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Showing posts with label Jonathan Tepperman. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Jonathan Tepperman. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 4, 2020

From the Atlantic: What Trump Could Do Next - Will Melania Get A Backdoor Man ?! - Wow ! - From Foreign Policy: Reaction From Overseas To Trump's Call To Stop The Vote Count - The State Of America: What The Election Results Say About That From Jonathan Tepperman and William Rivers Pitt !!

Hmmmm...other than beat his fists on the desk; watch out Melania, even though you lied your ass off for your sweetie on the campaign trail, he could even possibly throw you through the window out onto your bungled Rose Garden project...you can always get a backdoor man honey...


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 ~ From The Atlantic:

 

November 4, 2020


November 4, 2020 

Caroline Mimbs Nyce Senior associate editor

 

" The margins are razor thin, and the president has falsely claimed victory. If the result doesn’t go his way, will Donald Trump concede the election? A Q&A With Barton Gellman (Elias Klingén) This election is close. Paths to victory remain for both Donald Trump and Joe Biden. And yet the president is already casting doubt on the results.

 

 We caught up with Barton Gellman, who warned earlier this year that this election could break down into chaos, to discuss how messy things could get in the coming days. The conversation that follows has been edited and condensed.

 

 Caroline Mimbs Nyce: You predicted that Donald Trump would not concede this election, no matter the outcome. His speech and tweets early this morning suggest that you could be right. What will it mean if he doesn't? 

 

 Barton Gellman: It’s not quite time for a concession speech, because the first vote count is still under way. What Trump is doing now is making spurious claims of victory and fabricating claims of fraud. There is nothing abnormal about counting votes until the count is done, and I expect the extended count to favor Biden. If Trump refuses to concede when the count is complete, he can throw sand in the gears with litigation and rouse his supporters into the streets. I expect things to get much worse before they get better. 

 

Caroline: In the worst-case scenario, could Trump use force to retain his power if he loses the Electoral College?

 

 Bart: Trump is talking like a dictator, but he doesn’t have the muscle to act like one—not completely. He did not send troops or law-enforcement agents to take control of the ballots, and if he had tried they probably would have balked. But if Attorney General Bill Barr throws the weight of the Justice Department behind Trump’s false claims, he can write a legal document that orders the federal government to treat Trump as president-elect. Trump could try to issue an executive order to the same effect. Whether government agencies would go along with orders like that, which are ordinarily binding but would be transparently unlawful now, remains to be seen. 

 

 Caroline: Should this contest devolve into a court battle, can you give us a quick preview of what to expect? 

 

 Bart: There is no precedent for litigation that tries to prevent an ordinary, orderly account of ballots cast. But good lawyers are paid to find ambiguity where none has been detected before. The Trump campaign will look for any technical flaw in the procedures or in the mail ballots yet to be counted. The Supreme Court conservatives have signaled that they may give primacy to the exact words of state statutes, and Trump will look for interpretations of those that conflict with the current practices of election authorities. 

 

 Caroline: How might team Biden respond?

 

 Bart: The Biden team has the easier task in court: to defend a normal vote count that is proceeding normally. Biden’s lawyers have gamed out every argument they can imagine Trump making, and have pre-drafted legal responses. 

Bob Bauer, a former White House counsel who is helping lead Biden’s legal team, said that Trump is heading for one of the most embarrassing defeats ever suffered by an American president if this election reaches the Supreme Court.

 

 Caroline: What's your best advice to Americans right now? 

 

 Bart: Take a deep breath, be very cautious about believing sensational reports on social media, and insist that our democracy follow normal procedures. We count every vote, always have, and the election is not over until that happens.

 

 More reading from our reporters: The nightmare is here, David A. Graham wrote early this morning. If public-opinion data are unreliable, American democracy is flying blind, he argues. The president confirmed the world's fears, our staff writer Tom McTague writes from London. "

 

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 ~  From Foreign Policy: Check out the sidebar on the link !

