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Sliding toward apocalypse: There's no returning to normal after Trump

November 15, 2020 in Blogs

By TomDispatch

Imagine for a moment that Hillary Clinton had won the presidential election in 2016.

Imagine, in other words, that the “blue wall” of Michigan, Wisconsin, and Pennsylvania had held firm four years ago. Claiming election fraud, Donald Trump would have insisted on a recount and Election Day would then, too, have stretched into election week and election month. Eventually, Trump would have given up, though not without insisting that the “deep state” had stolen his victory.

Once in office, Clinton would have set to work building on the Obama legacy. The United States would have remained in the Paris climate accord, the Iran nuclear agreement would still be in force, and perhaps a more robust health-care plan might even be in place. Competent civil servants would have taken charge of federal agencies, a tax cut for the wealthy wouldn’t have gone into effect, and the Democrats would have been well positioned in 2020 to reelect the first woman president and build a stronger congressional majority.

America wouldn’t have gone down the rabbit hole of Trumpism. Civic discourse wouldn’t have been coarsened. The country wouldn’t now be in such complete and utter…

Hey, wake up!

If Hillary had somehow managed to eke out a victory in 2016, she would soon enough have faced a Republican Party as hostile to compromise as the one that hamstrung Barack Obama. Opposition from Congress and Republican-controlled states, combined with her own centrist instincts, would have kept the country mired in a failing status quo: an increasingly unequal economy, crumbling infrastructure, a growing carbon footprint, a morbidly obese Pentagon, and other signs of a declining superpower that we’ve come to know so well.

Now, imagine what would have happened when the pandemic struck in 2020. Clinton would have responded more competently than The Donald because virtually anyone over the age of 12 would have been better suited to handle the emergency than he was. Indeed, if the United States had managed Covid-19 with anything faintly approaching the competency of, say, Germany under Angela Merkel, the country would have had, by my calculations, 2.6 million infections and about 45,000 deaths on the eve of the 2020 elections.

That obviously would be better than the 10 million infections and more than 245,000 deaths the United States is currently experiencing.

Keep in mind, however, that Americans wouldn’t have known …read more


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Democrats missed a crucial opportunity to take a victory lap

November 15, 2020 in Blogs

By Cody Fenwick

When vote tallies started coming in on Nov. 3 for the 2020 election, Democrats got a brutal shock. Florida, an important but not pivotal state in the presidential race, was expected to be a tight contest between Joe Biden and President Donald Trump, with the Democrat slightly favored to win. Everyone knows Florida is an election wild card, but the first glimpses of the election returns emerged, they came as a gut punch. Biden dramatically underperformed in the crucial Miami-Dade County. Not only was Trump going to win the state — it wasn’t even going to be particularly close.

That loss cast a cloud over the rest of the evening, which, as expected, produced more grim — but ultimately misleading — numbers for Biden. He initially trailed in the counts for the key midwestern states, but this was expected because the disproportionately Democratic mail-in votes were slated to be counted last. More disappointing news came in as Democrats significantly shot below expectations in House and Senate races.

But now that we have some distance from Election Day itself, a few things a clear. Biden won the White House, unquestionably the single most important race on the ballot for either party. Democrats will keep control of the House of Representatives. And with two Senate races in Georgia scheduled for January, the party still has a chance at gaining split control of the Senate, with Democratic Vice President Kamala Harris holding the decisive tie-breaking vote. While scoring two wins in the Georgia races is likely an uphill battle, it’s playing out in a state that Biden just flipped blue for the first time in decades.

With this news in hand, Democrats should have declared victory. They didn’t live up to the hopes that were raised by the error-laden polls ahead of the election, but what matters in politics is winning. And Democrats won control of the House of Representatives and the executive branch, and they still have a shot at winning control of the Senate.

So why, with a potential trifecta in sight, are Democrats acting like such losers? Intra-party feuds and recriminations have broken out, with plenty of finger-pointing and little acceptance of responsibility.

The reality is, Democrats wanted to crush not just Trump but Trumpism. With the polling showing Biden had the opportunity for a landslide win, they convinced themselves that the Republican Party could face stern repudiation from voters. This blowback, many …read more


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The coronavirus crisis is soaring to new heights — but Trump isn't even pretending to care

November 15, 2020 in Blogs

By Lauren Floyd

The country’s leading infectious disease expert confirmed models Sunday showing just less than 200,000 people could die from the coronavirus pandemic by spring, bringing the virus’ U.S. death total to about 439,000, CNN reported. But that hasn’t stopped President Donald Trump from refusing to share his administration’s COVID-19 data and vaccine plans with President-elect Joe Biden’s coronavirus team. It hasn’t even inspired the president to look in on his own administration’s coronavirus task force meetings over the last five months or more, The Washington Post reported.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, told CNN’s Jake Tapper on “State of the Union” “of course it would be better” if government health workers could start meeting with Biden’s transition team. “As you know, I’ve been through multiple transitions now, having served six presidents for 36 years. And it’s very clear that the transition process that we go through … is really important in a smooth handing over of the information as well as it’s almost like passing the baton in a race,” Fauci said. “You don’t want to stop and then give it to somebody, you want to essentially keep going.” That is, unless you’re so self-involved that you put your job status before the well-being of hundreds of thousands of Americans.

