You know what else is over? The election.


This is getting ridiculous.

President Trump has abandoned his plan to win reelection by disqualifying enough ballots to reverse President-elect Joe Biden’s wins in key battleground states, pivoting instead to a goal that appears equally unattainable: delaying a final count long enough to cast doubt on Biden’s decisive victory.

On Wednesday, Trump’s campaign wired $3 million to election officials in Wisconsin to start a recount in the state’s two largest counties. His personal lawyer, ­Rudolph W. Giuliani, who has taken over the president’s legal team, asked a federal judge to consider ordering the Republican-controlled legislature to select the state’s electors. And Trump egged on a group of GOP lawmakers in Michigan who are pushing for an audit of the vote there before it is certified.

Giuliani has also told Trump and associates that his ambition is to pressure GOP lawmakers and officials across the political map to stall the vote certification in an effort to have Republican lawmakers pick electors and disrupt the electoral college when it convenes next month — and Trump is encouraging of that plan, according to two senior Republicans who have conferred with Giuliani and spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss the matter candidly.

But that outcome appears impossible. It is against the law in Pennsylvania, Wisconsin law gives no role to the legislature in choosing presidential electors, and there is little public will in other states to pursue such a path.

Behind the thin legal gambit is what several Trump advisers say is his real goal: sowing doubt in Biden’s victory with the president’s most ardent supporters and keeping alive his prospects for another presidential run in 2024.

Trump is openly trying to corrupt a democratic election in the United States, and he’s shameless about it, and his Republican cronies are turning a blind eye to the whole degrading process. Is there nothing that can be done? Do we just sit back and watch this boob commit fumbling, bumbling crimes that embarrass the country in the eyes of the world, and do nothing? It’s like standing outside the plate glass window of a bank, watching an idiot pound on the vault with a sledgehammer, while Rudy Giuliani stands at the door speed-talking nonsense at the crowd.

Oh, and almost half the crowd is cheering the crooks on.

Can we please put an end to our ongoing national humiliation and frog-march the whole mob of blithering grifters out of their positions of authority now? Can we at least strip Rudy of his license to practice law? It looks like we’re not even capable of that.

Comments

  1. raven says

    Is there nothing that can be done?

    Good question.
    About the only thing I can think of is donating (more) money to the real patriots who oppose the GOP.
    And getting out in the streets and protesting. Governments always hate and fear that for good reasons.
    I can do the first but right now, not the second due to high risk for Covid-19 virus.

    Do we just sit back and watch this boob commit fumbling, bumbling crimes that embarrass the country in the eyes of the world, and do nothing?

    No.
    But there isn’t that much we can do. See above.
    If anyone has any better ideas, now is the time to publicize them.

  2. raven says

    The other thing we could do is start getting ready for the collapse of our democracy and the USA if the GOP illegally seizes power after they lost the election.

    This isn’t that unlikely.
    As the OP notes, right now the GOP leaders are trying to do exactly that.
    And it has happened and recently when the other superpower collapsed, the USSR.

  3. PaulBC says

    True. And “post-election working the refs” isn’t a thing. Or didn’t used to be. I am pretty sure it’s not in the constitution, though increasingly uncertain about whether that is going to matter. The US had a pretty nice run though, didn’t it?

  4. says

    “Do we just sit back and watch this boob commit fumbling, bumbling crimes that embarrass the country in the eyes of the world, and do nothing?

    For now. I’m worried some foreign power is going to see this as an opportunity to get ornery. Israel bombed Syria a couple days ago and you barely heard anything on the news. Trump’s incompetence has left us seriously vulnerable. We’re primed and ready for Bengazi 2.0.

  5. garnetstar says

    Now he’s not going to allow the government to be funded in December, and cause a shutdown just to get back at the grownups. Not sure if there’s anything to be done about that.

    Not sure that the frivolous lawsuits will stop anytime soon, as apparently Giuliani is egging them on because he wants to get paid (vain hope with this client). And yes, the US will collapse if the electoral college vote is fixed by the republicans.

    I wouldn’t put it past any of them to call for hits on Biden and Harris as a last measure, although that is least likely to succeed.

    If the republicans don’t demand an end to this, there is not much that we can do, I think. And, they won’t.

