Trump’s GOP commemorates MLK after trying to disenfranchise voters in Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia and Atlanta

Ever since November 3–Election Day–GOP members of the House and at least ten senators tried to overturn the votes of Black men and women in Detroit, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, and Atlanta. Today, as Nick Visser and Amanda Terkel point out in their article at The Huffington Post, they want us all to remember Martin Luther King Jr. Here is a taste:

One hundred forty-seven Republicans in Congress voted against certifying Democrat Joe Biden as the winner of the presidential election this month. Not only did they try to overturn the election results and give legitimacy to President Donald Trump’s lies of rampant voter fraud, but they essentially tried to erase the mammoth turnout among Black voters that helped Biden win. 

Twelve days after that vote, 127 of those Republicans ― 86% ― tweeted or put out statements Monday praising the work of Martin Luther King Jr., who is perhaps best remembered for fighting racial injustice.

“Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. transformed America and inspired men and women across the world with his call to pursue justice and truth,” Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said.

Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-Colo.) tweeted the King quote: “The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy.” 

Boebert is a supporter of the deranged, baseless QAnon conspiracy theory that believes Trump is fighting a Satan-worshipping “deep state” of Democrats and Hollywood celebrities who are sex traffickers. 

The hypocrisy was not lost on civil rights leaders. 

Read the rest here.

As we pointed out earlier this evening, the court evangelicals did the same thing.

Will a third political party emerge?

Some are suggesting that the Republican Party could split into principled conservatives and Trump populists. The next four years will also reveal the depth of the divisions within the Democratic Party. How hard will the progressives in the party challenge Joe Biden and the moderates? Or maybe we will see a unification of Republican moderates and Democratic moderates.

Whatever the case, I found Sriram Laksham’s interview with presidential historian Jeffrey Engel to be informative. Engel directs the Center for Presidential History at Southern Methodist University in Dallas.

Here is a taste of the interview, published at The Hindu:

Laksham: If appears that people in the Republican party are torn between sticking with Trump or standing for the “real” Republican party. Do you think that there’s going to be a third major political party forming in the near term?

Engle: I’m glad you asked that. That’s what history suggests. Remember that one way to understand the entire Trump presidency and candidacy is as a civil war within the Republican party. That Donald Trump ran against the Democratic party, but also ran against traditional Republicans — the George W. Bush-Mitt Romney wings of the Republican party. Obviously he was successful in controlling the party and then ultimately winning the presidency, but those people haven’t gone away. And I think that what we’re seeing is quite likely a moment where the Republican party, I think, as a brand is going to continue moving forward.

That doesn’t mean everybody who’s in the Republican party is going to continue under that brand, which suggests — especially given that the people who are most antagonistic towards Trump are by and large towards the centre of the political spectrum and there is of course a centre wing of the democratic party as well — that there is a ripe moment here for a coalescing of these two into a new political party.

Now, before Democrats get very excited about that, I should point out that every previous time in American history we’ve seen one party collapse, it takes the other party down with it over the course of the next several election cycles, just because it completely realigns the interest groups and the coalitions and the alliances within the broad electorate. So I think that there’s a good chance of the Republican party is in its death throes. As we currently see it, I think Republicans will continue. I don’t necessarily know that their party is going to continue as is currently formed.

Read the entire interview here.

George Will: Josh Hawley, Ted Cruz, et al. “are the Constitution’s most dangerous domestic enemies”

Yesterday conservative columnist George Will blasted the GOP senators who will object to the vote of the Electoral College on January 6 (tomorrow). My favorite line from the piece: “Hawley–has there ever been such a high ratio of ambition to accomplishment?” (the link is to a piece by Michael Gerson).

Here is a taste:

For many years, some people insisted that a vast conspiracy, not a lone gunman, masterminded the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy near the grassy knoll in Dallas’s Dealey Plaza. To these people, the complete absence of evidence proved the conspiracy’s sophistication. They were demented. Today’s senatorial Grassy Knollers — Hawley, with Cruz and others panting to catch up — are worse. They are cynical.

They know that every one of the almost 60 Trump challenges to the election has been rebuffed in state and federal courts, including the Supreme Court, involving more than 90 judges, nominated by presidents of both parties. But for scores of millions of mesmerized Trump Republicans, who think the absence of evidence is the most sinister evidence, this proves that the courts, too, are tentacles of the “deep state.” Hawley and Cruz, both of whom clerked for chief justices of the Supreme Court, hope to be wafted into the White House by gusts of such paranoia.

