GOP Fracturing Over Trump

While many are congratulating President-Elect Biden, too many are still following a loser.

Now that the news networks have all proclaimed Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election, much of the Republican Establishment is following the democratic tradition of graciousness.

George W. Bush, the last living former Republican President, has led the way:

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. 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. The President-elect reiterated that while he ran as a Democrat, he will govern for all Americans. I offered him the same thing I offered Presidents Trump and Obama: my prayers for his success, and my pledge to help in any way I can.

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.

The fact that so many of our fellow citizens participated in this election is a positive sign of the health of our democracy and a reminder to the world of its strength. No matter how you voted, your vote counted. President Trump has the right to request recounts and pursue legal challenges, and any unresolved issues will be properly adjudicated. The American people can have confidence that this election was fundamentally fair, its integrity will be upheld, and its outcome is clear.

The challenges that face our country will demand the best of President-elect Biden and Vice President-elect Harris – and the best of us all. We must come together for the sake of our families and neighbors, and for our nation and its future. There is no problem that will not yield to the gathered will of a free people. Laura and I pray for our leaders and their families. We ask for God’s continued blessings on our country. And we urge all Americans to join us in wishing our next President and Vice President well as they prepare to take up their important duties.

A lovely message that befits the office he once held and in the tradition of his late father, the last sitting President to lose a re-election bid, who delivered a prompt and decent concession to Bill Clinton after a bitter campaign.

That, obviously, is in sharp contrast with President Donald Trump, who is still throwing a tantrum days after it was clear that he didn’t have the votes, not only refusing to concede but spewing lies about fraud and theft that will further divide the country. While one almosts expects that from him, the sheer number of Congressional Republicans who are going along with that contempt for American institutions and values is staggering.

Mitt Romney, the party’s last pre-Trump nominee and current Senator from Utah, declared days ago that “it is wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen — doing so weakens the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundations of the republic, and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions.”

Alas, none of the leadership has formally acknowledged Biden’s win. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who just won a seventh term in a landslide, is trying to have it both ways, While refusing to bolster outrageous claims about fraud and theft—much less Trump’s plea to “stop the count”—he nonetheless threw a sop in that direction by saying we shouldn’t count “illegally-submitted ballots.”

Lindsey Graham, fresh off a surprise re-election that guarantees him another six years in the Senate, no longer has need to cozy up to the despicable man his party chose as its leader. But he continues to distance himself from the tradition of John McCain, his one-time partner as the last redoubts of compromise in the erstwhile World’s Greatest Deliberative Body.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., pushed back against media outlets that have projected Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the 2020 election, stating Sunday morning that “this is a contested election” that has not reached a conclusion.

Note that Fox News is among said outlets.

In an interview with Fox News’ “Sunday Morning Futures,” Graham pointed to several allegations of possible fraud or error that could have altered the election’s results. He called on fellow Republicans to push back against the idea that Biden’s victory is a done deal, warning that if they do not, it will set a precedent that would be disastrous for their party.

“If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there’ll never be another Republican president elected again,” Graham warned. “President Trump should not concede, we’re down to 10,000 votes in Georgia, he’s going to win North Carolina, we’ve gone from 93,000 votes to 20,000 votes in Arizona, where there are more votes to be counted. There are allegations of system failure, fraud.”

Graham also said that the election computer system in Michigan is suspicious, and told Republican Senate candidate John James not to concede. Like President Trump, James looked to be in a position to win on election night, only to have absentee ballots put his Democratic opponent ahead the following night.

Graham delved into some of the allegations that have come up since election night. He said that Trump’s team canvassed early voters in Pennsylvania and found more than 100 people they believe were dead, with at least 15 Graham said who were confirmed dead. He also said Trump’s camp found six instances in Pennsylvania where people were registered to vote after they died, and then votes were cast in their names.

The senator also said that the FBI, the Postal Inspector, and the Senate Judiciary Committee will be looking into a postal worker in Erie, Pa., who claims that supervisors were backdating ballots that were being sent out so they would appear to have been sent on Election Day instead of after.

“I don’t know where that goes,” Graham said, before repeating his claim that there is evidence of dead people being registered to vote and having ballots in their names.

