Thursday, November 19, 2020


You've no doubt heard about the Giuliani clown show today, and you may have even heard some smart people observe that, clownish or no, it's still entirely sinister for the Trumpkins to continue pushing these outlandish conspiracy theories two weeks after the election. 

But I'm not sure enough people have caught on to how much other prominent Republicans are enabling this fiasco -- even as they seem to be demurring due to the outrageousness of the con. 

For example, note what Giuliani's associate clown Jenna Ellis responded when asked where the team's evidence of election fraud was: 

Your question is fundamentally flawed, when you're asking, "where's the evidence?" You clearly don't understand the legal process. What we have asked for in the court is to not have the certification of false results. And so to say, "Hold on a minute, we have evidence that we will present to the court." We haven't had the opportunity yet to present that to the court. We're given you an overview and a preview of what we've discovered. But no court yet has had that opportunity. 

You may have caught that Ellis is saying they have evidence but also that it can only be revealed after state election certification dates have passed -- which would mean delaying or possibly invalidating those certifications of the votes (or, as Ellis puts it, "false results"). And this request to upend the traditional election process comes cloaked in a profession of good faith: That they only want to reveal the truth, but can't do it until the system makes the highly unusual and dangerous concession to their cause (which thus far judges have not been willing to do because they've shown no evidence).

Now consider how the mainstream press is treating the Republican reaction. Here's a tweet by Marc Caputo of Politico about GOP operative Karl Rove's Fox News analysis of the Giuliani conference, which Caputo characterizes, "Karl Rove stops just short of calling the conspiracy theories espoused by Giuliani and Powell crazy." In my view he stopped well short. Below, my transcription of Rove's remarks, with some some sections italicized:

Mayor Giuliani said there was a centralized plot involving widespread voter fraud in big cities controlled by Democrats. 

Sidney Powell said the plot was communist in origin, that it had come from Venezuela, it involved Hugo Chavez, and that George Soros and the Clinton Foundation were key participants in the plot

These are serious, somewhat strange accusations -- but serious, and now Mr. Giuliani and Ms. [Sidney] Powell have an obligation to go to court and prove them. Because these are question of fundamental fairness of our presidential election, and alleging that there are conspirators who worked in major cities in an organized effort to engage in widespread voter fraud, and then foreign agents and powerful Americans, namely Soros and the Clinton Foundation, were involved. 

So they've got an obligation to go to court and prove these, or the American people will have every reason to question their credibility.

So I'm not gonna say that they don't have proof, but they better come up with proof and go to court, because these are serious allegations that basically say our election was manipulated by a combination of foreign and domestic actors and stolen and that cannot be left just simply out there, it needs to be either proved or withdrawn, and the only way to do that is to take these accusations and go to court. Major Giuliani may be right that people who signed those affidavits don't want their names exposed. But by God you cannot make an accusation like that without following it through by going to court and trying to prove it. If it's left out there, it will be both unfair to the President if it's true and unfair to the American people if it's false.

I italicized the section where Rove repeated the Trump team's crazy accusations. You don't have to be an NLP guru to realize that for the careless viewer -- at Fox News, a solid majority -- this is just confirmation that the fantasy is real. 

But notice also that Rove is pushing something very close to what Ellis is pushing: The necessity of getting that "evidence" out there. Rove very weakly alludes to the possibility that they won't be able to produce it, but he portrays the "evidence" of this Soros-Clinton conspiracy as so important that he can't  just dismiss this epically failing legal crusade before they've had a chance to really present it -- which they can't do unless we start to overturn the election process.

So why is Caputo being so chill about it, portraying Rove's carefully titrated, don't-piss-off-the-Leader response as a win for truth and sanity? Maybe for the same reason the rest of us don't want to take this attempted coup seriously -- because it's insane. But not taking their fantasy seriously doesn't mean ignoring it, or pretending it isn't real and telling other people as much.

Unless you're a major media figure with a hard line in consensus reality, I guess. Check out Sahil Kapur of NBC News

Republican senators are mostly standing by Trump as he refuses to concede defeat and pursues litigation. But there are growing signs that they see the writing on the wall… and inch toward acceptance.

"Growing signs" that they "inch toward acceptance," eh? Read the story and you find it's not so much as an inch and maybe not even a millimeter -- there's Mitch McConnell saying "We’re going to have an orderly transfer from this administration to the next one," which could easily mean from the First Trump to the Second Trump administration; Senator Tillis saying "that Biden is 'probably' the president-elect," big concession; and Lindsey Graham fist-bumping Kamala Harris on the Senate floor!  

You never see one of these Republicans saying "Trump should concede," but you see plenty of headlines like "GOP increasingly accepts Trump's defeat -- but not in public." A cynic might conclude they're by no means committed to the obvious, and if the miracle comes they want it known that they never did commit -- but if it doesn't come, they're just as invested as the newsmen in pretending they did. 

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