A “Seditious Caucus” Stunt to Defraud America
History Professor Heather Cox Richardson at Morrissey College of Arts and Sciences, Boston College writes a daily(?) news letter (Letters from an American) which she describes as; “a chronicle of today’s political landscape, but because you can’t get a grip on today’s politics without an outline of America’s Constitution, and laws, and the economy, and social customs, this newsletter explores what it means, and what it has meant, to be an American.”
These were the same questions a famous observer asked in a book of letters he published in 1782, the year before the Treaty of Paris ended the Revolutionary War.
Hector St. John de Crevecoeur called his book, “Letters from an American Farmer.”
Like I say, history doesn’t repeat itself, but it sure rhymes.
Myself: Professor Richardson encapsulates all of the never ending BS being tossed at the American public by Republicans. Enough is enough and this is little more than a power struggle to fill the vacuum left by a man who never was President and just a figurehead giving this eleven, others, and financial interests cover.
I find the Professor’s words interesting. I hope you do also.
“January 2, 2021“
Today the fight to pick up Trump’s supporters continued. Eleven senators, led by Ted Cruz (R-TX), said they would object to certifying certain state electoral votes when Congress meets on Wednesday, January 6, to count them. They want a commission appointed to audit the results. This attempt is separate from the one launched yesterday by Josh Hawley (R-MO) to object to the counting of the electoral votes from Pennsylvania, but both are a transparent attempt to court Trump voters before 2022 and 2024.
The senators signing onto the effort are: Ron Johnson (R-WI), James Lankford (R-OK), Steve Daines (R-MT), John Kennedy (R-LA), Marsha Blackburn (R-TN), and Mike Braun (R-IN), and Senators-Elect Cynthia Lummis (R-WY), Roger Marshall (R-KS), Bill Hagerty (R-TN), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL).
President-Elect Joe Biden’s transition spokesperson Michael Gwin called their efforts a “stunt.” He isn’t wrong. This plan is unfounded. Biden won the election by more than 7 million votes and by a margin of 306 to 232 in the Electoral College. The Trump campaign tried to challenge the results in the courts, and lost or had dismissed for lack of evidence 60 out of 61 cases, including two they tried to take to the Supreme Court, where three justices appointed by Trump himself sit. Although Trump supporters grabbed headlines with their accusations of irregularities and fraud when they made them in conference rooms and in parking lots in front of landscaping companies, they could produce no evidence in courtrooms, where there are penalties for lying. The suggestion that there is somehow a problem with this election, when they could produce no evidence of wrongdoing in front of judges in 60 cases, is laughable.
But there is more to their efforts than just creating a show to attract the future support of Trump voters. The attempt of these Trump Republicans to launch yet another baseless investigation is in keeping with their use of investigations to discredit Democrats since at least the 2012 attack on two U.S. government facilities in Benghazi, Libya, which killed four Americans. Ten investigations of the circumstances that led to that attack resulted in no evidence that members of the Obama administration acted inappropriately in that crisis. But the constant repetition of accusations convinced many Americans that something had gone terribly wrong and Obama’s people, especially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, were to blame.
As House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, then in running for Speaker of the House, said to Fox News Channel personality Sean Hannity in 2015, “Everybody thought Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right? But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she is not trustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought.”
The repeated Republican investigations into then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s emails were similar. Although the State Department’s final report on Clinton’s email use, issued in October 2019, declared there was no systematic or deliberate mishandling of classified information, the constant barrage of accusations made the email story the most important story of the 2016 election. It outweighed all the scandals involving then-candidate Donald Trump: the ones involving sexual assault, financial corruption, mocking of a disabled reporter, attacks on immigrants, and so on.
A study by Duncan J. Watts and David M. Rothschild in the Columbia Journalism Review noted that in the 2016 election season there were 65,000 sentences in the media about Clinton’s email use but only 40,000 about all of Trump’s scandals combined. There were twice as many sentences about Clinton’s emails than about her policies. The authors wrote, “in just six days, the New York Times ran as many cover stories about Hillary Clinton’s emails as they did about all policy issues combined in the 69 days leading up to the election.” The email scandal likely cost Clinton the 2016 election, and even now, after the State Department cleared her of wrongdoing, many Americans still think Clinton mishandled classified information in her emails.
Trump tried the same tactic in 2020. Smearing an opponent through investigations was at the heart of the Ukraine scandal of 2019. Trump pressured new Ukraine president Volodymyr Zelensky, not to start an investigation of Hunter Biden and the company on whose board he had sat, but rather simply to announce that he was starting an investigation. An announcement would be enough to get picked up by the American news media so that story after story would convince voters that Hunter Biden and, by extension, his father, were involved in corruption, even without evidence.
Then, just before the election, Trump’s lawyer Rudy Giuliani drummed up the story that Hunter Biden had left a laptop that contained incriminating evidence against both Bidens at a repair shop, and Republican leadership clamored for investigations– this time to no avail because the story was so outrageous.
“Now,” they are alleging the need for an investigation into irregularities in the 2020 election, although they have failed repeatedly to produce any evidence of such irregularities in court. Their argument is that the country needs an investigation to relieve people’s worries about the legitimacy of the election, but those worries have been created precisely by the unjustified accusations of Republican leaders. An investigation would simply convince people that the election results are questionable. They are not.
The attempt of the senators to get Congress to appoint an investigatory committee into alleged fraud in the election is dangerous and unprecedented, and they know it. In their statement, they tried to suggest they are simply following the precedent established by Congress after the chaotic 1876 election, but the two situations are very different.