  6. wzrd1 says

    @garnetstar, successful hits against Biden and Harris would actually work against Trump and the GOP. Remember who would be next in the line of succession.

    Still, nobody is going to convince me that Rudy is licensed in every state, so convincing the NY bar to rescind Rudy’s license would essentially shutcan his ability to act as an attorney nationally until he was accepted by another state’s bar. Given his recent bumbling performance in open court and the inability to articulate the levels of judicial scrutiny when queried by the judge, that seems improbable.
    Legally speaking, that’d be like PZ being incapable of explaining how carbon is important to life, in general terms.

  7. euclide says

    In their logic, the democratic party stole the election, meaning Trump is stealing a thief.
    Too bad for your 250 year old democracy.

    The irony of this stupid tactic is that at this game, Nancy Pelosi will have the last word in January anyway (but that could spark a ciivil war)

  8. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    Having listened to the accounts of E. Jean Carroll and others raped by the President, it occurs to me that his approach to politics is the same as his approach to rape:
    1) It is direct and shameless
    2) It is incompetent and lacks any ideas as to how the subject of his aggression functions
    3) There is a complete sense of entitlement–and outrage that anyone would dispute it
    4) It is characterized by a brazen lack of concern for the consequences of his actions
    5) He relies on an endless string of toadies ready to get him out of any resulting trouble–toadies he will deny even knowing when his association with them becomes inconvenient.

  9. maireaine46 says

    I may be wrong, but I cannot imagine Trump in any shape to do anything in 2024. He’s already heavily delusional and would be in an institution if he were some normal family’s crazy grandpa. But his minions could put up another figurehead. Hope some Republican in the Senate realize what they are enabling and turn on Mitch.

  10. mailliw says

    The Republicans don’t believe in democracy anymore.

    It is quite possible to have a republic that isn’t democratic – take the German Democratic Republic for example – which was a republic but not democratic. Then there’s the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics, which was a republic but wasn’t soviet or socialist.

    At least the United Oligarchical Capitalist Republic of America will do what it says on the tin.

  11. says

    I’m on nextdoor confronting trumpkins with respect to a lot of things. Especially evidence and general replacement of substance with insults. It’s not as bad now the more awful individuals know they can’t drive me off.

  12. voidhawk says

    This isn’t a real attempt to steal the election. It’s theatre. Look at the flimsy legal cases Trump’s team has put forth, look at how quickly they’re flopping. This is all a grift to get hapless Republicans to donate millions to a bogus ‘legal fund’ and to keep the base nice and angry and pliable for the Georgia runoffs.

    There might be more than a few True Believers that they can shove out in front of the cameras, but most of the Republicans know exactly what they’re doing.

  13. fossboxer says

    The USA is suffering its death throes. What gets shat out the other side, I don’t like to think about. But, after many months of anguish and therapy, and the fact that half the voting populace just proved itself to be unadulterated morons, I’ve come to accept that we’re done.

  14. Saad says

    I said before the 2016 election that the country is ripe for the taking and that the people are just begging for fascism. fossboxer is right. The damage can’t really be undone. The GOP has to run candidates at this level now. Just look at the number of votes he got them.

  15. kome says

    I don’t think Trump is openly trying to corrupt a democratic process. I think that ship sailed long ago. Conservatives have corrupted our democratic process looooong before Trump entered the picture with gerrymandering and voter ID laws and robocalling and allllll the bullshit that happened in the 2000 election to steal it for Bush. Trump’s influence back in 2016 – such as openly asking a agents of foreign nation to interfere in the election on his behalf – added more corruption on our already broken as hell system. And back then, he said he would do what he’s doing now that he’s lost. In a debate, he said bluntly that he would not consider the election results valid unless he was declared the winner. What he’s doing now is sort of the inevitable consequence of what conservatives have been aiming to do to this country since before I was born and is exactly what Trump said back in 2016 he would do if he lost. They’re not and he’s not “trying” to do anything. They and he are just doing it. We are midway through a transition from a kind of democratic country to an fascist state. We may not be beyond saving (although I have my doubts) but we’ve certainly gotten a fair bit of the way there already.

