I’ll never stop being amazed at how brazenly the president and his deputies are willing to insinuate that the judges he’s appointed are partisan hacks. It never gets quite as far as insisting that they’re expected to rule his way as a show of gratitude for their appointment — a quid pro quo, to borrow a term that was in the news much earlier this year — but that’s the implication. His transactional view of law and everything else is even trickling down to his deputies, as you’ll see at the end of the clip below. The irony is, to the extent that Barrett, Gorsuch, and Kavanaugh are capable of being swayed by political pressure, bringing this sort of pressure on them can only hurt Trump’s cause. No judge wants to affirm a politician’s suggestion that they’re in his pocket by ruling his way in a case with the highest stakes.
“And hopefully Amy Coney Barrett will come through.” pic.twitter.com/K4Nv8AgVPZ
— Robert Costa (@costareports) November 5, 2020
As for the substance of the poll-watcher claim Dhillon makes in the clip, Fox’s own reporting apparently contradicts it:
Fox’s @EricShawnTV just now says he’s spoken to several GOP legal observers who support Trump who have been allowed in to watch ballot count in Philly, “which seems to conflict completely with Trump campaign claims that GOP poll watchers are not allowed in the room.”
— Natasha Bertrand (@NatashaBertrand) November 5, 2020
We’re maybe a few hours away from the race being called in Pennsylvania and possibly Georgia too, which is why there’s been a sharp uptick this afternoon in desperate commentary from MAGAworld. The plan at the White House, I think, was to lie low for a few days and hope for the best in the counts from Nevada, Georgia, Pennsylvania, and Arizona. It’s clear enough this afternoon that those counts aren’t going great, especially in all-important PA. That’s a hard reality for any campaign or political movement to reckon with. It’s an *impossible* reality for a messianic cult to reckon with. We’re not just talking the end of a presidential term here, we’re talking about the end of a quasi-religious myth of invincibility. And so weird things are going to be said, and maybe done, by people around Trump in the days and weeks to come to try to avert that reality. For instance, here’s Steve Bannon talking about decapitating Chris Wray and Tony Fauci:
— Bradley P. Moss (@BradMossEsq) November 5, 2020
Last night Lou Dobbs called for some sort of mob to descend on Philadelphia: “Philadelphia looks like a cesspool electorally. Why in the world wouldn’t the Republicans surround that thing and, if you will, you know, at least apply a little, what would you call it, some sort of scent?” Don Jr is calling for “total war,” whatever that means:
The best thing for America’s future is for @realDonaldTrump to go to total war over this election to expose all of the fraud, cheating, dead/no longer in state voters, that has been going on for far too long.
It’s time to clean up this mess & stop looking like a banana republic!
— Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 5, 2020
Glenn Beck suggested at one point this week that if one “believes” the election was stolen — not that it was proven to be stolen, but if you believe it — it might be time to grab a gun:
During his election night coverage, Glenn Beck floated the possibility that people may have a duty to take up arms and overthrow the government to prevent Democrats from stealing the election and destroying the Constitution. pic.twitter.com/LjDF1eAf1P
— Right Wing Watch (@RightWingWatch) November 4, 2020
Mark Levin suggested this morning that Pennsylvania’s state legislature should ignore the results of the vote in their state, presumably on the theory that those results are tainted by fraud, and just go ahead and give Trump their electoral votes:
REMINDER TO THE REPUBLICAN STATE LEGISLATURES, YOU HAVE THE FINAL SAY OVER THE CHOOSING OF ELECTORS, NOT ANY BOARD OF ELECTIONS, SECRETARY OF STATE, GOVERNOR, OR EVEN COURT. YOU HAVE THE FINAL SAY — ARTICLE II OF THE FED CONSTITUTION. SO, GET READY TO DO YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL DUTY
— Mark R. Levin (@marklevinshow) November 5, 2020
Under Beck’s theory, if Democratic voters in Pennsylvania believe their votes were stolen from them by the legislature, what’s the proper recourse?
In any case, the legislature won’t be pulling off the equivalent of a legal coup by ignoring the vote:
For anyone wondering: spokesperson for Pennsylvania Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman reiterated just now that the Republican controlled state legislature will NOT move to appoint electors to override popular vote, despite concerns about PA electoral process.
— Ryan W Briggs (@rw_briggs) November 5, 2020
As I write this, Trump is getting ready to speak. God only knows what he intends to say. Drink all of this in, though, and appreciate where we’ve come in six years or so — from a tea-party movement that showed reverent devotion to the Founding Fathers and the civic virtues with which they imbued the Constitution to a populist personality cult that seems at the brink of calling on followers to get violent in order to spare the president the personal embarrassment of losing an election.
The pretense that he’s been cheated somehow is so comical that even some grassroots righties can’t resist laughing at it:
I would add: Y’all really believe that if this party was capable of rigging an election that they would have let Hillary lose by a whisker in Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania in 2016? There’s also this:
The "massive voter fraud" in Pennsylvania resulted in Democrats losing House seats. https://t.co/zFOW27qSV9
— Donny Ferguson (@DonnyFerguson) November 5, 2020
Trump’s coming to the mic soon. The latest news is that he intends to proceed with firing officials like Chris Wray and Mark Esper as a start to his “second term.” There *is* a lot of turnover in administrations when a second term begins but that turnover doesn’t normally start with the president dismissing people against whom he holds personal grudges because they wouldn’t abuse their public power to hurt his political enemies. That’s more of what we’d call a purge. Which is also far afield from the sort of government the Founders were hoping to set up, but oh well.
Update: Apparently Trump is complaining at his presser about the one-sidedness of mail-in ballot returns, which are skewing heavily Democratic. You know why they’re skewing heavily Democratic? Because he wanted it that way.
The Trump campaign is also projecting that it’s on track to win Pennsylvania, arguing that many of the outstanding mail ballots are located in pro-Trump counties. However, Trump encouraged his voters to cast ballots in person, and not by mail. So as the ballots came in from Republican counties, Biden still won the lion’s share of them.
“Watching Trump’s lead in states evaporate or disappear because of mail-in votes is some galactic-level karma,” said a frustrated Trump adviser.
Update: Another observation from the press conference:
Trump attacks the counting in Georgia, saying it's run by Democrats. The Secy of State is a Trump Republican.
— Glenn Kessler (@GlennKesslerWP) November 5, 2020
Trump’s lead in Georgia is down to 4,000 votes as of 7 p.m. ET.
Update: The news side of Fox News isn’t going along with the “I was cheated” con even if the opinion side is:
Fox reporter John Roberts says Trump knows he’s losing. “The election is not going his way. He’s trying to plan an alternate route to the White House.”
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) November 6, 2020
On Fox News, Bret Baier just said “we have not seen hard evidence” of any election fraud. Wow. Fox totally divorcing from Trump.
— Gabriel Sherman (@gabrielsherman) November 6, 2020
Fox is under intense scrutiny not just from the White House but from their own industry because all sides understand that they have outsized influence in shaping Republican grassroots opinion. If the news team goes all-in on fraud claims without evidence, it’s going to lend Trump’s claims a patina of credence.
Update: Pretty much.
CNN's Jake Tapper reacts to Trump's shocking White House statement falsely declaring victory: "It's just pathetic" pic.twitter.com/4aLL2mRTtg
— TPM Livewire (@TPMLiveWire) November 6, 2020
Update: Another Murdoch-owned outfit isn’t going to play Trump’s game here.
— New York Post (@nypost) November 6, 2020
— New York Post (@nypost) November 5, 2020