As does Vice President Pence, who says about Hawley et al.: Me, too. To fathom Pence’s canine devotion to Trump, watch a video from June 7, 2018. Seated next to Trump in a meeting, Pence saw Trump take his water bottle off the table and place it on the floor. So, Pence did likewise. Google the 22-second video. It is a sufficient Pence biography.

Read the rest here.

As someone who studies American Christianity, it is worth noting that Hawley and Cruz are evangelical Christians. Hawley is an Evangelical Presbyterian and Ted Cruz is a Southern Baptist.

Arizona GOP: We are “never going back” to the party of John McCain

Both the U.S. senators from Arizona, Krysten Sinema and Mark Kelly, are Democrats. The last time Arizona had two Democratic senators was 1953 when Ernest McFarland and Carl Hayden represented the state in Washington D.C. That was sixty-eight years ago.

In today’s Wall Street Journal, editor Gerald Seib has a piece on the potential Republican Party civil war. Here is a taste:

Two years from now, after this week’s attempt to overturn the results of the presidential election has long since played out, here is a plausible scenario:

A Republican senator or House member, one party leaders are eager to see retain his or her seat, will be challenged in a primary by a disciple of President Trump. The incumbent, after being attacked as a member of a disparaged party establishment, will still win the primary. But that outcome will be challenged by Republican rebels, who, taking a cue from what is happening right now, will charge that the election was “rigged” by the establishment, and go to court to try to overturn it.

Such are the forces being unleashed this week within the GOP, where the prospect of a virtual civil war suddenly feels real. This internal struggle engages the president and his family; lawmakers courting the support of Trump loyalists; and a conservative Republican establishment embodied by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell. Part of the struggle is ideological, part is simply about power. In any case, it figures to roll through the next two years and into the 2022 mid-term election.

The irony is that Republicans might instead be uniting in celebration over what actually was a good outcome for them in the 2020 vote, and allowing attention to focus on Democrats’ own considerable internal ideological schisms. Instead, the party is being pulled apart in the last days of the Trump term.

Read the rest here. The piece also mentions this tweet:

Seib adds:

As that tweet shows, there is an important ideological struggle lying beneath the skirmishing. Mr. Trump essentially ran for president in 2016 as an independent populist, with no use for a Republican establishment that largely opposed him. Upon prevailing, he turned the party away from traditional conservative principles of free trade, lower government spending and limited executive authority and toward more of a working-class agenda.

Here are a few more tweets from the official Twitter account of the Republican Party of Arizona:

A new conservative political party?

Tom Friedman hopes it will happen. Here is a taste of his column at today’s New York Times:

As the Trump presidency heads into the sunset, kicking and screaming, one of the most important questions that will shape American politics at the local, state and national levels is this: Can Donald Trump maintain his iron grip over the Republican Party when he is out of office?

This is what we know for sure: He damn well intends to try and is amassing a pile of cash to do so. And here is what I predict: If Trump keeps delegitimizing Joe Biden’s presidency and demanding loyalty for his extreme behavior, the G.O.P. could fully fracture — splitting between principled Republicans and unprincipled Republicans. Trump then might have done America the greatest favor possible: stimulating the birth of a new principled conservative party.

Santa, if you’re listening, that’s what I want for Christmas!

Wishful thinking? Maybe. But here’s why it’s not entirely fanciful: If Trump refuses to ever acknowledge Biden’s victory and keeps roasting those Republicans who do — and who “collaborate” with the new administration — something is going to crack.

There will be increasing pressure on the principled Republicans — people like Mitt Romney, Lisa Murkowski and the judges, election officials and state legislators who put country before party and refused to buckle under Trump’s demands — to break away and start their own conservative party.

Read the rest here.

Evan McMullin on how to defeat Trumpism and win back the GOP

In 2016, Evan McMullin, a former CIA operations officer, ran for president. Many Republican never-Trumpers voted for him. He got 732,273 votes and broke write-in vote records in several states. In a recent New York Times op-ed, McMullin lays out a future for the Republican Party that does not include Donald Trump or Trumpism. Here is a taste:

Although we hoped that defeating Mr. Trump would start to right the Republican ship, our efforts over the last four years have not been in vain. We defeated and removed immoral and dishonorable Republicans like Roy Moore, Dana Rohrabacher, Steve King and Martha McSally. We turned out to ensure that Democrats nominated a unifying leader whom a majority of voters could support. And we were a key part of the coalition that defeated Mr. Trump himself.

But the NeverTrump movement has mostly been inward looking thus far. It emerged to defeat Mr. Trump and defend foundational principles such as self-government, liberty and justice, sovereignty, pluralistic society, the sanctity of all life, decency and objective truth.

