Thursday, December 03, 2020

"The Most Petulant 46 Minutes In American History" (Also: Rudy's Star Witness Is A Criminal)

That is quite a claim, made by Philip Bump of the Washington Post, in a column about Donald Trump's recorded speech posted to social media yesterday.

Is it true? . . . Who knows? . . . It could be, although his unhinged venting on Election Night, which surprised even those observers well-acquainted with Trump's delusions, may be a stronger contender. Trump called it "the most important speech I've ever made".

Also on Wednesday, the United States saw single-day highs in new cases of SARS-CoV-2 (206,073), deaths (2,875), and hospitalizations (100,226, the first time that number has topped 100K. Trump barely mentioned the pandemic in his speech; when he did, it was only to whine about the Democrats and the election. (Thursday's totals: Cases: 213,335 (a new high) and 2,824 deaths.)

Bump says Trump "read and riffed on a prepared script lambasting those who had the audacity to suggest that receiving fewer votes than his opponent meant he shouldn't serve a second consecutive term in office". Another columnist called it "a kind of primal scream of rage and grief".

He notes there were "numerous cuts in the final product", suggesting there was additional footage or Trump needed numerous takes to deliver his message. It clearly took some time to put together. "Good thing Trump rarely has any official duties on his calendar anymore."

It was, almost literally, a distillation of the past four weeks of rants, allegations and accusations, including countless examples of claims which have already been soundly debunked. . . .

Trump's public response to his loss has been one of exasperation, the spoiled child suddenly told that he can't do something he wants to do. Some part of this is political . . . But there's obviously something deeper and more psychological at play, a darker shadow of refusal and frustration and fury that can't as easily be countered with simple rationality.

For all of the reporting about how Trump understands that he lost the race and is discussing a potential run in 2024, the speech released Wednesday did not convey any calculated assessment of the situation.

Trump sounded extremely desperate, pleading for someone — anyone — to help him illegally subvert the results of last month's election.

This election was rigged. Everybody knows it. I don't mind if I lose an election, but I want to lose an election fair and square. What I don't want to do is have it stolen from the American people. That's what we're fighting for, and we have no choice to be doing that. We already have the proof. We already have the evidence, and it's very clear. Many people in the media — and even judges — so far have refused to accept it. They know it's true. They know it's there. They know who won the election, but they refuse to say, "You're right". Our country needs somebody to say, "You're right."

Well, it's good to know Trump doesn't mind if he loses an election . . . 

Trump's speech was similar to his campaign's doomed-to-fail lawsuits. There is no "there" there, but the same unfounded allegations are repeated over and over and over. As Bump writes:

It was a pastiche of so much that we've heard so often. It presented no coherent case for the existence of fraud, instead substituting a volume of accusations for an abundance of proof. Having hundreds of people make unfounded allegations isn't proof of wrongdoing . . . Having one person make hundreds of unfounded allegations isn't proof either — but Trump's goal isn't proving each point. It's getting Americans to accept maybe just one or two, so that they're receptive to his broader point: Something Must Be Done.

What should be done? Well, those goal posts have been constantly shifting. First, Trump wanted to block the counting of ballots. Then he wanted to block the certification of votes. Then he wanted state legislatures to appoint Trump-friendly electors. Then he wanted to get to bring a case to the Supreme Court. The latest goal (pushed by some members of the Trump Cult) is to violate the Constitution and have the military oversee a re-vote.

David Von Drehle, also of the Post, reports that he has read Trump's election lawsuits "so you don't have to".

Unlike some observers, I read them with an open mind. . . . What I see is that these lawsuits have not turned up a single new provable allegation in three-plus weeks. The newest filings are mere regurgitations of the first, but longer and sloppier because no one is bothering to proofread them anymore.

Re misspellings: In one filing, "ballot" was spelled "ballet".

Trump's lawsuits don't claim there was vote fraud. They do not pretend the election was stolen. They do not claim dead people voted. They do not claim that computer glitches were part of a deliberate conspiracy. Trump and what's left of his legal team (the Elite Strike Force*, featuring Fartin' Rudy G) have made all of those false claims in public, but the possibility of perjury exists in a court room, so the campaign has been silent when it actually counts. (The suits are not actually designed to win in court.)

*: Giuliani informed the Michigan House Oversight Committee** about a clandestine meeting in 2018 between Hugo Chávez, Dominion, and Smartmatic. Apparently, Giuliani thinks no one will take five seconds to go to Wikipedia and find out Chávez died in March 2013.

This quote is from one of the Pennsylvania cases:

Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any fraud in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any misconduct in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any impropriety in connection with the challenged ballots; Petitioners do not allege, and there is no evidence of, any undue influence committed with respect to the challenged ballots.

The goal of Trump's bogus legal charade is to vacuum as much money from the wallets of his supporters as possible. Von Drehle says "it's working beautifully". Trump's personal political action committee raised $170 million in November, which is more money than Trump raised in the final months of his campaign, and Trump can spend that money pretty much any way he wants.

That's not Trump's only current con, of course. Von Drehle links to three others. There is also "banners, flags, hats, bumper stickers, T-shirts — aimed at poor saps suckered into Trump's phony war. This cynical commerce is a fitting end to an unseemly presidency: one more grand con, another monetized lie. There's a massive fraud going on here, for sure. But not the one Trump is ranting about."

Trump's record in court is 1-42. (And the one win concerned a pre-election matter which affected only "a few dozen votes".)

Trump will go to his grave insisting he won the 2020 election. It's far more profitable to keep the con game alive, as both a "a salve for his wounded ego" and a "possible salvation for his debt-riddled balance sheet", according to Max Boot. Trump reportedly owes more than $1 billion, so every dollar helps. Boot:

Trump claims to be an expert on winning. His actual area of expertise is how to profit from losing. He survived the bankruptcy of six of his businesses, and he will survive the moral bankruptcy of his presidency. He has now figured out how to monetize assaults on our democracy. . .  .

A new McLaughlin/Newsmax poll of the 2024 Republican primary without Trump has Donald Trump Jr. tied for the lead with Vice President Pence at 20 percent. Ivanka Trump is at 4 percent. . . . Support for the supreme leader trumps, so to speak, any devotion to democracy.

**: Good lord!

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