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Team Trump gets rebuked for false victory claims — and launches a desperate legal strategy

November 4, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

As the state presidential election results ticked in Joe Biden’s favor on Wednesday, President Donald Trump and his allies began launching desperate attempts to change the narrative and squeeze victory out of contrived chaos.

White House Press Secretary Kayleigh McEnany, for instance, was among the allies of the president who falsely claimed that he had won in Pennsylvania, where the count is ongoing:

Twitter quickly rebuked this claim — already obviously dubious since it claimed cited no source — by slapping McEnany’s tweets other those of others Trump allies with a warning label. In fact, election observers believe Biden may be on a path to winning Pennsylvania, given the votes left to be counted.

Trump also tried to falsely claim that he has won other states that have yet to be called. He even claimed he won Michigan, which multiple outlets have reported as a victory for Biden:

Clearly, the goal is to seize control of the narrative and cast doubt on results that are favorable to Biden. He may hope to inspire protest and even violence from his supporters, which could potentially disrupt ongoing counts or raise the pressure on courts to intervene. If the election ends up in a legal dispute, he wants to make the claim that he has already won, and anything the courts would do to give victory to Biden would be illegitimate. It is, to be clear, a blatant and transparent effort to start a disinformation campaign.

Trump and his team are already launching a legal strategy to contest the election results — but it seems unlikely to work.

Rick Hasen of the Election Law Blog outlined their efforts so far:

After networks called Wisconsin for Biden with about a 20,000 vote lead and counting complete, the Trump campaign said it would seek a recount. The recount effort is highly unlikely to be successful, a point former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker acknowledged. Statewide recounts rarely work according to a Fairvote study, shifting an average of 282 votes.

The Trump campaign is also suing to try to …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Why Trump fans enthusiastically back a confessed sexual assailant and obvious sociopath

November 4, 2020 in Blogs

By Amanda Marcotte

I grew up in right-wing America, but I got out as soon as I could. No one was surprised. From an early age, it was clear my inclinations were what you might call “Weimar American” or what a lot of people around me called “weird”: More interested in reading than watching TV, invested in pop music trends, and intrigued rather than repulsed by the idea of meeting people who were different than me, or eating foods I hadn’t heard of before.

“You’re a New Waver,” some kid snarled at me in class one day in, I kid you not, 1993. I didn’t have the heart to tell him that term was going out of style when he was a toddler.

Now, as an adult, I shop at the farmer’s market. I’m middle-aged, but I know what “trap music” is. I have opinions on the newest seasons of “The Great British Baking Show,” versus the older ones. I lament the decline of bookstores, but still buy actual books online. I read mainstream newspapers and eat Vietnamese takeout. I’ve been to same-sex weddings and the Women’s March. I’ve uttered the phrase “the Golden Age of Television.”

I say these things not to congratulate myself for being hip, but quite the opposite. I’m not hip at all — I’m an extremely normal American. Sure, I’ve lived in liberal cities — first Austin, then Brooklyn and now Philadelphia — my whole adult life. Still, the America I know, where the movie “Get Out” was a huge hit and the Dixie Chicks did nothing wrong — is mainstream America.

Americans like me populate the small towns and suburbs too, as the summer of Black Lives Matter protests and Biden/Harris signs demonstrated. There are many flavors of us and many races, but the general values — appreciation for diversity, acceptance of social change, cultural curiosity and empathy towards others — are the mainstream values of America.

Some of us are here as a matter of choice and some as a matter of circumstance, marginalized by immutable characteristics like race or gender identity or sexual orientation. Still, the fact that Democrats tend to win the popular vote in presidential elections over and over and over — with the 2020 result, that makes seven of the last eight — is evidence that the America that Donald Trump and his fans hate, the America they don’t even want to admit is …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Joe Biden declared the winner of Michigan by CNN and NBC News

November 4, 2020 in Blogs

By Alex Henderson

As the vote-counting continued in Pennsylvania and CNN and the Associated Press declared former Vice President Joe Biden to the winner in Wisconsin, the Democrat was likewise declared the winner of Michigan by both CNN and NBC News, inching him closer to securing the needed 270 electoral votes needed for victory.

President Donald Trump’s campaign claimed it filed a lawsuit to stop the vote-counting in Michigan, but no actual filing has yet been made public.

The Rust Belt states of Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania turned out to be real nail-biters in the 2020 election. With Trump having won battleground states that included Florida, Ohio and Iowa on Election Night, parts of the Rust Belt became Biden’s best chance for a victory.

On Wednesday afternoon, CNN projected that Biden was the winner in Wisconsin — and not long after that, AP called Wisconsin for Biden. Trump’s campaign is saying that he will request a recount in the Badger State, though it’s highly unlikely to change the outcome.

Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania were among the greatest surprises in the 2016 election. Although those states had been going Democratic in presidential races, Trump won all of them. But Biden had hopes of flipping them back this year.

Meanwhile, in the southwestern U.S., the Associated Press and Fox News both called Arizona — which has 11 electoral votes — for Biden on Election Night, making Arizona the first Trump state from 2016 that Biden flipped. Wisconsin was the second.

Pennsylvania, which has 20 electoral votes, has often been described as a make-or-break state for Biden. And the New York Times, on Thursday morning, reported that in Pennsylvania, Trump “leads by nearly 700,000 votes, but there are 1.4 million absentee votes outstanding.” And the absentee vote count, according to the Times, “appears to be overwhelmingly for Biden.”