But to turn back Mr. Trump’s dangerous ideology, which has survived his defeat, and move America forward, we must build on these ideals and look beyond ourselves.

We must now offer our own vision for the country capable of uniting more Republicans, Democrats and independents to advance solutions to the immense challenges we face. Because Trumpism will be on the ballot again, in 2022 and 2024.

It should start with unyielding commitment to the equality and liberty of all, and then to facts, reason and knowledge. It should champion democracy and its improvement and cherish life in all its phases. It should promote personal responsibility, limited government and government’s vital role for the common good. It should advance justice for all, and uphold the personal and religious freedom of a diverse people.

Read the entire piece here.

GOP nihilism

“It is particularly astonishing that 17 of the House signatories were elected by voters in the states whose election results was seeking to invalidate.”

Here is the editorial board of The New York Times.

What is left to say about a political party that would throw out millions of votes?

The substance of a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas, and backed by more than 17 other states, would be laughable were it not so dangerous. Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton — who is under indictment for securities fraud — asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four other states. As a legal matter, this is the rough equivalent of objecting on the grounds that the other side is winning. As political rhetoric, however, it is incendiary.

The Supreme Court was right to toss out the lawsuit. But that the Republican Party tried and failed doesn’t make the attempt any less odious. There are a lot of Republican leaders who, the history books will record, wanted it to succeed.

What makes this entire episode so sad is that the nation needs a vibrant, honest, patriotic opposition party. A party that argues in good faith to win more votes the next time around. Many Republicans, particularly at the state and local level, stood tall and proud against the worst instincts of the national party.

The health of a democracy rests on public confidence that elections are free and fair. Questioning the integrity of an election is a matter of the utmost seriousness. By doing so without offering any evidence, Mr. Paxton and his collaborators have disgraced themselves. Attorneys general are sworn to uphold the rule of law.

What is left to say about a political party that would throw out millions of votes?

The substance of a lawsuit filed by the State of Texas, and backed by more than 17 other states, would be laughable were it not so dangerous. Texas’ attorney general, Ken Paxton — who is under indictment for securities fraud — asked the Supreme Court to overturn the results of the presidential election in four other states. As a legal matter, this is the rough equivalent of objecting on the grounds that the other side is winning. As political rhetoric, however, it is incendiary.

The Supreme Court was right to toss out the lawsuit. But that the Republican Party tried and failed doesn’t make the attempt any less odious. There are a lot of Republican leaders who, the history books will record, wanted it to succeed.

What makes this entire episode so sad is that the nation needs a vibrant, honest, patriotic opposition party. A party that argues in good faith to win more votes the next time around. Many Republicans, particularly at the state and local level, stood tall and proud against the worst instincts of the national party.

The health of a democracy rests on public confidence that elections are free and fair. Questioning the integrity of an election is a matter of the utmost seriousness. By doing so without offering any evidence, Mr. Paxton and his collaborators have disgraced themselves. Attorneys general are sworn to uphold the rule of law.

It is particularly astonishing that 17 of the House signatories were elected by voters in the states whose election results Texas was seeking to invalidate. They signed a letter directly challenging the legitimacy of their own victories and the integrity of their own states’ elections.

Read the entire editorial here.

Here are the 106 members of Congress who support Trump’s Texas lawsuit

Trump has joined a Texas lawsuit, initiated by an accused criminal, trying to overturn election results in four swing states. Learn more here.

106 of 196 GOP members of Congress support the lawsuit. Here are their names:

Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Gary Palmer of Alabama’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Steve Scalise of Louisiana’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Ralph Abraham of Louisiana’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Rick W. Allen of Georgia’s 12th Congressional District

Rep. James R. Baird of Indiana’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Jim Banks of Indiana’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Jack Bergman of Michigan’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Andy Biggs of Arizona’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Gus Bilirakis of Florida’s 12th Congressional District

Rep. Dan Bishop of North Carolina’s 9th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Bost of Illinois’s 12th Congressional District

Rep. Kevin Brady of Texas’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Mo Brooks of Alabama’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Ken Buck of Colorado’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Ted Budd of North Carolina’s 13th Congressional District

Rep. Tim Burchett of Tennessee’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Michael C. Burgess of Texas’s 26th Congressional District

Rep. Bradley Byrne of Alabama’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Ken Calvert of California’s 42nd Congressional District

Rep. Earl L. “Buddy” Carter of Georgia’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Ben Cline of Virginia’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Michael Cloud of Texas’s 27th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Conaway of Texas’s 11th Congressional District

