This Is Sedition

Today is supposed to be “safe harbor day,” the day states are supposed to have their election results settled and certified and their electors chosen. And I believe all have done so; I can’t find any exceptions. Trump’s lawsuits have continued to crash and burn. One of my Facebook friends quipped that our president-elect has won Georgia so many times they’re calling him Joseph Tecumseh Biden.

Naturally, the Attorney General of Texas has just filed another suit to overturn the election.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing four battleground states — Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin — whose election results handed the White House to President-elect Joe Biden.

In the suit, he claims that pandemic-era changes to election procedures in those states violated federal law, and asks the U.S. Supreme Court to block the states from voting in the Electoral College.

Legal experts politiely call this suit a “long shot.” Others call it a “publicity stunt.” And “bonkers.” Note that AG Paxton is under investigation by the FBI for “bribery” and “abuse of office.”

At least AG Paxton is going through the courts. The Arizona Republican Party is calling for insurrection.

There was another Arizona Republican Party tweet that more explicitly called for killing Biden supporters, but that one was removed.

Greg Sargent makes a critical point:

What Republican voters think, or say they think, about who really won matters less than the fact that, as a consequence, they actively want their elected representatives to subvert our democracy and keep Trump in power illegitimately. …

…For instance, The Post reports, protesters have descended on the houses of the GOP state House speaker in Pennsylvania and the Democratic secretary of state in Michigan, chanting, “Stop the steal.” Some have been armed.

That Pennsylvania official has received thousands and thousands of voice mails, prompting his office to describe the pressure on him as “intense.” And the Michigan secretary of state has said her 4-year-old child felt threatened.

More broadly, as Reuters reports, “Elections officials across the United States” have described a “tide of intimidation, harassment and outright threats.”

As always, the Republican Party pays no political price for this behavior.

To excuse the right-wing extremism, many have pointed out that Democrats have raised questions about past elections. The 2000 presidential election is a prime example. Yes, a lot of us think Al Gore was the rightful winner of that election. But I don’t recall anyone in the Democratic Party urging us to go out and start killing Republicans. There was some bitching and grumbling, Al Gore conceded, and then George W. Bush was inaugurated.

Michelle Goldberg recalls the nationwide pearl-clutching that went on after then White House press secretary Sarah Sanders was refused service at a restaurant, and after the homeland security secretary who had overseen child separations was yelled at by a customer in another restaurant.

These two insults launched a thousand thumb-suckers about civility. More than one conservative writer warned liberals that the refusal to let Trump officials eat in peace could lead to Trump’s re-election. “The political question of the moment,” opined Daniel Henninger in The Wall Street Journal, is this: ‘Can the Democratic Party control its left?’”

Somehow, though, few are asking the same question of Republicans as Trump devotees terrorize election workers and state officials over the president’s relentless lies about voter fraud.

And in those previous cases, the perpetrators of the outrage were not Democratic Party officials but private citizens. Now actual Republican officials are calling for violence against Biden supporters. We’re supposed to just accept this as normal and justified.

And it keeps escalating.

Michigan’s secretary of state, Jocelyn Benson, described her family’s experience this past weekend: “As my 4-year-old son and I were finishing up decorating the house for Christmas on Saturday night, and he was about to sit down and to watch ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas,’ dozens of armed individuals stood outside my home shouting obscenities and chanting into bullhorns in the dark of night.”

So far, what happened to Benson doesn’t appear to be turning into a big cultural moment. There’s no frisson of the new about it; it’s pretty routine for Trumpists to threaten and intimidate people who work in both public health and election administration.

Remember the St. Francois County public health director who was bullied into resigning? (You can read here what she went through.) I take it there has been no effort whatsoever to find out who threatened her. The bullies won.

Back to Michelle Goldberg.

Democrats have just won the popular vote in the seventh out of the last eight presidential elections. In the aftermath, analysts have overwhelmingly focused on what Democrats, not Republicans, must do to broaden their appeal. Partly, this stems from knee-jerk assumptions about the authenticity of the so-called heartland. But it’s also just math — only one of our political parties needs to win an overwhelming national majority in order to govern.

