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election 2020

By now most Americans have heard, or at least heard about, President Trump's hour-long phone call with Georgia's Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, in which the sitting president attempted to convince the official in charge of Georgia's election to "recalculate" and "find" him enough votes to overturn the state's results in his favor.

The criminal implications inherent in the asking aside, the phone call was filled with baseless allegations that the president has "heard" and that "Trump media" has been sharing. It's the constant drumbeat of the past two months—the counts are wrong, the machines were rigged, the votes were flipped, the ballots were counted multiple times, fake ballots were brought in, signatures weren't checked, the recount was wrong, the audit was corrupt, and so on and so on and so on. The breadth and depth of fraud allegations is stunning, which is exactly the point. One or two allegations are easily checked and either verified or debunked. Flooding media with every allegation in the book makes it 1) impossible to debunk due to the sheer volume, and 2) more likely that some of the allegations will be believed, regardless of actual evidence.

It's Steve Bannon's "flood the zone with sh*t" approach to handling the media, and unfortunately, it works.

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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.

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.

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All eyes have been on Georgia since election night, as a once-red stronghold tipped blue in the presidential race—securing a solid electoral victory for Joe Biden—and resulted in two run-off elections in the U.S. Senate races. And as President Trump continues to rage against the results and insist on trying to find widespread fraud where there is none (as evidenced by his 1 and 25 record with lawsuits so far, with the one being a procedural issue and not evidence of fraud), all eyes have been on Georgia's vote recount.

So far, the recount effort had turned up some missing votes in Republican-led counties resulting from human error. Nothing even close enough to the 14,000 votes it would take to sway the election results and nothing proving fraud in any way, but that doesn't stop Trump and his base from trying to spin it that way.

Refreshingly, throughout all of this madness, Georgia's secretary of state Brad Raffensperger—a lifelong Republican who says he has never voted for a Democrat—has held his ground to keep Georgia's election integrity intact. In fact, as the official who oversees elections in the state, the mild-mannered secretary of state been standing up to those who would try to politicize his position from his own party for months.

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We're on day eleventy billion of Donald Trump creating his own alternate reality and convincing millions of people to live there with him, only now it's clearer than ever that it can't continue. President Trump, perhaps for the first time in his life, is hitting a wall he can't con or buy his way through. He lost the 2020 election. His own cybersecurity and election security agencies have said the election was fair and free from widespread fraud. His court cases are being dismissed or dropped left and right. Yet he refuses to acknowledge objective reality, insisting that Democrats cheated (without evidence), insisting he won the election (which he didn't), insisting two plus two doesn't equal four (which his loyal base would believe if he said it).

Trump's reaction to losing the election is a combination of disturbing, sad, predictable, and dangerous. At this point, we can't just brush it off as "Trump being Trump." Trump is president of the United States. His words matter. His tweets matter. His behavior matters. A sitting president delegitimizing the foundation of our democracy matters. It all matters.

Former president Barack Obama has some advice for President Trump, elicited by a question asked of him in a 60 Minutes interview this weekend. Trump will definitely not heed it, but the rest of us should hear it to remind us of what it means to lead this country. When asked, "What is your advice, in this moment, for President Trump?" Obama reminded us of what a president is and what his or her responsibility boils down to.

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