 

How The World Is Covering Trump's Premature Victory Lap 

 

The election has been called an “attack on the nerves”—and Trump’s statements have been dubbed an “attempted coup.”

 

 "U.S. President Donald Trump, in his campaign event at the White House in the early hours of Wednesday morning, sought to freeze the U.S. election in its tracks, declaring the counting of ballots to be “fraud.” As the ongoing vote count enters its second day, many Americans have their bleary eyes glued to Electoral College maps, where the race is neck and neck, with key battleground states like Pennsylvania not likely to have full returns until Friday. But as it turns out, international readers are also glued to the refresh button. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the morning’s leading headlines from newspapers and magazines around the world.

United Kingdom: Although the Times of London didn’t evaluate Trump’s claims in a headline on Wednesday morning—“Trump claims victory and demands end to vote count”—the paper clarified in the article that the race is “still wide open” in key states. The claims, the Times’ U.S. editor and Washington correspondent reported, amounted to a “baseless allegation.” Meanwhile, the front page of the tabloid Daily Mail, Britain’s highest-circulation paper, juxtaposed Biden’s growing lead in Michigan and Wisconsin with Trump’s unfounded allegations of “surprise ballot dumps.”

Ireland: “Fintan O’Toole: At 2.23am today, the US president launched an attempted coup,” reads the front page of the Irish Times. O’Toole, a columnist at the paper, wrote that “Close to half of Americans voted for him in the full knowledge that he was going to do it.” The irony of this, given incoming election results, is that Trump “behaved like an autocrat even when it was quite possible that he could still win by being a democrat,” O’Toole wrote. Elsewhere in the paper, the Washington correspondent reported that despite Trump’s claims of victory and fraud, the election is “too close to call.”

Germany: The German newsmagazine Der Spiegel prefaced its coverage of Tuesday’s U.S. presidential election—which it called “an attack on the nerves” —with two caveats. First, the contest’s results won’t be clear for a while. Second, and perhaps more jarring for a readership that gives Trump low marks, Spiegel reported that more U.S. voters have already cast their ballots for the Republican nominee than four years ago. The magazine added that this trend follows an overall uptick in voter turnout, conceding that “at least that is good news.” 

By contrast, the Bild tabloid—Germany’s most widely read publication—went the clickbait route, quoting Trump’s unfounded claim that his lead “magically disappeared” and describing the election as a “thriller.” It also pasted a photo of the controversial new Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett to its homepage, with an all-caps title asking, “WILL SHE DECIDE THE ELECTION FOR TRUMP?”

France: “Donald Trump and Joe Biden neck and neck, the United States is tearing itself apart,” read the front page of Le Monde on Wednesday morning. The paper’s correspondent in Washington, favoring straightforward analysis, wrote that the race saw “echoes” of 2016, with the country’s fate resting on a handful of states. The main difference from four years ago, Le Monde reported, is the delay in the vote count. 

Spain: El País, read widely throughout the Spanish-speaking world, declared that the United States is facing an “institutional crisis” on its front page. The paper’s lead election story focuses primarily on Trump’s accusations of fraud and assertions that he won, even though key swing states are still counting votes. “Election night has entered the most-feared scenario,” the early morning Wednesday story begins, quoting Trump at length throughout.

Lebanon: On the morning after the U.S. presidential election, Lebanon’s Daily Star said, “the rest of the world was none the wiser.” The paper referenced Trump’s “pre-emptive declaration of victory” overnight, citing civil rights groups that view the move as “trampling of long-standing democratic norms.” After reviewing international leaders’ mixed reactions to the too-close-to-call election, the Star rehashed Bush v. Gore, referencing Trump’s promises to bring the 2020 election before the U.S. Supreme Court. 

Japan: As the presidential contest narrows, the English-language Japan Times notes that the U.S.-Japan relationship hangs in the balance—with the Japanese government yet to comment on the election. In Japan, concerns are rising that the “political crisis” in the United States sends a message of uncertainty to its allies. The results of the election are likely to shape new Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s first visit to the United States as Japan’s leader, the paper reports. 