I like that “knee-jerk assumptions about the authenticity of the so-called heartland.” You don’t get any more “heartland” than St. Francois County, Missouri. Even the bullied county health official said “I know in my heart these are good people.” Oh, hell, no, they are not. They are ignorant thugs who get off on being thugs and who are allowed to get away with being thugs. This national myth of the virtuous all-American “heartland” versus the alien and corrupt “elitist coastal cities” has got to stop. I’ve lived among so-called heartlanders and in New York City, and while individuals vary on the whole I’ll take New Yorkers in a heartbeat.

Republican officials remain buffered from the consequences of their rhetoric. They continue to at least wink at, if not openly encourage, violence and lawlessnes, and they don’t have to answer for it. I believe all Democrats running for office this year were pushed to publicly state they don’t condone violent protests, but Republicans get a pass from news media and the general public at intimidation and threats of public officials.

If Republicans are facing consequences, it’s within their own ranks.

State party chairs are tearing into their governors. Elected officials are knifing one another in the back. Failed candidates are seizing on Trump’s rhetoric to claim they were also victims of voter fraud in at least a half dozen states.

If Trump’s attempts at overturning the election — which are ongoing, I should note — had succeeded, there would never be another normal election in this country again. However, it’s also the case that Lou Dobbs and Stephen Miller had a screaming fit at each other, which is worth something, I suppose.

But when’s it going to stop? Members of the Trump Administration are still dragging their feet at cooperating with the transition. Congressional Republican leadership is still refusing to acknowledge that Biden won the election. The election was five weeks ago. News outlets called it a month ago.

All kinds of excuses have been made for the GOP’s spineless deferral to Trump’s attempts at a coup. We’re all supposed to give them time to adjust. And for some reason only Democrats are ever held accountable for the bad actions of their supporters; that’s been true for a long time. But the Republicans are playing with fire, and we are not at all out of danger yet. We won’t be for a while.

14 thoughts on “This Is Sedition

  1. If Trump’s attempts at overturning the election — which are ongoing, I should note — had succeeded, there would never be another normal election in this country again.

    Someone pointed out to me, even if we turn back Trump’s efforts, eventually someone in Trump’s role is going to succeed. Unless Trumpism is destroyed.

    1) Republicans don’t pay any price for their bullying, as you pointed out.

    2) The structural advantages Republicans enjoy (the EC, the Senate, gerrymandering, a dumb population addicted to hate media, compliant media everywhere else, right wing Judges everywhere, the general population conditioned – thanks to Trump – to accept Trumpist behavior) make their eventual triumph almost certain.

    With Obama and now with Biden, I feel like all we’re doing is buying time.

  2. Ruth B-G on Shock events.

    Our Democracy is under siege. We don’t even have the language to describe what’s happening to us….Leaders from Mussolini onward.. use “shock events” to do things they couldn’t do under normal circumstances. These are windows, times of exception, where you can pass laws, try maneuvers, do things you always wanted to do….. Watch carefully what’s going on these days and weeks, he’s showing his hand, who he really is….watch very carefully who is collaborating with him…

  3. "All kinds of excuses have been made for the GOP’s spineless deferral to Trump’s attempts at a coup. "  

    The Inuit have many words for snow as their survival depends on accurate communication of different types of snow.  So too, does Turkey have many words for coup, pointed out Zeynep Tufekci  in a piece for the Atlantic yesterday.  She also was a guest on NPR's All Things Considered this evening and presented herself in a quite pleasant manner on the idea of a coup or an attempted coup or an almost coup like attempt as appropriate word choice at this point in time.   

    This makes many Republicans more and more potential  accomplices in an attempted coup, either by action or continued inaction as time goes on.  Mitt Romney is not on this list, as he publicly and quickly acquitted himself by his public statements.  Ted Cruz, it seems, is vying for the top of the aid and abetting category of coup conspirators, is such a category exists.  How would I know as Zeynep Tufekci's title poses This must be your first.  Yes it is.  

