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Hometown: GA
Home country: USA
Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 9,820

About Me

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Journal Archives

State Legislatures Don't Have the Power to Subvert the Election for Trump (Ari Berman)

State Legislatures Donít Have the Power to Subvert the Election for Trump
Trumpís new strategy to undermine the will of the voters is illegal and doomed to fail.
By Ari Berman, Mother Jones

After losing nearly every major legal case seeking to throw out ballots cast for Joe Biden in key states, the Trump campaign has pivoted to a new strategy: seeking to persuade GOP-controlled legislatures in states like Michigan and Pennsylvania to nullify Bidenís victory and appoint their own electors for Trump. The Republican leaders of Michiganís legislature have been summoned to the White House on Friday to discuss this plan.

Such a move would not only be a breathtaking nullification of the will of the voters without parallel in American democracy, it is almost certainly illegal and unconstitutional.

ďNo state legislature in our countryís history ever has done with Donald Trump is apparently agitating for the Michigan state legislature to do, which is to ignore the results of a popular vote election and wrest control from the voters,Ē Biden campaign lawyer Bob Bauer said on a press call Friday. ďThe Constitution does not permit a state legislature to do what Donald Trump wants the Michigan state legislature to do.Ē

Berman proceeds to point out the most significant flaws in the Trump scheme:
  • State legislatures have no authority over how election results are certified

  • State electors must be based on the popular vote

  • State legislature can only appoint their own electors if voters ďfailed to make a choiceĒ

  • Governors have the authority to override state legislators
More detail for each of these points at link:

We came much closer to an election catastrophe than many realize

(Opinion by Paul Waldman, Washington Post - Nov. 18, 2020)
As President Trump refuses to concede that he lost the election, and his dead-enders trot out increasingly bizarre conspiracy theories and legal tantrums, we are witnessing an attack on democracy that is at turns sickening and comical. But as it turns more the latter than the former, we should be aware of how close we came to catastrophe.

You may look at President-elect Joe Bidenís 306-to-232 lead in the electoral college, and his popular vote lead of 5.8 million votes and growing, and say that, thankfully, the results werenít that close. As my colleague Greg Sargent wrote before the election, Trumpís legal strategy was predicated on getting within ďcheating distance,Ē with the margins narrow enough that he could convince Republican judges to intercede on his behalf and hand him the election. It hasnít happened.

But it was closer than you think. And it raises the frightening possibility that if Trumpís team were not such a bunch of buffoons, and if Republican officials at the state level were just a little more corrupt than they already are, he might have been able to steal the election after all.

Thatís because the 2020 election was, in one critical way, even closer than 2016.

Waldman goes on to point out that much has been made of the 77,000-vote margin in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania that gave Trump the electoral votes needed to prevail in 2016. But in 2020, all would have needed would have been 45,000 votes in Arizona, Wisconsin, and Georgia.

Final tallies are being completed; Georgia is conducting a hand recount, and there could be a recount in Wisconsin if the Trump campaign decides to pay for one. But here are the margins by which Biden won three critical states, as of Wednesday morning:

Arizona: 10,457
Georgia: 14,028
Wisconsin: 20,565
Total: 45,050

If weíre thinking about whether Trump could make up any of those deficits in a recount, the answer is almost certainly no; recounts seldom find mistakes that move more than a few hundred votes in one direction or another, and could just as easily make Bidenís leads larger.

But if Trump had managed to get those 45,000 votes, he would have won 37 more electoral votes, making the electoral college a 269-to-269 tie. Under the Constitution, the election would have then been decided by the House of Representatives, with each state delegation getting just one vote. Even though Democrats have a majority in the House, more state delegations have Republican majorities. Trump would have been reelected.

Thatís the bullet we just dodged, all because of 45,000 votes.

Terrifying indeed. More at link: https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2020/11/18/how-2020-election-was-closer-than-2016/

What's really interesting is the increased Democratic turnout in several rural counties.

The Atlanta suburbs get a lot of credit in the press, but the maps in the NY Times piece referenced in the linked Tweet show a dramatic Blue shift from 2016-2020.

Cohn et al. point out that overall Black turnout as a percentage of the vote declined this time around, and sure, that's true, if only because the number of White voters from both major parties was dramatically higher as well (and there are more White voters than African-American or Latinx voters in Georgia). But if you look at the county-by-county results, there are several rural or semi-rural counties where Trump still won, but he won by less. A few hundred votes here, and a few hundred votes there, and pretty soon -- in an election this close -- those little counties suddenly are no longer inconsequential. And it's Black voters in those areas who made the difference, I'm almost certain.