Rep. Rick Crawford of Arkansas’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Dan Crenshaw of Texas’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Mario Diaz-Balart of Florida’s 25th Congressional District

Rep. Jeff Duncan of South Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Neal P. Dunn of Florida’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Tom Emmer of Minnesota’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Ron Estes of Kansas’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Drew Ferguson of Georgia’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Chuck Fleischmann of Tennessee’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Bill Flores of Texas’s 17th Congressional District

Rep. Jeff Fortenberry of Nebraska’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Virginia Foxx of North Carolina’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Russ Fulcher of Idaho’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Greg Gianforte of Montana’s at-large congressional district

Rep. Bob Gibbs of Ohio’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Lance Gooden of Texas’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Sam Graves of Missouri’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Mark Green of Tennessee’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. Michael Guest of Mississippi’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Andy Harris of Maryland’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Vicky Hartzler of Missouri’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Kevin Hern of Oklahoma’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Clay Higgins of Louisiana’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Trey Hollingsworth of Indiana’s 9th Congressional District

Rep. Richard Hudson of North Carolina’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Bill Huizenga of Michigan’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Bill Johnson of Ohio’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. John Joyce of Pennsylvania’s 13th Congressional District

Rep. Fred Keller of Pennsylvania’s 12th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Kelly of Pennsylvania’s 16th Congressional District

Rep. Trent Kelly of Mississippi’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Steve King of Iowa’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. David Kustoff of Tennessee’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Darin LaHood of Illinois’s 18th Congressional District

Rep. Doug LaMalfa of California’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Doug Lamborn of Colorado’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Robert E. Latta of Ohio’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Debbie Lesko of Arizona’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Blaine Luetkemeyer of Missouri’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Kenny Marchant of Texas’s 24th Congressional District

Rep. Roger Marshall of Kansas’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Tom McClintock of California’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers of Washington’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Dan Meuser of Pennsylvania’s 9th Congressional District

Rep. Carol D. Miller of West Virginia’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. John Moolenaar of Michigan’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Alex X. Mooney of West Virginia’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Markwayne Mullin of Oklahoma’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Gregory Murphy of North Carolina’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Ralph Norman of South Carolina’s 5th Congressional District

Rep. Scott Perry of Pennsylvania’s 10th Congressional District

Rep. Guy Reschenthaler of Pennsylvania’s 14th Congressional District

Rep. Tom Rice of South Carolina’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. John Rose of Tennessee’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. David Rouzer of North Carolina’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. John Rutherford of Florida’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Austin Scott of Georgia’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Mike Simpson of Idaho’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Adrian Smith of Nebraska’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Jason Smith of Missouri’s 8th Congressional District

Rep. Ross Spano of Florida’s 15th Congressional District

Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York’s 21st Congressional District

Rep. Glenn Thompson of Pennsylvania’s 15th Congressional District

Rep. Tom Tiffany of Wisconsin’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. William Timmons of South Carolina’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Ann Wagner of Missouri’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Tim Walberg of Michigan’s 7th Congressional District

Rep. Michael Waltz of Florida’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Randy Weber of Texas’s 14th Congressional District

Rep. Daniel Webster of Florida’s 11th Congressional District

Rep. Brad Wenstrup of Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Bruce Westerman of Arkansas’s 4th Congressional District

Rep. Roger Williams of Texas’s 25th Congressional District

Rep. Joe Wilson of South Carolina’s 2nd Congressional District

Rep. Rob Wittman of Virginia’s 1st Congressional District

Rep. Ron Wright of Texas’s 6th Congressional District

Rep. Ted S. Yoho of Florida’s 3rd Congressional District

Rep. Lee Zeldin of New York’s 1st Congressional District

Sadly, my representative, Scott Perry, is on the list. Like Perry, most of these congresspersons represent pro-Trump districts. They have nothing to lose and everything to gain by supporting this baseless lawsuit. These enabling representatives will soon become the lieutenants in Trump’s post-election lost cause campaign.

Finally, it seems pretty clear that Paxton initiated this lawsuit because he wants a pardon.

A “MAGA Civil War” in Georgia

Georgia governor Brian Kemp were Trump loyalists. Then election day came and things got crazy. All we need now is for Herschel Walker to weigh-in.

Here is Marc Caputo at Politico:

A new schism — this one between MAGA forces — is taking shape, further threatening GOP unity in advance of the Jan. 5 runoffs for the state’s two Senate seats.