“So to my Republican colleagues out there: We have to fight back or we will accept our fate. I want Pennsylvania to explain to the American people how six people after they die can register to vote in Pennsylvania. I want the computer system in Michigan that flipped votes from Republicans to Democrats to be looked at.”

Graham went on to say that “there’s a lot of shenanigans going on,” and that President Trump should indeed fight in court.

Prior to the election, Trump and other Republicans had warned that large-scale mail-in voting would complicate the election and leave it exposed to risks of fraud. Graham on Sunday claimed that these concerns were well-founded.

“The post office is the new election center. It’s the wild, wild west when it comes to mail-in balloting, everything we worried about has come true,” he said. “So if we don’t fight back in 2020 we’re never going to win again presidentially. A lot’s at stake here.”

To his credit, Graham is doing a much better job of executing the playbook Trump clearly laid the groundwork for in the months ahead of the election, sowing doubt about the legitimacy of mail-in voting. But it’s a shameful series of lies and innuendo that’s damaging the country.

It’s time for the party to step away from Trump and Trumpism. It’s perfectly fine to fight against the parts of President-Elect Biden’s agenda they disagree with. That’s the job of an opposition party. But working to invalidate fair and free elections—including in states led by Republican governors or where Republican Senate and House candidates outperformed Trump—is an act of disloyalty to the country and a violation of their oath to the Constitution.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Joe says:

    You have an extra initial in George W. Bush’s name.

    Fixed. I noticed the error in near-real-time and somehow forgot to fit it. -jhj

    Ah: My initial edit didn’t save. I also had the incorrect link, which I know I fixed. – jhj

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  2. drj says:

    GOP Fracturing Over Trump

    From my perspective, the GOP is quite unified in NOT objecting to Trump’s attempt to invalidate the election.

    Several GOP senators and governors appear to be fully on board, while George W. Bush and Romney are mostly has-beens.

    “Fracturing” is an extremely optimistic take, IMO.

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  3. MarkedMan says:

    There is no split in the Republican Party, or rather, the split is only in how vocal they are in support of the lies and corruption of Trump and his administration. The people you point to as examples of those willing to stand up against Trump are, with the lone exception of Romney, effectively ex-Republicans.

    There is no split. The entire Republican Party is corrupt.

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  4. PJ says:

    There is no fracturing. Never-Trumpers and those who already were criticial are congratulating President-Elect Biden, but the rest are either quiet or hammering the count the “legal votes” message.

    They are moving to get all the “illegal votes” thrown out, the mail-in ballots cast by Democrats.

    And I have no reason to believe that the conservative judges aren’t happy to do that.

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  5. Argon says:

    My most optimistic musing about Sen. Graham’s behavior is that someone has compromising information or photos about him. But sadly, I suspect not.

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  6. Scott says:

    My Freedom Caucus congressman, Chip Roy, is already tweeting about having to recount, saying only 100,000 votes separate in those four states. As I pointed out, that is more than what separated Trump and Clinton and Clinton conceded pretty quick.

    There is no honor among those thieves.

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  7. charon says:

    No real split, as with a few exceptions, the bulk of the party is perfectly fine with “Trumpism” (i.e., fascism).

    But – they all know that Trump’s name is bad juju in general elections (other that in deep carmine places).

    So here is the apparent split:

    You have one contingent that sees Trump as bad for business and is trying to push him down the memory hole.

    The other contingent is (e.g. 2024 hopefuls like Tom Cotton etc.) that prioritizes sucking up to GOP primary voters by pandering to the large number of Trumpist MAGA’s.

    So, mostly all Trumpists, but only some are trying to dissasociate from Trump himself.

    Trump is so yesterday while the supposed split is merely cosmetic.

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  8. Not the IT Dept. says:

    GWBush is just grateful for any opportunity that comes up to remind people that he is no longer the worst president of the last fifty years.

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  9. charon says:

    There may be a few components of Trumpism, here and there, where some actual splitting materializes.

    Freedom from mask wearing and freedom from avoiding house parties for example.

    These will become less appealing as the Covid case load extends its current rapid increase.

