Wednesday, July 20, 2022

Last Call For The Big Lie, Con't

Enough Senate Republicans are getting behind Susan Collins and Joe Manchin (yes, that Joe Manchin) to very possibly pass the Electoral Count Act.

After months of negotiating, a group of senators announced two proposals Wednesday designed to close gaps in federal law and prevent future candidates from stealing elections.

The measures — called the Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act and the Enhanced Election Security and Protection Act — are led by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, and Sen. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va.

The bills seek to close loopholes in election law that then-President Donald Trump and his allies tried to exploit to keep him in power despite his defeat in the 2020 election. The first bill would clarify the vice president's role in counting Electoral College votes, raise the bar for members of Congress to object, and try to prevent fake slates of electors from interfering in the process. The second is aimed at protecting election workers.

The bills come as the House’s Jan. 6 committee prepares to holds its last public hearing — at least for the time being — on Thursday outlining evidence it has received in connection to what it calls a plot to overturn the result of the 2020 election.

“Through numerous meetings and debates among our colleagues as well as conversations with a wide variety of election experts and legal scholars, we have developed legislation that establishes clear guidelines for our system of certifying and counting electoral votes for President and Vice President," Collins, Manchin and the rest of the Senate group said in a joint statement. "We urge our colleagues in both parties to support these simple, commonsense reforms.”
Preventing fake electors

The Electoral Count Reform and Presidential Transition Improvement Act would overhaul the 1887 Electoral Count Act by making clear that the vice president's role in confirming an election result is "solely ministerial" — that she or he doesn't have unilateral power to reject electors. It would also raise the threshold for forcing a vote on objecting to electors — from one House and Senate member to one-fifth of each chamber, the authors said.

In all, 147 Republicans, including eight senators, objected to certifying electors on Jan. 6, 2021.

The bill would also amend the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to ensure that candidates of both parties receive resources to aid the transition, in limited circumstances "when the outcome of an election is reasonably in doubt," according to a summary.


Here's the problem with the bill:

One of the thorniest issues for the group was how to make sure the correct electors for the winning candidate are counted. The legislation would identify the state's governor unless otherwise specified by the state, as the person responsible for submitting the election result — an attempt to avoid dealing with competing slates of electors. The Jan. 6 committee has outlined how Trump's team organized groups of fake electors in multiple states to try to overturn the 2020 election result in his favor; nearly a dozen false electors in Georgia have been hit with subpoenas in a criminal investigation into election interference in the state.

The bill would also provide a process for expedited judicial review, featuring a three-judge panel and the possibility to directly appeal to the Supreme Court if a candidate wants to challenge the submitted electors. "This accelerated process is available only for aggrieved presidential candidates and allows for challenges made under existing federal law and the U.S. Constitution to be resolved more quickly," says the summary of the legislation.

That's the bad news. Red states could still pull off electoral nonsense and/or a three-judge panel could too if they were loyal to Trump in 2024.

And then there's SCOTUS.

This is the good news:
And the legislation would eliminate "a provision of an archaic 1845 law that could be used by state legislatures to override the popular vote," the summary continued.

The second bill, the Enhanced Election Security and Protection Act, would double penalties under federal law for people "who threaten or intimidate election officials, poll watchers, voters, or candidates," the summary of the proposals said.

It would also add Postal Service guidance to improve the processes for mail-in ballots, reauthorize the Election Assistance Commission for five years and make clear that electronic election records must be preserved.
All of that is necessary, but what's missing is the ability to stop states where the GOP has both the state legislature and governor's office but a Democrat wins the election there (Florida comes to mind in a 2024 scenario) and they simply annul a Democratic win.

The bill is a good start, but much more is needed.

Trump Cards, Con't

Why yes, the Trump plan to put a citizenship question on the 2020 Census was absolutely part of a larger effort to rob big blue states like California, New York, and Illinois of House districts and federal funding by not counting undocumented workers.

Former President Donald Trump's administration spent years trying to add a census citizenship question as part of a secret strategy for altering the population numbers used to divide up seats in Congress and the Electoral College, internal documents released Wednesday by the House Oversight and Reform Committee confirm.

Long kept from the public, the Trump administration memos and emails were disclosed by lawmakers following a more than two-year legal fight that began after Trump officials refused to turn them over for a congressional investigation. Citing the "exceptional circumstances" of the case, the Biden administration, which inherited the lawsuit last year, agreed to allow House oversight committee members and their staff to review the documents.

