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A Deeply Fractured US

Brad Sallows

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Objectively, do you believe these actions and statements serve to foster trust in American democracy and its institutions?

Of course not. But the existence of one problem does not disprove the existence of another, greater problem.

[Add: you'll notice that in spite of his claims, pressure, disruption, etc, "democracy" held together. And you may have noticed that Trump got pushback from the institutions and agencies pretty much whenever he got ridiculous. Not as much pushback against Biden, though, no matter how manifestly unconstitutional/illegal his actions are or mindless his rhetoric. Nevertheless, democracy in the US is not in danger.]
 

Mick

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Thanks.

My point was to address your claim that:

"Democrats are the ones who most often express desire to change the fundamental rules for elections (eg. electoral college); to stack or otherwise alter the USSC; to add states purely for the purpose of rebalancing the senate; to narrow the scope of the First Amendment; to narrow the scope of the Second Amendment (a lot)."

Are Democrats making serious attempts at these charges outside of the established democratic process? Introducing legislation to be voted on is a different animal than refusing to recognize / attempting to influence legitimate election results.

I don't believe "expressing a desire" is nearly as threatening to democracy, as say, attempting to influence, negate, or fabricate the results of a legitimate election, and then continuing to cast doubt on the those results.
 

Colin Parkinson

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Democrats have been the ones pushing to allow lax voting rules that let illegals vote. That is far more effective than direct vote rigging and has been a long term project of theirs at all levels. Both parties are at fault for gerrymandering the polling districts over the years. People forget that most of the rules in place , were put there because people tried to corrupt or influence elections. These rules have not kept pace with technology and there are exploitable gaps. When you look at the history of voting, it's only been in the late 20th century that it has been done properly and with minimal attempts to circumvent the vote.
 

Brad Sallows

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Desire is what people act on. I expect the people who talk about change are the ones most likely to undertake it, by means illegitimate as well as legitimate. I expect more damage to be done by those who receive no pushback from their own team members. I don't see a threat from Republicans who refuse to go along with Trump's fever dreams. I'd worry more about Democrats who go along with whatever is being done on any given day to advance a policy, even if it is widely believed to be unconstitutional (eg. DACA) and/or unlawful (eg. student loan forgiveness). As I've written here before, I doubt there are any grand conspiracies afoot to undermine US elections. What exists is self-organization - people using their means to pursue their ends. People are burning away the credibility of institutions (eg. IRS, FBI) in pursuit of narrow temporary political advantages. As I wrote: trust.

Obviously the rules apply to everyone. Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden - ex-president, candidate, president - are on record referring to Trump as "illegitimate". If casting doubt on results is to be reviled, revile it everywhere. There must not be two standards.
 

QV

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Donald Trump falsely claimed election fraud before, during, and after election.

He pressured state officials to invalidate results.

He pressured state officials to "find" votes for him.

He actively and publicly encouraged disruption of the counting of Electoral College votes.

He and his supporters / surrogates have loudly proclaimed widespread election fraud and openly questioned the legitimacy of the election, despite being unable to prove these claims, despite election officials attesting to the legitimacy of the election, and his own AG definitively stating that no fraud occurred - certainly not at a level that would have changed the election results.

Objectively, do you believe these actions and statements serve to foster trust in American democracy and its institutions?
What did the democrats say about the 2016 election?
 

Remius

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Mick

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Desire is what people act on. I expect the people who talk about change are the ones most likely to undertake it, by means illegitimate as well as legitimate. I expect more damage to be done by those who receive no pushback from their own team members. I don't see a threat from Republicans who refuse to go along with Trump's fever dreams. I'd worry more about Democrats who go along with whatever is being done on any given day to advance a policy, even if it is widely believed to be unconstitutional (eg. DACA) and/or unlawful (eg. student loan forgiveness). As I've written here before, I doubt there are any grand conspiracies afoot to undermine US elections. What exists is self-organization - people using their means to pursue their ends. People are burning away the credibility of institutions (eg. IRS, FBI) in pursuit of narrow temporary political advantages. As I wrote: trust.

Obviously the rules apply to everyone. Jimmy Carter, Hillary Clinton, and Joe Biden - ex-president, candidate, president - are on record referring to Trump as "illegitimate". If casting doubt on results is to be reviled, revile it everywhere. There must not be two standards.

Of course, people will act if a desire is strong enough, but it's quite a leap to assume malfeasance will be the result. There is nothing wrong with either party taking action based on their desires and beliefs. If Democrats (or Republicans) wish to introduce legislation in order to advance their agenda, what's the problem? That's how the system works.