In 1876, elections were organized by the parties themselves and were notoriously corrupt. Parties printed their own ballots in a distinctive color with only their own slate of electors. Men dropped the ballots for their party, unmarked, into a box, but their votes were not secret: how men voted was obvious from the colored ballots, at the very least. Politicians watching the polls knew exactly what the counts would be, and it was not unusual for ballot boxes to be either stuffed or broken open before results were reported.
In Florida, Louisiana, and South Carolina in 1876, Democrats appeared to have won the election, but there was no dispute that they had terrorized Republican voters to keep them from the polls. The results were a hopeless mess: in South Carolina, for example, 101% of all eligible voters cast ballots. Florida and Louisiana both reported more reasonable numbers of voters, but they each sent competing sets of electors to Congress. In both states, different officials signed off on different certificates of election, so it was not at all clear which certificate was the official one. In this utter confusion, Congress established a committee to figure out what had actually happened.
None of that is the case today. The processes were transparent and observed by Republicans as well as Democrats. The Trump campaign had the right to challenge vote counts and did so; each turned up virtually the same result as the original count: Biden won, by a lot. Each state in the country has delivered to Congress certified results that have been signed by the state governors, who nowadays have the final say in the state certification process.
This should be a done deal. But Trump Republicans are trying to undermine the election, and Biden’s administration, with a disinformation campaign. This is about more than this particular election. It is clear that a faction of today’s Republican Party refuses to accept the legitimacy of a Democratic president, no matter how big the victory. They are working to smear Biden by investigation, as has become their signature move.
Democracy depends on a willingness to transfer power peacefully from one group of leaders to another. By revealing that they refuse to do so, the members of the “Sedition Caucus,” as they are being called on social media, are proving they are unworthy of elected office.
“January 2, 2021” Letters From An American, Heather Cox Richardson
Her post is spot on. Thanks for posting it. Ted Cruz is a con man. Why any other Senator would sign onto this utter nonsense is beyond ,me.
Thanks, Dr. Richardson. Thanks, Bill, for posting. It is so bang on. Any hope we may have had that the shenanigans of Issa, Gowdy, Jordan, Collins, et al would go away have been shattered by this latest. Clearly, the intent is to cast doubt on any administration other ‘their’ own. Hawley now allies with Cruz and McConnell, this lot, those that never cared a drop for democracy, the nation. Without democracy, all is lost.
For commenters, there are citations at the Professor’s News Letter site if you are looking for such to back the claims up. Indulge . . .
It would be fun to have an occasional posts exclusively here.
Perhaps, a better word to describe the commentary is provoking.
The trick is how to reach the broader congregation and not just the choir. I got nothing on this now, but will keep it under consideration. This 2021 may make 2020 look like a breeze.
Trump Pressured Georgia Official to ‘Find’ Enough Votes to Overturn Election
NY Times – January 3
WASHINGTON — President Trump demanded that Georgia’s Republican secretary of state “find” him enough votes to overturn the presidential election, and vaguely threatened him with “a criminal offense,” during an hourlong telephone conversation with him on Saturday, according to audio excerpts from the conversation.
Mr. Trump, who has spent almost nine weeks making false conspiracy claims about his loss to President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr., told Brad Raffensperger, the state’s top elections official, that Mr. Raffensperger should recalculate the vote count so Mr. Trump would win the state’s 16 electoral votes.
“I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” Mr. Trump said on the call, a recording of which was obtained by The Washington Post, which published excerpts from the audio on its website Sunday. “Because we won the state.”
Mr. Raffensperger rejected the president’s efforts to get him to reverse the election results, which are set to be certified by Congress during a session on Wednesday. Some of Mr. Trump’s allies in the House and the Senate have said they will object to the results of the elections in several states, including Georgia.
But Mr. Raffensperger told Mr. Trump that he stood by the results.
“Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is the data you have is wrong,” he said, according to the audio recording. …
Good to see. Too long no hear.
well given how this has played out, should the Democrats then object to the votes from states that Trump ‘won’ , after all there could be irregularities there too ?
As horrid as these Congresspeople are, let’s not lose sight of the fact that this is completely legal.
An Insurgency From Inside the Oval Office
NY Times – January 4
WASHINGTON — President Trump’s relentless effort to overturn the result of the election that he lost has become the most serious stress test of American democracy in generations, led not by outside revolutionaries intent on bringing down the system but by the very leader charged with defending it.
In the 220 years since a defeated John Adams turned over the White House to his rival, firmly establishing the peaceful transfer of power as a bedrock principle, no sitting president who lost an election has tried to hang onto power by rejecting the Electoral College and subverting the will of the voters — until now. It is a scenario at once utterly unthinkable and yet feared since the beginning of Mr. Trump’s tenure.
The president has gone well beyond simply venting his grievances or creating a face-saving narrative to explain away a loss, as advisers privately suggested he was doing in the days after the Nov. 3 vote, but instead has pressed the boundaries of tradition, propriety and the law to find any way he can to cling to office beyond his term that expires in two weeks. That he is almost certain to fail does not mitigate the damage he is doing to democracy by undermining public faith in the electoral system.
His hourlong telephone call over the weekend with Georgia’s chief election official, Brad Raffensperger, pressuring him to “find” enough votes to overturn President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory in that state only brought into stark relief what Mr. Trump has been doing for weeks. He has called the Republican governors of Georgia and Arizona to get them to intervene. He has summoned Michigan’s Republican legislature leaders to the White House to pressure them to change their state’s results. He called the Republican speaker of the Pennsylvania House twice to do the same. …