We have reached the peak of electoral fraud
So whatever will be good
Put another way, there are zero people who have objectively considered the available evidence and who even believe that the election was rigged. Having Danforth sit them down and walk them through everything would have no more impact than me doing it. It would probably have no more impact than if Trump himself suddenly retracted his earlier claims. It will only be prepared by the former president for some ninth-dimensional chess game.
Those who believe Trump’s claims that the election was stolen are participants in a terrible love affair with the idea. There is no despairing, no one telling them that their partner is toxic, dishonest and deceitful. Over time, one hopes, their feelings will simply fade and, while they will always harbor positive feelings toward the idea that the election was stolen, they will move on. Maybe even rely on another choice in the future.
Thursday’s briefing: Sunk leads and Mordaunt is rising – but what do the numbers tell us?
In today’s newsletter: Private backroom deals could change Tory leadership contest. But what if there was a way to predict who MPs will support before they even make a decision?
With the second round of voting today, the field will be narrowed a bit more – and until the parliamentary party sends two candidates to consider the membership next week, you’ll be hearing a lot about how horse-trading and backroom deals will affect it. can The result Today’s newsletter focuses on the more likely to shape our nation’s future: What are the deeper factors that lead lawmakers to support a particular candidate?
It’s a question that can help us understand what’s going on in this leadership election — but its other use is perhaps even more important: It tells us what the next prime minister may owe his victory to. We’ll get under the bonnet after the headlines
Blue murder: The knives are out in the Tory leadership battle
Conservatives should have a period of reflection. They had, Boris Johnson, a proven election winner – but one who used his 80-strong majority to increase the size of the state and get his MPs to vote against his manifesto promises and raise taxes. forced to increase The lockdown has made things worse, with No. 10 ruling by decree at staggering expense. It was imposed with minimal parliamentary debate or scrutiny. This created a parliamentary pressure cooker in which MPs grew increasingly angry – ready to explode when the lid was lifted.
Perhaps this is why the leadership election ended up being more of a group therapy session than a contest of ideas. Of the 11 candidates, nine promised immediate tax cuts — but almost none said how they would be financed. By cutting costs? If yes, where? Through other loans? If so, is it wise when interest rates are rising? The tax rise happened earlier because the Tories spent first and thought later. If they are to avoid the high-tax, low-growth trap, they will need a sound plan to do so. But currently it seems they are more interested in blaming – and turning the leadership race into a hunger games…
The problem is that the Tories are so good at attacking each other that they have become addicted to this negative publicity. They have forgotten how to make a positive case. It could work: the 2015 election was won when Ed Miliband was effectively portrayed as ‘Red Ed’, a socialist disaster prepared to impose price caps on energy companies etc. He was defeated, but his Red Ed ideas were adopted as Tory policy. The 2019 election was decided by the effectively manipulated fear of Jeremy Corbyn and his proposed ‘Magic Money Tree’ – something that the Tories, back in office, have never quite shaken off.
The conservative feud isn’t just interesting and relevant news from an important ally, it’s a lesson in why the GOP is afraid to abandon Trump. Trump loyalists and rebels would be at each other’s throats over such a move with weapons of war. Besides, a party that stands for nothing but lies has no other core to rally around.
While I consider that outcome a win-win, I suspect it is not a unanimous opinion among Republicans.
Donald Ayer, Stuart Gerson, and Dennis Aftergut/The Atlantic:
The DOJ should prosecute Trump
The January 6 committee has provided overwhelming evidence that the former president was not just a few players along for the ride, but the central driver of a nefarious conspiracy.
The evidence is clearer and stronger than we as former federal prosecutors — two of us as Justice Department officials in Republican administrations — thought possible before the hearings began. Trump was not just a willing beneficiary of a complex plot in which others played key roles. In office, he himself was a major actor in almost all of its phases, personally carrying out key parts of most of its elements and knowing or complicit in its worst features, including the use of violence on Capitol Hill. Most remarkably, he did so over strong objections raised at every turn, even by his fickle and loyal handpicked team. This was Trump’s entire project.
