Republican Leaders Refuse to Lead

They know Trump lost the election yet are aiding his outrageous assault on democracy.

AP Washington Bureau Chief Julie Pace argues that “For Trump, sowing post-election chaos is the goal.”

President Donald Trump is trying to turn America’s free and fair election into a muddled mess of misinformation, specious legal claims and baseless attacks on the underpinnings of the nation’s democracy.

The resulting chaos and confusion that has created isn’t the byproduct of Trump’s strategy following his defeat to Democrat Joe Biden. The chaos and confusion is the strategy.

Trump’s blizzard of attacks on the election are allowing him to sow discontent and doubt among his most loyal supporters, leaving many with the false impression that he is the victim of fraudulent voting. That won’t keep Trump in office — Biden will be sworn in on Jan. 20 — but it could both undermine the new president’s efforts to unify a fractured nation and fuel Trump in his next endeavor, whether that’s another White House run in 2024 or a high-profile media venture.

[…]

Some Trump allies acknowledge privately that using the courts to actually reverse Biden’s victory isn’t the point of their efforts. And they also see no real path to persuading GOP-controlled state legislatures to appoint electors that would overturn the will of the voters, though some Trump advisers were buoyed this week when a pair of Michigan Republicans voted against certifying Biden’s overwhelming victory in Wayne County. They reversed course following a public outcry.

Rather than overturn the election results, Trump allies say the goal is to help keep the president’s most loyal supporters engaged and energized for whatever he might pursue after he leaves office — even if that means leaving them ill-informed about the reality of what has unfolded in the election.

Trump has long relished blurring the lines between truth and fiction and taking advantage of the confusion that creates. If anything, his presidency has only emboldened those tendencies, given the ways in which the Republican Party and friendly media outlets have helped propel his versions of events, even when they are indisputably false.

Those same dynamics have continued to help prop up Trump through this post-election stretch. Some small conservative media outlets have refused to accept Biden’s victory and have seen their audiences grow as a result. And most GOP leaders have helped give Trump cover by also stopping short of publicly acknowledging Biden’s victory, despite the fact that many do so privately.

GOP lawmakers have their own strategy in play. The party’s Senate majority hangs in the balance in a pair of runoff elections in Georgia in January, and some Republican strategists see an aggrieved Trump base as key to the party’s success there. They’re casting the Senate votes as a way to exact revenge for Trump’s defeat in a “rigged” election and saddle Biden with a GOP majority in the chamber.

Others see the party’s response as a signal that they’re simply trying to get through the final weeks of his presidency without rocking the boat, even if that means allowing misinformation about the nation’s electoral process to flourish.

“It’s hard, cynical politics,” said Mike Murphy, a veteran Republican strategist who backed Biden in the election. “They don’t think the noise is an immediate threat so they’re waiting him out.”

In a stinging condemnation of his party, Murphy continued: “The elephant is out as the GOP symbol and the chicken is in.”

Her colleagues Jonathan Lemire and Lisa Mascaro add more evidence of said cowardice in their report “GOP increasingly accepts Trump’s defeat — but not in public.”

When Kamala Harris returned to the Senate this week for the first time as vice president-elect, her Republican colleagues offered their congratulations and Sen. Lindsey Graham greeted her with a fist bump.

It was a sign that many Republicans have privately acknowledged what they refuse to say openly: Democrat Joe Biden and Harris won the election and will take office in January.

The GOP’s public silence on the reality of Biden’s victory amounts to tacit approval of Trump’s baseless claims of election fraud. That has significant repercussions, delaying the transition during a deadly pandemic, sowing public doubt and endangering Biden’s ability to lead the portion of the country that may question his legitimacy.

[…]

Republicans are closing the Trump era much the way they started it: by joining the president in shattering civic norms and sowing uncertainty in institutions. But their efforts to maintain a public face of support for the president began to deteriorate on Wednesday.

Backroom whispers about the futility of Trump’s legal fight have become louder after Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani appeared in a Pennsylvania courtroom making wide and unsubstantiated claims of voter fraud in seeking to undo the election results. Asked about the case, Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., said, “Let me just say, I don’t think they have a strong case.”

And when White House chief of staff Mark Meadows visited with Senate Republicans, he encouraged them to “make the most” of their remaining time with Trump, according to two senators.

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, said the message from Meadows was “basically just that we got about 45 days left of the president’s term.” Meadows told them the administration wanted to make sure that if the senators “had ideas of things that the White House could and should do during that period of time, that we got them to him.”

