Trump and Republicans escalate election fraud claims without evidence

The Guardian-2 months before

At first Donald Trump’s claim that he in fact won the election and is the victim of electoral fraud might have seemed like a minor tantrum – a last gasp – that would quickly pass as reality set in.

Instead, it is increasingly clear Trump – backed by a readily compliant Republican leadership – are really going to fight this, potentially inflicting enormous damage in the process.

Sign up for the US election briefing for Australia.../a> On Monday, local time, US attorney general Bill Barr authorised federal prosecutors to begin investigating “substantial allegations” of voter irregularities across the country despite a lack of evidence of any major fraud.

As my colleagues wrote this morning, the investigations are unlikely to change the election result, but the “memo primarily functions to erode norms and policies that typically prohibit the justice department from intervening before election results are confirmed by the electoral college, and it serves to sow confusion and distrust in the elections system.” The official in the justice department who oversees investigations of voter fraud resigned almost immediately,
the NYT reported.

the NYT reported In Georgia, a state Democrats have almost certainly won, Republican Senators also demanded the secretary of state – himself a Republican – step down, saying he had failed to deliver a fair election.

There is of course no suggestion Republicans want to challenge election results that fell in their favour. All those successful House and Senate campaigns can stand.

If you’re wondering why Republicans are going along with Trump’s fanciful claims (apart from his total Jedi mind trick takeover of the party), Georgia holds some clues. The state is due to hold runoff elections in January which will determine the balance of the US Senate. Washington Post reporter Robert Costa today said Senate Republican leadership believed they needed to stoke the base to ensure victory there.

Washington Post reporter Robert Costa And the base is coming around to Trump’s view on the election. A new poll shows around half of all Republicans believe the election was not free and fair.

A new poll It’s a powder keg of a situation with real and immediate consequences, and not just for Biden’s transition. Officials in Philadelphia have received death threats over claims the election was rigged.

have received death threats In the longer term too, it must be asked what happens to a democracy where a huge chunk of the population believe any election their guy doesn’t win has been rigged?

US attorney general Bill Barr has authorised investigations into voter ‘fraud’. Facebook Twitter Pinterest Trump’s refusal to acknowledge his loss in the 2020 election has fed concerns that the presidential transition would be sabotaged as a Trump appointee refused to sign off on funding for the transition and the Trump campaign announced an expanded legal strategy in a quest to reverse the election result.

as a Trump appointee refused to sign off on funding for the transition The US attorney general has written to US attorneys to give them the green light to pursue “substantial allegations of voting and vote tabulation irregularities” before the results of the presidential election in their jurisdictions are certified.

before the results of the presidential election in their jurisdictions are certified. Trump has fired his defence secretary, Mark Esper, by tweet, in the latest sign that the transition is going to be turbulent on both domestic and foreign fronts. Esper had earlier insisted there were no legal grounds to deploy active-service troops against protesters on the streets of US cities.

in the latest sign that the transition is going to be turbulent on both domestic and foreign fronts Meanwhile, president-elect Joe Biden has vowed to spare no effort in tackling the coronavirus pandemic, unveiling a coronavirus advisory board of 13 public health experts and urging the public to wear masks.

unveiling a coronavirus advisory board of 13 public health experts Trump campaign’s election night watch party held in the White House East Room – with few masks and no social distancing – is being eyed as a potential coronavirus super-spreading event after senior official Ben Carson became the latest figure to test positive.

senior official Ben Carson became the latest figure to test positive For the past four elections, the Democrats’ success in Nevada has been rooted in the party’s ground game in the diverse, union-powered landscape of a place called Clark county. This time around, the Biden campaign’s success was aided by one of the party’s most reliable allies, Culinary Union Local 226, who organised with pandemic precautions.

the Biden campaign’s success was aided by one of the party’s most reliable allies And finally, just as Trump’s rise was accompanied by branded merchandise – steaks, ties, boxers and red Maga hats – so his descent may come to be known by the stickers, shirts and hoodies now being sold by an obscure Pennsylvanian landscaping company that wound up playing a comic and widely celebrated role in the final throes of the president’s re-election campaign.

a comic and widely celebrated role Outgoing defense secretary Mark Esper, who was fired by Trump on Twitter today, in a very prescient interview conducted last week but published today.

published today
Women hold placards and a Trump Piñata effigy
Women hold placards and a Trump Piñata effigy Facebook Twitter Pinterest “Whatever the Biden presidency will bring in terms of progressive policies, we should not forget that his most important task has already been achieved: to end the Trump presidency,” says Cas Mudde, describing the win as “a major victory for democracy in the US and abroad”.

says Cas Mudde “We all have a role to play in persuading this administration to have more courage, go farther, live up to its promises, all the while being louder than the corporations and conservatives who want the opposite,” writes Rebecca Solnit in this compelling piece.

writes Rebecca Solnit in this compelling piece Trump’s presidency has been a horrible time to be an immigrant in America, writes Moustafa Bayoumi – from the rise in hate crimes, the Muslim ban and children locked in cages. Now there is an opportunity to create a “truly immigrant-welcoming America … one where there’s no need to be eyeing the exits for your own survival.”

writes Moustafa Bayoumi In the final instalment of our Anywhere but Washington series, Guardian US’s Oliver Laughland speaks to the Florida voters who backed Trump to the end, and those that put their faith in Biden.

“Democrats must think bigger and more strategically” says Charles M. Blow in this astute NYT piece about the divisions in the party and how they can’t rely on the country’s shifting demographics to deliver them victories in the future.

says Charles M. Blow in this astute NYT piece Trump is already discussing a 2024 tilt at the presidency, according to Axios.

according to Axios And ok. I know it’s been several days since the whole press conference at Four Seasons Landscaping debacle. The joke has been flogged almost to death. But I still enjoyed this piece from Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post.

Alexandra Petri in the Washington Post The number of children separated from their parents at the US border who lawyers say they still cannot reunite because their parents cannot be found, reports NBC, a higher number than originally reported last month. More than 120 of those children are were aged under 5 at the time of separation.

reports NBC US election briefing for Australia features Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share via Email Share on LinkedIn Share on Pinterest Share on WhatsApp Share on Messenger

Read the full story

Related Tags