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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'Step back!': Rowdy crowd trying to stop vote counting forms at Detroit election center

November 4, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

A crowd of protesters demanding that vote counting in Detroit cease formed at the TCF Hall, a local election center, Steve Patterson of NBC News reported on Wednesday.

He posted video of the event where the protesters crowded around the entrance to a room where votes were being counted:

“Step back! Step back!” a law enforcement official yelled as he tried to leave the room. The crowd was press up against the door.

Another official identified himself as a member of the Detroit Health Department, drawing jeers from the crowd. He instructed the crowd to spread out if they’re going to be inside, presumably because of concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

Other videos appeared to show the protesters at the center cheering “stop the count.” President Donald Trump has falsely declared victory in his re-election, despite the fact the official counts are not yet complete, and the odds seem to favor Joe Biden’s chances at this time. But the protesters demands were deeply ironic, because the current Michigan count has Biden leading — stopping the count now wouldn’t save Trump in the state.

This scenario — with Trump disputing the ballot counting, and his supporters trying to cause chaos at election centers — is exactly the circumstance that many political observers have warned could take place for months in the event of a tight race.

…read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Sara Gideon concedes to Susan Collins — dealing blow to Democratic hopes of regaining the Senate

November 4, 2020 in Blogs

By Roger Sollenberger

Democrat Sara Gideon on Wednesday conceded Maine’s hard-fought Senate race to Republican Susan Collins, sending the incumbent back to Washington for a fifth term. Gideon’s apparent loss dramatically increases the odds that the GOP will retain control of the upper chamber under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

In a short address outside of a Bangor hotel, Collins said she had received a concession call from Gideon as unofficial results showed the Republican up by a margin of 51% to 42%, with 85% of precincts reporting. If those numbers hold, Collins would avoid a ranked-choice runoff which could potentially shift the outcome of the race toward Gideon.

Democrat Sara Gideon on Wednesday conceded Maine’s hard-fought Senate race to Republican Susan Collins, sending the incumbent back to Washington for a fifth term. Gideon’s apparent loss dramatically increases the odds that the GOP will retain control of the upper chamber under Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

In a short address outside of a Bangor hotel, Collins said she had received a concession call from Gideon as unofficial results showed the Republican up by a margin of 51% to 42%, with 85% of precincts reporting. If those numbers hold, Collins would avoid a ranked-choice runoff which could potentially shift the outcome of the race toward Gideon.

Gideon, the speaker of the Maine House of Representatives, consistently polled ahead of Collins throughout the year, at times posting double digit margins. Election forecasters at the Cook Political Report accordingly shifted the race from “toss-up” to “lean Democrat.” However, the contest tightened to within a few points as Election Day neared.

Those polls were a shock for Collins, who won 70% of the vote in her previous race. This cycle, Collins had to claw back the confidence of her fellow Mainers. Like many of her vulnerable Republican colleagues, Collins struggled to sever her image from Trump, who rated deeply unpopular in the Pine Tree State. She never committed to voting for the president, even when asked directly during her final debate with Gideon. Instead, Collins focused her advertising on Maine issues — to varying degrees of success.

But Collins’ own record again stood in her way, most specifically her vote to acquit Trump …read more

Source: ALTERNET

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Untangling the Legend of Joaquín Murrieta, One of California’s Most Storied Outlaws

November 4, 2020 in History

By Adam Janos

It’s clear the California Rangers beheaded someone in 1854. What’s isn’t clear is whether it was the infamous bandit known as ‘Joaquín.’

Few Mexican-American folk heroes loom as large as Joaquín Murrieta. An outlaw of the California Gold Rush era, Murrieta and his exploits were posthumously fictionalized in The Life and Adventures of Joaquín Murieta (sic) by novelist John Rollin Ridge in 1854—one short year after Murrieta was allegedly killed by California rangers in a gunfight in Fresno County. In the years after his death, the legend of Murrieta grew: He was the protagonist of a play by Nobel Prize winner Pablo Neruda, and he’s been credited with inspiring fictional vigilantes from Zorro to Batman.

His blood-soaked story lives at the murky intersection of history, myth and folklore. According to the legend—first compiled in Ridge’s book—Murrieta was just a teenager when he left Mexico for California with dreams of cashing in on the Gold Rush. But the young Mexican was subject to a litany of racist injustices shortly after entering the country: tied up and whipped, then made to watch his wife gang-raped and his brother hung from a tree after a crowd of white people falsely accused him of stealing a horse. Vowing revenge, Murrieta turned to a life of banditry, stealing from Anglo Americans until he was tracked down by law enforcement and killed.

But while most of the fictionalizations about Murrieta contain those story elements, there’s a lot of debate about Murrieta’s real life—starting with whether or not he existed in the first place. California rangers did kill someone—maybe Murrieta, maybe not—and then had that person’s head pickled in alcohol and paraded around the state to celebrate their ability to catch such a storied outlaw. But debate about the veracity of the Murrieta story persisted from his banditry days until well after the beheading. It was clear that someone had lost their head. What was far less clear was who it was, and what crimes could be pinned to him.

READ MORE: The California Gold Rush

Beyond Oak Island premieres Tuesday, November 17 at 10/9c on HISTORY.

Why 1850s California Was a Hotbed of Racial Tension

Beneath the Joaquín Murrieta story lies the racially charged atmosphere of 1850s California, where violence frequently flared between incoming (mostly white) settlers to the new state and the Mexican and indigenous people who had long lived there. Whether …read more

Source: HISTORY