Wednesday, November 18, 2020

-Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO), asked if he thought Joe Biden won the election

Eleven days after the election ended in decisive victory for Joe Biden, Republicans’ continued performance of uncertainty about the outcome is as appalling and dangerous as it is unrelentingly embarrassing. 

  • On Tuesday, the two Republican members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers briefly refused to certify the election results in Michigan’s largest county, for a very valid reason that definitely wasn’t “Detroit has a lot of Black voters and we don’t think their votes should count.” (Against all odds, a white man in a polo shirt summed up this stunt best.) The Republicans reversed course on Tuesday night, for a very badass reason that definitely wasn’t “reporters started finding all the racist memes on our Facebook pages.” As a cherry on top, Donald Trump missed the memo and congratulated his would-be coup enablers on their courage, after they had agreed to certify the results.
  • His hopes of stealing away Michigan’s electoral votes dashed, Trump has turned to Wisconsin, a state he lost by more than 20,000 votes. The Trump campaign has filed a petition for a recount, but only in Wisconsin’s two largest, most Democratic-leaning counties, for a very solid reason that assuredly wasn’t “we’ve been through this, that’s where all the young and Black voters are.” That partial recount cost the campaign $3 million, but if you can pay Rudy Giuliani $20,000 a day to rattle off conspiracy theories at an exasperated judge, what’s a few million dollars to lose Wisconsin again?
  • As profoundly dumb as all of this is, it is also incredibly corrosive. It’s no particular surprise that Trump fired DHS’s cybersecurity director Chris Krebs for the crime of debunking his lies about the election having been stolen from him, but it deserved immediate, unanimous condemnation. Instead, Democratic lawmakers have spoken up, while Republicans, with a few half-hearted exceptions, have sat on their hands. What will it mean for future elections that a defeated president fired an official who safeguarded this election’s integrity and then told the truth about it, and a whole political party said “sure”? 

Republicans might be blowing up democracy in slow-motion, but at least most of them aren’t pretending to agonize over it.

  • Sources who have spoken to General Services Administrator Emily Murphy say she’s been struggling with her unilateral decision to delay the presidential transition, and feeling like she’s been put “in a very difficult position.” Boy have we got great news for Emily: This one’s actually super simple. There’s no real doubt about who won the election, so you can just go ahead and sign that piece of paper! Get a marketing job and move to Paris! You’re free!
  • In the meantime, Joe Biden has been pushing ahead with transition briefings from outside experts. Those briefings have limitations, as advisors outside of the government won’t have the most up-to-date information, and can’t share classified intelligence. The White House has refused to provide even basic coronavirus data to the transition team, and in spite of the lives hanging in the balance if sabotaging the transition creates problems with vaccine distribution, HHS Secretary Alex Azar said the department won’t communicate with the Biden team until the GSA signs off.

Each of Trump’s far-fetched coup maneuvers has flopped, but way too many Republicans have been happy to give them a whirl, and there’s no reason to think they wouldn’t try again in an election with closer margins. Whatever surreal elements of this year we eventually shove down the memory hole for our collective sanity, that fact can’t be one of them. 

On today's Keep It stream, Ira, Louis, and Aida discuss Candace Owens and Ben Shapiro's fervor over Harry Styles wearing a dress on the cover of Vogue: "The hilariousness of 'bring back manly men.' Where do you want them brought?" Watch and subscribe 

Donald Trump just gave the worst possible job to a former speechwriter who was fired for having white nationalist ties. The White House dismissed Darren Beattie in 2018 after it came to light that he had spoken at a white-supremacist conference, back when that was something the Trump administration could still be shamed about. Beattie then took a bunch of taxpayer money from Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-FL), in a violation of House rules. Following that proud interlude, Trump has welcomed Beattie back into the administration fold with an appointment to the Commission for the Preservation of America’s Heritage Abroad, which was established for the specific purpose of preserving the memory of Holocaust victims. Sixty-three days until the Inauguration. 

One of the biggest takeaways from this election has been “Latino voters are not a monolith,” and while much of that analysis has focused on Florida, it’s just as true everywhere else. In Texas, Trump became the first GOP presidential candidate in a century to win Zapata County, which is more than 94 percent Hispanic or Latino. Dissecting the result the requires understanding the specific character of South Texas, where most Spanish-speaking residents self-identify as Tejano. Most consider themselves American above all else, wouldn’t identify as people of color, and have positions on gas and oil, guns, and abortion that are closely aligned with the Republican Party. The Trump campaign recognized and effectively targeted that specific community, and Democrats will need more than generic messaging to win it back.

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A federal judge has blocked the Trump administration’s policy of using the pandemic as an excuse to turn away migrant children seeking asylum at the border.

Pfizer now says that its vaccine actually seems to be 95 percent effective, and, implicitly, that Moderna can eat its shorts. Pfizer plans to apply for emergency use authorization from the FDA within days.

The FDA has issued emergency use authorization for the first at-home rapid coronavirus test.

Tiara Mack has become the first openly LGBTQ Black person elected to the Rhode Island state Senate, at age 26: “I'm going to be unapologetically Black, I'm going to be unapologetically queer, and I'm going to be unapologetically young, and I'm going to push back against the system that tells us we don't deserve justice now.”

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