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  10. Kylopod says:

    @Not the IT Dept.:

    But – they all know that Trump’s name is bad juju in general elections

    Do they know it really? For years it’s been somewhat of a Rorschach test–non-Trumpists think he’s hurting the GOP, but inside the GOP there’s long been the opposite perception. This year’s election, where he was practically the only member of his party to do poorly, should drive home the idea that he’s electoral poison. But it’s not clear Republicans have taken the hint–at least not yet. They’re living in a bubble in which they might not be seeing what we’re seeing.

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  11. Fog says:

    The more Trump shows his ass, the easier things become for Ms Abrams in GA.

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  12. charon says:

    @Fog:

    Georgia runoff election is the biggest most important current political issue, and I have no feel for how the Nov.3 national results will impact it.

    Most (FOX NC besotted) Republicans were confident Trump would be reelected. Will they be demoralized by the loss and not turn out, or not? I have no idea.

    What about the current rapid increase in Covid, what effect will that have? Georgia is currently an anti-hotspot, only 15,2 cases daily per 100 K, ranked#43 among the states, compared to 32.1/100K nationally and over 100/100K in the current worst states.

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  13. Michael Reynolds says:

    This split is only visible with the help of a microscope.

    @James your former (and future?) party is doing nothing to redeem itself. Nothing. Nada. You want it to, but we all want things that don’t happen. The Republican Party is the Trumpian Fascist Party now, James, and the only way back into that tent is to be a fascist yourself. Grieve, get over it, move on.

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  14. charon says:

    @charon:

    T put the current (still rapidly increasing) situation in perspective, at the peak in mid-July the national rate was 20.4/100K and the worst states around 50/100K.

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  15. Jay L Gischer says:

    From your link, the headline reads:
    Graham: If GOP doesn’t fight, there will ‘never be another Republican president elected again’

    Well, that’s a bit hysterical.

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  16. Kathy says:

    Today’s Trumpish lesson:

    Illegal vote: n. any vote against Trump.

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  17. Kylopod says:

    @charon:

    What about the current rapid increase in Covid, what effect will that have?

    This particularly applies to the question of how Dems approach vote-by-mail now. Now that the main election’s over, we see that a lot of our fears of election chaos as a result of vote-by-mail didn’t materialize. So we’re going to be calmer about it going forward. On the other hand, this could push Dems toward complacency over the dangers of Republican sabotage of the voting system–which, let’s be clear, I absolutely believe happened in this election and had an impact in suppressing the Democratic vote. You can call me a conspiracy theorist, but I’m open-minded: I think we’ll find out over time just how much of this was happening, and I’m willing to reassess my views if it turns out there’s not much evidence for it. Still, I don’t think VBM is at all secure right now, there are still technicalities that could cause some people’s ballots to be rejected (I’m not familiar with Georgia’s laws on this matter), and I hope Stacey Abrams and others are going to find ways of encouraging people toward safe in-person voting, getting their absentee ballots early if they need them, and using drop-boxes or polling stations if they can rather than sending them back through the mail.

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  18. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Kylopod: Normally, I wouldn’t nitpick other posters language, but I know you are a political animal, and likely to respond well:

    Please do not use the phrase “I don’t think VBM is at all secure right now” in any public place. It is ambiguous. It can be taken to mean “It is easy to insert fake votes in VBM”. I know that’s not what you mean, but it’s one of the big lies being pushed right now.

    I mean, you could say, for instance, “I think VBM is particularly vulnerable to loss or cancellation right now”, and that would avoid the ambiguity. You’re a good writer, I’m sure you could come up with other phrasings, that probably work better.

    My wife says she isn’t going to rest easy until she sees Biden in the White House. I’m not quite there, but I’m definitely on the alert for further crap – such as the state legislature business.

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  19. SKI says:

    Alas, none of the leadership has formally acknowledged Biden’s win.

    It isn’t just the leadership. Last I saw, only TWO! Senators (Romney and Murkowski) had congratulated Biden & Harris.

    That isn’t much of a “fracture”. That is a diseased party.

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  20. Fortunato says:

    “If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there’ll never be another Republican president elected again,” Graham warned.