The map published by USA Today (scroll to bottom of page to How counties shifted from 2016) shows 2016-to-2020 differences in every county in the United States. Lee County, in southwest Georgia, for example, voted for Biden at a rate over 8% higher than for Clinton. Catoosa County, in northwest Georgia, went for Biden at a more than 4% higher clip.

I think the statewide GOTV efforts by Stacey Abrams and others are responsible for these modest gains in counties with lower populations than the heavy hitters in metro Atlanta, and they deserve credit for contributing to Biden's 14,000-vote lead in Georgia.

Happy 81st birthday, Wendy Carlos!

- from a 1989 BBC documentary (when she was age 50)


Dedicated to Arizona: "Killer Blow" by Sade

- from the movie Absolute Beginners, directed by Julien Temple. Soundtrack by Gil Evans.

Lovely Day - Jose James

Cover of the Bill Withers song

So what are the chances of getting an earnest money refund on a house in New Zealand?

Asking for a friend.

Georgia judge dismisses Trump campaign case in Chatham ballot dispute

Source: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The Trump campaign and the Georgia GOPís challenge to vote counting in Chatham County was rejected on Thursday by a Chatham County Superior Court judge.

The campaign had filed a petition that raised questions about whether Chatham County election officials were following Georgia law to ensure no late-arriving absentee ballots were counted. State law requires any ballot that arrives after 7 p.m. on Election Day to be invalidated.

A pair of Republican election watchers who had raised concerns on Wednesday about the process testified in the video-conferenced hearing. They both testified about concerns about the process they observed involving a stack of 53 ballots, but offered no evidence that the ballots had come in after the deadline.

After listening to testimony for more than a hour, including a details outlining the procedures the Chatham County registrarís office uses to receive and track absentee ballots, Judge James F. Bass swiftly threw out the case.

Read more: https://www.ajc.com/news/georgia-judge-dismisses-trump-campaign-case-in-chatham-ballot-dispute/YKBA6IYQKBB4JCSQEIJBQQT6QI/

Chatham County is where Savannah is, and the second largest Democratic stronghold after metro Atlanta. Excellent news!

Chatham County (Savannah) Superior Court Judge dismisses Georgia GOP challenge

Lawsuit dismissed! Absentee ballots can be counted in Savannah!!

Original report: Georgia GOP, Trump file lawsuit over ballot counting
The Georgia Republican Party and President Donald Trumpís campaign filed a lawsuit Wednesday alleging that Chatham County is improperly counting absentee ballots received after the stateís deadline.

The petition, filed in Chatham County Superior Court, was the third filed by the Trump campaign, all in states with close races where ballots were still being counted late Wednesday.

In Georgia, Trump held a small lead over Democratic candidate Joe Biden as tens of thousands of absentee ballots remained to be counted in metro Atlanta and Savannah.

The Georgia suit addresses how absentee ballots were stored and states that ballots received after 7 p.m. Tuesday should not be counted. A poll watcher claims he saw a poll worker handling ballots incorrectly.

More at link: https://www.ajc.com/news/breaking-georgia-gop-trump-file-lawsuit-over-ballot-counting/CC23LBS6WBCU5I7A467DKZH44Q/

Giants star Buster Posey surprises girl who lost baseball cards during California wildfire

WFTV-9 ABC: FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. ó updated Oct. 31, 2020
Buster Posey is a six-time All-Star, but the San Francisco Giants catcher will always remain a most valuable player for a California girl who lost her baseball card collection in a wildfire.

Posey, the National Leagueís Most Valuable Player in 2012, jumped onto a Zoom call to surprise Reese Osterberg, who thought she was being interviewed about her collection and the kindness of a San Jose man who helped replenish it, KGO reported.

Osterberg, a 9-year-old from Fresno County, lost her baseball cards in September when her home was destroyed during the Creek Fire, the largest single wildfire in California history that destroyed 856 buildings, according to The Fresno Bee.

-- snip --

The #CreekFire destroyed 9-year-old Reese's home and her beloved baseball card collection. To lift her spirits, her favorite #MLB player @BusterPosey surprised her on Zoom! Reece thought she was doing an interview with @LarryBeilABC7 until the @SFGiants star appeared on screen.

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