If a policy, or parts thereof, are deemed to be unconstitutional, the courts will step in, as they did with DACA expansions.

It's probably a bit early / alarmist to declare student loan forgiveness to be "illegal" as zero loans have been forgiven, and no details on how the program will be implemented have been released. Once again, courts will rule on its legality, if challenged.

I agree - there must not be two standards, but as you've noted before, context matters. Details matter.

Were Carter, Clinton, and Biden correct to use their "illegitimate" rhetoric? No. But to compare their comments to Trump's rhetoric and actions is disengenuous. Actions speak louder than words, and infinitely so when you occupy the Oval Office.
 

Brad Sallows

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The arrow of time means things done later supercede/void/alter things done earlier.

I know they didn’t encourage a mob to try and overturn the result through violence.

Depends on how you limit "they". Prior to and after the 2016 election, people (including politicians) called for protest and (after) overturning. They failed to incite anyone sufficiently to produce such a result. There was talk prior to 2020 about how to react, on both sides. Democrats have been muddying the waters with insinuations that the midterms might not be clean. Not sure how it's possible to condemn Trump and his immediate direct supporters without condemning everyone who did at least that much, or more.

There isn't just one instance of election denial in the US. Everyone forgets all the challenges that dead-ended and only remembers the mob on Jan 6. A lot of pressure was applied, but the system didn't fail. It's easy to condemn anything Trump does; the test is whether the rules continue to be applied equally. If not, then it was all just bullsh!t serving political exigencies.
 

Mick

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The arrow of time means things done later supercede/void/alter things done earlier.
That's a pretty convenient way to minimize past actions.

Depends on how you limit "they". Prior to and after the 2016 election, people (including politicians) called for protest and (after) overturning. They failed to incite anyone sufficiently to produce such a result. There was talk prior to 2020 about how to react, on both sides. Democrats have been muddying the waters with insinuations that the midterms might not be clean. Not sure how it's possible to condemn Trump and his immediate direct supporters without condemning everyone who did at least that much, or more.
Politicians and pundits employing "overturn" and "illegitimate" election rhetoric tend to fall in line once the losing candidate publicly concedes. That's why "they failed to incite anyone sufficiently" in 2016.

Or, as you suggest, Trump's 2020 efforts - which go far beyond rhetoric - could be seen to supersede/void/alter how threatening any 2016 musings should be considered.

There isn't just one instance of election denial in the US. Everyone forgets all the challenges that dead-ended and only remembers the mob on Jan 6.
I fully agree - election denial is not limited to Trump, and Republicans who support him. While other politicians, pundits, and partisans from both parties have engaged in this rhetoric, Trump's efforts went far beyond words.

People remember "the mob" because it was violent, unprecedented, and a literal assault on a symbol of American democracy.


A lot of pressure was applied, but the system didn't fail. It's easy to condemn anything Trump does; the test is whether the rules continue to be applied equally. If not, then it was all just bullsh!t serving political exigencies.
That the "system didn't fail" doesn't minimize Donald Trump's attempts to ignore, circumvent, and manipulate that very system.

I suppose we'll only know if the "rules continue to be applied equally" if another failed candidate fails to concede, files dubious court challenges, continuously falsely claims fraud, attempts to alter the slate of state-certified Electoral College electors in 7 states, is taped asking state officials to "find" votes etc
 

daftandbarmy

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Gotcha...

Biden Laid the Trap. Trump Walked Into It.​


Republican congressional leaders desperately but hopelessly tried to avert the risk that this next election would become yet another national referendum on Trump’s leadership. Despite Trump’s lying and boasting, politicians who can count to 50 and 218—the respective numbers needed for a majority in the Senate and House—have to reckon with the real-world costs of Trump’s defeats. But Biden understood their man’s psychology too well.

Biden came to Philadelphia to deliver a wound to Trump’s boundless yet fragile ego. Trump obliged with a monstrously self-involved meltdown 48 hours later. And now his party has nowhere to hide. Trump has overwritten his name on every Republican line of every ballot in 2022.

 

Brad Sallows

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Politicians and pundits employing "overturn" and "illegitimate" election rhetoric tend to fall in line once the losing candidate publicly concedes. That's why "they failed to incite anyone sufficiently" in 2016.

Obviously not everyone fell in line. Some observed the niceties of concession immediately after the election and later described the winner as illegitimate. It's unlikely that the persistent claims and efforts to prove illegitimacy were not harmful.