Singapore: “Too close to call, Biden bats away Trump victory claim,” reads the front page of the Straits Times, Singapore’s major English-language daily, which also points to the president’s lack of evidence of any fraud despite his late-night press conference. The paper’s U.S. correspondent notes the potential for online misinformation in the days ahead as Biden calls for patience with counting mail ballots. 

Australia: The Sydney Morning Herald’s North America correspondent called Trump’s premature declaration of victory a “dark, disturbing moment in American history” in a dispatch from Washington, raising concerns about potential unrest and the integrity of U.S. democratic institutions over the next few days. “A nation with widespread gun ownership, a polarised population, tribal media outlets and a reckless president has to muddle its way through as all the votes are counted,” he reports.

Chloe Hadavas is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @Hadavas

Audrey Wilson is an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @audreybwilson

Allison Meakem is an editorial fellow at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @allisonmeakem

 

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Well, there's more, and these issues are what face us now.  

 ~ From Foreign Policy - with many more outstanding reports on the sidebar. Click the link !

Even If Biden Wins, It's Trump's America Now

Many thought 2016 was a fluke. That’s impossible to argue now.

"Whoever ends up winning the U.S. election—an answer we may get tonight, or not for weeks if some state results get bogged down in litigation—one of the most important takeaways from the race is that it was so close. Far from the landslide that polls seemed to predict, it’s come down to a nail-biter.

The big question now is what these results mean for the country. Pundits have tried to explain away President Donald Trump’s show of strength by pointing to lockdown fatigue or voters’ appreciation for his perceived success on the economy—at least until the pandemic came along and cratered it.

But these rationalizations don’t tell the whole story. Most important, they don’t account for the fact that, whoever ultimately wins the White House, nearly half of all U.S. voters endorsed a white-nationalist serial liar who has spectacularly botched the most serious health crisis in a century. They also knowingly ignored, or willingly embraced, Trump’s flagrant cruelty and sexism, his lack of curiosity or knowledge about the government and the world, his disdain for traditional U.S. values such as fair play and the rule of law, and his eagerness to tear down the institutions of governance at home and abroad—institutions that, while flawed, have provided much peace and prosperity over the years. Back in 2016, some Republicans voted for Trump because they didn’t know much about him, or because they hoped that the responsibilities of the office would transform him into a statesman. No one can make that argument today. We all now know exactly who Trump is.

When you factor in the facts that Trump has won more votes this time than in 2016, that he improved his standing among Latino and Black voters, and that the Republican Party may well hold the Senate, you’re left with one conclusion: 2016 was no fluke. Whoever wins this one, we’re all living in Trump’s America now.

Why do I say that? For starters, Trump and his party’s show of strength means that win or lose, Trump isn’t going away and the GOP won’t abandon him after all. Before the election, the end of Trumpism seemed like a sure thing. More and more Republicans were arguing, quietly, that the party needed reform and that four more years of Trump would doom them all. Even stalwart supporters such as Sen. John Cornyn were starting to edge away from the president. Now that Trump, and those supporters, have done so well, it’s hard to imagine many Republicans giving up on Trump or Trumpism anytime soon.

With his party and close to half the public behind him, an empowered Trump—whether as president, opposition leader, or freelance tweeter and media star—will continue to draw huge levels of attention and support, which he’ll use to hector and undermine Democrats and to push the same peevish, counterfactual, us-versus-the-experts-and-everybody-else message that he has for the past four years. Republican “Never Trumpers”—former GOP officials dedicated to process, competent governance, the importance of institutions, and at least some basic form of national unity—will remain marginalized or will leave the party altogether.

The results will be dire. Should the GOP win the White House, or lose it but hold the Senate, the policy paralysis of the past four years will continue—or even worsen. And things may not be much better under former Vice President Joe Biden. Even presidents who control Congress rarely get more than one or two big things done before their first midterm election, when they often lose legislative support. It’s hard to imagine that a President Biden, should he earn that title, will get even that far unless he manages to eke out a Senate victory (which, as of this writing, seems unlikely).