The hotly contested question — "Is this a person a citizen of the United States?" — ultimately did not end up on the 2020 census forms. In 2019, the Supreme Court blocked the Trump administration's unprecedented efforts after finding its use of the Voting Rights Act as the stated reasoning for the question "seems to have been contrived," as Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in the majority opinion.

Before Trump eventually released a presidential memo in 2020 calling for the unprecedented exclusion of unauthorized immigrants from a key set of census numbers, earlier releases of internal documents and public statements by Trump officials signaled their interest in using citizenship data to try to break with more than two centuries of precedent in how congressional seats and Electoral College votes are redistributed among the states.

Still, the newly disclosed documents provide a detailed look into some of the early behind-the-scenes discussions at a time when Trump officials were focused on keeping their plans under wraps.

The documents' release, along with a new report by the House oversight committee, comes as Congress considers a House bill that could help shield upcoming national head counts from the kind of interference that saddled the 2020 census during the Trump administration.

"Today's Committee memo pulls back the curtain on this shameful conduct and shows clearly how the Trump Administration secretly tried to manipulate the census for political gain while lying to the public and Congress about their goals," says Democratic Rep. Carolyn Maloney of New York, who chairs the House oversight committee and introduced the bill, in a statement. "It is clear that legislative reforms are needed to prevent any future illegal or unconstitutional efforts to interfere with the census and chip away at our democracy."


Every action by Trump and his regime was designed to give him more power at the direct expense of the people who voted against him.

He cannot be allowed in public office again.

Hell, he cannot be allowed to walk the streets as a free man.

Crab Cakes, Cooked

Departing two-term Maryland GOP Gov. Larry Hogan, still widely popular with voters in both parties on his way out and having endorsed state commerce secretary Kelly Schulz as his successor, could only watch in disbelief as the state's Republicans went RINO hunting last night in the state's primary and chose MAGA minion election-denier and January 6th insurrectionist Dan Cox instead.

Another Republican who has sowed false doubt about the 2020 election is a step closer to a governor's mansion and the power to certify results of the 2024 presidential race.

Dan Cox, a state delegate in Maryland, won his state’s GOP primary Tuesday, NBC News projects, beating Kelly Schulz, a former state secretary of commerce backed by the state party's establishment.

Cox — who was at the rally that preceded the deadly insurrection at the Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021 and scored former President Donald Trump's endorsement — likely owes his win at least in part to national Democrats who aired TV ads reinforcing his right-wing views. While the strategy could pay longer-term dividends in a state where voters lean more toward the center and left, efforts to elevate a presumably weaker opponent risk backfiring in the general election.

The Democratic Governors Association spent more than $1 million on largely Cox-centric messaging. Cox himself spent a fraction of that: $21,000 through Monday, according to the media-tracking firm AdImpact.

Cox will face the winner of Tuesday’s Democratic primary, a contest that centered on three leading candidates: former U.S. Labor Secretary Tom Perez, state Comptroller Peter Franchot, and author Wes Moore. That contest was too early to call, according to NBC News.

Maryland isn’t ordinarily a battleground in election years, but outgoing Gov. Larry Hogan’s two terms — a rarity for Republicans in the state — set the stage for a competitive year. The outgoing governor’s staunch opposition to Trump and endorsement of Schulz, who served in his Cabinet, emboldened the former president to support Cox. In addition to attending and busing Trump supporters to the rally on Jan. 6, Cox also tweeted at the time that then-Vice President Mike Pence was a traitor for certifying Joe Biden’s victory.

"Cox worked with Trump trying to prove the last election was a fraud," a narrator says in a DGA ad that also played up Trump's endorsement and Cox's hardline positions on guns and abortion.

The Democratic strategy of meddling has become a staple of other races this year, with the party engineering outcomes it preferred in governor's races in Illinois and Pennsylvania. The Pennsylvania effort was particularly notable for efforts by Josh Shapiro, the state's attorney general and unopposed Democratic candidate for governor, to emphasize the conservative credentials of state Sen. Doug Mastriano, who eventually won a crowded GOP primary. Mastriano, like Cox, has been vocal about the 2020 election and was in Washington, D.C., on the day of the Jan. 6 riot. He also pushed for an alternate slate of Trump electors, operating under the idea that Biden's Electoral College win could be reversed in Trump's favor.
Dems have bet heavily, in both campaign cash and in election clout, that Trumpian MAGA dipsticks like Cox, PA's Doug Mastriano and Mehmet Oz, and Ohio's JD Vance can't win general elections in November, even in this political atmosphere.

Whether it pays off or not, the risk is huge. If the GOP wins here, we're going to have disastrous consequences, just like six years ago.

Better vote.
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