At the center of the conflict is pro-Trump trial lawyer Lin Wood. His advocacy for President Donald Trump — and his unsubstantiated claims of election fraud — have been so extreme that he’s now taken to publiclydiscouraging people from voting for Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, arguing that the runoff elections are already rigged.

Amid party fears that a MAGA boycott could cost them control of the U.S. Senate, Trump privately spoke by phone this week with Wood to tell him to “knock it off,” a source briefed on the discussion told POLITICO.

Axios was first to report on the call to Wood and lawyer Sidney Powell, whom Trump had dismissed from his legal team after she espoused expansive conspiracy theories.

Former U.S. House Speaker Newt Gingrich, who helped build the modern Republican Party in Georgia, theorized the lawyers were whipping up conservatives because “they understand that if they’re out there saying more and more radical things, they’ll get more publicity.”

“It’s one of the nuttier things I’ve seen in a long time in politics,” Gingrich told POLITICO, adding that it’s OK for Trump to question whether the vote against him was rigged — as long as he tells Republicans to vote for Perdue and Loeffler, and to not listen to Wood.

“Lin Wood and Sidney Powell are totally destructive,” Gingrich wrote on Twitter Thursday. “Every Georgia conservative who cares about America MUST vote in the runoff.”

David Brooks on the GOP’s detachment from reality

Here is today’s column:

In a recent Monmouth University survey, 77 percent of Trump backers said Joe Biden had won the presidential election because of fraud. Many of these same people think climate change is not real. Many of these same people believe they don’t need to listen to scientific experts on how to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

We live in a country in epistemological crisis, in which much of the Republican Party has become detached from reality. Moreover, this is not just an American problem. All around the world, rising right-wing populist parties are floating on oceans of misinformation and falsehood. What is going on?

Many people point to the internet — the way it funnels people into information silos, the way it abets the spread of misinformation. I mostly reject this view. Why would the internet have corrupted Republicans so much more than Democrats, the global right more than the global left?

Read the rest here.

What happened to the Trump youth vote? Is court evangelical and Liberty University spokesperson Charlie Kirk to blame?

As Gabby Orr at Politico writes, “Nobody involved in Donald Trump’s reelection thought the president would win the youth vote in 2020. But they didn’t think it would be this bad.” Orr interviewed more than 20 people from the Trump campaign. Here is a taste of her piece:

Others faulted the Trump campaign, accusing the president’s top aides of “outsourcing” his youth outreach program to Turning Point Action, the political action arm of the conservative campus group Turning Point USA.

Led by its 26-year-old founder, Charlie Kirk, the group oversaw myriad door-knocking and grassroots get-out-the-vote efforts this cycle, in addition to working with top White House aides like senior adviser Jared Kushner to plan events that put the president and his surrogates in front of young audiences. People involved with Kirk’s operation claimed his “herculean” efforts to boost Trump’s reelection were done without input or resources from the Trump campaign — much to their chagrin in the months leading up to the Nov. 3 election.

But two Trump campaign aides who have worked closely with Kirk said the campaign had its own youth outreach efforts that went beyond voters who are still in college. These aides described Turning Point’s messaging as too sycophantic to bring in young voters who might align more closely with conservatism but remain apprehensive about Trump himself. Kirk was afforded a primetime speaking slot at the Republican National Convention in August and has a close relationship with the president and some of his adult children.

“It’s a mistake to think that groups operating on college campuses alone are going to reach young voters outside of college,” said one of the aides.

Another Trump ally described Turning Point Action as ill-equipped to handle youth outreach for a major party presidential campaign “because it’s a relatively new organization without deeper community ties.”

People close to Kirk rejected these claims, suggesting the young activist and his group did what they could to help the president, and accused the Trump campaign and Republican National Committee of lacking the organizational skills and resources needed to reach broad swaths of young voters in the critical 2020 battlegrounds.

Read the entire piece here.

Paul Ryan: “the election is over”

The former Speaker of the House and vice-presidential nominee (2012) is the latest Republican to tell the Trump administration that it is time to move on. Here is a taste of Bill Glauber’s reporting at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel:

Former House Speaker Paul Ryan said Tuesday that it’s time to move on to “an orderly transfer of power” to President-elect Joe Biden’s administration.

Ryan’s comments were made Tuesday during Bank of America’s virtual European Credit Conference and reported by POLITICO.

So, the election is over,” Ryan said. “The outcome is certain, and I really think the orderly transfer of power — that is one of the most uniquely fundamental American components of our political system.”

Ryan, the Republican from Janesville who represented the 1st Congressional District for 20 years, noted the important move Monday by the General Services Administration to formally begin the transition.