    ‘This Must Be Your First’ (

    • I didn't know Zeynep was a she. Thanks for this!  I thoroughly enjoy her writing. It's so helpful to hear from people who've been through this kind of thing elsewhere.

  4. Over the past 5 years, tRUMP has opened wide the door to hate.

    After seeing that opening, nationwide, mugs, pugs, and lugs, noting that "their" presiDUNCE was not just a mug, a pug, or a lug, but also a thug, have now set their "Default Position" to "Thugish."

    And now, after he "exits FAR Reich, " he leaves behind almost half this nation convinced that it's ok to bully, lie, cheat, and steal to get what you want.

    No blood yet.

    But soon, I fear, there will be blood.

  5. Let's draw from what we know of history. In the mid-1940's, after the surrenders of Germany and Japan we learned the extent of the atrocities in Poland, Auschwitz and Dachau, and the mass murders of civilians by Japan in China and the Philippines. It would have been easy to conclude the people of those countries were beyond redemption. But the German and Japanese people (not without fault) are among the most civilized in the world today. Not just hospitable, but their democracies are arguably more democratic than ours.

    You can point out that it's been 75 years since the end of WWII, but both of those countries entered the family of nations long ago. We have 40% of the US people either 1) openly embracing fascism or 2) in knee-jerk opposition to the demon of socialiam or 3) brainwashed by a hybrid cult passing for evangelical Christianity but actually a political faction. Japan and Germany also had these factions but they were tamed.

    Trump is defeated. The loss is Kryptonite to Trumpism. His legal problems are just starting. He's going to lose in court – bigly. He's gonna whine like a bitch all the way to sentencing but his fans will see, month after month, year after year, Trump losing. Trump has to gain popularity to rebound in 2024, but the mass psychology says people will get bored (not all) but the cult enthusiasm will wane. The cultists won't allow a transfer of power to anyone not named Trump. Ambitious Republican politicians will argue for a post-Trump era. The GOP lost and they will fragment.

    How did the world "civilize" Germany and Japan? The Marshall Plan put devastated Germany back on her feet without a demand for reparations. In the 50's, the Marshall plan was extended to include Japan but Japan didn't have to rebuild from the devastation like Berlin did. However, getting the people of those counties back on track was largely the product of benevolent policies that allowed them self-sustaining economies and pride.

    My two cents – Democrats have to provide red states with what we gave Germany – they are defeated. The GOP has not provided for the needs of less populated states who depend on agriculture (mostly.) The GOP let them suffer and cultivated resentment as the primary crop. If Washington takes care of red states, the GOP seeds of hate will not take root so easily.

    • The difference, though, is that Japan and Germany knew they'd been defeated. The red states don't get that yet.


  6. Here's an interesting interview that conveys a lot of wisdom. It affirms in me the understanding that a concerted prosecution in all aspects of Trump's criminality must not be dismissed as a fruitless effort that will only hinder the Biden administration from moving forward. Trumpism has to be destroyed because the price to let it live, and think you can just move past it will be too great a price for our nation to pay if it is not destroyed. 

     I think back to Nancy Pelosi's attempt to impeach Trump, and the disappointment felt in seeing him slip the noose of accountability and seemingly turn his impeachment into a victory and a testament to his political invincibility. I know that Pelosi made the right move in spite of knowing the odds of success were against her, as the voices of timidity to act rang loud. Nevertheless she set in place the groundwork and a blueprint on how to deal with Donald Trump. I can't emphasize enough what a mistake the Biden administration will be making if they fail to hold Trump to account. It's not so much that he has to be overtly punished for what he's done. He can be destroyed by being exposed as the criminal and con man that he is. He can give his pardons, but make sure the public understands the all crimes that those pardons are covering.

    • Great link, but now I have a new phobia. The thought that Tucker Carlson could be president in 2024 sends chills down my spine.

      • I can almost hear Tucker Carlson now, boasting of his electoral invincibility…. " I could give Lou Dobbs a beso negro  on 5th Ave. and I still wouldn't lose any votes"

    • I hope Lou Dobbs doesn't see that comment.. He'd want to know why  in God's green earth Tucker would consider their mutual affections for one another as a derogatory thing..


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