That’s a recipe for big trouble ahead. While Biden may seek to change the tone in Washington, the years of Barack Obama’s presidency showed that despite Biden’s lifelong dedication to bipartisanship, so long as Republicans remain the party of no, the chances of achieving it are close to zero. Under a divided government, we’re likely to see more inaction on huge problems such as the pandemic (though Biden could make some improvements using his executive authority) and the economy (where he can’t do much without Congress). Should Biden fail to pass major pandemic relief and other government spending, markets will flounder and financial instability will increase. Without coordinated action by all branches of the U.S. government, the pandemic will get much worse.

Thus no matter who wins the White House, Trump’s America—a country that has now spurned its best chance to resoundingly repudiate him—will mean more self-perpetuating dysfunction. Rage at the failure of government to help, or Republicans’ rage at the government’s attempts to help (through restrictions meant to limit the spread of the virus) will only intensify the country’s already vicious polarization, further reducing the chances for bipartisan cooperation and possibly leading to violence.

Biden’s goal of healing the nation’s divisions and governing in a way that brings everyone together seems like a very tall order now. Obama’s attempts to do the same only fueled Republicans’ obstreperousness and drove a large share of the public into the dangerous fantasy land of birtherism and other conspiracy theories (some of which ultimately morphed into QAnon). Now that Trump’s approach, for all its ugliness, has received a dramatic embrace from nearly half the country, it’s hard to imagine a President Biden making things better enough to make a difference. And it’s impossible to imagine a President Trump even trying.

Jonathan Tepperman is the editor in chief of Foreign Policy.

  Twitter: @j_tepperman

 

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 ~ From Truthout:


Trumpism Is Alive and Well - And It Won't Go Away Even If Trump Does

 

 

"The final results of the 2020 presidential and congressional elections remain unresolved this morning. Even absent an outcome, there are many in the U.S. and around the world who will call Tuesday’s closer-than-expected election a disaster, an abject national humiliation, and a punch in the throat to every medical professional who waded into Donald Trump’s pandemic wearing trash bags and masks dipped in Lysol so they could help save lives.

How very quickly we forget.

No, this is not 2016, when half the country voted “couch” instead of heading out to their polling places. In fact, one of the bright spots of the night is that turnout was the highest it has been in 120 years. Just under 67 percent, the country outperformed its turnout mark for the 1960 Kennedy/Nixon election. You can’t, and won’t, do much better than that these days.

And right there comes the nasty little turn. Many devoutly believed Trump needed to be thoroughly and unquestionably routed last night, and not just to avoid a protracted and messy legal battle that could wind up before a badly compromised Supreme Court. More than that, the hope for a full Trump routing last night was also a hope that the entire grotesquerie that is Trumpism itself might be torn down, burned and buried under salted earth before the watching eyes of the whole wide world.

Well, after a huge turnout, that did not happen. Instead, an election that many expected to be a Democratic “Blue Wave” has become a nip and tuck affair that has seen Democrats actually lose seats in the House of Representatives. Democrats still hold the majority in that chamber, but it is a slimmer one today, and the GOP minority will surely be emboldened after outstripping expectations. Dreams of a Democratic Senate majority are slowly but surely falling to dust.

Ah, yes. Expectations, otherwise known as “polls,” form an entire industry that has once again proven itself unequal to the task it claims expertise in. I’m not one to casually quote neoconservative fiends like John Podhoretz, but in this specific instance, he cuts it right down to the bone.

“Political polling is a fraud,” Podhoretz correctly declares. “It claims to measure something that, it is now unmistakably clear, cannot be accurately measured. Polling’s seductive promise is that it will take the guesswork out of understanding a complex and changing set of circumstances and replace that uncertainly with something that looks like science. But it’s less like the physics that helps us shoot rockets into space and more like the set of the spaceship on ‘Star Trek.’ It’s shiny. It has a lot of dials and lights. Things beep. But if you put it on the Cape Canaveral launchpad and lit it on fire, you would just burn to death.”