Read the rest here.

Fox News and Trumpism

Yes, they are connected. 🙂

A recent study by the Public Religion Research Institute defines a “Fox News Republican” as part of the “40% of Republicans who trust Fox News most among television news sources.”

Here are some of the findings that caught my eye:

Fox News Republicans are whiter, older, and more religious than all Americans.

98% of Fox News Republicans rate Donald Trump favorably.

96% of “Fox News Republicans rate Mike Pence favorably.

70% of Fox News Republicans rate Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell favorably.

94% of Fox News Republicans rate Barack Obama unfavorably.

97% of Fox News Republicans rate Joe Biden unfavorably

97% of Fox News Republicans rate House Speaker Nancy Pelosi unfavorably.

93% of Fox News Republicans believes Trump is doing a good job handling racial unrest in the country and 94% think he is doing a good job handling the coronavirus pandemic.

32% of Fox News Republicans believe that the coronavirus pandemic is a “critical issue” in the United States.

Fox News Republicans are “nearly all opposed to the goals of racial justice protests.”

92% of Fox News Republicans believe that “Confederate flags” are symbols of Southern pride (and not racist). 94% believe the same thing about Confederate monuments.

73% of Fox News Republicans believe that there is “a lot” of discrimination against American Christians. Only 36% say the same thing about Black people.

27% of Fox News Republicans “say they wish President Trump’s speech and behavior were mot consistent with previous presidents.”

81% of Fox News Republicans believe that coronavirus was “developed intentionally in a lab.”

58% of Fox News Republics believe Donald Trump provides them with “accurate information and advice about the pandemic.”

15% of Fox News Republicans trust state and local health organizations to provide them with accurate information about the coronavirus.

66% of Fox News Republicans believe that America “has become too soft and feminine.” 70% of Fox News Republicans believe that “society seems to punish men just for acting like men.”

60% of Fox News Republicans believe that “it is necessary to believe in God in order to be moral and have good values.”

28% of Fox News Republicans believe that immigrants “make an effort to learn English.”

75% of Fox News Republicans believe that immigrants “increase crime in local communities.”

96% of Fox News Republicans support the building of a border wall.

53% of Fox News Republicans support Trump’s child separation policy.

Read the entire study here.

David Dark on the “alluring currency of access” to “powerful people”

Power is seductive. This, at least, is the case I tried to make in Believe Me: The Evangelical Road to Donald Trump when writing about Donald Trump’s court evangelicals.

Writer David Dark describes the allure much better than I ever could. Here is a taste of his piece at America: “Why are Republicans sticking with Trump? Peer pressure–and we’re all susceptible to it.”

If the price of admission within my peer group is the frequent suppression of my own conscience, I would like to argue that the price is too high. One hard-won, ongoing lesson of the last four years, especially among those of us who are coming to see our own deep complicity in white supremacist thinking, is the realization that silence is complicity. How do I honor and heed the prophet within me when my fear compels me to keep it all hid? Slowly, creatively and, I imagine, sometimes suddenly, together with others, one brave and risky conversation at a time. In this, Thomas Merton offers a sanity-restoring word: “It is the reality of personal relationships that saves everything.” To believe this is to hold a sacred conception of culture within which the evasion of conscience and the avoidance of conflict are never acceptable means to some other end. The end is in the means.

What does the saving reality of personal relationships require of us? We need to make sure we are not letting deferential fear do our thinking for us. This is the challenge even when we are not confronting an attempted coup involving elected officials and political appointees refusing to concede after a presidential election. It appears before us in myriad settings throughout our lives: the pressure to keep the peace that is no peace, the pressure to play along. The problem here is civil obedience. Our presumed consent functions as a free pass for abuse.

“What devil possessed me that I behaved so well?” David Thoreau once asked himself. Do I know someone whose soul is ill-served by my deferential fear? In the land of the free, what do I owe people whose lives are endangered by my silence? Thinking through these questions and applying them to our contexts requires wisdom and discernment, but we are not without resources. Others have been here before. Same as it ever was. Come together. Education is forever.

Read the entire piece here.

Here is your Thursday morning court evangelical update

More and more Republicans are implying that it is time to move on from this election and admit defeat. I wish more would step up and proclaim Biden president-elect so that the country can move forward, but most of them seem more concerned about party loyalty than what is good for the nation right now. Many are probably afraid that Trump will somehow exact some kind of revenge if they dare speak out against his claims of widespread voter fraud. Others are worried that if they criticize Trump it will hurt the Republican cause in the two Georgia Senate run-offs on January 5. If Trump voters don’t show-up for that run-off election, and the the Democratic candidates (Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock) win, the Democrats will gain control of the U.S. Senate.

