Saturday, November 7, 2020



UPDATE: George W. Bush: “I just talked to the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden. I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night.”


pgl said...

Come on George – join Lisa Murkowski, Mitt Romney, and Chris Christie and cheer

Marvin K. Mooney Will You Please Go Now!

pgl said...

You got W's attention!

Sandwichman said...

George W. Bush: “I just talked to the President-elect of the United States, Joe Biden. I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night.”

Mission Accomplished!

Fred C. Dobbs said...

George W. Bush congratulates Biden on his victory

Former President George W. Bush congratulated President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. on Sunday, becoming the highest-profile Republican to publicly declare the election over in defiance of President Trump’s refusal to accept the results.

“I extended my warm congratulations and thanked him for the patriotic message he delivered last night,” Mr. Bush said in a statement released after he spoke with Mr. Biden by telephone. “I also called Kamala Harris to congratulate her on her historic election to the vice presidency. Though we have political differences, I know Joe Biden to be a good man who has won his opportunity to lead and unify our country.”

He added: “I want to congratulate President Trump and his supporters on a hard-fought campaign. He earned the votes of more than 70 million Americans — an extraordinary political achievement. They have spoken, and their voices will continue to be heard through elected Republicans at every level of government.” ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Ted Cruz, contradicting legal experts, says Trump still has ‘a path to victory.’

Prominent Republicans continued to close ranks around President Trump as he refused to concede defeat, with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas saying on Sunday that he still believed the president had “a path to victory.”

Mr. Cruz, a member of George W. Bush’s legal team in 2000 when the Supreme Court ultimately decided the outcome of the election after 37 days of limbo, said in an interview with Maria Bartiromo of Fox Business that he foresaw a similar path for Mr. Trump. Mr. Cruz suggested the matter might not be resolved until the members of the Electoral College met to vote in mid-December.

Independent legal experts and other Republicans disagree, pointing to the lack of any serious and substantiated claims of voting irregularities that Mr. Trump’s lawyers have put forward.

Referring to the legal challenges that went to the Supreme Court in Bush v. Gore, Mr. Cruz said: “It went twice to the Florida Supreme Court. It went twice to the U.S. Supreme Court. It took 36 days to resolve, and we got an answer.”

He added, “I would expect a similar process to play out here, despite the media trying to tell everyone, ‘Give up, go home, we know who we want to win.’”

Mr. Trump has said that he wants the Supreme Court to settle the election, though he has not said how or why he believes he has a case that will leave the outcome of the election to the justices. He and his personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, have claimed that their allies were prevented from observing vote-counting. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Is this what Cruz is all about?

Can the Electoral College be subverted by “faithless electors"?

via @BrookingsInst - October 21

... Following the November popular vote, each state formally designates its electors, specifically those electors selected by the political party of—and pledged to vote for—the state’s popular vote-winning candidate. In December those electors meet in each state to cast their official electoral votes, which the states send to Washington for January’s official tally. The winning side in all but Maine and Nebraska gets all the state’s electoral votes regardless of the popular vote division. The House of Representatives decides presidential elections if there is no Electoral College majority (most recently in 1824), although the 1876 election was resolved by horse trading after a special commission ended voting disputes.

Today’s electors pledge to vote faithfully for their party’s candidate. American history has seen a handful of faithless electors—156 by one count—who vote for someone other than that candidate. Faithless electors have never changed an election outcome. But in this chaotic election year, their potential to disrupt the presidential election may loom larger. As a further twist, state legislatures in battleground states might try to replace state-certified electors with alternative slates of faithless-elector equivalents. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

There will be Trump suits in a
handful of states, it seems.

PA, GA, & AZ.

Most important is PA. GA & AZ have
not yet finalized their votes.

PA has 20 electoral votes that Trump
desperately needs. It has a GOP legislature
which can be persuaded, presumably, to go
rogue and approve a slate of GOP electors
who will vote for Trump regardless of the
choices of voters in the commonwealth of
Pennsylvania. PA also has a Dem governor
who may intervene in favor of Biden.

If PA electors vote for Trump, then what
happens in GA & AZ becomes very important.

GA & AZ voters must choose Trump for his victory plan
to succeed. But, if the GOP legislatures in those states
(with GOP guvnahs), also put up GOP electors regardless
of how the popular vote is finalized in those states,
then Trump can still win.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Lindsey Graham: If Trump concedes election, Republicans will 'never' elect another president

... "If Republicans don't challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican president elected again," Graham said Sunday on Fox News. "President Trump should not concede. We're down to less -- 10,000 votes in Georgia. He's going to win North Carolina. We have gone from 93,000 votes to less than 20,000 votes in Arizona, where more -- more votes to be counted." ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

The Electoral College will do its
thing in December, then Congress
will act in January.

