This makes sense, but there have been other points in this fiasco when it seemed like Trump was finally throwing in the towel only to end up redoubling his efforts to overturn the election. When he fired Sidney Powell, one might have thought, “This insanity has now gone too far even for him.” It hadn’t. He’s made many of the same claims as Powell since then, just without the addendum that Republicans should boycott the Georgia Senate runoffs on January 5.
Another exit ramp was when the GSA finally “ascertained” that Biden was the apparent winner of the election and released federal funds to his campaign. That also freed up Trump officials to start coordinating with Biden’s team on the handover and allowed intel agents to start giving Biden the Presidential Daily Brief. Trump took credit for that “ascertainment,” another moment when it seemed like he might finally begin to back down. Nope. As recently as Saturday, he dialed up Georgia’s governor and asked him to call the state legislature into session to void the state’s election results and award their electors to him.
So, yeah, on the one hand, Kaitlan Collins is right that circumstances seem to be gathering against pushing the lawsuits much longer. The “safe harbor” date for the electoral college is tomorrow. Rudy Giuliani’s in the hospital with COVID. Powell’s “Kraken” lawsuit got laughed out of two courts today, adding to the almost perfect record of futility that Trump and his allies have amassed in post-election lawsuits. And Republican officials like Brian Kemp and Doug Ducey have refused to bend to the president’s demands for an extra-judicial remedy. This *does* feel like the right moment for POTUS to throw in the towel and declare a 2024 candidacy.
But, Trump being Trump, he’ll probably triple down and try to dissolve the electoral college via executive order or something.
Giuliani is currently supposed to appear remotely in front of a hearing with Georgia House delegates Thursday, but whether he ultimately does depends on his condition.
— Kaitlan Collins (@kaitlancollins) December 7, 2020
“Yep,” added Times reporter Maggie Haberman to Collins’s tweets, which I guess means her sources are telling her the same thing. It made me think of NBC’s report last week claiming that “Trump has recently told some advisers he wants to announce a 2024 campaign shortly after the Electoral College meets on Dec. 14.” Maybe — maybe — he’s finally shifting to that phase of this process. He’ll never concede, he’ll never allow that Biden won fairly, but there’ll be some good done if he lets go of his hope of trying to hang onto power by any means necessary and starts looking ahead to the next election.
Although, if I had to bet, I’d bet on an “ELECTORAL COLLEGE IS DISSOLVED!” tweet instead.
Even Kayleigh McEnany seems to be envisioning a Biden presidency at this point, per her allusion to Kamala Harris being the tiebreaker in the Senate:
Dead-ender Kayleigh McEnany yells at GA Gov. Kemp on Fox News: "You have the power to call in a special legislative session because right now if we lose these two Senate seats, guess whose casting the deciding vote in this country for our government? It will be Kamala Harris." pic.twitter.com/IW2o55ohWs
— The Recount (@therecount) December 6, 2020
McEnany’s just being a realist, recognizing that no court is going to give Rudy and Jenna Ellis what they’re asking for. If a Biden/Harris administration is to be averted at this point, only extraordinary corruption on the order of state legislatures voting to give their electors to Trump instead of to Biden can make it happen. That’s why she’s leaning on Georgia’s governor in the clip.
Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, has an op-ed today that’s cleverly written as an admonition to Democrats but is actually aimed at admonishing Republicans, I think. Stacey Abrams and her supporters were election truthers before Trump was, he notes, correctly. Republicans are now imitating what they once rightly derided as contemptible sore-loserdom.
Establishing a playbook that President Trump is following to the letter now, Ms. Abrams refused to concede, announced that she would launch major litigation against Georgia’s election system, and began collecting hundreds of millions of dollars from donors convinced the election had been stolen from her…
The media has rightly pushed back against the president’s actions and the dangerous game his legal team is playing. But for the past two years, the media has endorsed and encouraged Ms. Abrams’s campaign to undermine election integrity in Georgia and across the country. Some outlets cast her as some kind of heroine.
Many media outlets have rightly highlighted that the Trump campaign has provided precious little proof of its voter-fraud allegations. Yet for two years, few asked the same of Stacey Abrams. Through all this, confidence in the integrity of American elections suffered.
It’s pathetic that each party has so little difficulty grasping that the other’s claims of election shenanigans are pernicious nonsense while pursuing its own with the utmost seriousness, Raffensperger suggests. Maybe that “tu quoque” at Dems is designed to try to earn him a little goodwill from righties who’ve been treating him like a villain, but I suspect the “tu quoque” goes both ways here. His deeper point is that, just as Abrams’s allegations of voter suppression were self-serving and unverifiable, so too are Trump’s and MAGA Nation’s allegations of voter fraud.
Minor difference, though: Abrams wasn’t the commander-in-chief of the U.S. military or actively trying to convince the state legislature to void the result of her election loss to Brian Kemp. We’ve goofed on her many times in the past for her election trutherism and Democratic pols’ embarrassing credulity towards it, but at least Abrams wasn’t trying to orchestrate a de facto coup.
Anyway, hopefully the president is indeed easing off the gas pedal on his “stop the steal!” campaign. What his allies are willing to do and say to keep enabling that effort is turning more disgusting by the day:
Will that be the new litmus test of party loyalty, believing based on zero evidence that the Kelly Loeffler aide who died a few days ago in a car crash was some sort of linchpin of “the big steal”? Today A.B. Stoddard writes, “What Mitch McConnell and company don’t seem to understand is that this is the endgame: The MAGA cult no longer sees Democrats and the media as Enemy Number One. The Republicans who aren’t legally permitted to deny reality are now the big threat. And Trump is going to spend the next two—or four—years at war them.” I made a similar point yesterday. To a certain sort of Republican populist, Democratic donor Lin Wood — who’s urging Georgians *not* to vote in the Senate runoffs — is a bigger hero than anyone in the party save for Trump himself. One’s policy preferences, or even one’s preference to see the GOP control the federal government, are no longer the glue that holds the MAGA-fied right together. The glue is one’s willingness to believe the alternate reality created by the president, however weird and delusional that reality might get. You can’t be a good Republican otherwise. Just ask Raffensperger.
I’ll leave you with this. He doesn’t sound like a man who’s about to quit.
.@johnrobertsfox asks Trump whether he's trying to overturn the election.
Trump rambles about the election being rigged.
(It was not.) pic.twitter.com/jqMhmav5sf
— The Recount (@therecount) December 7, 2020