Everyone knew before the hearings began that we were dealing with perhaps the most serious imaginable crime against a nation short of secession—a serious nationwide effort at multiple levels to overturn the inconclusive result of a national election. We all also know that efforts have been and are being made across the country to change laws and undermine electoral processes with the specific aim of achieving the same project in 2024 and beyond. But every hearing has sharpened our understanding that Donald Trump himself is the one who made it happen.
Greg Sargent and Paul Waldman/Wapo:
Dramatic moments of deprogrammed right-wingers blame the entire GOP
You know who else could tell [Stephen] Ayers — and countless others similarly deceived to follow this disastrous crusade — that there was no evidence for Trump’s claim? The bulk of mainstream Republicans remained largely silent.
Another example comes from Jason van Tettenhove, a former high-ranking official in the radical Oath Keepers, who said he left the group in 2016. Some of its members are facing trial for seditious conspiracy.
Van Tettenhovewas askedrap Jamie B. By Raskin (D-Md.), Oath Keepers leader Stewart Rhodes keeps calling on Trump to invoke the Sedition Act. Van Tettenhove responded that Rhodes was looking for a trigger to set off a violent rebellion, and said that Trump himself had claimed to have put Rhodes in full play that could backfire.
“The president was communicating, whether directly or indirectly, messaging that gave him approval,” Van Tettenhove said.
Here again, a strong and sustained declaration from most mainstream Republicans that the election is over and will never be reversed would have made a difference.
The hearing continued on January 6
How a pathological culture of lying lays the ground for a coup attempt
That the rogue’s gallery of an impressively unrepentant Sidney Powell, John Eastman and Rudy Giuliani have taken clownishness to such new heights should not obscure the depths of dishonesty that has long been the GOP baseline. I’ve written before that the cheat code for the contemporary Republican Party is a 2011 statement by Arizona Senator John Kyle. In a speech on the Senate floor, Kyle slammed Planned Parenthood and said abortion was 90% of their business. When fact-checkers quickly pointed out that the actual figure was *much* lower, Kyle’s press secretary told CNN that the comment was “not intended to be a factual statement.” The statement drew endless mockery, but it’s part of a sinister arc that has unfolded over the years. Karl Rove mocked liberals in a “reality-based community” to journalist Ron Susskind in 2004. His point was that facts did not matter – what mattered was the imposition of his political will for the purpose of perpetuating himself in power.
From the Bush administration’s repeated lies to justify the invasion of Iraq, to Kyle’s “no intention” statement, to Paul Ryan’s brazenly fraudulent budget proposals, to Kellyanne Conway’s response to embarrassing photographic evidence, Kellyanne Conway’s ” Alternative facts” until the comment, no, on the day of Trump’s inauguration. The crowd was no bigger than Obama, for the big lie, for the obscenity of Herschel Walker, whose own staff believes he lies all the time, continuing to accumulate an avalanche of lies. Some of the examples and instances of wanton disregard for reality may seem cartoonish. Giuliani, for example, is a sad idiot at this point. But all these lies, repeated over and over, add up to a sinister attempt to undermine the shared understandings that make living in community possible. They are the foundation of a destructive fantasy that the Bannons of the world, along with their allies in increasingly emboldened militias, are desperate to realize.
They found a willing instrument in Trump, whose election was made possible in the first place, in significant measure, by all the lies that came before. And that foundation of lies made an attempted coup, if not inevitable, an impossibly practical possibility.
A (pre-made) coup timeline
Trump did. All this.
On Tuesday, the House Jan. 6 Committee connected some of the dots. And even if you know the basic outlines of Donald Trump’s plan to overturn the 2020 election, the committee laid out a dramatic timeline of the coup attempt:
December 14 Electoral college votes->
December 18 The most unhinged Oval Office meeting ever->
On the morning of December 19 Trump tweeted about January 6, “Hang in there, it’s going to be wild” →
Right-wing media amplifies Trump’s call->
Mobilization of Domestic Violent Extremism (DVE) —>
Trump Plans March to Capital —>
Revolt on 6th January…