The GOP Gives Up On Democracy
"A seditious abuse of judicial due process"
You wanted a list of Republicans who are turning their backs on democracy? Well, they compiled it themselves. Ladies, and gentlemen, the Kraken caucus:
Welcome to the Countdown Journal. There are three (3) days until the Electoral College votes, and then 40 days until the Inauguration of Joe Biden.
A reminder that Texas’s frivolous, clownish, anti-democratic, "seditious abuse of the judicial process” is going nowhere.
But it felt like a landmark moment in the ongoing deracination of conservative principles when 18 states and a majority of the Republican congressional caucus signed on to the attempt to nullify the votes of tens of millions of Americas. (BTW: here is a thorough fact check of the five conspiracy theories in the Texas attorney general’s lawsuit.)
Over the last years, we’ve grown used to disillusionment and soul-crushing disappointment. But what do we make of this slouch toward raw authoritarianism?
Jonah Goldberg notes that the Texas lawsuit “is a betrayal of everything defenders of federalism and the Electoral College claim to believe.”
The decision by Republicans to embrace the attempt to steal the election, he writes, is “an act of cynical, unpatriotic, undemocratic hypocrisy unrivaled in American history, a pure power play on behalf of a president whose disregard for the very Constitution these people have long claimed to adore is total. It is shameful. Infuriatingly shameful.”
This, however, is what happens when a political party transforms itself into a cult of personality — it becomes willing to jettison almost everything, including the constitution, democracy, and the country.
All the things that used to matter? Pffft.
Fiscal conservatism? Character? Free trade? The rule of law? American leadership in the world?
All that’s left is an orange smudge. But, apparently, we are not done yet.
As TrumpWorld pushes for the Supreme Court to wipe out the results of a presidential election, we can also forget about notions like “judicial restraint,” and “strict constructionism.”
And federalism. And states’ rights.
Until five minutes ago, conservatives understood that states ran their own elections and that it was unconstitutional for the federal government or the courts to override those systems except in the most extreme circumstances.
But what use is a principle if it doesn’t serve the needs of the Orange God King?
Worth noting: not all Republicans have signed on to the clown coup.
Ben Sasse also is calling out the legal charlatans.
"I suspect the Supreme Court swats this away," Sasse told the Washington Examiner.
Sasse added that, to him, it looked like Paxton filed a "PR stunt rather than a lawsuit," in an attempt to gain "a pardon" from President Trump. Paxton is currently the subject of an FBI investigation for illegally using the power of his office to benefit Austin real estate developer Nate Paul.
Sasse noted that the lawsuit, in which Paxton said that officials in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin "tainted the integrity" of the presidential election with mail-in ballots, does not cover any new ground in election litigation.
There will be blood. Via Erick Erickson: “Activists Begin Doxxing GOP Officials for Assassination.”
A website went live this morning, but has already been deleted. However, whoever started the website has taken to various alt-right websites to circulate the private information of Republican officials in Georgia for attack. It appears explicitly designed to target them for assassination… the targets include Governor Brian Kemp of Georgia, Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, Head of Voting for Georgia Gabe Sterling, and even employees of Dominion Voter Systems.
The website showed their private email address, home addresses, and pictures of their homes. Each target includes a gun sight marking over their heads.
Here is my latest column for MSNBC Daily that discusses the new lawsuit by Chris Krebs, the former cybersecurity boss who was fired by Trump.
In the end, Krebs may not win his case. But his lawsuit is a graphic warning about the danger of political violence and how it's already deforming Republican politics.
Here’s the part you might want to check out. After Trump loyalist Joe diGenova called for Krebs to be “drawn and quartered,” and taken out “at dawn and shot,” right wing social media exploded with attacks and threats.
In great detail, Krebs' lawsuit lays out the reaction of social media users on the right-wing site Parler after he was labeled a "traitor." Some examples, from comments posted on or around Dec. 1, included a user who said he had "put himself in the line of fire! We know now that he did lie when he said there had been no cyber interference with the election. Under this evidence alone he should be tried for treason and shot as a trader."
"Why waste a bullet, just smash his head in with rock," another user said. "If we make an example of one of these traitors then we might get rid of all the rats that are still hiding in the darkness," a third intoned. Around two dozen such messages were included in the filing.
Here’s more from the lawsuit, just to give you flavor of the ugliness out there:
@Fixitwm posted: “Traitors that are treasonous should be shoot [sic]. No if about it!”
@Planejane37 posted: “He said you should be shot & I agree.”
@Spraguep36 posted: “Shoot him at dawn.”
@JHHenry2112 posted: “Can I pull the trigger??? Pretty please, please please please???”
@CPA6792 posted: “He should be shot at dawn that’s an accurate statement.”
@Tbsviralmedia posted: “Can’t sue when you have been shot by a firing squad.”
@TnTQuinn posted: “If we make an example of one of these traitors then we might get rid of all the rats that are still hiding in the darkness.”
In response to an article about Plaintiff potentially taking legal action against Defendant diGenova in response to Defendant diGenova’s threat, @Littlebit8966 posted: “Traitors should be shot!”
Similarly, in response to an article about Plaintiff potentially taking legal action against Defendant diGenova, @Cttrapp posted: “It would be hard to sue if you are dead!!”
In response to an article about Plaintiff potentially taking legal action against Defendant diGenova, @Jameskeilman posted: “Barr and the rest of them should be shot!”