3 U.S. Code § 15 - Counting electoral votes in Congress

Congress shall be in session on the sixth day of January succeeding every meeting of the electors. The Senate and House of Representatives shall meet in the Hall of the House of Representatives at the hour of 1 o’clock in the afternoon on that day, and the President of the Senate shall be their presiding officer. Two tellers shall be previously appointed on the part of the Senate and two on the part of the House of Representatives, to whom shall be handed, as they are opened by the President of the Senate, all the certificates and papers purporting to be certificates of the electoral votes, which certificates and papers shall be opened, presented, and acted upon in the alphabetical order of the States ...

(This presumably is where 'rogue slates' of Electors come into play.)

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Election results in the Boston Globe

The Globe has Biden with 290 electoral votes, Trump with 214.

The Biden count now includes Nevada, but not Georgia, apparently.
Georgia has counted 100% of ballots, but with Biden at 49.5%
and Trump at 49.3%, there will be a recount. It looks like
only NC, AK & GA are excluded from the totals.

pgl said...

Fred - you certainly gave Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham more than their 15 minutes of fame. Both are either completely bonkers or are just lying like a rug. This is over - Joe Biden won. So time to ignore these Dead Enders.

pgl said...

"If PA electors vote for Trump, then what
happens in GA & AZ becomes very important."

This is pure fantasy. You might as well say New York went for Biden. It didn't and neither will PA.

pgl said...

"Georgia has counted 100% of ballots, but with Biden at 49.5% and Trump at 49.3%, there will be a recount."

I'm not sure where Fred is getting his information but there are about 10 thousand votes left to count in Georgia (Fred earlier quoted Lindsey Graham saying that and this is the one thing Graham got right). Let's say the Biden lead stays near 1 thousand. A recount is not going to change that.

Come on Fred - you are babbling worse than Trump's kids.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

If the scheme to have Congress accept slates of
Faithless Electors in January after the Electoral
College votes for Biden in December does not work
out, then what happens?

Looks like Sec/Def Mike Esper wasn't going to go
along with the Pentagon instituting military
rule, but his replacement, ably assisted by
Sec/State (& West Point grad) Mike Pompeo
will do what Trump demands, in January.

Oh, wait, 'It Can't Happen Here',
not in the Good Old USA.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

'Come on Fred - you are babbling worse than Trump's kids.'

Don't get me wrong. I don't want this to happen.

But I think it can, because The GOP
is willing to let it happen.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

The victory margins for Biden in AZ
& GA will most likely be small enough
for re-counts to happen in those states.

With NC and AK going for Trump, if the
Supreme Court decides in Trump's favor
in AZ & GA, then Trump wins.

That'd be one of Trump's
fantasies. God help us.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

BTW, it's my understanding that in
GA, if the margin of victory is less
than 0.5%, a recount is mandatory.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

"If PA electors vote for Trump, then what
happens in GA & AZ becomes very important."

'This is pure fantasy.'

Perhaps. If so, it's a Trumpian fantasy.

PA has a GOP legislature and a Dem guv.

Maybe their guv can intervene.
It's 'All GOP' in GA & AZ.

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Georgia officials announce full hand recount of the presidential race

via @BostonGlobe - November 11

ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia’s secretary of state on Wednesday announced an audit of presidential election results that he said will trigger a full hand recount.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said at a news conference that his office wants the process to begin by the end of the week and he expects it to take until Nov. 20, which is the certification deadline.

President-elect Joe Biden leads President Donald Trump by about 14,000 votes out of nearly 5 million votes in the state. Nearly all ballots have been counted, though counties have until Friday to certify their results.

Once county certification is complete and before the state certifies the results, the count must be audited. It is up to Raffensperger to choose which race to audit.

The audit is a new requirement put in place by a law passed in 2019 that also provided for the new voting machines purchased last year. The state has chosen to do a risk-limiting audit, in which a random sample of ballots or receipts generated by voting machines are checked against results produced by vote-tallying equipment for accuracy.

Raffensperger chose to audit the presidential race and said the tight margin means that the audit will result in a full hand recount.

Asked if he chose the presidential race because of the Trump campaign’s call for a hand recount, Raffensperger said, “No, we’re doing this because it’s really what makes the most sense with the national significance of this race and the closeness of this race.”

For the hand recount, election officers will work with the paper ballots in batches, dividing them into piles for each candidate. Then they will run the piles through machines to count the number of ballots for each candidate. The scanners will not read the data on the ballots, simply count them.

Raffensperger said the process will have “plenty of oversight,” with both parties having the opportunity to observe.

After results from the hand recount are certified, the losing campaign can then request another recount, which will be performed by scanners that would read and tally the votes, Raffensperger said.

There is no mandatory recount law in Georgia, but state law provides that option to a trailing candidate if the margin is less than 0.5 percentage points. Biden’s lead stood at 0.28 percentage points as of Wednesday morning. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

Trump’s big election lie pushes America toward autocracy

via @BostonGlobe - November 11

Clinging to power by claiming you are the victim of internal
enemies is a very dangerous tactic. Don’t underestimate where this can go.

