Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein, in an exclusive Washington Post perspective piece, use Richard Nixon as a foil to reflect on Donald Trump’s continuing threat to democratic institutions.
The heart of Nixon’s criminality was his successful subversion of the electoral process — the most fundamental element of American democracy. He accomplished it through a massive campaign of political espionage, sabotage and disinformation that enabled him to literally determine who his opponent would be in the presidential election of 1972.
With a covert budget of just $250,000, a team of undercover Nixon operatives derailed the presidential campaign of Sen. Edmund Muskie of Maine, the Democrats’ most electable candidate.https://e267ed3408e01502cc67d06551a48e08.safeframe.googlesyndication.com/safeframe/1-0-38/html/container.html
Nixon then ran against Sen. George McGovern, a South Dakota Democrat widely viewed as the much weaker candidate, and won in a historic landslide with 61 percent of the vote and carrying 49 states. . . . .
In a deception that exceeded even Nixon’s imagination, Trump and a group of lawyers, loyalists and White House aides devised a strategy to bombard the country with false assertions that the 2020 election was rigged and that Trump had really won. . . .
. . . .
On that day, driven by Trump’s rhetoric and his obvious approval, a mob descended on the Capitol and, in a stunning act of collective violence, broke through doors and windows and ransacked the House chamber, where the electoral votes were to be counted. The mob then went in search of Pence — all to prevent the certification of Joe Biden’s victory. Trump did nothing to restrain them.
By legal definition this is clearly sedition — conduct, speech or organizing that incites people to rebel against the governing authority of the state. Thus, Trump became the first seditious president in our history.
And it goes on from there to recount the details of Nixon and then Trump’s actions and compare their subversive implications for American democracy.
Politico’s Special Report describes the GOP plan for Michigan, which centers on recruiting activists primed to believe election fraud lies as poll workers and connecting them directly to movement lawyers. This appears to be the party’s playbook for other swing states as well.
“Being a poll worker, you just have so many more rights and things you can do to stop something than [as] a poll challenger,” said Matthew Seifried, the RNC’s election integrity director for Michigan, stressing the importance of obtaining official designations as poll workers in a meeting with GOP activists in Wayne County last Nov. 6.
. . . .
Seifried also said the RNC will hold “workshops” and equip poll workers with a hotline and website developed by Zendesk, a software support company used by online retailers, which will allow them to live-chat with party attorneys on Election Day. In a May, 2022 training session, he said he’d achieved a goal set last winter: More than 5,600 individuals had signed up to be poll workers and, several days ago, he submitted an initial list of more than 850 names to the Detroit clerk.
Cecilia Kang, N.Y. Times, reports on efforts in several states to combat election misinformation in advance of November. The focus will be on unfounded rumors and lies about voting and election fraud. Connecticut “plans to spend nearly $2 million on marketing to share factual information about voting, and to create its first-ever position for an expert in combating misinformation” whose job will be to “to comb fringe sites like 4chan, far-right social networks like Gettr and Rumble and mainstream social media sites to root out early misinformation narratives about voting before they go viral, and then urge the companies to remove or flag the posts that contain false information.” Arizona, California, Colorado, Idaho, and Oregon are working on similar initiatives.
In depth story by Alexandra Berzon in the NY Times on Cleta Mitchel’s mission to organizing a group of activists, recruited from right-wing organizations prone to conspiracy theories, “into an ‘army of citizens’ trained to aggressively monitor elections.”
CNN reports on how individuals who promote baseless voter fraud claims have been promoted for seats on an Advisory Board to the Election Assistance Commission.
“Emails obtained by CNN reveal how the push extended to a federal election advisory board and resulted in the 2021 appointment of one of Trump’s legal advisers who helped his failed efforts to pressure Georgia officials into overturning the state’s election results.The emails, obtained by CNN through a Freedom of Information Act request, show conservatives were working even before the 2020 election to gain a seat for an ally on the advisory board of the Election Assistance Commission, an independent government agency that provides voluntary election guidelines for states.
The story of how Cleta Mitchell — the legal adviser who took part in Trump’s phone call where he asked Georgia’s secretary of state to “find” enough votes for him to win — was appointed to that board underscores how a core faction of Republicans has focused on pushing unsupported claims of widespread voter fraud even before Trump convinced much of the Republican Party to buy into his election lies that the 2020 election had been stolen.”
N.Y. TImes has a new analysis of Trump’s hold over elected officials in the battle-ground states. Support for 2020 election lies is quite strong (44% overall), still the Times notes that it is not unchecked (yet).
“The Times’s analysis also shows that these efforts have encountered significant resistance from key Republican figures, as well as Democrats.” In most states, the lawmakers who challenge the 2020 results do not yet have the votes. So while, they have advanced legislation, including to overturn popular election results, they have been unable to enact them. “And it is only a minority of Republican lawmakers who promote the legally dubious view that they—and not the votes of the people—can select the electors who formally cast a ballot for the president in the Electoral College.”
A new Fox News poll shows Republican primary voters supporting Brian Kemp by wide-margins. This strikes me as going to the point that it is easier to distrust “other” people’s election systems than one’s own. Even in a swing state, like Pennsylvania and Michigan, that is the case: It is the cities–with all the racial coding–that cannot be “trusted.” The article also reports: “Early voting started May 2 and Georgia voters are turning out in record numbers.”
“Incumbent Gov. Brian Kemp leads former Sen. David Perdue by a 32-point margin in the Georgia Republican gubernatorial primary race, tripling his advantage from March, according to a new Fox News Poll of Georgia Republican primary voters released Wednesday.
Sixty percent of Republican voters prefer Kemp, while 28% go for Perdue (it was 50% vs. 39% in March). Another 8% support either Kandiss Taylor (6%), Catherine Davis (1%) or someone else (1%). Only 3% are undecided.”