Tuesday, November 10, 2020

-Eric Trump, a man for whom all Tuesdays are equal

A full week after Election Day, the Trump administration has continued to flip the bird at a peaceful transfer of power, top Republicans are hoping to ride that delusion to a Senate majority, and the jaws of a nation have reluctantly re-clenched. It was nice while it lasted!

  • On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was asked whether he would cooperate with President-elect Joe Biden’s transition team, and smirkingly replied, “There will be a smooth transition to a second Trump administration.” A casual declaration of a coup? A lighthearted fascism goof, in complete alignment with what Trump has been saying in earnest? Each interpretation is more delightful than the last! At the same time, the White House has told agencies across the government to obstruct the transition (with potentially harmful national security implications), and to proceed with Trump’s budget plan for the 2022 fiscal year. 
  • This is all still patently pathetic, but we shouldn’t ignore that the GOP has obediently fallen into line with Trump’s efforts to subvert democracy. Even Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has now congratulated Biden on his victory, before most Republicans in Congress have acknowledged that the election is over. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has thrown his support behind Trump’s continued questioning of the election results, even while touting Republican down-ballot wins. (Only the presidential sections of the ballots were fraudulent, you see?) 
  • If Republicans were willing to follow Trump to the brink of institutional collapse to install some right-wing judges, they’re certainly willing to go a step further to maintain their vulnerable Senate majority. Trump has even used it as a cudgel against Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA), by pressuring them to call for the resignation of Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger and help him undermine the state’s election, lest he fuck them over in their January runoffs. Perdue’s spokesman denied that either campaign had any contact with the White House, if the word of a couple of senators who did coronavirus-related insider trading means anything to you. 

Thanks to Biden’s growing margin of victory, Donald Trump has no straightforward way to steal this election through the courts. 

  • What he can do is continue to make up conspiracy theories, try to foment unrest, and turn half of the country against the next president. Not ideal! Attorney General Bill Barr has participated in the messaging campaign by giving federal prosecutors the authority to investigate “specific allegations” of voter fraud (of which none exist), leading the Justice Department’s top election crimes prosecutor to resign. While Fox News has had a few belated crises of conscience about the whole “destroying faith in American elections” thing, the right-wing media has largely held up its end of the echo chamber.
  • In terms of taking revenge on the country and making Biden’s job as hard as possible, Trump seems to be getting what he wants: A Politico/Morning Consult poll found that 70 percent of Republicans don’t think the election was free and fair. Reuters/Ipsos pegs the number of Republicans who don’t believe Biden won the election at almost half. Among them of course is Vice President Mike Pence, who has gone on vacation, like anyone who truly disputed the results of the election he just lost would do. When the Democrats have pulled off an unprecedented voter fraud scheme, there is naught to do but don a modest long-sleeved bathing costume and enjoy a glass of milk on the beach with Mother. 

Undaunted by Trump’s posturing, Joe Biden has continued to announce his transition teams and accurately classified Trump’s denial of the election results as an “embarrassment.” Nobody should cower or despair—Joe Biden won the election, and will soon become president. But we know Trump would do anything to stay in power, and that even after his loss, Republicans would do anything to assist him. That’s a rot we’ll have to contend with long past January.

Over on Crooked Media's YouTube, Black Voters Matter co-founder LaTosha Brown talks to Jon Lovett about the power of organizing and the Georgia Senate runoffs. Watch, subscribe, get fired up to help sweep these runoffs

It looks like the Affordable Care Act will survive the latest Republican attempt to destroy it. At least five Supreme Court justices, including John Roberts and Brett Kavanaugh, indicated they would reject the Trump-administration backed request to strike down the entire law based on the crazy argument that when Republicans zeroed out the individual mandate penalty, they secretly rendered the whole act unconstitutional. The justices noted that even if the mandate were unconstitutional, it should simply be severed from the rest of the law. (Amy Coney Barrett’s position was less clear, but she hinted at her confirmation hearing that she viewed the case as centered on severability.) The 21.1 million people who would lose their health insurance without the ACA can now breathe a little easier—we should get a final ruling by June.

There’s some reason to worry that Donald Trump could continue disclosing classified information after he leaves office, posing an unprecedented national-security problem for the Biden administration. Trump fits the profile of a counterintelligence risk: He’s in debt, disgruntled with the government, and he has a history of blurting out state secrets. In an honestly very funny twist, the same characteristics that made Trump a national security menace in office might spare us once he’s gone; as former head of the Office of Legal Counsel Jack Goldsmith put it, “The only saving grace here is that he hasn’t been paying attention.” But no administration has ever had to use counterintelligence tools and criminal law exposure to stop a former president from clumsily spilling state secrets, or worse, trading them for favors; Trump’s post-presidency could prove as wild and norm-breaking as his one term.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci predicted that the Pfizer coronavirus vaccine could be available to all Americans by April, 2021. Mark your calendars for May 1, the day we all meet up in a park and kiss.

The FDA has granted emergency use authorization to the antibody drug used to treat Chris Christie, which is called, um, bamlanivimab.

Joe Biden is preparing to regulate the heck out of some banks. 

Bernie Sanders is actively campaigning for the Labor Secretary post.

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