Repeat offenders

Didn't we just avoid an unprecedented threat to democracy, like, a little while ago?

Today we will witness the latest in a series of Tubby’s attempts to steal the election. Trump suggested last summer, you may remember, that he might delay the election so he could steal it, and as the election was in progress he tried to stop votes from being counted. When it was clear Biden had won, Trump’s “elite strike force” of lawyers pitched a bunch of absurd lawsuits to try and overturn the results, and then Republicans tried to prevent the certification of each swing state’s electors, sometimes by gathering in parking lots and making up their own roster of fake electors like some rotisserie league dictatorship.

Today Joe Biden’s 306 electoral votes and Donald Trump's 232 electoral votes are to be counted in a joint session of Congress which several Republican members have promised to disrupt. Though it may stretch out the process for as much as a day or two, because the process demand objections must be entertained and voted on by both houses, the Democrats have a majority in the HOR so this is probably not going to work.

“Probably” is doing a lot of work here, though. Mike Pence may pull some shit, as Tubby has commanded, which would put us in uncharted territory. He may declare that House votes, which would by law overturn any objection, be taken by delegation rather than by member, as I have heard some crackpots propose, giving Republicans the advantage. Maybe one of the more tightly-wrapped gun-nut Republican members will kill enough Democrats to overcome the deficit in the vote.

Sounds far-fetched? Sure; everything they’ve tried has been. But they only have to be lucky once.

The Republican rabble have never accepted Biden’s victory and live in hope of Der Tag. Even when they acknowledge the Trump team’s failure to put their coup over, their message is always so you’re saying there’s a chance — as with RedState’s “Has President Trump Done Fatal Damage to any Further Efforts to Win a Second Term by Recorded Call With Georgia Sec. of State?” It’s like they’re asking whether one of the eggs they keep chucking off the roof might just bounce unharmed off the sidewalk instead of breaking like all the others did. Yet they keep asking. Bottom-feeding outlets with names like Tactical Shit and America’s Freedom Fighters — linked from the bulk emails your senile relatives get — roar a stream of things like “BREAKING News From V.P. Pence- We Just Found Out What He’s Doing January 6th… THIS Could Change Everything.” Keep hope alive!

While these low-rent rightwingers howl for a coup, most top-ranked conservative outlets are slightly abashed at the unseemly spectacle of their hero pulling mob boss tactics to overturn the election. At National Review the longtime utter fraud and heretofore reliable defender of Trump Andrew C. McCarthy was originally willing to go along with the gag in post-election stories like “Michigan Certification of Biden Win Is a Step Toward the End — But It’s Not the End” and “As Time Is Running Out, Trump Campaign Files Stronger Lawsuit in Georgia.” But lately McCarthy seems to have caught a case of nerves.

In “The Risky Wager of Betting on Trump” McCarthy even begins. “Were the anti-Trumpers right all along?” before deciding, like Principal Skinner, that no, it’s the children who are wrong:

The Trump fanatics notwithstanding, the case for Trump, in 2020 as in 2016, was never based on the comparative merits and demerits of the man. It was Trump as opposed to whom? That’s still the most sensible way to look at it.

This is pretty much the argument made by Russian and Polish Nazis who argued after the war that Hitler was, on balance, a better guy than Stalin and that’s why they killed those Jews.

Even the damage now being done, the trail being blazed for the next Democratic administration to subvert future Republican electoral victories, has to be weighed against, say, what the Supreme Court would look like for the next 30 years if Mrs. Clinton had been president for the last four, and what that would portend for our constitutional republic.

Like other Republicans, whether they boldly defend their Trumpism or pretend they were in Switzerland for the entirety of the unpleasantness, McCarthy will comfort himself that he may have put American democracy at risk but oooooh those reactionary young judges he got in return! (And with, of course, the traditional confidence of the hypocrite that his opponents would do just as badly in his place.)

One imagines McCarthy wouldn’t be too sad if Tubby actually did blow it all up, but apparently he expects he won’t, and he doesn’t want to look too Trumpist when the smoke clears. So he talks about how the threat was never so bad because we were always bound to be saved by either the bureaucracy (“the quotidian details of governance are handled by an administration, now grown to thousands of bureaucrats”) or the Constitution (“the real genius of the Framers was to plan for the inevitability of crises”).

Also, Trump isn’t a real threat, says McCarthy; “in reality, his lust is more for pomp than power... his fatal flaws have little to do with coveting power and everything to do with vanity..." He's just a clown, not a serious man like Hitler or Mussolini! And so McCarthy goes on to slag the just-as-bad Democrats, and to hope, like many another conservative-with-good-taste, that what he’s heard about the ever-shrinking attention spans of our citizens is true.

But the high church-low church battle for the soul (such as it is) of conservatism isn’t as cut and dried as this; there are some slick rightwing media outlets that are pushing the coup as hard as any Proud Boy broadside. Take the Epoch Times, for example, which still maintains that the 2020 presidential election has not ended; I had thought they’d stopped using their weird electoral map showing the states Tubby wants to steal as “legal challenges” and “states with dueling electors” (i.e., states where Republicans made up electoral votes) rather than “Biden projected win” states (they’re all projections because the election isn’t over, see), but they’ve just moved it to their Election 2020 section, though it is now listed as “Last Updated 12/15/20 4:40 PM (ET).” (Not sure why, after all these weeks, the time is important — perhaps it has some astrological significance.)

I wonder what it'll say tomorrow. Anyway, the page has news parsed into two columns, “Trump Latest News” and “Biden Latest News” (because the election isn’t over, see?); under the former they run the most coup-hopeful possible headlines (“Sen. Hawley: Who Becomes President ‘Depends on What Happens’ on Jan. 6,” “Peter Navarro Says Inauguration Day Can Be Postponed”), while under the latter it’s, well, mostly the same (“Sidney Powell Says Pence Should Reject Electoral Votes From Disputed States”) with some Biden hit stories for leavening (“Hunter Biden Laptop Repairman Speaks About His Recent Experience”).

As I have mentioned on Twitter, Epoch Times links to videos featuring a youngish rightwing operative who looks like the kind of TV sitcom doofus who hangs around Starbucks all day working on “proposals” on his laptop and “dresses for success” because he believes in creative visualization. (I call him Hipster Gong, after the Falun Gong cult that runs the Epoch Times, the founder of which believes “evolution is fraudulent, that people of different races will be separated in Heaven, and that homosexuality and promiscuity are unnatural.”) These videos are pitched as explainers, notwithstanding they’re almost pure propaganda for coup-plotter talking points, e.g. “According to the 12th Amendment, it seems like [Pence is] in charge of which Electoral Votes to open and therefore to count.” (Spoiler: No.)

After today, the Trumpkins will undoubtedly continue to bring more lawsuits against the results, and try some ruckus on Inauguration Day, and maybe beyond. (The Republicans in the Pennsylvania state senate have stolen a march by refusing to seat a duly-elected Democrat on fraud grounds as specious as any Sidney Powell has brought.) In other words they will continue pointing their guns at democracy and repeatedly pulling the trigger, and we’re supposed to laugh off every misfire as if it weren’t a threat, rather than disarm the perp and jam the gun up his ass — as it becomes clearer every day we should do.