The longer this quixotic bid to overturn the results and deny the reality of a Biden victory, the harder it is to argue you need a GOP majority as a check.”

Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who called himself a “Republican through and through” in an interview with Yahoo News earlier this week, blamed Trump for Biden’s win in the state.

“Twenty-four thousand people did not vote in the fall; either they did not vote absentee because they were told by the president ‘don’t vote absentee, it’s not secure,’ ” Raffensperger said in an interview with WSB-TV, an Atlanta-area ABC affiliate. “But then they did not come out and vote in person. He would have won by 10,000 votes. He actually depressed, suppressed his own voting base."

And it's possible they're right, if these old boys are any indication:

And Trump himself seems to have his doubts about Kelly Loeffler—what's this "perhaps"?

Relentless focusing on the profiteering corruption of Perdue and Loeffler, both of whom made a killing in the stock market after the briefing at the Capitol Hill Club last February when senator Richard Burr warned them that the truth about the coronavirus was a lot more dire than the happy talk Trump was serving the public (and investors) at the time. And now there's a new story about Perdue, who's the subject of an SEC complaint from the Campaign Legal Center on his conduct last year:

In 2019, shortly before he was appointed as the chair of the Senate Armed Services Subcommittee on Seapower, Perdue invested $190,000 in BWX, one of only two or three companies contracted to make key parts for Virginia-class submarines. Perdue, the multimillionaire former CEO of Dollar General and a highly active stock trader, had never invested in the company before, according to the report.

Perdue then began work on the funding bill, which ultimately secured $4.7 billion of government funds for Virginia-class submarines. He was reportedly "hand-picked by party leadership to hammer out the final version of the bill between the House and Senate."

BWX stock rose while Perdue pushed for the funding, and he sold his shares for tens of thousands of dollars in profit, according to his 2019 financial disclosure forms.

Meanwhile Trump keeps losing his various gambles, the 31 lawsuits and the attempts at a state legislature coup. He appears to have lost the Michigan gambit

While Mr. Trump has made baseless charges of voter fraud in Michigan and elsewhere, Michigan’s top two Republican lawmakers — who had been summoned to the White House by the president — said after the meeting that they had “not yet been made aware of any information that would change the outcome of the election” in the state. In a statement, they vowed not to interfere with the certification process.

“As legislative leaders, we will follow the law and follow the normal process regarding Michigan’s electors, just as we have said throughout this election,” said the two officials, Mike Shirkey, the leader of the State Senate, and Lee Chatfield, the speaker of the State House.

Even if Shirkey and Chatfield may have been seduced, as Steve points out, by the Dom Pérignon at Trump's Washington bar, the state's vote seems certain to be certified on Monday, on the recommendation of a host of legal advisers and the board's own staff:

Also on Friday, the staff of the Michigan Board of Canvassers released a report recommending that the 4-member board certify the election results, saying that the allegations of voting irregularities affecting results was not accurate [sorry about the grammar lapse]....

"As in past elections, some jurisdictions made errors in reporting unofficial results," the staff of the board said in its report. "These errors are all attributable to human error in the operation of tools used to report unofficial results, did not affect the actual tabulation of votes, and were identified and corrected."

And if they do succumb to the urgings of Ronnadonna McRomneyface to delay, making time for an audit of the imaginary irregularities, Trump forces will still have to carry out the same maneuver in another four or five states. Wisconsin will have to wait until after the pointless recount of Milwaukee and Dane counties is finished on 1 December (all the other individual counties are certified already),  but  Georgia certified yesterday, and in addition to Michigan, results will be certified on Monday for Pennsylvania and Arizona, where the Republican-controlled Board of Supervisors of Maricopa County and Republican Senate President Karen Fann have said they have no choice, using arguments identical to the ones I've been deploying—

For one thing, the Legislature cannot convene on its own without support from two-thirds of the members in each chamber. That means Democrats would have to agree.

Gov. Doug Ducey could call a special session, but any legislation passed would not take effect for months. And the Legislature can't change the state's electors without a change in law.

Do you suppose Trump's plan is to break just one state? So he can brag that his 2016 win of 306 electoral votes was bigger than Biden's? 

I don't think that could be it. I think what Trump himself is up to is not knowing what to do, other than stall until something turns up, like Mr. Micawber. All his many failures throughout his long life have ended with a rescue: from his father living or his father dead (when he and the siblings sold all the Queens and Brooklyn real estate so he could use his share to bail out the Taj Mahal, robbing Mary Trump and her brother in the process) to NBC making him a television star (not to mention the possible helping hands of organized crime Italian or Russian or bribery from the Middle Eastern oil despots). 

He's at another of those supremely low points, with a billion dollars in loans coming due and his income failing and his ability to pay back a bribe fading away (there's nothing in the world he can do for Putin now, though I guess he got some nice weapons for UAE and Bahrain last month—but they already paid their share, initialing the Israel "peace" deal), civil and criminal cases developing against him in New York, and who knows what coming from the federal legal system when he leaves the White House (of course he may decided to pardon himself, which will give him lots of litigation time, even if it turns out to be illegal, as I'm sure it will). He knows he'd rather not leave the White House (it's pretty interesting that he's still there, golfing at the Sterling club, instead of moving to Mar-a-Lago for the usual vacation, as if he were afraid to leave). There are slaves willing to go any length to placate him, from his family to his pets in Congress and the party hierarchy, but they can't fix what ails him. And he can't do much for them, any more, and those, other than politicians trying to inherit his base or relatives trying to ensure their share of the fortune, if there still is one, are going to start to peel away. 

You can say he's at his most frightening, like a cornered badger, but he's also as vulnerable as he's ever been. He can't get them to let him mount an Iran strike, no matter how many people he fires, and it wouldn't have done him any good anyway, it was a ridiculous idea. He's clearly working on a kind of revenge on Biden, with the delayed transition and the messing with unspent funds, but that doesn't really do him any good either. It's still pretty much what Digby said

and only time can put an end to it. But it's soon now. And the longer Trump takes the more he helps Warnock and Ossoff, for what it's worth (maybe not a lot, but every drop is delicious).

And another one bites the dust...

The intro to the decision on that case is one of the best things ever. Read the thread!

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