Let’s check-in if anything has changed among the court evangelicals. Remember, I have used this term to describe the pro-Trump evangelical leaders who regularly visit the White House for photo-ops with the president and to supposedly advise him on policy matters. Based on this definition, I am not a Biden court evangelical. I have never been to the White House. Nor do I expect to be part of some kind of Biden faith-advisory council! 🙂 )

The folks at the Falkirk Center at Liberty University is still pushing voting fraud. Today they interviewed Rudy Guiliani:

Today in my Pennsylvania History class we continued our conversation about the Whiskey Rebellion. We talked about how George Washington, Alexander Hamilton, and the Federalists believed that the followers of Jefferson and the members of the Democratic-Republican societies they established in the west were a threat to American ideals. But many of these societies were articulating their grievances against Hamilton’s excise tax on whiskey in very American ways. In other words, they were appealing to the principles of the American Revolution, particularly the resistance to the 1765 Stamp Act.

Washington condemned the whiskey rebels and their societies as threats to national unity, but despite all Washington’s well-rehearsed concerns about partisanship he was not above the fray. He wanted national unity on his terms. He failed to understand that in the 1790s there were two visions of American identity among the people and these visions were at odds with one other.

I thought of this again as I read a Falkirk Center tweet from Ryan Helfenbein. He wants to “proclaim Christ and defend America.” Whose America?

At one point in this video, David Barton, a self-proclaimed historian, suggests that Donald Trump’s tweets about election fraud should be taken seriously as a legitimate primary source. One of the first things we teach history students at Messiah University is how to evaluate sources. Barton is treating the Trump claim of election fraud in the same way he treats the American past. He collects stories about supposed fraud, adds them up without any larger context, and claims something happened. When he engages with the past he collects quotes from the founding fathers, adds them up without any larger context, and claims America is a Christian nation.

Eric Metaxas is encouraging people who are “losing hope that Trump can pull this off” to stay the course. He continues to speak with a sense of certainty that Trump will win this election. He also says that “Fox News has gone over to the dark side” and even implies that Fox is now working with George Soros. Then he tells his audience that he, Eric Metaxas, is now one of the only sources of honest news out there right now.

Metaxas says the Democrats are trying to steal the election and “there is nothing more disgusting” than this. Apparently at Metaxas’s prayer meeting on voter fraud the other night some guy blew a red, white, and blue shofar.

Robert Jeffress wants to make sure he is not misunderstood. He is still a court evangelical:

Gary Bauer is fighting the good fight as he sees it. He apparently has some disagreements with Twitter about Trump’s recent tweet.

Tony Perkins is still sowing seeds of doubt among his followers:

I am not sure Trump is doing much “leading” right now.

If Biden holds on in Georgia he will be the first Democrat to win the state since Bill Clinton in 1992

Biden took the lead in Georgia early this morning. Right now, at 7:52am on November 6, 2020, Biden has 2,400,580 votes. He has already won more votes in Georgia than any other candidate in American history.

If Biden ends-up winning the state, he will be the first Democrat to do so since Bill Clinton in 1992. Jimmy Carter, a former governor of Georgia, won the state in 1976 and 1980.

Here are some previous results:

2016: Donald Trump (50.44%) over Hillary Clinton (45.35%)

2012: Mitt Romney (53.30%) over Barack Obama (45.48%)

2008: John McCain (52.20%) over Barack Obama (46.99%)

2004: George W. Bush (57.97 %) over John Kerry (41.37%)

2000: George W. Bush (54.67) over Al Gore (42.98%)

1996: Bob Dole (47.01%) over Bill Clinton (45.84%)

1992: Bill Clinton (43.47%) over George H.W.. Bush (42.88%)

1988: George H.W. Bush ( 59.75%) over Michael Dukakis (39.50%)

1984: Ronald Reagan (60.17%) over Walter Mondale (39.79 %)

1980: Jimmy Carter (55.76%) over Ronald Reagan (40.95%)

1976: Jimmy Carter (66.74%) over Gerald Ford (32.96%)

1972: Richard Nixon (75.04%) over George McGovern (24.65%)

1968: George Wallace (42.83%) over Richard Nixon (30.40%) and Hubert Humphrey (26.75%)

1964: Barry Goldwater (54.12%) over Lyndon Johnson (45.87%)

1960: John Kennedy (62.54%) over Richard Nixon (37.43%)

Why is Biden getting most of the mail-in votes?