    So Lindsey Graham publicly admits that if free and fair elections can’t somehow be sabotaged by the Republican party, if our Democracy can’t be undermined by – (insert corrupt foreign power here) – Vlad Putin and the party of Grifting Obtuse People, “there’ll never be another Republican president elected again,”

    mmm.. okay then.

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  21. Fortunato says:

    @Argon:

    re the possibility someone has “compromising information or photos” of Butters Graham.

    We shouldn’t overlook this radiating nugget –
    11/05/20, The Hill –
    Graham to donate $500K to Trump’s legal defense fund

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  22. Kylopod says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    Please do not use the phrase “I don’t think VBM is at all secure right now” in any public place. It is ambiguous. It can be taken to mean “It is easy to insert fake votes in VBM”. I know that’s not what you mean, but it’s one of the big lies being pushed right now.

    It’s one of the big lies being pushed by the right. Nobody on the left is making that accusation against the right. The fact that I spoke about “Republican sabotage of the voting system” and “suppressing the Democratic vote” and “technicalities that could cause some people’s ballots to be rejected” should have made clear I wasn’t talking about fake-voting (which is almost nonexistent) but about voter suppression (which is very real and widespread). But point taken, and I will try to be more precise in my language going forward.

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  23. James Joyner says:

    @drj: @PJ: @charon: @Michael Reynolds: I may just be too optimistic but, aside from Graham’s lunacy and that of Cotton and a handful of others, I’m mostly seeing an attempt to tamp down Trump’s lunancy and get on with the transition.

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  24. CSK says:

    I mentioned this on the open thread, but according to some unnamed Republican sources, Trump is refusing to concede and refusing to attend the inauguration.

    I don’t doubt, however, that he’ll leave the White house shortly before January 20, 2021. How humiliating for him would it be to be seen being dragged out of the WH by the Secret Service?

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  25. gVOR08 says:

    NYT‘s take

    As Biden Plans Transition, Republicans Decline to Recognize His Election
    Former President George W. Bush and a handful of other Republicans congratulated the president-elect, but most party leaders stayed quiet or urged President Trump to fight.

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  26. gVOR08 says:

    @CSK:

    How humiliating for him would it be to be seen being dragged out of the WH by the Secret Service?

    I’d prefer he be taken out by the Capitol Police, or maybe a couple of janitors. Whoever normally removes unauthorized visitors, or the trash. And hopefully the Trump staff are all out a couple days early. Enough time to disinfect the place, metaphorically and literally.

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  27. gVOR08 says:

    @Fortunato:

    Graham to donate $500K to Trump’s legal defense fund

    Yes. Trump is fired and Graham doesn’t face a primary for almost six years. But he’s still sucking up to Trump. It makes it very difficult to continue any charitable interpretation along the lines of trying to maintain influence to blunt Trump’s worst impulses.

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  28. CSK says:

    @gVOR08:
    I’ve seen it reported that Melania and her son (to use Trump’s locution; apparently he doesn’t regard Barron as his son) have “retreated to their private quarters.”

    I have the feeling they’ll be back in New York before Christmas, if not by Thanksgiving.

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  29. ImProPer says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    “Graham: If GOP doesn’t fight, there will ‘never be another Republican president elected again’

    Well, that’s a bit hysterical.”

    Maybe not. If they don’t abandon their false prophet, and fight for the American people, then hopefully the Senator’s prophecy will come true.

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  30. Barry says:

    @James Joyner: “I’m mostly seeing an attempt to tamp down Trump’s lunancy and get on with the transition.”

    I’m seeing a bunch of GOP politicians backing into the bushes, like Spicer

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  31. Joe says:

    @CSK: This will save Melania from having to decorate the WH for f—-g Christmas.

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  32. EddieInCA says:

    @CSK:

    I have t

    he feeling they’ll be back in New York before Christmas, if not by Thanksgiving.

    That would be a mistake. She’s just as toxic as he can, and no one in NYC really wants them back, except for many family members.

    I see a bleak future for the Trump Organization. The people that can afford Trump properties don’t want to be associated with the brand, and those who want to spend money on Trump Inc, can’t really afford it.

