There’s a theory kicking around today that the sheer zaniness of Sidney Powell’s theories about how the election was stolen did more to convince Republicans that Biden won fair and square than anything Biden himself might say.
Could be. Among Republican politicians and commentators, sure, that’s plausible.
Among rank-and-file Republican voters, though?
It looks to me like the crazier things get, the more convinced they become. Which has a perverse logic to it, along the lines of how a big lie is more likely to be believed. Surely the president and Powell and Rudy Giuliani and the entirety of MAGA media wouldn’t be going all-in on theories of undetectable computer hacking linked to Venezuelan communists unless they had good reason to believe those theories were true. Surely this isn’t just a grand gaslighting operation among them designed to spare Trump from the embarrassment of having to admit he lost.
To believe that you’d need to believe in conspiracies. What are you, a kook?
New from Change Research:
As the president makes unsubstantiated claims about electoral malfeasance and sows doubts about vote tallies, only 3% of Trump voters surveyed said they accept Biden’s victory as legitimate, the survey released Monday found. A staggering 73% of respondents consider Trump the legitimate winner. Another 24% said they are not sure.
A mere 3% of Trump voters believe he should concede to Biden and start the peaceful transfer of power. Another 31% want the president to fight in court until states certify results. Two-thirds, or 66%, think Trump should never concede…
Loyalty to Trump runs deep among the respondents. Asked with whom they would identify if the president left the GOP, 72% responded Trump’s party, while 28% answered the Republican Party.
Asked whether they’d give Biden a chance as president, Trump voters split 19/81. I thought it’d be 5/95 or thereabouts, frankly. Maybe they’re softening as we get closer to Inauguration Day.
What the president himself sincerely believes about the election is known only to him, and probably changes by the day or even the hour. For someone who claims to have been the victim of the most outrageous crime in American history, he sounds pretty chill behind the scenes about the prospect of leaving office soon according to the WSJ:
President Trump has publicly vowed to keep up the fight to overturn the election. Privately, advisers say, the president has suggested he knows the battle is effectively over—and has begun to turn his attention to his next act…
More recently, administration officials say, the president’s focus appears to have broadened. In private conversations, he has polled advisers on what he should do next, musing about how he can stay relevant in the media and in the Republican Party and how he can earn money.
He has repeatedly expressed interest in running for president again in 2024, which some advisers have urged him to do as a way to save face, telling him he can decide whether to follow through later.
The transition authorized last night by GSA is also proceeding, reportedly:
New: WH has given formal approval for President-Elect Biden to receive the President's Daily Briefing, according to WH official. Coordination on when he'll receive his first is underway. @kaitlancollins reporting
— Jim Sciutto (@jimsciutto) November 24, 2020
On the other hand, look below to see what he’s tweeting and retweeting today. This is why I found it so hard to believe that Trump dumped Sidney Powell because her theories about the great Dominion plot were too wild even for him. Would a guy willing to amplify material like this really have a “red line” on craziness?
Are you listening Republicans? https://t.co/N5heB6gvwb
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 24, 2020
TIME TO MAKE OAN & NEWSMAX RICH. FOX IS DEAD TO ME! pic.twitter.com/IhnDXCJ7a7
— Randy Quaid (@RandyRRQuaid) November 13, 2020
Joe Biden should pledge today that, no matter what policies of Trump’s he ends up reversing, he’ll tweet out occasional videos demonstrating Randy Quaid’s mental break from the presidential account. Purely in the spirit of continuity.
As further evidence that, on some level, the president still thinks he has a fighting chance of prevailing in court, the Journal reports that aides in the West Wing are trying to avoid being near the Oval Office for fear of being roped into the legal battle somehow. “Usually everybody’s looking for an opportunity to go in. Now it’s the opposite,” said one administration official to the paper. “You never know where there’s going to be this moment where he’s like, well why don’t you do X-Y-Z crazy thing.” I believe it. I think Trump’s probably vacillating between “it’s over” and “wait, what if we tried this one last longshot idea?” What if I turn my entire legal effort over to Rudy Giuliani and Jenna Ellis? What if I try to convince state legislatures to void their election results? What if I tweet out a clip of Randy Quaid sounding like a mental patient?
In lieu of an exit question read Andrew Egger’s report for The Dispatch from Georgia, where he’s attending “Stop the Steal” rallies and trying to gauge what effect they might have on GOP turnout in the Senate runoffs. Note the part where attendees start accusing media photographers of being Antifa.