  16. PaulBC says

    Saad@14 A significant minority is ripe for fascism. A majority, with a different geographic distribution, would actually like to have a functioning government, and has confidence both in elections as a concept and in their current implementation.

    That doesn’t mean I see an easy answer (or think secession is a great option for coastal states) but please don’t lump everyone into the “people” who want this. There are two distinct visions of the United States (and splitting beyond that, but at least two).

  17. PaulBC says

    kome@15 Trump is a symptom, not a cause. I have been saying it for years. Most reasonable people I can think of agree with this.

    He is doing something really dangerous right now though, and does need to be stopped, just as symptoms of a disease may also require urgent action without ever treating the root causes.

  18. says

    Can we please put an end to our ongoing national humiliation and frog-march the whole mob of blithering grifters out of their positions of authority now? Can we at least strip Rudy of his license to practice law? It looks like we’re not even capable of that.

    Answers: no, and no.

    And the reason is not “because the Republicans are too strong” or “because there’s no official procedure which could be used to do so”. There’s always a way to frame this sort of thing as being in keeping with the rules.

    The real reason is the same as why we didn’t prosecute Bush: Centrist Democrats and Republicans alike — even the Republicans ostensibly against Trump — are, secretly, thrilled that Trump could get away with all this because they see themselves doing it too, and really, really don’t want any precedents that the government can be held responsible for deliberately bad actions. If there had been any significant danger of war crimes trials, neither Joe Biden nor Hillary Clinton would have voted to invade Iraq under GWB. If Presidents could be hauled before the court and sued for helping transfer government wealth to private hands, Obama would not have bailed out the banks and refused to prosecute anybody for the meltdown. In this, Mitch McConnell and Kamala Harris are united — the law is for little people.

  19. mnb0 says

    “to corrupt a democratic election”
    How do you mean, democratic? How exactly is an election that costed each candidate about 1,5 billion dollars democratic? Biden had to buy his win. In my dictionary that’s the definition of corrupt – and even Donald the Clown can’t corrupt a corrupt system.
    Wow, just a few days after election day and you already have become shortsightenedly naive, to say it friendly. With pseudoprogressives like you, Raven, RobG, Kome and Euclide there is zero chance that the USA will ever become a democracy.
    Perhaps it’s because your’re too cowardly to admit to yourself that you all voted someone into the White House who is part of the problem. Hence you pull off that old, stale but still useful trick – blame the enemy.
    Exactly what the Republicans do too.
    Stupid as they are, then I have more respect, as little as it is, for those who march to “Stop the steal”.

  20. garnetstar says

    I agree with those saying that Trump is an effect, not a cause, because the characteristics that a_ray@8 points out about Trump are exactly true for the entire right as well, and especially for all the congressional republicans, and have been true for some decades.

    Well, perhaps some of them are marginally more competent, but that is all.

    The only thing that might help in this particular coup attempt is the idiotic broadcasting of the conspirators’ corrupt plans to the entire world, by every conspirator involved. That tends to make one’s criminal enterprises less effective. It’s like Tywin Lannister sending out a press release about his plans for the upcoming Red Wedding.

  21. PaulBC says

    garnetstar@20

    It’s like Tywin Lannister sending out a press release about his plans for the upcoming Red Wedding.

    You’re expecting tragedy and we’ve already descended into farce. The villains now openly twirl their mustaches and announce their plans in loud asides. You would think it would make difference, but so far, not much luck on that.

  22. Rob Grigjanis says

    mnb0 @19: Preferring Biden to Trump makes us pseudoprogressive? OK, so analogously that makes you and The Vicar fascists. Works for me.

  23. Ed Seedhouse says

    I’m pretty sure that here in Canada any politician who made a “friendly call” to a returning officer during the counting of ballots would end up in jail. Dow south it just seems to be natural practice.

  24. birgerjohansson says

    The attempt to infuence the counting in Georgia had several witnesses listening. And many have stated that suggesting the elimination of votes from Biden-leaning districts is a crime.
    The idiot did not even ensure he had credible deniability.