[…]

Despite the private admissions, there has been no public effort to nudge Trump toward the exit.

Trump has declined to concede the presidential race and is mounting legal fights in several states, but there has been no indication or evidence of voter irregularities or widespread fraud in the election. The Trump-appointed head of the General Services Administration has held off on formally beginning the Biden transition to the White House, slowing the incoming administration’s ability to prepare to grapple with a worsening pandemic that has already killed 250,000 Americans.

Trump’s refusal to accept the results means the election disputes could drag on for weeks as states certify their tallies or push to mid-December, when the Electoral College is set to vote. And baseless claims about election fraud have filled conservative media without any rebuttal from Republicans, potentially undermining the Biden presidency before it even begins.

A Monmouth University poll released Wednesday showed that while 95% of Democrats believe the election was “fair and square,” only 18% of Republicans do, while 70% of GOP voters believe some voter fraud took place.

A sense of paralysis has set in at the White House.

The West Wing has been hollowed out, with staffers quarantining after COVID-19 exposures and others actively looking for new jobs. The president has remained in the Oval Office well into the night but has stayed out of the public eye, tweeting baseless claims while largely giving up on governing and not taking a single question from a reporter since Election Day.

Republicans have said privately there’s not much they can do except wait, giving the president the time and space he needs to see the results for himself. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, perceived by some Republicans as the one man who could urge Trump to cooperate with the Biden transition, has instead steadfastly backed the president, saying he’s “100% within his rights” to legally contest the results.

GOP lawmakers have pointed to the more than 70 million votes that Trump garnered as well as his overwhelming popularity with Republicans, including among their respective bases of support back home. The chatter that Trump is already eyeing a 2024 campaign has also frozen Republicans wary of his Twitter account, and they have also expressed fear that being perceived as forcing the president to the exit may trigger the temperamental chief executive to make further risky decisions, such as troop drawdowns or more dismissals on the national security staff.

As in the case of GSA Administrator Emily Murphy, one can simultaneously appreciate the predicament these people find themselves in and yet be outraged at their shirking of their sworn duty to the Constitution. It was bad enough to abet Trump’s whining about the unfairness of it all as the counting of mailed ballots overturned his Election Night leads in state after state. But it’s one thing to give a notoriously childlike leader a couple of days to accept reality and quite another to go along with it more than two weeks after the outcome was clear.

In “Trump challenges cement Biden triumph,” Axios’ Glen Johnson notes the irony of it all:

President Trump’s frantic post-election challenges are having the opposite effect of what he intended: He’s documenting his demise through a series of court fights and recounts showing Joe Biden’s victory to be all the more obvious and unassailable.

Why it matters: The president’s push to overturn the election results is dispelling the cloud of corruption he alleged by forcing states to create a verified — and legally binding — accounting of his election loss.

“Each loss further cements Biden’s win,” says election law expert Richard Hasen.

“History shows that any leader who constructs a major myth, that is later shown to be false, will eventually fall,” says Harvard science historian and “Merchants of Doubt” author Naomi Oreskes. “The risk is that he takes his country down with him.”

But, of course, that’s only for those who care about things like facts and reality. Which, alas, increasingly does not include Republican voters. But that’s hardly surprising given the efforts their leaders go through to paint a false reality.

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. gVOR08 says:

    Republican Leaders Refuse to Lead

    In other news, thePope is still Catholic.

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  2. Just Another Ex-Republican says:

    @gVOR08: I think a few high ranking American bishops would disagree with you. It’s amazing how the rot of absolute fundamentalism has caused Catholic leaders in this country to publicly disagree with papal stances.

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  3. Jay L Gischer says:

    When Kamala Harris returned to the Senate this week for the first time as vice president-elect, her Republican colleagues offered their congratulations and Sen. Lindsey Graham greeted her with a fist bump.

    And this is a good example of how I could never be a politician. Given the things he’s said and done in the past few weeks, I would have felt more like slapping him than giving him dap.

    I have so many questions…

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  4. Kathy says:

    They should keep in mind they are pandering to a group of people, and their leader, who’d rather live in a sh*t-hole country that permits electoral fraud, than in the United States of America.

