On Tuesday night, the Wayne County, Michigan Board of Canvassers gave half the country a minor heart attack when it appeared that the four board members were deadlocked on certifying the vote count. Wayne County is home to Detroit, the largest city in the state and the city with the highest percentage of Black voters in the country. Delaying the certification for a county that handed Biden tens of thousands of votes over Trump would disrupt the entire electoral process—which is exactly what Trump is trying to do.
The Board of Canvassers, who are in charge of certifying the vote count for the county, was split 2-2 along party lines (such a shocker) with the Democrats for and the Republicans against certifying the vote count right up until the final hours before the deadline. The two Republican members, after hearing passionate commentary from the public, changed course and voted in the final hour to move forward with certification. The vote for Wayne County has officially been certified and sent to the secretary of state.
Meet @HartmannDude and @monicaspalmer the 2 members of the Wayne County Board of Canvassers who refused to certify… https://t.co/z4M6Y1Qg74— PolitiKiss1600💋🌊🥁🌈🖤✊🏼 (@PolitiKiss1600💋🌊🥁🌈🖤✊🏼) 1605684392.0
However, in another not-shocking development, however, both of the Republican board members have released signed documents saying that they wish to rescind their agreement to certify. This comes after GOP board member Monica Palmer received a phone call from President Trump.
According to the Washington Post, Palmer claims that the president called to ask her about her safety in the wake of alleged harassment she had received. Surely that's 100% why he was calling and not at all to try to convince her that she shouldn't have certified the vote count. Surely him talking about her safety was not any kind of a veiled mafioso-like threat—that would be as insane as insisting you won an election that you clearly lost and making up crazy global conspiracy theories in an attempt to cling to the power you so desperately crave. And surely he wasn't trying to pressure her into rescinding her vote—that would be as corrupt as attempting to delay the certifications in swing states, push the elector decisions to GOP-led legislatures, create a chaotic picture of widespread fraud, and get the Supreme Court to wipe out the election results and rule in your favor because you think picking three judges and having a conservative majority means that they will automatically crown you the victor.
Funny how the two Republican members of Wayne County board happened to omit — in their lengthy affidavits — their p… https://t.co/7KxUVbevuI— Ryan Goodman (@Ryan Goodman) 1605801762.0
The whole no-yes-no flip-flopping is a rather pathetic display of partisan ugliness and Trump sycophancy to any objective observer, but of course that's not how Palmer is portraying it. She insists that there was no pressure from the president—as if a phone call itself from the country's highest office who also happens to be a candidate in the race she's certifying isn't pressure in and of itself. When asked by the Washington Post if they discussed the certification in their two-minute phone call, Palmer said, "It's hard for me to describe. There was a lot of adrenaline and stress going on. There were general comments about different states but we really didn't discuss the details of the certification."
Not sure what "general comments about different states" means—why would the president call a Wayne County, Michigan canvassing board member and discuss states other than Michigan? It's all totally moot anyway—legally the vote has been certified and rescinding on paper doesn't change that—but trying to make any of it makes sense is enough to make you batty.
But making us batty is probably the point. Trump appears to be taking Steve Bannon's "flood the zone with sh*t" approach to the media, but also applying it to our electoral process. It doesn't matter if he's 1–29 in post-election court cases. It doesn't matter if the legal team keeps getting replaced with kookier and kookier players. It doesn't matter if every statement the president has made since the election is a bold-faced lie or a repeat of fringe right-wing media conspiracy theories. The chaos and confusion are the point. If you create an atmosphere of doubt and suspicion, paint a picture so outrageous and so evil that it seems like there's no way someone would make something like that up, keep engendering distrust in actual journalism that serves as a check on those in power, and you can almost make a case for just tossing the whole election out due to the chaos you yourself created.
Of course, this damages the U.S. in immeasurable ways, but who cares about the damage done to the country as long as Trump's narcissistic needs are met? That's where we are. And far too many Republicans are going along with the madness, naively waiting for a president who is incapable of admitting defeat to finally admit defeat, and foolishly ignoring the monster their coddling of his ego is creating in the body politic in the meantime.
Wayne county's flip-flopping is just one of many more nutty things we can expect to see in the coming weeks as certification deadlines loom. Trump is not going to miraculously concede the election, ever, and he will pull as many people along on his power trip as he can. Let's just hope the country's foundation can hold out long enough for the will of the people to prevail as it should and for sanity to return to the Oval Office.
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