  25. unclefrogy says

    I do find it interesting that some who complain the most are only ever complaining and never seem to be advocating anything else and just declaring defeatism as the only outcome.
    kind of reminds me of a story Malcolm X would tell about the prostitute that would yell and complain how her Pimp was a bastard and treated her badly and how he was cruel and no good but when he would show up would go off with him without a complaint.
    I think it would be a very positive outcome if the current administration were fully investigated and prosecuted for any crimes they are found to have committed, wheather they are state crimes or federal crimes.
    would it be disturbing and have far reaching consequences of course but none worse then the consequences we all ready are facing and may help make them more positive in the long run
    uncle frogy

  26. nifty says

    I will make a point I continue to make- it is also important to focus on “down-ballot” elections. There is a house seat in Iowa currently setting with about a 50 vote difference. Take a look at this when you think about voting for your county sheriff:
    https://theappeal.org/politicalreport/sheriffs-2020-immigration/
    One of the worst features of our political discourse is the idea that only presidential elections make a difference to people’s lives.

  27. nifty says

    Your right PaulIBC, that sucks. It does not start to unsuck until we start to fight for city, county, and state governments. The only positive leadership we are seeing anywhere in our country on Covid are coming from those levels. I am tired of people who argue passionately about minor details between presidential candidates who have no idea who their state legislators are.

  28. PaulBC says

    nifty @28 I missed your point that the Sheriffs’ elections are good news. There is really not much good news in this election. It still makes a big difference to get rid of Donald Trump. Re-electing him would have signaled that every new fake presidential power he and Barr claimed were now legitimate, and that he had truly been vindicated by the impeachment outcome rather than simply having it nullified by his buddies.

    Where I am in California, it’s pretty much a given that every partisan election will be won by a Democrat. This time due to California’s primary system, I had the choice between incumbent Anna Eshoo (establishment Democrat) and Rishi Kumar (progressive Democrat). In fact, I voted for Kumar. Eshoo won, predictably, and I’m not losing any sleep over that.

    I think there’s at least an overall awareness that Mitch McConnell is a menace. Going further down-ballot, who knows. Unfortunately, Republicans gained a lot of House seats this time.

  29. nifty says

    We are at the most basic level agreeing- yes better as president, but that alone is not nearly enough. I am in a similar district in WA- for our house seat, the top three after primary were Dems. (The one with no real district connection finished third) We replaced an awful county commissioner, but one republican pretending to be an independent got re-elected.I just do not fathom how people can leave their ballots blank in these spots. There are plenty of harmful city council reps to be replaced all over the country.

  30. stroppy says

    From #334 on Discuss: Political Madness All the Time

    “If Trump fails to convert the nation into another of the single-party dictatorships he has so admired around the world, he intends to leave behind a system so broken that no one can fix it.”

    He’s going to do his best to burn it all down and salt the earth behind him. It’s easier to sack and pillage than to build, that’s how a right wing minority can have an advantage. A steady hand at the helm may be necessary but not necessarily sufficient…

    Meanwhile some Very Serious People seem gobsmacked that BAU somehow got us into this mess and for some reason isn’t getting us out. There they sit.

  31. says

    “his Republican cronies are turning a blind eye to the whole degrading process.”

    I don’t see Democrats doing much more. If the House does not begin the process of filing articles of impeachment by the end of this week, they have betrayed the country.

  32. John Morales says

    Stroppy:

    … that’s how a right wing minority can have an advantage.

    Popular vote is 51.0% to 47.2% Biden to Trump, so not that much of a minority.

    Pretty close to half the electorate.

  33. PaulBC says

    Green Eagle@32 I thought that the House should have been sending something like the weekly articles of impeachment newsletter after February when the Senate nullified his impeachment. Not that the Senate would act on it, but Trump seemed to think he was above the law at that point. The administration seemed positively gleeful about Hatch Act violations.

  34. PaulBC says

    John Morales@33 Now you’ve lost me. A simple majority of n is n/2+1. Yes, 47.2% is pretty close to half, but it’s a minority. That point does not have to be qualified. It’s also the case that a minority of constituents are represented by a majority of Senators. Therefore, a body that represents of less than half the population often has winner-take-all power in such matters as judicial appointments.

    I don’t give a flying fuck if they are “not that much of a minority”. I still think it’s an outrage for them to be running things.