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  5. Jay L Gischer says:

    You know, I just not that unhappy with Emily Murphy, though. The GSA administrator should not be out in front in declaring the election. That’s the job of election boards and the electoral college. I would be completely ok with Republicans taking their best shot to make sure everything was clean and above-board, if I thought that once they’d done that, and found nothing, they’d change their mind about how “unfair” the election was.

    It’s that notion that, no matter what evidence you find, your feelings will outweigh them, that bothers me.

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  6. Jon says:

    @Jay L Gischer: But, of course, that’s not what she’d be doing. Her ascertainment simply unlocks money and office space to the presumed winner, and has nothing at all to do with declaring the actual election winner.

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  7. Jon says:

    @Jon: Couldn’t edit my post to add this, so here it is in a new one: GSA’s Role in Presidential Transitions from GSA’s own website.

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  8. Crusty Dem says:

    You lost me using the plural “Republican Leaders”. Republicans have only one leader. That’s Trump. There are outliers (Romney, whomever was fired by Trump in the past week) who speak out on single topics occasionally, but I wouldn’t call them “leaders” because no one follows them.

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  9. An Interested Party says:

    It’s all so old and so tiresome…not that we didn’t know this before, but Trump has exposed, in no uncertain terms, how feckless, craven, and completely irresponsible Republicans are… that voters decided to reward them while also getting rid of Trump shows how unserious we are as a country…no wonder we’re so screwed up…

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  10. gVOR08 says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    You know, I just not that unhappy with Emily Murphy, though. The GSA administrator should not be out in front in declaring the election.

    You and James. But she’s not being asked to declare a winner. What @Jon: @Jon: said. She’s being asked to release funding and resources to the likely winner. That IS her job and she’s not doing it. In terms of “declaring the election” her actions have the same legal effect as a concession speech, none.

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  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    @Jon: Yeah. It’s just money and office space. In some sense, these are issues that are relatively easy to deal with. And it shouldn’t get out ahead of other, more significant, electoral processes.

    I think it might be very easy for Biden supporters to get boxed into a stance that looks like “how dare you question this outcome?” Which looks kind of suspicious and guilty. I prefer the stance of “look as hard as you want, you’re not gonna find anything”. And pressuring Murphy to make the determination is easily framed as the former, not the latter.

    AND, it’s irritating AF to see Republicans who could speak up and not bear this risk refuse to do so. So, if you want to blame someone, blame Trump, first and foremost, and then blame them.

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  12. gVOR08 says:

    @Just Another Ex-Republican:

    It’s amazing how the rot of absolute fundamentalism has caused Catholic leaders in this country to publicly disagree with papal stances.

    And produced reactionary Catholic fundies like Bill Barr and Amy Coney Barrett. Now that the supposedly liberal MSM have realized they don’t have to further Trump’s lies about the election they’ll be willing to talk about the effect of religion on political players and Dominionism.

    But the Pope is still Catholic whether they agree or not.

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  13. Jon says:

    @Jay L Gischer: I blame her for for not following the clear wording of the law, and nothing more. I blame others for their own actions, including Trump, national and state republicans, etc. etc. She, however, is a growed-ass woman who makes her own decisions and should be held accountable for them. Party of personal responsibility and all that.

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  14. gVOR08 says:

    Pleez can I haz edit if there’s a new comment?

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  15. gVOR08 says:

    @gVOR08: Nope. That used to work.

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  16. Hal_10000 says:

    I don’t know if y’all saw Rudy’s press conference but it was batcrap crazy. As someone who is often accused of Both Siderism in the First Degree, there is a huge difference between what has happened before (e.g., Abrams) and this. Abrams, to take the most prominent example, was at least complaining about things that actually happened. The significance of those things can be debated. But at worst, she was saying that more people should have been allowed to voter.

    What we saw today was orders of magnitude worse: a insane conspiracy theory involving Hugo Chavez (who has been dead for seven years), foreign countries, Communits, China, George Soros and probably the Pope at this point. And they are using to argue that millions of Americans should literally have their votes thrown out. I don’t see the Courts biting. But this is dangerous destrutive crazy.

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  17. Jen says:

    Interesting piece up on Politico about how the transition delays are setting up a weird dynamic in that VP-elect Harris is receiving intel briefings in her role as Senator that Pres. Elect Biden doesn’t yet have access to.

    Trump is clearly trying to subvert the will of the voters and leave carnage in his wake. What’s angering me now is the “ho-hum” attitude of the public, and the willingness of Republicans to go along with it.

    This is *literally* endangering the country.