When Tapper asked Fauci if another 200,000 deaths in four months is possible, the expert responded: “It is possible, Jake, and the issue is the models—as I’ve said so often—are as good as the assumptions you put into the model, and we’ve got to change those assumptions. We’ve got to say we’re going to turn it around by very very rigorously adhering to the public health measures.”

Anyone even loosely following the president’s Twitter timeline knows he hasn’t rigorously adhered to even the simplest of public health measures like wearing a mask in public or social distancing. Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir confirmed the Post‘s report on ABC’s “This Week” that the president hasn’t even attended a coronavirus task force meeting in at least five months. “That’s true, but the vice president does chair the coronavirus task force,” Giroir said. “(…) We often have …read more


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'There's a potential for blood in the streets':  Here's what 2 top election lawyers think of Trump's lawsuits

November 15, 2020 in Blogs


ANNOUNCER: Welcome to Moyers on Democracy. President Trump still will not admit he lost. He tweets and repeats the lie that the election was a fraud, the vote rigged, the election stolen. There are fewer than ten weeks before he must leave office, but he refuses to cooperate with Joe Biden in the transfer of power, denying the man who beat him by over five million votes the resources usually provided to a president-elect. Trump has flooded the courts with lawsuits contesting the results, seeking recounts, trying to stop the certification of ballots in battle ground states. Washington grows more paralyzed, the country more polarized, the rule of law in limbo. Here to assess what’s going on are two of the country’s most experienced lawyers in election litigation. Daryl Bristow is the former senior partner of the multinational law firm Baker Botts LLP, based in Houston. A graduate of the University of Oklahoma and Harvard Law School, he worked for George W. Bush’s legal team on two Florida lawsuits regarding balloting for the 2000 presidential election. David Berg founded the firm Berg & Androphy, with offices in Houston and New York City. He has recently taken Trump and others to court over their efforts to use the Postal Service to discredit and dismiss mail-in ballots. He’s written two acclaimed books — the memoir RUN BROTHER RUN, and THE TRIAL LAWYER: WHAT IT TAKES TO WIN. Here to talk with Daryl Bristow and David Berg is Bill Moyers.

BILL MOYERS: David Berg and Daryl Bristow, thank you for joining me.

DARYL BRISTOW: Happy to be here.

BILL MOYERS: One headline after another in the last few days has described Washington in a state of chaos. Does it appear to you to be that bad there?

DARYL BRISTOW: The first thing I think about is the tense time we live in, because politics has gotten to be almost a religion. And it’s turned people into a religious fervor. Friends, close friends, people that I have long-standing relationships with– there’s a strain now when we even think about talking about politics because their views are extreme. And they’re extreme in an atmosphere of mendacity; lies and liars. It seems like that’s acceptable as long as you achieve the bottom line on the lawsuit, although, frankly, I don’t see much to the lawsuits.

DAVID BERG: On the issue of these lawsuits, they’re terrifying people. I’ve gotten emails …read more


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Trump's legal team takes to Fox News to cry election fraud — it didn't go well

November 15, 2020 in Blogs

By Hunter

Last week, Donald J. Trump tapped legal remora and part-time Nosferatu Rudy Giuliani to lead his Crack Legal Team in charge of overturning the results of a United States presidential election.

The results, in the nation’s newly Zoom-based courtrooms, have been less than impressive; it was clear only days after the election that the Trump team’s actual legal efforts were mostly imaginary, and that the real battle would be waged on the nation’s television screens.

Courtesy of journalist and human streaming device Aaron Rupar, Let’s check in on how that’s going.

Hmm. That may not be representative, so let’s get a second legal opinion.

Ah, so it was not a one-off; Trump’s legal smeagols are indeed reporting in from the land of cocaine and fairies.

Now now, these people are presumably charging Donald Trump some amount of money, possibly, to file actual lawsuits charging that United States’ democracy is in fact illegitimate because it made Donald Trump sad. Surely there is a deeper scheme at work here, a legal strategy beyond appearing on television to do a legal version of the Aristocrats joke.

Okay, maybe not. Ah well.

Well, it’s certainly a good thing we checked in. We can see now that Donald Trump is, ahem, certainly getting his money’s worth, and it’s at least useful to know that there are “lawyers” out their willing to lend their efforts to sabotaging democracy in the United States on behalf of an incompetent mass-murdering buffoon, so long as there as a television camera involved.

Do you think Fox News will go off and form its own country, when this is over? That it will invite all the Trump true believers to decamp to an offshore oil rig, and rename it Trumplandia, and Fox News will strap Sean Hannity to the tallest point on the structure where he will give hourly reads of the state of the new nation, and why everything is Awesome, and inviting Donald to visit if he gets tired of golfing and pushing over television sets?

We’re probably just dreaming. Too bad. In the meantime, this all is beginning to look more and more pathetic. It’s still insanely dangerous, mind you. But it’s mostly pathetic.

There, you’re caught up. Nothing more you need to know about Donald Trump, cowardly Republican lawmakers, and what should be the death tremors of …read more