    Doral is hemorrhaging cash. Trump National in Palos Verdes will be bankrupt within two years now that he’s no longer president. His Scottish courses have been losing money from day one, with no future revenue increase in the near future. And Deutche Bank is looking for an exit strategy from the Trump business.

    I see a blizzard of pardons coming, including a self pardon. But that won’t stop the Southern District of NYC.

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  33. drj says:

    @James Joyner:

    I’m mostly seeing an attempt to tamp down Trump’s lunancy and get on with the transition.

    Where? Serious question.

    CNN:

    Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), a frequent Trump critic, and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) both congratulated Joe Biden on his election victory. The two GOP senators are the only sitting Republican lawmakers to call the President-elect as the rest of the party either urged President Donald Trump not to concede or stayed silent despite no widespread evidence of fraud in the election.

    NYT:

    As President Trump refused to concede defeat on Saturday, top Republican congressional leaders followed suit, refraining from releasing the customary statements congratulating the victor that have been standard among senior lawmakers in both parties when a presidential election has been declared. […]

    [McConnell’s] silence on Saturday came as other Republican leaders also kept mum about the results, and some openly questioned it. […]

    Only a handful of rank-and-file Republicans, including some who are not likely to face voters again, offered their good wishes for Mr. Biden. […]

    But several Republicans who are regarded as rising stars in the party said any congratulations were premature, portraying the election results as a creation of the news media and alluding to the possibility of legal action that could change them.

    More at the link, obviously.

    This doesn’t strike me as “tamping down Trump’s lunacy and getting on with the transition.”

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  34. ImProPer says:

    @James Joyner:

    “@drj: @PJ: @charon: @Michael Reynolds: I may just be too optimistic but, aside from Graham’s lunacy and that of Cotton and a handful of others, I’m mostly seeing an attempt to tamp down Trump’s lunancy and get on with the transition.”

    I wish I shared your optimism, but the party of Bill Buckley chasing out the lunatic fringes at what ever the cost, is long gone. What do you expect from a party that encourages people that follow Q, call people they don’t agree with, traitors and child molesters, to get out and vote, rather than seek psychological help?

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  35. CSK says:

    @Joe:
    That would indeed be a great bonus in her eyes.

    @EddieInCA:
    I don’t think she cares about her reception in NY. Some magazine once asked her how she spent her pre-White House days, and she replied that she read fashion magazines and did Pilates. What an empty, self-absorbed life. No charity work, no book clubs, no volunteering at hospitals, nor any of the other things with rich women occupy their time.

    She apparently had a few close associates with whom she lunched occasionally. I’m pretty sure the same vacuous twits who embraced her once will take her back.

    It’s Ivanka and Jared, who managed to claw their way onto the lowest rung of the Manhattan haute monde, who will suffer.

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  36. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: James, I’m with the rest of the gang here. Can you point to one person in the Republican leadership who has publicly asserted that Trump lost and the transition should begin?

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  37. Sleeping Dog says:

    @CSK:
    Yes Javanka are the future creme de la cream of… Passaic or Cody, Wy.

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  38. charon says:

    @CSK:

    I don’t doubt, however, that he’ll leave the White house shortly before January 20, 2021.

    I believe he will spend most of his time until then at places like Mar-A-Lago, sulking and playing golf.

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  39. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan:

    Can you point to one person in the Republican leadership who has publicly asserted that Trump lost and the transition should begin?

    I think that’s too high a bar two days after the networks have announced and while the President is ranting and raving about “fraud” and taking it to the Supreme Court. While I would prefer a more full-throated course like Romney’s, I’ll settle for now for McConnell’s course of refusing to go along with the fraud nonsense while internal forces try to talk Trump off the ledge. Almost everyone is hedging and saying Trump needs to prove the charges.

    The “divided” party approach is where most of the mainstream reporting is going. See this Axios piece (“Trump allies brace for 30-day legal war“) or this from the New York TImes (“As Trump Refuses to Concede, G.O.P. Remains Divided“).