I suppose we'll only know

Agreed. I can guess what'll happen, though. Democrats are supporting pro-Trump candidates in primaries because they expect those candidates to be easier to defeat in the elections, just as supporting Trump in his primary was thought to be a way to pave a path to victory for Clinton in 2016. I don't take Democratic wailing about the perils of election manipulation seriously.
 

Brad Sallows

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Republican congressional leaders desperately but hopelessly tried to avert the risk that this next election would become yet another national referendum on Trump’s leadership.

That was never realistic. "Democracy in Danger" and "Referendum on Trump" have been the Democratic playbook for months, and they control the megaphones (president, Congress). Congress will be back at work shortly; expect the J6 committee show to continue in order to pursue those lines.

Economy and crime are still top line poll issues, and the generic congressional ballot has a history which militates against believing the Democrats have some kind of momentum going that will last another two months.
 

QV

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Of course when you latch onto one part of a conversation such as “find votes” without understanding or deliberately excluding the overall context you could make a lot of hay with that. I think at least half of America, probably more, are asking themselves who’s policies they like better and whether they like America‘s situation better a few years ago or now.
 

Mick

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Of course when you latch onto one part of a conversation such as “find votes” without understanding or deliberately excluding the overall context you could make a lot of hay with that. I think at least half of America, probably more, are asking themselves who’s policies they like better and whether they like America‘s situation better a few years ago or now.
Feel free to provide the context of Trump's call to Georgia Sec'y of State Raffensperger.

The full transcript of the call is published by various sources online.

While you're at it, address the attempt to replace state-certified electors with an alternate slate of electors, the dozens of court challenges that were thrown out, and AG William Barr's conclusion that widespread election fraud had not occurred, despite Trump's repeated false claims.
 

brihard

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Of course when you latch onto one part of a conversation such as “find votes” without understanding or deliberately excluding the overall context you could make a lot of hay with that. I think at least half of America, probably more, are asking themselves who’s policies they like better and whether they like America‘s situation better a few years ago or now.
What will be significant is what a grand jury and court think of it. The attempts to overthrow the election results in Georgia are the focus of a criminal investigation that appears to have advanced considerably and for which a Grand a jury has subpoenaed a number of people in Trump’s inner circle and from his legal team.

While the Mar a Lago search has been more of a spectacle, the Georgia investigation, though proceeding more quietly, is arguably more important for the health of American democracy. Trump is also inarguably directly implicated in the core of it through that phone call. I’d be more comfortable betting on him facing legal jeopardy in that investigation than in the Florida one.
 

Fishbone Jones

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Federal judge orders appointment of special master to review seized Trump records​


DOJ ordered to stop reviewing of documents and await the appointment of a Special Master
 

brihard

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Federal judge orders appointment of special master to review seized Trump records​


DOJ ordered to stop reviewing of documents and await the appointment of a Special Master
Yup. I can almost hear the rapid fire typing from DoJ. I bet they appeal to 11th Circuit in record speed.

This will not inhibit numerous other investigative actions that will likely be continuing in the background, such as Grand Jury subpoenas for and interviews of possible witnesses.

If the Special Master appointment survives appeal, what that will mean is that an independently appointed third party (with security clearance- Trump’s lawyers have not made any claim regarding documents being declassified) will review the seized materials for both attorney client and executive privilege.

I think DoJ will have to appeal even if for no other reason than to litigate the judge’s ruling that the executive privilege claims of an ex-president could trump (sorry, it’s simply the best word) countervailing executive privilege assertions by the current president. There’s a very important point of law around the current executive’s ability to carry on the functions of government that needs to be adjudicated here.

One interesting revelation in Judge Cannon’s is rotten decision is that other documents of a personal nature that were seized include documents of a medical or personal financial documents. The intermingling of these documents with government records strengthens the potential link of Trump himself to the wilful retention and possession of these documents.

We may see an appeal that shrugs and just rolls with the Special Master process - knowing that another court in another investigation will strike down the potentially extremely broad precedent being set here - but that appeals the injunction against the government continuing to review and use these documents in investigation.

Left untouched, this decision by Judge Cannon would set a precedent that would essentially stonewall any white collar crime investigation until Special Masters (or Mistresses?) could go through the entirety of a seizure pursuant to warrant to ensure nothing of a personal nature is caught up in the investigative net. That would be totally unworkable. There’s no way that, all said and done, this decision will fully stand the test of time (and appeals).
 
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