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Defying the Odds

Defying the Odds
New book about the 2016 election.

Sunday, December 27, 2020

The Year Is Ending Badly


In Defying the Odds, we discuss the 2016 campaign, where Trump suggested that he would not acknowledge defeat.  His legal challenges to the election of Joseph Biden have toggled between appalling and farcical.    But his base continues to believe the bogus narrative.

And he has also held up unemployment be3nefits and stimulus checks while risking a government shutdown.

Chris Strohm at Bloomberg:
Millions of Americans will see their unemployment benefits lapse, at least temporarily, after President Donald Trump let Saturday night pass without signing a bipartisan stimulus package containing various pandemic aid.

While the president dug in over the size of direct checks to be sent to many Americans, the $900 billion stimulus accord contains numerous other measures, including extended unemployment benefits, funding for food banks, rental assistance, support for small businesses and for Covid vaccination programs, and other items.

The stalemate comes as the Covid pandemic continues to worsen in many areas, and more U.S. workers are in jeopardy of losing their jobs.
After bringing some 60 lawsuits, and even offering financial incentive for information about fraud, Mr. Trump and his allies have failed to prove definitively any case of illegal voting on behalf of their opponent in court — not a single case of an undocumented immigrant casting a ballot, a citizen double voting, nor any credible evidence that legions of the voting dead gave Mr. Biden a victory that wasn’t his.

...

Mr. Trump and his allies have argued that the 59 losses they faced in 60 lawsuits filed since Election Day were based on procedural rulings, complaining that judges refused to look at the particulars of allegations they have sought to use to overturn an election Mr. Biden won by 7 million votes (and by 74 in the Electoral College).

But according to a New York Times analysis, they did not even formally allege fraud in more than two-thirds of their cases, arguing instead that local officials deviated from election codes, failed to administer elections properly or that the rules in place on Election Day were themselves illegal.

In the single case Mr. Trump won, his campaign challenged a state-ordered deadline extension in Pennsylvania for the submission of personal identification for mailed ballots, affecting a small number of votes.

In nearly a dozen cases their fraud accusations did indeed have their days in court, and consistently collapsed under scrutiny.

David Ignatius at WP:

Trump’s last-ditch campaign will almost certainly fail in Congress. The greater danger is on the streets, where pro-Trump forces are already threatening chaos. A pro-Trump group called “Women for America First” has requested a permit for a Jan. 6 rally in Washington, and Trump is already beating the drum: “Big protest in D.C. on January 6th. Be there, will be wild!”

Government officials fear that if violence spreads, Trump could invoke the Insurrection Act to mobilize the military. Then Trump might use “military capabilities” to rerun the Nov. 3 election in swing states, as suggested by Michael Flynn, Trump’s former national security adviser. Trump “could take military capabilities and he could place them in those states and basically rerun an election,” Flynn told Newsmax in a Dec. 17 interview.

The Pentagon would be the locus of any such action, and some unusual recent moves suggest pro-Trump officials might be mobilizing to secure levers of power. Kash Patel, chief of staff to acting defense secretary Christopher C. Miller, returned home “abruptly” from an Asia trip in early December, according to Fox News correspondent Jennifer Griffin. Patel didn’t explain, but in mid-December Trump discussed with colleagues the possibility that Patel might replace Christopher A. Wray as FBI director, one official said. Wray remains in his job.

Another strange Pentagon machination was the proposal Miller floated in mid-December to separate the code-breaking National Security Agency from U.S. Cyber Command, which are both currently headed by Gen. Paul Nakasone. That proposal collapsed because of bipartisan congressional opposition.

But why did Trump loyalists suggest the NSA-Cyber Command split in the first place? Some officials speculate that the White House may have planned to install a new NSA chief, perhaps Ezra Cohen-Watnick, the young conservative recently installed to oversee Pentagon intelligence activities.

With firm control of the NSA and the FBI, the Trump team might then disclose highly sensitive information about the origins of the 2016 Trump Russia investigation. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe tried to release this sensitive intelligence before the election, despite protests from intelligence chiefs that it would severely damage U.S. national security. Trump retreated under pressure from then-Attorney General William P. Barr, among others.