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  40. CSK says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    Oh, they’ll love Passaic.
    @charon:
    It’s hard to say with Trump, isn’t it? As I previously pointed out, he has Melania and Jared urging him to throw in the towel and Don Junior and Eric pushing him to fight. And Trump himself, as he’s often said, relishes chaos and unpredictability.

    The thing about Trump is that he’s mulishly stubborn, but he’s also very easily led. Tell him he’s wonderful, and he’ll do what you say.

    It’s interesting that Ivanka appears to be staying out of this fray, though who knows what’s happening behind the scenes.

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  41. charon says:

    @CSK:

    It’s hard to say with Trump

    There is precedent, it is what he has done in the past, consistently. Of course, past performance is no guarantee of etc. etc.

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  42. CSK says:

    Trump just fired Mark Esper, in a Tweet.

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  43. CSK says:

    @charon:
    And he’s never been faced with this epic a loss, on the biggest public stage that exists.

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  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @James Joyner: Okay. But can I have a link to your rose colored glasses optician (or your dealer, whatever the case may be)?

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @gVOR08: No inside information, but I’m inclined to agree with what mattbernius noted a few days ago that this is simply who Graham always has been.

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  46. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Sleeping Dog: “creme de la cream?” Typo or…? (lol, btw)

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  47. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner:

    The “divided” party approach is where most of the mainstream reporting is going.

    Ok, but that’s a bit far from what you wrote up top”

    Now that the news networks have all proclaimed Joe Biden the winner of the 2020 election, much of the Republican Establishment is following the democratic tradition of graciousness.

    I may just be too optimistic but, aside from Graham’s lunacy and that of Cotton and a handful of others, I’m mostly seeing an attempt to tamp down Trump’s lunancy and get on with the transition.

    Look, I want that to be true, but all the people you pointed to are outsidethe Republican establishment. The fact that actual establishment members are willing to speak ill of Trump off the record counts for nothing. The reality is that the Republican Party establishment has broken into two camps: those actively subverting our democracy, and those who don’t feel any compelling need to honor their oath of office and defend the country.

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  48. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @CSK: Maybe Passaic; Cody seems to classy for them. Certainly too beautiful an area for them.

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  49. CSK says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:
    Oh, that’s why I opted for Passaic. Cody’s far too nice for them.

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  50. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker:

    Yeah typo

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  51. drj says:

    @MarkedMan:

    The fact that actual establishment members are willing to speak ill of Trump off the record counts for nothing.

    That’s not even all: they speak ill of Trump because they think what he is doing is futile rather than wrong.

    Read Joyner’s links.

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  52. inhumans99 says:

    Without reading all the comments which I am sure are pushing back that the GOP is fracturing, I think there are some barely visible signs that this is true as some do want to distance themselves from Trump.

    Right now, the GOP has a choice, let Trump continue to have an out-sized presence in 2021 or the GOP can start to marginalize him. There is is nothing in the GOP rulebook that says they have to give Trump a loud voice for the GOP in 2021, it is a choice they are making.

    I think Twitter will start to give some of the GOP cowards cover to walk away from Trump when they crack down on his account. Trump’s value to the GOP is riling up the base using legit sites like FB and Twitter, but if he loses Twitter as a megaphone to amplify his rants I can see the GOP starting to realize they are freed hostages and no longer need to remain in thrall to Trump.

    Without Twitter Trump’s on-line rants will not be reported on by so many media sites, and if Trump says something on OANN, or Breitbart, or infowars, etc., not many people will be aware of his message.

    Twitter has a lot of leverage over Trump and Trump knows it, if Trump loses Twitter his usefulness to whoever wants to hire him in the future is not all that great because folks will want to hire a guy who can have millions of people want to pay attention to what he has to say.

    Again, Twitter has a lot of leverage, in 2021 if they cancel Trumps account or deactivate it for a while Trump will rant and rave and threaten Twitter but they may just respond by saying blow me. When Trump no longer has an AG he can sic on Twitter he becomes as threatening as a newborn kitten that you just want to pick up and cuddle.

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  53. Teve says:

    @jonfavs

    Most Republican politicians are making it pretty clear right now that they haven’t been afraid Trump this whole time – they’re just like him.