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  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Jay L Gischer: Exactly! I found my self wondering if the fist bump was actually a “Congratudolences! I wouldn’t want to be in your shoes considering how hard we’re working to fuk up the next 4 years” gesture.

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  19. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: That’s not quite fair. They’re only wanting to live in a sh!thole country provided that they get to be in charge of it. If they’re not in charge, they’ll whiz in the punchbowl and then complain that the drinks at the party taste like piss.

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  20. Pete S says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    Nobody is saying “How dare you question this outcome?” At worst they are saying ” we have patient enough for you to lose 29 court cases on the same issue. Its time to move on, you have been indulged long enough”. Its time to pat little Donald on the head, give him two scoops of ice cream and send him to bed. This nonsense has gone on long enough. You hate to reward a tantrum but everyone else has actual work to do.

    And I think today’s press conference has answered the question of whether Trump’s legal team has a brilliant argument in development to be debuted shortly to everyone’s satisfaction. It is time to exit the arena.

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  21. mattbernius says:

    The problem is this, there is no incentive in this for Republicans to move away from this strategy. Their calculus is that, even if they don’t like what Trump is doing on some sort of moral level, the results of this are going to hurt Biden (or at the very least make his first 100 days less effective). And given their significant structural advantages currently at most levels of government, that’s a win for them and their chances of taking back the House in 2022.

    I think they are also assuming that Biden will be a one-term president (which I think there is a high likelihood of) and so anything they can do to gum of the works will assist them in 2024 (when I suspect they are assuming they will be running against Harris).

    What we are seeing is, sadly most likely good politics from a preservation of power perspective. It’s just shitty, shitty governance.

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  22. Gustopher says:

    They are leading, just not in a good direction.

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  23. Sleeping Dog says:

    It’s just shitty, shitty governance.

    Rs aren’t interested in governing.

    For what it’s worth and probably not much, Rasmussen has a poll out this AM showing 61% of the populace wants the transition to begin. Biden won, let’s get on with it.

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  24. Jen says:

    @Sleeping Dog: 61% is pathetically low, but I guess I’ll take it.

    What a horrendous mess that crew is (intentionally) leaving.

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  25. Kingdaddy says:

    I would be happy to never hear again what Republicans are saying in private.

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  26. drj says:

    Reuters:

    President Donald Trump’s strategy for retaining power despite losing the U.S. election is focused increasingly on persuading Republican legislators to intervene on his behalf in battleground states Democrat Joe Biden won, three people familiar with the effort said.

    Also:

    A coup attempt that steps on a rake and shits itself is still a coup attempt.

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  27. JohnSF says:

    @mattbernius:

    “…that’s a win for them and their chances of taking back the House in 2022”

    Is it?
    Honest question; I’m not always the best judge of American politics (though I’m not always wrong either).
    IIRC Dems have a pattern of usually lower lower turn out in mid-terms; and 2016 was a bit anomalous as being driven by anti-Trump sentiment.
    I’d have thought a negative, bitter, do-nothing blocking policy in Congress would be the one thing best calculated to motivate more votes for the Democrats in 2022?

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  28. Raoul says:

    This is sheer speculation but: I have noticed that the Republican Party has become the party of projection so if they think Biden cheated does that mean they cheated (they probably think everyone cheats so it is ok)- and if so would that explain the polling errors?

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  29. inhumans99 says:

    As Hal noted up above the presser held by Trump’s legal team was off the wall crazy. We are at a point where the GOP needs to stop humoring Trump. The Chamber of Commerce and heads of business’s (large ones, aka the job makers) are starting to say enough is enough.

    I get that nothing seems to embarrass McConnell but c’mon…he had to be a wee bit embarrassed by the performance America’s Mayor (aka Giuliani) put in at the Press Conference today.

    The GOP are like lemmings following him off the cliff…someone in the GOP needs to be bold and break ranks so folks start to follow the lemming that is not walking off a cliff.

    Also, not sure how the Presser today helps the GOP keep hold of GA in the Senate. They are letting Trump set them up to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

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  30. al Ameda says:

    As previously mentioned, Trump is hosting a White House meeting with Republican members of the Michigan State Legislature, presumably to discuss the possibility of ensuring that Republican electors vote in December to nullify the results of the Michigan popular vote.

    This is a slow motion Reichstag Fire {slash} coup.
    I wonder what kind of odds Nate (at 538) would put on this.

