Heather Cox Richardson reminds us that the origins of Thanksgiving as a national holiday lie in the Civil War. Read more in her November 25 Letters from an American.
This can’t be good for America (or the world); consider a national Monmouth poll released yesterday where the specific wording of the question was, “Do you believe Joe Biden won this election fair and square, or do you believe that he only won it due to voter fraud?” Overall, 60% of the public agrees that Biden won “fair and square” (!only 60%!). Then consider this: 58% of conservatives, 70% of Republicans, and 77% of Trump voters said they believe Biden only won the election due to voter fraud. If you are worried about how the president-elect can hope to govern effectively, I am too. I suggest the following:
Yuval Noah Harari’s “When the World Seems Like One Big Conspiracy” Excerpt: “A recent survey of 26,000 people in 25 countries asked respondents whether they believe there is “a single group of people who secretly control events and rule the world together.” Thirty seven percent of Americans replied that this is “definitely or probably true.” So did 45 percent of Italians, 55 percent of Spaniards and 78 percent of Nigerians.”
Farhad Manjoo’s “I Spoke to a Scholar of Conspiracy Theories and I’m Scared for Us” Excerpt: “I have become consumed with an alarming possibility: that neither the polls nor the actual outcome of the election really matter, because to a great many Americans, digital communication has already rendered empirical, observable reality beside the point…What makes digital lies so difficult to combat is not just the technology used to spread them, but also the nature of the societies they’re targeting, including their political cultures.”
• It’s self-evident that T***p has no concern for his country or the American people, as the damage from his misinformation campaign mounts and the toll of the pandemic worsens; he’s the one doing the “rigging” of the election and subverting the obvious will of the people.
Mitt Romney: “Having failed to make even a plausible case of widespread fraud or conspiracy before any court of law, the president has now resorted to overt pressure on state and local officials to subvert the will of the people and overturn the election,” Mr. Romney wrote. “It is difficult to imagine a worse, more undemocratic action by a sitting American president.”
Ben Sasse: “Based on what I’ve read in their filings, when Trump campaign lawyers have stood before courts under oath, they have repeatedly refused to actually allege grand fraud—because there are legal consequences for lying to judges,” Sasse said. “President Trump lost Michigan by more than 100,000 votes and the campaign and its allies have lost in or withdrawn all five lawsuits in Michigan for being unable to produce any evidence,” he added.
Michael Beschloss, in the NYT: “In this case, no serious person thinks enough votes are in dispute that Donald Trump could have been elected on Election Day…This is a manufactured crisis. It is a president abusing his huge powers in order to stay in office after the voters clearly rejected him for re-election.” He added: “This is what many of the founders dreaded.”
Brad Raffensperger, in the NYT, affirming that Georgians voted for Biden: “I live by the motto that numbers don’t lie,” the Georgia official, Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican, said at a Friday morning news conference at the state capitol. “I believe that the numbers that we have presented today are correct.”
Letter from the House Committee on Oversight and Reform to Emily Murphy, the administrator at the GSA
We have been incredibly patient, @GSAEmily, but we can wait no longer. Your refusal to follow the law is active and existential threat to our democratic norms and institutions.
You owe us, and the American people, an explanation. We are demanding you provide one. By Monday. pic.twitter.com/lcMfJNrp2P
— Rep. Gerry Connolly (@GerryConnolly) November 20, 2020
• Roger Cohen at the NY Times sums it up very nicely in his Mr. President, Pack Your Bags and Be Gone essay. Some excerpts:
-Donald Trump, departing president, lost in an election that a division of the Department of Homeland Security has now called“the most secure in American history,” with no “evidence that any voting system deleted or lost votes, changed votes or was in any way compromised.”
-Trump can no more accept defeat than recall the fact that he took an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
-The world needs an American democracy restored, rid of its brooding ruler, and led by the man who won, Joe Biden. End of story.
• The toll continues. Possessors of integrity, moral gravitas and capable decision making based on science continue to be disposed of, as they are inconvenient to this lame duck administration’s self-interested aims – or perhaps simply due to mindless revenge. It’s detestable. From the NY Times, see:
Thank you, thank you, to the millions who voted to fill the American leadership vacuum with someone actually fit to do the job. Future Americans are in your debt.
• If you have not already voted, please remember to vote today. I hope you will choose to do so in a way that preserves our democracy.
• Nobel laureate economist Joseph Stiglitz tells the truth about taxes in the NYT – Republicans, Not Biden, Are About to Raise Your Taxes (except if you’re rich, in which case they will go down). The law initially lowered taxes for many, but there are automatic stepped increases starting after this election year, increases every two years through 2027 for people making under $75K (about 65% of the population). Some excerpts:
• The current poverty line for a family of four is $26,200: People with incomes between $10,000 and $30,000 — nearly one-quarter of Americans — are among those scheduled to pay a higher average tax rate in 2021 than in years before the tax “cut” was passed. The C.B.O. and Joint Committee estimated that those with an income of $20,000 to $30,000 would owe an extra $365 next year — these are people who are struggling just to pay rent and put food on the table.
• By 2027, when the law’s provisions are set to be fully enacted, with the stealth tax increases complete, the country will be neatly divided into two groups: Those making over $100,000 will on average get a tax cut. Those earning under $100,000 — an income bracket encompassing three-quarters of taxpayers — will not.
• At the same time, Trump has given his peers, people with annual incomes in excess of $1 million dollars, or the top 0.3 percent in the country, a huge gift: The Joint Committee on Taxation estimated the average tax rate in 2019 for this group to be 2.3 percentage points lower than before the tax cut, saving the average taxpayer in this group over $64,000 — more than the average American family makes in a year.
• Frank Bruni, writing in the NYT about the election of our president, captures the essence of how I feel quite nicely in his How Will I Ever Look at America the Same Way Again? column. An excerpt:
“In him we forgave florid cruelty, overt racism, rampant corruption, exultant indecency, the coddling of murderous despots, the alienation of true friends, the alienation of truth itself, the disparagement of invaluable institutions, the degradation of essential democratic traditions.
He played Russian roulette with Americans’ lives. He played Russian roulette with his own aides’ lives. In a sane and civil country, of the kind I long thought I lived in, his favorability ratings would have fallen to negative integers, a mathematical impossibility but a moral imperative. In this one, they never changed all that much.”