    Chris Hayes just said that Republican politician are giving the impression that if they don’t get Trump they’re fine with burning it down.

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  54. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: Just to beat this horse some more, McConnell is now encouraging Trump to keep it going.

    James, I said it over and over again five years ago, before I even thought Trump would win the nomination: “Trump IS the Republican Party”. He is not an aberration or an exception, he is merely the Party with the faux-decency stripped away.

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  55. Kathy says:

    Naturally Biden’s team will be busy in court defending the idiot challenges in relevant states like Arizona and Pennsylvania. But would it help in distracting Trump’s team if volunteers presented similar challenges in red states Biden lost? Say Wyoming, Idaho, Iowa, etc.

    They’d have no prayer of getting anywhere, naturally, but they’d may distract or overstretch the Orange Illegal Machine enough to be useful.

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  56. OzarkHillbilly says:

    Just in case nobody else has brought it up yet, Mitch McConnell from the floor of the Senate today:

    Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Monday threw his support behind President Donald Trump’s undemocratic rejection of the election results that led to his defeat at the hands of President-elect Joe Biden.

    Amid the President’s evidence-free claims about “illegal” votes and his slew of lawsuits aimed at bolstering those accusations, McConnell backed Trump’s weaponization of the courts during a speech on the Senate floor.

    Trump has “has every right to look into allegations and to request recounts under the law,” McConnell argued.

    “If any major irregularities occurred this time of a magnitude that would effect the outcome, then every single American should want them to be brought to light,” he said. “And if Democrats feel confident they have not occurred, they should have no reason to fear any extra scrutiny.”

    Fracturing my ass.

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  57. Jen says:

    Georgia is becoming a mess of infighting. The two US Senators (Republican) have called on Georgia’s Secretary of State (Republican) to resign.

    His response statement boils down to GTFO.

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  58. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    It seems to me that most of GA’s election problems stem from dealing with an inept, but politically well connected voting systems company.

    And yes, as was mentioned elsewhere, what really upsets Perdue and Loeffler is that not enough blacks were denied their right to vote.

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  59. Kathy says:

    Susan Collins congratulated Biden, but asks for patience while Trump goes about wasting everyone’s time legitimately.

    Or:

    What happens to a weather vane when hit by equal force winds on both sides?

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  60. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: This is interesting to me, because from where I sit, this type of infighting amounts to wasting time and effort, along with dividing their focus.

    Instead of concentrating on their runoffs, they are squabbling about who’s at fault. This is more likely than not to make members of their own party annoyed/confused (who do they believe, the Republican Senators whining about not winning, or the Republican SoS, who says everything was done by the books?).

    This is a classic divide-and-conquer and I hope Ossoff and Warnock are able to capitalize on it.

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  61. JohnSF says:

    The Republican pro. politicians’ problems is: how do you handle a party, when a large proportion of its base has gone nuts?
    Yes, also racist (surveys indicate at least 20% of self-defined Republicans essentially white supremacist), authoritarian etc.
    But above, all totally unhinged and riding the crazy train to crazy town.

    UK Conservatives have a similar problem; as did Labour at the peak of “Corby-mania”.
    But at least UK parties can purge memberships; this is not really an option for US parties IIRC.

    Thing is, as I’ve said before, the ambitious professional Republicans KNOW they have to break Trump’s grip on the party, whether or not they share his attitudes (such as they are, beyond “Grift for the Donald”).

    How would Cotton, Cruz, Rubio, De Santis, Pence etc. feel about supporting Trump or Ivanka or DonJr in 2024? 2028? 2032? and getting fobbed off with VP at best?

    The ideal would be a deal with Trump: “you and your family back off, settle for TrumpTV/TrumpOnline, as much legal cover as we can muster, and all the grift you can finagle,, in exchange for your base.”

    But they know: they can never trust Trump to keep his word.

    There is only one conclusion: they must aim to destroy Trump, without leaving their fingerprints on the weapon too obviously.

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  62. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jen:

    I hope they keep fighting. This is classic organization circling the drain behavior. What is confounding is that both of them should realize that they are long favorites to win those senate seats. Dems will have a tough GOTV effort and typically, a runoff in a presidential year results in a victory for the party lf whoever lost the presidency.