    Look, Democratic senators are “not that much of a minority” in the Senate either, but they get treated like doormats. I guess if somehow the “almost majority” could have “almost half a say in things” you might have a point, but in reality what you’re saying is ludicrous (at least in terms of US politics).

  35. John Morales says

    PaulBC:

    Therefore, a body that represents of less than half the population often has winner-take-all power in such matters as judicial appointments.
    […]
    I guess if somehow the “almost majority” could have “almost half a say in things” you might have a point, but in reality what you’re saying is ludicrous (at least in terms of US politics).

    Yeah, well, that’s your system. First past the post. Winner takes all. The ascendant faction makes the rules.

    Proportionality is for other places.

    Anyway, my point was not that it was not a minority, but that it was nearly half.
    Both those statements are true.

    Again: Trump got nearly half the votes, so to claim the land as a whole somehow does not reflect approval for him is purely technical; in practice, it’s close enough to 50-50.

    Right? If I randomly meet a USAnian (assuming voters are somehow representative), it’s only barely more likely that they’ll not be part of the “right wing minority” than that they will be. Odds are pretty close to even.

  36. unclefrogy says

    @37
    that was not the point he was making though you can see it that way. he was pointing out that some people complain loudly about discrimination and racism but when it came to doing something they were not interested they just complained. He was advocating real change and not just making some kind of protest. Malcolm always had a way to say things that were true and disturbing at he same time got him killed in the end.
    I am really kind of tired of the political party fighting when it is principles and goals that are the important things in the end not the f’n name of this party or the other party name.
    It side tracks the conversation like the “f’n horse race ” and not the proposals and principles of the candidates
    uncle frogy

  37. KG says

    I see our fascism-enablers have turned up as usual to spout their crap. What they want everyone to ignore is that this was not just one more standard presidential election, in which their “Don’t vote for the lesser evil!!!” message might possibly have some justification; it was an election about whether the USA should become a de facto one-party state, like Putin’s Russia or Orban’s Hungary. That’s not just my opinion, or the opinion of those the facism-enablers deride as “pseudoprogressives”; the huge increase in turnout, in the midst of a pandemic, demonstrates it conclusively: people on both sides knew it. The fascism-enablers would like to pretend that increase didn’t happen, because they have no explanation for it.

  38. PaulBC says

    unclefrogy@38 I don’t know Malcolm X’s intent, but I didn’t read your comment in terms of blame. He observed something real and well known (at least now) about the abused siding with their abusers.

  39. stroppy says

    Re “Pretty close to half the electorate.”

    Indeed, I was speaking in general terms and more specifically to those who are sanguine about a sufficient number of good people being available to rise up and remedy the situation.

  40. stroppy says

    Just being cautionary.

    I can’t foretell the future, but it seems to me we’re about one or two rolls of the dice away from being totally fubar.

  41. throwaway, butcher of tongues, mauler of metaphor says

    18. The Vicar (via Freethoughtblogs)

    The real reason is the same as why we didn’t prosecute Bush: Centrist Democrats and Republicans alike — even the Republicans ostensibly against Trump — are, secretly, thrilled that Trump could get away with all this because they see themselves doing it too, and really, really don’t want any precedents that the government can be held responsible for deliberately bad actions.[Ed. Note: Bold not in original.]

    Thank you for laying that secret knowledge upon us, assuredly justified by your interpretation, not at all influenced by subjective perception.

  42. jrkrideau says

    @ 23 Ed Seedhouse

    I’m pretty sure that here in Canada any politician who made a “friendly call” to a returning officer during the counting of ballots would end up in jail.

    Jean Charest was a minister in Steven Harper’s Gov’t.

    In an uncharacteristic lapse in judgment, Charest telephoned Quebec Superior Court Justice Yvan Maceróla on Jan. 23 to discuss evidence in a case before Macerola’s court. The next day, Charest was no longer a member of the federal cabinet.

    Breach of the code

    No arrest but not as serious offence either.

  43. PaulBC says

    @46 It is very good information as the election really is over. Maybe Trump needs a “true wallet” whatever that may be (no I will not click on it).

  44. consciousness razor says

    A simple majority of n is n/2+1.