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  31. Kathy says:

    @JohnSF:

    I’d have thought a negative, bitter, do-nothing blocking policy in Congress would be the one thing best calculated to motivate more votes for the Democrats in 2022?

    Think of politics as an Olympic sport like gymnastics or figure skating. Everyone’s interested in them, but only every four years. This gives you the low turnout in the midterms.

    Also, Republicans are good at messaging and Democrats not so much. All you’ll hear by the midterms is how Biden, the man in charge, has failed, not that the McConnell Senate has refused to do a damned thing.

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  32. inhumans99 says:

    al Amaeda, to be honest I am less concerned about a Coup as the days go by. From what I have seen and read today Giuliani has done nothing to help the cause of the GOP.

    The GOP is at a point where they need to beg Giuliani to stop holding pressers, first he holds one near a dildo shop (no judgement, folks need to get their sex toys from somewhere, most go on-line, but some like to support small brick and mortar shops) and now he holds a presser that makes you want to hurl your cookies at the gross sight of makeup/hair dye dripping down his face.

    Seriously, the GOP thinks these antics help them how? Also, Trump practically screaming at everyone by saying look at me! look at me! I am attempting a Coup by inviting Republicans to overturn results pretty much ensures that no actual Coup will be forthcoming.

    What amazes me is that nothing, and I mean nothing their side does makes the GOP wince at their antics. If I were a Republican I would genuinely be embarrassed and feel a bit of shame that no one is telling Giuliani to stfu and get off the stage.

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  33. Jen says:

    @JohnSF: Two* things point to Republicans taking back the House in 2022–one, as you note, Republicans are the more dedicated voters typically and generally show up more consistently for mid-term voting; two, voters tend to “punish” the party in power in the Presidency if things aren’t going well.

    *Potentially, three things: the third is somewhat squishy because each state has its own rules for redistricting, but one of the most heartbreaking things for me about this election is the number of State Houses that remained in Republican control. That’s because while some states use a nonpartisan redistricting commission, in other states the power to redraw lines based on the 2020 census will fall to state legislatures. Depending on when those take effect, there could be an impact on the 2022 cycle.

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  34. DrDaveT says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    It’s just money and office space.

    Except that’s not true, either. It’s also access to classified intelligence briefings, and a formal line of communication with foreign heads of state, etc.

    Given that both of your premises in this particular matter turned out to be false, you might want to rethink your conclusion.

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  35. JohnSF says:

    @al Ameda:
    But, if I understand correctly, first the state supervisory board would have to fail to certify.
    Then the state legislature would name its alternative.
    Both inviting immediate court intervention.

    Also, the governor could choose to resend the Democrat electors; leaving the choice of which to seat effectively in the hands of first Congress, then the courts.

    And in any case if it would still not suffice to overturn Biden’s majority in itself (if presumed the delegations are not seated, Republican would have to void e.g. PA an GA as well to have a remnant majority).

    The presumed play is to have it kicked up to the Supremes and win it there.
    Odds of that?

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  36. Scott F. says:

    @mattbernius:

    The problem is this, there is no incentive in this for Republicans to move away from this strategy.

    I don’t disagree with this, but I do suspect not enough has been done to explore how to change the incentives. Blacklisting, boycotting, and other forms of public shaming need to be activated wherever possible. Current GOP behavior being ‘good politics’ will hinge on public sentiment and the Dems have some agency there.

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  37. Kathy says:

    I wonder what the big donors are thinking.

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  38. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @JohnSF:

    The presumed play is to have it kicked up to the Supremes and win it there.
    Odds of that?

    With a conservative (therefore Republican) lean of 6-3, not as bad as one might hope. Still iffy, provided that the conventional wisdom that Chief Justice Roberts is concerned about his place in history, but, sadly, possible. (And Chief Justice Roberts may go with there’s no such thing as a tarnished historic record; not having a place in history is the shameful thing. Did Torquemada worry about what history would say about him?)

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  39. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kathy: They’re wondering when the capital gains rate will be lowered and the threshold for estate tax will be raised. Beyond that, I see no particular evidence that they follow what’s going on in US politics any more than the typical MAGAt does.

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  40. Jon says:

    @DrDaveT:

    It’s just money and office space.

    I was the one that first used that phrase in the thread, and very lazily. I should have expanded on it at the time but did not, so that is my fault not Jay’s.