I pledge to you upon this day, November 4, 2020, that I will never again stain this page with numbers from a poll, and I apologize abjectly for having done so in the past. Polls are the Wonder Bread of political journalism; they help fatten articles and hit deadlines, but as far as valuable information goes, they have the caloric equivalent of gravel. Never again, you have my word.

The race at present is down to a white-knuckle clutch of seven states: Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Michigan, Georgia, Wisconsin, Nevada and Arizona. The last of those, Arizona, was called late last night by Fox News in favor of Joe Biden, which motivated Trump to erupt in a frenzy of fraud accusations and authoritarian victory declarations that, impossibly but surely, stained this elaborate debacle even more deeply. “We’ll be going to the U.S. Supreme Court,” he railed. “We want all voting to stop.”

The outstanding districts in those states are almost all urban centers that contain millions of uncounted votes. Tallying those ballots is what Trump wants stopped, and what will likely motivate him to bring this election to court if Biden eventually prevails. At the end of that path lies the Supreme Court, clearly what Trump is hoping for.

To be sure, there were a great many joyful victories recorded last night. Reps. Ilhan Omar and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez obliterated their opponents to secure a second term for themselves, and Jamaal Bowman won the seat for New York’s 16th district. Sarah McBride won her race for Delaware state senate, making her the highest-ranking transgender official in government.

All small-time drug possession in Oregon has been decriminalized. Arizona, Montana, New Jersey and South Dakota legalized marijuana. Mississippi approved the removal of the Confederate banner from its state flag. Florida passed a $15 minimum wage. Nebraska and Utah passed measures closing the loophole that allowed slavery to continue for those convicted of a crime.

But Lindsey Graham still has a job, as does Mitch McConnell, and probably as majority leader to boot. The “Blue Wave” was transmogrified into lost ground in both the House and Senate, and if Biden wins this thing, it will be by a whisper-thin margin that can fully expect to spend the next couple of months in court. In any event, the counting goes on and it will probably be days before a final result is reached.

We will be spending a long time picking apart the details that led to last night, the missed clues and overstated chances. Was Joe Biden the best choice as a nominee, or just another in a seemingly endless line of doomed DNC Dembots straight out of central casting? Certainly, Biden has not lost yet, and may well prevail… but the moment begs a question: Would we be here if Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren were standing in Biden’s place? We will never know, and now we wait.

Two facts stand out: First, the urban/rural voter split is more pronounced than ever, and the urban voters are surprisingly evenly matched in numbers with their rural brethren. There is no blaming turnout this time, not after matching a 120-year-old high mark. We appear to be as evenly divided a nation as we’ve been hearing we are, and this newest nose count underscores the grim truth of it.

Second, and more importantly: Despite the horrors of the COVID-19 pandemic and his ridiculous handling of the crisis, despite the shattered economy, the ceaseless bombast, the overt racism, all of it, Donald Trump remains popular enough to make a razor-thin contest out of what many (hand raised) expected would be a blowout. More people voted in this election than ever before in all our history, and at least half of them think Trump is worthy of a second term. Maybe more, if the deal goes down his way.

As election officials steadily process the ballots before them, I am processing the meaning of last night’s results. I gravely misunderstood the nature of my country coming into this contest, something I felt I’ve had a handle on for years. Nearly 66 million people surveyed the roiling, hateful, plague-raddled disaster zone the nation has become under Trump’s administration and decided he should have another four years to do more of the same.

It’s not over yet, but no matter the final outcome, this feels very much like a resounding setback, if not a defeat in its own right. Even if Biden wins, he would need a Democratic majority in the Senate in order to effectively govern. The ground was ripe for the Democrats to do much better last night, with the surrounding circumstances altogether vehement in their pressing relevance… and then, this.

It is going to be a very long week, again. Stout hearts."

 

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It's scary.


 

Stay Tuned...and stay safe y'all...

 

  ~ From AP:


2020 Balance Of Power

 

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