On today's BradCast: We wouldn't blame you if you felt like averting your eyes from the desperate, usually-sad, often-hilarious, chaotic and so far failed attempts by the incompetent Team Trump to somehow try and steal the 2020 election any way they can. Yes, that's still going on. It's our job, however, to keep our eyes on it, and so we do again today, as things continue to fall apart in all new ways with each passing hour for Donald and what's left of his legal team. [Audio link to show follows summary below.]
Today, we cover the ongoing chaos the Trump Campaign is attempting to wreak in at least four different states. So far, only in Georgia has an election official who has buckled to pressure from Trump and fellow Republicans. Of course, he's a Republican himself and is doing a lousy job of it. But, in almost every case, the strategy --- such that there is one --- now seems to be to target the votes of African-Americans to be tossed out.
In Wisconsin today, the Trump Campaign plunked down $3 million to pay for a partial recount in the state. A full count would have cost the cash-strapped campaign $7.9 million. They have asked for counts only in heavily African-American Milwaukee County and Dane County, in a state where Joe Biden currently leads Trump by about 20,000 votes. In requesting the partial count they are doing what Republicans were outraged by in Florida in 2000 in the Bush v. Gore case, when Gore sought recounts only a few counties. The GOP, at the time, succeeded in forcing a statewide recount instead, which they were able to convince the U.S. Supreme court to block entirely. (Extra fun and irony today for those who noticed that Eric Trump complained in 2016 about the Presidential recount that year in the same state because the cost "Could Have Saved at Least 5,000 Children's Lives." He also falsely claimed that Hillary Clinton had anything to do with that recount. In fact, it was sought and paid for by the Green Party's Jill Stein for less money than the Trump Campaign sent to the Badger State today.)
In Pennsylvania, where Biden appears to have won by almost 82,000 votes, Rudy Giuliani made an absolutely hysterical jackass of himself during a federal court hearing on Tuesday. He hasn't argued a case in federal court for 30 years, and boy did it show! Just part of the fun included his opening argument in which he declared the case was about "widespread nationwide voter fraud!," before later admitting under questioning from the U.S. District Court Judge during the same hearing that "this is not a fraud case." That was hardly the only way in which he beclowned himself, especially as he focused on leveling baseless claims against the voting in heavily-minority Philadelphia. But it should also be noted that he declared his evidence-free case "a classic violation of equal protection....This is exactly Bush v. Gore!" That's fun, considering his campaign then violated a basic tenet of that 2000 case with their request for a cherry-picked partial recount in WI today.)
In Michigan on Tuesday night, the two Republicans on the Board of Canvassers in Wayne County refused to certify the November 3rd results due to claims of irregularities in the county's largest city, Detroit. (Seeing a pattern here yet?) The irregularities in question, apparently, regard small inconsistencies between the number of ballots cast and the number of voters signed into the pollbooks in a number of precincts in the county, in a state where Biden appears to have won by almost 160,000 votes. Despite a higher number of inconsistencies during primaries in the County earlier this year --- and a larger percentage of inconsistencies in majority white cities in the same County --- the Republicans on the Board certified the spring primaries without a problem. Their refusal to certify the general election deadlocked the Board at 2 to 2 and prevented certification for a few hours on Tuesday night. Brutal public comments at the Board's hearing and agreement to ask the Democratic Sec. of State for an audit of Wayne County's discrepancies, resulted in certification after all, by a unanimous 4 to 0 vote in a new vote by the Board held just three hours later.
But much of today's show is focused, however, on the absurd clown show that has been underway in Georgia for the past week, where the Republican Sec. of State, Brad Raffensperger, buckled to pressure last week from Trump and fellow Republicans who hold him responsible for the fact that Trump appears to have lost there by about 13,000 votes.
Last week, when Raffensperger announced an unprecedented statewide "audit, recount and a recanvass all at once," we explained on the program how that's not actually possible or even legal. This week, Raffensperger quietly admitted as much, sending out a letter to County Elections Officials [PDF] to notify them that "after evaluating the audit procedures...the original results...tabulated on and after election day, and certified by the county election superintendent, should be the results that your county certifies as the November 2, 2020 General Election Totals."
In short, the so-called "Risk-Limiting Audit" of 100% of the ballots cast in GA's Presidential race was not a "hand recount" as many media outlets have been misreporting it, but a largely meaningless exercise meant to try and appease our cry baby President, as my guest today, JEANNE DUFORT of the Coalition for Good Governance, describes it. Dufort has been on the ground in the state where she has also been a voter plaintiff in some of the Coalition's lawsuits. They are plaintiffs in a long-running federal case seeking to ban the state's use of new, unverifiable touchscreen voting systems made Dominion Voting Systems. (The same lawsuit succeeded in obtaining an order from the federal judge that banned the state's previous, 20-year old, unverifiable touchscreen systems made by Diebold. Despite recommendations from cybersecurity advocates and voting systems experts, Raffensperger chose to move to the new $100+ million touchscreens that are similarly unverifiable.)
Over the past 48 hours, two Republican-leaning counties discovered about 2,700 votes each that had gone either unscanned or unreported to the state previously. Those would have been discovered in the normal course of regular post-election canvassing, and netted about 1,000 votes for Trump overall. That will decrease Biden's final state certified margin from about 14,000 votes to about 13,000 votes. He will still be declared the official winner. After state certification on Friday, Team Trump will then have an opportunity to seek an official "recount" (as opposed to Raffensperger's pretend one) in which, by state law, the ballots will scanned again by the same computers that scanned them the first time. So that is also unlikely to change the final results.
Dufort explains today what she was able to observe over the past week during Raffensperger's "audit"/"recount"/"recanvass" which amounts to little more than Election Integrity Kabuki Theater. But, she tells us, there were still a few lessons to be learned from it all, as elections officials, poll workers and count observers who have been working for weeks amid a deadly pandemic, will now have to prepare very quickly for the two January 5 U.S. Senate runoffs in GA that will determine which party controls the Senate next year. Early voting begins on December 14th, not long after some municipal elections are also held in some counties on December 1st. All while carrying out another "recount" which Trump will almost certainly request after Friday's state certification. After all, there were a lot of --- you-know-whos --- that cast ballots against Trump in the city of Atlanta. That can't stand, right?
"The big thing is this is theater," says Dufort, speaking for herself, not the Coalition. "We've been calling for this [unverifiable Dominion Voting] equipment to be banned in the same way our lawsuit got the last Georgia system banned. So we are not fans of this equipment. But it's really ironic to see the same legislators who forced this $100 million purchase on the state to now be saying, 'Hey let's return it to the vendor! Let's get rid of it! It's a terrible system!', because they didn't get enough for their money. They didn't get a President for their money, and it's not clear they're going to get two Senators for their money. So it's kind of a funny time in Georgia."
Finally, we close with some listener mail that may hit the nail on the head: Trump isn't trying to getto 270 electoral votes. He's trying to take enough votes away from Biden so that he gets less than the required 270, so the election must be thrown to the House where the Constitution allows for minority (Republican) rule to win the day. With Rudy Giuliani now leading Team Trump's efforts, how could the plan fail?!
(Snail mail support to "Brad Friedman, 7095 Hollywood Blvd., #594 Los Angeles, CA 90028" always welcome too!)