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  41. Michael Cain says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: Mnuchin’s actions this afternoon suggest the administration might be willing to crash the economy on its way out. At least a continuing budget resolution, and (I think) an increase in the debt ceiling, have to be done early in December. Wonder if McConnell is willing to let things crash and take his chances in Georgia?

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  42. An Interested Party says:

    What we are seeing is, sadly most likely good politics from a preservation of power perspective. It’s just shitty, shitty governance.

    This has been the Republicans’ MO for decades…we’re ultimately completely fucked as the party that’s good with governance is shitty at getting elected while the party that’s good at getting elected is shitty with governance…

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  43. Kathy says:

    The recount/audit is over, and Biden still wins Georgia by the margin of 12,284 votes.

    On behalf of rational people all over the world, I want to extend my thanks to all those in Georgia who voted for Biden: thank you very much. The world owes you one.

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  44. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    Couldn’t decide where this should go, but this is as good a spot as any

    The Three Groups of People Biden Must Reach Out to if He Wants to End the Pandemic, According to Dr. Leana Wen

    When the long history of the COVID-19 pandemic is finally written, Dr. Leana Wen will be remembered as one of the most reassuring faces and reliable voices in this period of hardship. A former health commissioner of Baltimore and current visiting professor at the George Washington University School of Pubic Health, Wen has provided both encouragement and tough-love truths for a public hungry for information and counsel. In a Nov. 19 conversation with TIME’s Alice Park, she offered her candid thoughts about what is very much an inflection point in the pandemic—with two new vaccines (one from Moderna and one from Pfizer) having proven effective and a changeover of presidential administrations coming in January.
    [The money quote…]
    To get Americans on board, Wen recommends that the incoming president reach out to three groups: economists, in order to convey to them that long-term economic health depends on everyone bearing some short-term financial pain; prominent Republicans, who can reach back across the aisle and help depoliticize the pandemic; and religious leaders, whom Wen argues are trusted by some factions of the public more than politicians or doctors. [emphasis added]

    So essentially, we won’t be able to “get Americans on board” because creating a “one-term president” (with, most likely, a black female successor) will have a better ROI than saving a few hundred thousand lives with said one-termer getting credit for it.

    I would so like to be wrong on this.

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  45. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Michael Cain: I figured that out two or three days ago when I read a headline to the effect of “McConnell skeptical of chances for more Covid relief.” The helping hand is at the end of your arm, Senator McConnell.

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  46. mattbernius says:

    @Jen:
    You hit all of them. With the exception of 2002, the President’s party historically loses seats in the Legislature in the first congressional election after the inauguration. Couple that with redistricting and the baked-in advantages that Republicans have–not to mention the lingering economic impacts of C19 that Trump might just be able to escape (or plant a time bomb for Biden) and you have a hell of a lot of factors that reward the Republicans going along with Trump for purely political power reasons.

    And McConnell in particular knows that and doesn’t give two rats asses about anything other than maintaining Republican power no matter what.

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  47. An Interested Party says:

    @mattbernius: And yet, the GOP’s embrace of Trump is a double-edged sword, as he could play a significant role in denying them the White House in 2024…

    Any rethinking might be further constricted by the near certainty that Trump will dangle the possibility of seeking the party’s nomination again in 2024. Even if he doesn’t preemptively announce a campaign—as some friends and aides believe he might—just the prospect of him running again will chill the potential field of future GOP contenders. “I think it’s very problematic for the 2024 field,” said Conant, who served as a top adviser to Senator Marco Rubio of Florida during his 2016 presidential campaign. “If Trump maintains his popularity with the Republican base, I don’t want to be the first candidate who shows up in Des Moines to challenge him. He is going to tweet about that person, attack that person. That’s not really how you want to launch your campaign.”

    How incredible would that be, if Donald Trump, of all people, played a major part in saving us from a potential Cruz or Hawley or Cotton presidency…yikes…

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  48. Ebenezer_Arvigenius says:

    I’d have thought a negative, bitter, do-nothing blocking policy in Congress would be the one thing best calculated to motivate more votes for the Democrats in 2022?

    They did that in 2009 and were rewarded with the biggest house sweep in half a century as well as six govenorships and 20 states legislatures. Oh and they also could redistrict freely to their advantage due to this.

    Now one can argue that other factors were involved, but as far as learning your lessons go, I’m pretty sure that “bitter, do-nothing blocking policy will cost you politically” was not it.

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