    It makes you wonder if those who really understand GA politics see a major realignment. GA has resembled a monkey with a football in running elections the last couple of cycles, the transparent voter suppression and Kemp’s failure to manage the states response to Covid, Committed partisans will dismiss those concerns, but a marginally engaged voter who votes for a party out of habit and self interest can be swayed when things begin to smell.

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  63. charon says:

    https://twitter.com/costareports/status/1325902978054840320

    Based on my convos with Rs over wknd, most everything McConnell does from here on isn’t about January 20th (inauguration day & working with Biden) but January 5th (the Georgia run-off elections). To win the latter, Rs believe the base must be stoked, esp in a fast-changing state.

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  64. Sleeping Dog says:

    @JohnSF:

    If Rs were smart and not so corrupt, they’d simply nod and continue planning how they will engage Biden, rather than play games with Trump. If the party pros began saying Biden won fair and square and moved on, the parties voters would begin moving on with their life. But they aren’t because they’re co-dependent.

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  65. charon says:

    @charon:

    With luck, whatever the R’s do to stoke their base stokes the D base also.

    Maybe stuff like the GSA hanky-panky, all the attempts to challenge the election outcomes etc.

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  66. Jay L Gischer says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Well, I know equivocation when I see it, and that statement by McConnell is equivocating. He spoke in the conditional – “if voting irregularities have occurred” – not the definite “they cheated!”

    This is agreeing without actually agreeing. However, what we need from Republicans right now is not equivocating, but a definite “Congratulations, President-elect Biden!”

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  67. JohnSF says:

    @Sleeping Dog:
    None of the personally ambitious ones will want to be the first to abandon Trump and incur the wrath of the faithful, IMO.
    Safer just to keep ones head down and hope someone else takes the heat.
    For the time being.

    As for the voters, most would likely move on. But I suspect a sizable chunk of the activists are at this point fully Trumpified; enough to make primaries worrisome if Trump can set up “TrumpMedia” as a vehicle.

    The presidential hopefuls will probably be hoping for a prominent R. who is retiring within the next 4 years to lead the demolition work (i.e. rounding up admin. insiders willing to testify to malfeasance on oath, plus co-ordinating with prosecutors).
    But such are likely to worry about the cost for the party of possible guerilla war with the diehard Trumpkins.

    IMHO they’ll wait till after the inauguration before moving.
    And probably the potential candidates are going to have to work out at least a tacit deal among themselves, and with whoever the designated hitter is.

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  68. Teve says:

    @chrislhayes

    Both GA Republican Senators berating their state’s Republican election administrator because Democrats did too well in the state kinda gives the game away.

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  69. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    In terms familiar to Trump’s biggest crush (Kim or Putin, take your pick), Pessimus hasn’t been discredited by the Central Committee yet.

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  70. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Yeah, but all his comment really shows is how righteously outraged the Republicans are on the assault to the “rule of law” that this election represents. I’m sure that if Biden strikes a conciliatory tone and works with Republicans on the valued goals of complete repeal of the ACA, rejecting restrictive regulations on business, closing the USPS, renewed support for increased use of fossil fuels and fracking, building the wall, encouraging dangerous leftists in the court system to resign so that America loving patriots can be appointed, keeping people from abusing the social safety nets, and reducing taxes on corporations and the job creators, we’ll soon be back to a functioning government without all the rancor.

    The ball is really in Biden’s court, you see. /s

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  71. An Interested Party says:

    All of this is nothing compared to what might happen in the future…what happens when a competent, professional politician decides to follow Trump’s playbook…

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  72. Teve says:

    Trump was incompetent at his brand of authoritarianism, and he lost. But this isn’t a triumph: the Democrats lost almost everything else. Make no mistake, about what’s coming: The next Trumpist, in 2024, will be talented, competent and not easy to beat.

    https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2020/11/trump-proved-authoritarians-can-get-elected-america/617023/

    -Zeynep Tufekci

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  73. Teve says:

    @An Interested Party: what a weird coincidence.

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