    Incorrect. A simple majority only needs to be greater than n/2. If n is odd, then it can’t be n/2+1, because that’s not an integer like real votes need to be. So for n=3, a simple majority is at least 2 votes (an integer and >1.5) and not at least 2.5 votes (=1.5+1). It also doesn’t need to be equal to anything like n/2+1 as you said, because it may also be larger, such as 3/3 or 640/872.

    Of course, we don’t use the national popular vote in presidential elections, so it’s not like one can explain how we got where we are with something like that. Nationwide voting numbers are also irrelevant for the Senate and the Supreme Court for that matter, which are simply not forms of proportional representation. What they typically do shouldn’t even count as “governance,” but whatever you may want to call it, it’s not democratic either.

  45. PaulBC says

    consciousness razor@48

    If n is odd, then it can’t be n/2+1, because that’s not an integer like real votes need to be.

    Write the expression “n/2+1” in nearly any programming language currently in use that has an integer type. The “/” operator will default to integer arithmetic. E.g., in Python, 5/2+1 will evaluate to 3, not 3.5. This is as legitimate a use of “/” as real number arithmetic and it is what I intended.

    Fact: I actually looked up unicode floor symbols, so I could write ⌊n/2⌋+1 before thinking “This is asinine. A reasonable person will assume I mean integer arithmetic in this context.” Also, a reasonable personal will fill in “or more.”

    But about that “or more.” From http://aappd.org/resources/terms-and-acronyms:

    Supermajority – A majority greater than a specified number, as 60% of the total: required to pass certain types of legislation, override vetoes, etc. An amount over a simple majority. A simple majority is one more than half of those voting.

    While this is not authoritative, it was not hard to find. It is even a consistent definition. If there are, for instance, 11 possible votes and 8 are cast for a certain candidate or position, I could say “We have two votes in excess of the simple majority 6 that is required.” I don’t know the absolute standard here, but it is consistent to define the simple majority as the threshold itself rather than all possible values that meet or exceed the threshold.

    Do you have some pressing needed to nitpick everything?

  46. consciousness razor says

    Write the expression “n/2+1” in nearly any programming language currently in use that has an integer type.

    No, because that’s not what we’re doing here. I could tell you to express your thoughts by writing a musical composition, but that would also be impertinent, so I won’t.

    I don’t know the absolute standard here, but it is consistent to define the simple majority as the threshold itself rather than all possible values that meet or exceed the threshold.

    Being possible doesn’t make it a good idea.

    As people actually use and understand the term, it’s not the case that something fails to be a simple majority (or a majority), if it’s large enough to also be a supermajority or whatever. So your definition of that term has nothing to do with it.

    It satisfies the relevant definition of the term we’re actually talking about if it’s more than half. Being equal to the minimum such integer value is not the only way to be satisfactory. People who aren’t so committed to their own wrongness like you have no trouble understanding that, even when n is as small as 3, there is still another valid option (3 itself). That this also makes it a “unanimous” decision, among other things, has no bearing on that fact.

    Do you have some pressing needed to nitpick everything?

    No, I don’t. Also, it doesn’t need to be a need in order to be worthwhile, and in fact I don’t nitpick everything.

    Do you have some pressing need to always defend anything you happen to write no matter what?

  47. PaulBC says

    CR@50

    No, because that’s not what we’re doing here.

    Then what are we doing here? Does “/” in this context mean anything unambiguously?

    Do you have some pressing need to always defend anything you happen to write no matter what?

    No. In this case, I had the time and the inclination.

    I am still confused about why you found this particular item worthy of nitpicking. Probably if I were rewriting it, I would just say “A simple majority is one more than half.” Throwing in pseudomath was silly and counterproductive, though it was the first thing I thought of. I would also have kept it as “is” rather than noting that an amount that exceeded the minimum for a simple majority was still a majority. Language is imprecise by its nature and I assume the reader can apply some judgment (as John Morales did in @36).

    And I’m not joking that I spent several minutes trying to decide what to do about odd n and whether to use “floor” notation. I think that’s one reason I felt an urge (though not an actual need) to respond. I wasn’t being sloppy, though you can disagree with how I finally expressed myself. “n/2+1” was exactly what I intended to write and “⌊0.5n⌋+1” was what I intended it to mean.

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