Several people are asking me why the mail-in ballots are trending heavily toward Joe Biden. I am a teacher, so I thought I would do a quick post for the record:

First, Democrats tend to believe doctors and scientists (like Anthony Fauci) when they say that COVID-19 is spread in crowds. They thus want to avoid the long lines on Election Day and take advantage of the mail-in option. Republicans and Trump voters also believe the scientists and doctors, but they do so in smaller numbers.

Trump told his followers to vote on Election Day. He does not trust mail-in ballots. This is ironic in light of the fact that the mail-in-ballots are helping Trump in Arizona right now, a state with a tradition of mail-in ballots and where Republicans are more comfortable voting this way.

Former Republican National Committee Chair endorses Joe Biden

Michael Steele, the first African American to serve as chairman of the RNC, endorsed Biden today. Here is CNN:

“Many of Donald Trump’s supporters bring legitimate concerns to the table. During my time leading the GOP, I endeavored to address these and other grievances through the lens of unity and growth. But Trump has energized the party through the exact opposite means — by focusing on stoking division and eroding our core principles,” Steele said in a statement issued by the Lincoln Project.

“Although Vice President Biden and I disagree on some policy points, I believe he will earnestly pursue options that work towards healing the divide exacerbated by Trump and his administration,” Steele added. “My support for Biden is because we share an everlasting loyalty to what is ultimately best for our nation.”

Read the entire piece here.

Why is the GOP rushing the Barrett confirmation? The answer is simple: the Democratic coalition is growing

Another great piece at The Atlantic by Ron Brownstein. I find him to be the most astute political analyst working today.

Here is a taste:

Nothing better explains the Republican rush to confirm Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court than the record crowds that thronged polling places for the first days of early voting this week in Georgia and Texas.

The historic number of Americans who stood in long lines to cast their ballot in cities from Atlanta to Houston symbolizes the diverse, urbanized Democratic coalition that will make it very difficult for the GOP to win majority support in elections through the 2020s. That hill will get only steeper as Millennials and Generation Z grow through the decade to become the largest generations in the electorate.

Every young conservative judge that the GOP has stacked onto the federal courts amounts to a sandbag against that rising demographic wave. Trump’s nominations to the Supreme Court of Brett Kavanaugh, Neil Gorsuch, and Barrett—whom a slim majority of Republican senators appears determined to seat by Election Day—represent the capstone of that strategy. As the nation’s growing racial and religious diversity limits the GOP’s prospects, filling the courts with conservatives constitutes what the Princeton University historian Sean Wilentz calls “the right-wing firewall” against a country evolving electorally away from the party.

And this:

Jefferson’s irritation in the early 19th century may most closely resemble the frustration building among Democrats, as the GOP races to seat Barrett before an election that could provide Democrats with unified control of government, perhaps resoundingly. In the 1800 election, Jefferson ousted Adams, and his Democratic-Republican Party took the House and the Senate, beginning a quarter-century of complete political dominance. But in a long lame-duck session after their 1800 defeat, Adams’s Federalists passed legislation substantially expanding the number of federal judges. Adams, much like McConnell now, worked so tirelessly to fill those positions that Jefferson privately complained he had “crowded [them] in with whip & spur.” (Separately, Adams and the Senate rushed to confirm John Marshall as the Supreme Court’s chief justice after the Federalist in the job resigned weeks after Election Day.) Even “at 9 p.m. on the night of March 3, 1801, only three hours before officially leaving office, Adams was [still] busy signing commissions,” wrote James F. Simon in his book What Kind of Nation.

Is the GOP pro-coronavirus?

It sure looks that way. Trump has held two rallies so far this week and, with the exception of some people behind the stage, few people wore masks. Trump claimed that he may be “immune” from the virus. He is so immune that he wants to kiss people:

And then there is this:

Over at The Week, Ryan Cooper wonders if the Republican Party is “objectively pro-coronavirus.” Here is a taste:

Monday saw the beginning of the Senate Judiciary Committee hearings on the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. Staggeringly, Sen. Mike Lee (R-Utah) actually appeared in person, a mere 10 days after testing positive for COVID-19. He apparently has not tested negative or even been examined by a physician to confirm he has no symptoms — and removed his mask before giving his opening remarks. Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), meanwhile, who was exposed to Lee in an Oct. 1 hearing and had one negative test, has since refused to take another one even as a precaution. In one particularly ghoulish moment, both Lee and Graham stood chatting over Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), who is 87 years old (and has also refused to get tested).

Read the rest here.