@Chrischloe posted: “You’re lucky you are still alive you dirty swamp dwelling rat!”
@Luminatix posted: “Cry more Chris Kreb [sic] you Twatwaffle. Drawn and quartered...F your quick death.”
@iamtriskiadeka posted: “Anyone allowed to quiet this guy? Is there anyone else that’s tired of all these people lying? #chriskrebs is a liar[.] Maybe I’m getting very cruel and mean in my older age…. But these people just need to be treated like traitors!”
@StandUnited posted: “The penalty for treason has not changed. His time is near.”
@bLtq posted: “The old saying ‘If it ain’t true, why get upset about it’. Seems to me he knows he should be shot for treason.”
On or about December 1, 2020, @Kenazdeb17 posted: “He didn’t get shot at dawn. He should consider himself lucky.”
@Nathanbluedog posted: “So it was just a threat? Geez, let's bring back firing squads for treasonous crimes! It’s time!”
In response to an article about Defendant diGenova’s threats, @Wjallen207, posted: “Isn’t that what they do to traitors?”
@Ecburke1972, referring to Plaintiff, posted: “Another traitor to hang.”
You can read the whole thing here.
By the way, Rush Limbaugh now says that he really wasn’t advocating for breaking the country apart. “Now, I didn’t advocate for it,” he insisted Thursday. “ I never would advocate for secession. I’m simply repeating what I have heard.”
He was just asking questions Lots of people are saying. Not that I’m saying. Just saying. Classic Limbaugh, who has made an art from of the disingenuous statement not-statement.
But he knows what he’s doing.
ICYMI: This is what he said this week:
I’ve referenced this, I’ve alluded to this a couple of times cause I’ve seen others allude to this. I actually think that we’re trending toward secession. I see more and more people asking what in the world do we have in common with the people who live in, say, New York? …
I see a lot of bloggers — I can’t think of names right now — a lot of bloggers have written extensively about how distant and separated and how much more separated our culture is becoming politically and that it can’t go on this way. There cannot be a peaceful coexistence of two completely different theories of life, theories of government, theories of how we manage our affairs. We can’t be in this dire a conflict without something giving somewhere along the way.
I know that there’s a sizable and growing sentiment for people who believe that that is where we’re headed whether we want to or not. Whether we want to go there or not
Old and busted: flag waving, mandatory standing for the Pledge of Allegiance. New hotness: Sedition.
1. What’s a Little Abuse of Power Among Friends?
In today’s Bulwark, Amanda Carpenter examines the suspicious backdrop for the Texas A.G.’s luridly seditious MAGA lawsuit. (Make sure you also watch the video here.)
Let it be known that Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is not the most ethical person.
Which is probably why he agreed to be co-chair of Lawyers for Trump and had no qualms about filing a lawsuit in the U.S. Supreme Court to cancel votes in Pennsylvania, Georgia, Michigan, and Wisconsin to overthrow Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory and give Donald Trump four more years as president.
It wouldn’t be the first time Paxton has been accused of abusing his office to help a pal.
2. How Three Counties Can Help Us Understand Trump’s Shellacking
Daniel McGraw in this morning’s Bulwark:
Political pundits are, by and large, missing some basic changes in voting that were key to Trump losing. In particular, they need to look at three counties to see how genuflecting before Trump in coming years will make Joe Biden’s re-election much easier.
These three counties are in the Midwest “Blue Wall” states: Allegheny County (home of Pittsburgh) in Pennsylvania, Oakland County (suburban Detroit) in Michigan, and Dane County (home of Madison) in Wisconsin. Trump won the three states that house these counties by about 77,000 votes combined in 2016. They were the three states that he flipped, and they put him in the White House.
This time Trump lost these states by about 250,000 combined votes.
3. Georgia On Bill’s Mind
Bill Kristol has some thoughts on Georgia’s senate races.
If it’s important for the country that the damage from Trump’s attempt at delegitimizing the presidential election be minimized, then surely it’s important his enablers pay a price for supporting such a threat to the health of our liberal democracy. If the citizens of Georgia turn a blind eye to this, the lesson would be there are no consequences for such an effort. That is not a lesson we should want to teach our politicians.
We’ll see if the citizens of Georgia agree.
Where are we?
Meanwhile, in Wisconsin.
It’s Not Just Trump’s War on Democracy Anymore
Susan Glasser in the New Yorker:
What came as a gut punch, though, and still, even after all this time, a real surprise to me, was the announcement that seventeen other states—or at least their attorneys general—had filed a brief supporting the spurious Texas lawsuit, representing, from South Carolina to Utah, an array of pro-Trump red states. Eighteen states, in other words, are making the preposterous—and democratically devastating—argument that the Supreme Court should throw out other states’ votes because they do not like the results. So much for federalism and states’ rights and all those other previously cherished Republican principles. Up on Capitol Hill, meanwhile, a hundred and six House Republicans filed an amicus brief of their own supporting the Texas lawsuit. Some of these same Trump supporters in Congress are also now considering objecting to the Electoral College results when they are presented to the House, on January 6th, in what is meant to be a purely pro-forma procedural move. Mitt Romney dismissed the idea as “madness,” but he remains a lonely public voice against Trump, as his fellow-Republicans either fall in line or remain inexcusably silent. This has gone far beyond just humoring Trump for a few days.