When you lose, it is good and healthy to know why. In the First World War, the conflict that defined our modern world, the Germans lost because of the overwhelming force assembled by their enemies on the Western Front. After the Americans entered the war, German defeat was a matter of time. Yet German commanders found it convenient instead to speak of a “stab in the back” by leftists and Jews. This big lie was a problem for the new German democracy that was created after the war, since it suggested that the major political party, the Social Democrats, and a national minority, the Jews, were outside the national community. The lie was taken up by the Nazis, and it became a central element of their version of history after they took power. The blame was elsewhere.

It is always tempting to blame defeat on others. Yet for a national leader to do so and to inject a big lie into the system puts democracy at great risk. Excluding others from the national community makes democracy impossible in principle, and refusing to accept defeat makes it impossible in practice. What we face now in the United States is a new, American incarnation of the old falsehood: that Donald Trump’s defeat was not what it seems, that votes were stolen from him by internal enemies — by a left-wing party. “Where it mattered, they stole what they had to steal,” he tweets. He claims that his votes were all “Legal Votes,” as if by definition those for his opponent were not.

Underestimating Donald Trump is a mistake that people should not go on making. Laughing at him will not make him go away. If it did, he would have vanished decades ago. Nor will longstanding norms about how presidents behave make him go away. He is an actor and will stick to his lines: It was all a fraud, and he won “by a lot.” He was never defeated, goes the story; he was a victim of a conspiracy. This stab-in-the-back myth could become a permanent feature of American politics, so long as Trump has a bullhorn, be it on Fox or on RT (formerly Russia Today) — or, though Democrats might find this unthinkable, as an unelected president remaining in power.

After all, a claim that an election was illegitimate is a claim to remaining in power. A coup is under way, and the number of participants is not shrinking but growing. Few leading Republicans have acknowledged that the race is over. Important ones, such as Mitch McConnell and Mike Pompeo, appear to be on the side of the coup. We might like to think that this is all some strategy to find the president an exit ramp. But perhaps that is wishful thinking. The transition office refuses to begin its work. The secretary of defense, who did not want the army attacking civilians, was fired. The Department of Justice, exceeding its traditional mandate, has authorized investigations of the vote count. The talk shows on Fox this week contradict the news released by Fox last week. Republican lawmakers find ever new verbal formulations that directly or indirectly support Trump’s claims. The longer this goes on, the greater the danger to the Republic. ...

Fred C. Dobbs said...

What Trump is saying is false, and Republican politicians know it. If the votes against the president were fraudulent, then Republican wins in the House and Senate were also fraudulent: The votes were on the same ballots. Yet conspiracy theories, such as the stab in the back, have a force that goes beyond logic. They push away from a world of evidence and toward a world of fears. Psychological research suggests that citizens are especially vulnerable to conspiracy theories at the time of elections. Trump understands this, which is why his delivery of conspiracy theory is full of capital letters and bereft of facts. He knows better than to try to prove anything. His ally Newt Gingrich reaches for the worst when he blames a wealthy Jew for something that did not happen in the first place.

History shows where this can go. If people believe an election has been stolen, that makes the new president a usurper. In Poland in 1922, a close election brought a centrist candidate to the presidency. Decried by the right in the press as an agent of the Jews, he was assassinated after two weeks in office. Even if the effect is not so immediate, the lingering effect of a myth of victimhood, of the idea of a stab in the back, can be profound. The German myth of a stab in the back did not doom German democracy immediately. But the conspiracy theory did help Nazis make their case that some Germans were not truly members of the nation and that a truly national government could not be democratic.

Democracy can be buried in a big lie. Of course, the end of democracy in America would take an American form. In 2020 Trump acknowledged openly what has been increasingly clear for decades: The Republican Party aims not so much to win elections as to game them. This strategy has its temptations: The more you care about suppressing votes, the less you care about what voters want. And the less you care about voters want, the closer you move to authoritarianism. Trump has taken the next logical step: Try to disenfranchise voters not only before but after elections.

The results of the 2020 elections could be read to mean that Republicans can fight and win on the issues. Reading the results as fraudulent instead will take Republicans, and the country, on a very different journey, through a cloud of magical thinking toward violence.

If you have been stabbed in the back, then everything is permitted. Claiming that a fair election was foul is preparation for an election that is foul. If you convince your voters that the other side has cheated, you are promising them that you yourself will cheat next time. Having bent the rules, you then have to break them. History shows the danger in the familiar example of Hitler. When politicians break democracy, as conservatives in Weimar Germany did in the early 1930s, they are wrong to think that they will control what happens next. Someone else will emerge who is better adapted to the chaos and who will wield it in ways that they neither want nor expect. The myth of victimhood comes home and claims its victims.

This is no time to mince words. In the interest of the Republic and of their own party, Republicans should accept the results.

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