Friday, November 13, 2020

-Charles Koch, who is ready to (hahah) unite the country now (hahahahaha)

The disgraced lame-duck president and some of his closest advisers continue to fantasize about executing a coup d’etat, but they now have to grapple with the absence of a few key ingredients. Like lawyers. And political allies. And security officers. Happy Friday the 13th: Jason is after us but he forgot his chainsaw and hockey mask and also his pants keep falling down. 

  • As the New York Times reported Thursday, President Trump continues to harangue his closest aides over a “survival scenario” where Republican legislatures in multiple states President-elect Joe Biden won ignore the results and appoint enough Trump electors to install him for a second term. The good news is Trump is just a man incapable of working through the stages of his grief, and these conversations reportedly aren’t “detailed” or “serious.” The (unmentioned) bad news: The president of the United States and his advisers continue to mull over schemes to bring American democracy to an end. 
  • Also bad: Their “deliberations” keep spilling out into the public. Friday morning on Fox Business Channel, Trump economic adviser/Downfall bunker-scene extra Peter Navarro claimed “We’re moving forward here at the White House under the assumption that there will be a second Trump term.” (There will not.) Also on Fфx BusiЙess, White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany rebutted the suggestion that it’d look bad for Trump to skip Inauguration Day thusly: "I think the president will attend his own inauguration." (He will not.)
  • The best indication that even Trump knows this is all just corrosive psychological warfare is that he’s already planning to run for president in 2024 (which only makes sense if he’s accepted that he lost). According to the Times we should expect him to announce his 2024 candidacy after Biden has been certified the winner in 270 Electoral Votes worth of states. Note to Biden and Democrats: your obligation to end the Trump coverups now serves a new and more important purpose of preventing us all from going crazy).

It may simply have dawned on Trump that an actual coup would require more than just a few barking-mad White House aides to play along. 

  • The Trump campaign has abandoned its legal challenge to a number of ballots in Maricopa County now that Biden has decisively flipped Arizona, recognizing that it would be like arguing about a deck chair on the Titanic. Pennsylvania Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar announced that there will be no recounts or recanvasses in the great state of Pennsylvania. Trump is now 1-14 in frivolous lawsuits, and a white-shoe law firm has dropped him altogether. Sixteen federal prosecutors assigned to monitor the election have told Attorney General Bill Barr they saw nothing weird, and to take back his dumb fraud memo. The writing’s on the wall, in words simple enough that even Trump can read them. 
  • Even if he wanted to barricade himself inside the White House, he’s taking down all his reinforcements: More than 130 Secret Service agents (all sworn to uphold the Constitution, not defend the former president’s bunker from the new president) have either tested positive for coronavirus or had close contact with an infected coworker. Campaign rallies: They may not have won Trump the election, but at least they sickened dozens of people who were forced to be there, accelerated local outbreaks, and taught several patriots the true meaning of hypothermia!

Trump never had a decent shot of overturning this election, and what little infrastructure he did have is crumbling. (Good news: It’s Infrastructure Week!) What remains to be seen is how long he’ll drive Americans to self-medication by pretending otherwise, how badly it will erode public faith in future elections, and what level of damage he’ll inflict on the country for the sake of sabotaging Joe Biden. We’ve got a few more weeks of white-knuckling ahead.

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The Trump administration has begun one last push to get Chad Wolf confirmed as DHS secretary before Inauguration Day. Wolf has been serving as acting secretary for a year, in an unlawful capacity: Both the Government Accountability Office and a federal judge have found Wolf’s appointment to have been invalid. The rush to get him confirmed now signals that the Trump administration is aware that nothing Wolf has done is legit, and that the incoming Biden administration can easily roll back all of his programs and policies unless he becomes legit in the next 68 days. Buried in there is the implicit acknowledgement that Trump is an inexorable loser, so while this is a ridiculous scramble to saddle Biden with a mess of a Homeland Security department, it’s also weirdly a little soothing.

Trump’s ill treatment of U.S. allies has left them shell-shocked and unready to love again. Diplomats and analysts say that even with Joe Biden in the White House, Trump’s constant breaking of international agreements and personal abuse of foreign leaders has damaged allies’ trust to the point that a certain level of wariness will remain. Biden has vowed to re-enter the Paris Agreement, rejoin the nuclear deal if Iran returns to compliance, scrap plans to leave the WHO, and end a rule that bans funding to aid groups that promote or provide abortions. All of that will help, but foreign leaders have now realized that any American agreement is at the mercy of whichever lunatic gets elected next. Rebuilding our international alliances will be a longer-term project, and much of it will depend on whether we can stop electing lunatics. 

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News networks have called Georgia for Joe Biden, making him the first Democrat to win the state since 1992.

Young voters who backed Joe Biden are ready to push him to deliver on progressive priorities. 

The Virginia Military Institute has appointed Retired Army Maj. Gen. Cedric T. Wins as acting superintendent, making him the first Black man to lead the school in its 181-year history, as it grapples with its own structural racism. 

The Miami Marlins have hired Kim Ng as Major League Baseball’s first female general manager. 

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