WTF Community

🗳 2020 Primary Election

(David Bythewood) #905

Trump knows his reelection chances are in trouble, so now he’s trying to confuse Americans and erode trust in our elections

  • In 2016, then-candidate Trump tried to sow discord and confusion about the election in the face of long electoral odds.
  • Now, facing a possible defeat in November, President Trump is using that same playbook to confuse Americans and undermine their faith in the election.
  • By raising doubt about the validity of the election, Trump is harming our democracy in an attempt to try and preserve his power.
  • Reed Galen is a co-founder of The Lincoln Project and an independent political strategist.

Four years ago, facing almost certain electoral defeat, then-candidate Donald Trump mused that he might not accept the outcome of the election. Given our nation’s long tradition of peaceful transitions of power, Trump’s remarks were one more red flag we all watched flapping in the wind but refused to take seriously.

His words then had real-world effects. Wikileaks, Russian troll-farms and seedy Facebook groups stoked fear among voters that the election would indeed be stolen from Trump. Conspiracy theories about Hillary Clinton, her emails, Seth Rich and all of the ugliness the Trump-Fox News-Steve Bannon circle of hell could conjure up injected a level of uncertainty and doubt never before seen in our politics.

In 2020, now President Donald Trump is at it again. This time, Trump, his White House, and his campaign are playing a double game.

In a recent interview on Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Trump directly if he would accept the outcome of this November’s election. At any other time in history with any other president, the answer would be: “Yes, of course. I’ll accept the will of the American people.” But at this time and with this president the answer was, instead: “No. I have to see.”

Trump doesn’t care about the American people. That much is clear from his inability to respond to the coronavirus crisis, plan for rebuilding a shattered economy, or doing the first thing to heal a country in the throes of its worst racial unrest in generations.

Trump’s impairment stretches to understanding how the American electoral system actually works. For him, like everything in life, an election is performative – the outcome doesn’t really matter, so there’s no point worrying about the details.

What Trump does know, intimately, is that there are millions of Americans out there are who believe the deep state is out to get them and to rig the election in favor of a “well-known socialist plant” like former Vice President Joe Biden.

When he says that mail-in voting is regularly abused by fraudulent voters, Trump knows he’s not telling the truth, but he’s never claimed he was. When he brings in the Attorney General of the United States, Bill Barr, to back up those charges with the imprimatur of the Justice Department, the president is not worried about which individual Americans vote.

He instinctually knows that the further he degrades and delegitimizes the process, the less people are likely to turn out. For a president sitting at 38% approval nationally, his only hope of reelection at this moment is for tens of millions of Americans to sit out November, again.

Ironically, it was the Republican Party that for years mastered the art and science of identifying voters who were eligible to vote absentee, contacting them directly and repeatedly, and thereby making their targeting more efficient and allowing them to bank votes well before Election Day.

It is not unusual to see Trump rail against mail-in ballots on Twitter on the same day his campaign emails its supporters pleading with them to fill out their absentee ballot application. These mixed signals confuse voters, give his staff and supporters their marching orders and give new shadowy groups such as QAnon the ability to stir up confusion, disorder and distrust across numerous, unseen social media accounts.

While Trump himself is incapable of playing a double game, he instinctually understands the dynamics at play in America, today. About 35% of the country will do and say anything he asks of them, amplified by conservative media outlets. Trump also lives and dies by the zero-sum game. He doesn’t have to win by much, just enough to make sure everyone else loses.

Perhaps this is where Trump has done the most long-lasting institutional damage to the country. Democracies are tests of faith. Millions of people must believe that the system we’ve collectively agreed to, works for us. They must believe elections are fair and free of interference.

Trump preys on the weakness and suspicions of those Americans the system has failed. In November, we must show them that those of us that believe in this country far outnumber those that would hasten its downfall with four more years of Donald Trump.


More buzz on Biden’s choice for VP see Sen Kamala Harris, Sen. Elizbeth Warren…and Sen Duckworth listed as top 3. This is only NYT’s speculation. We are still seeing a lot of coverage on Rep Val Demmings, Stacey Abrams, Susan Rice etc.

Here are 13 women who have been under consideration by Mr. Biden, and why each might be chosen — and might not be as strong. Only listed top 3.

Sen. Kamala Harris
Bio: Senator from California since 2017; former presidential candidate; served as district attorney in San Francisco and state attorney general.

How seriously is she being vetted? Very seriously. Harris, 55, has long been seen as among the likeliest candidates to be chosen.

Signature issues: Proposed cutting middle-class taxes; recently advocated policing reform; pushed a Senate bill to make lynching a federal crime; played a high-profile role in the confirmation hearings of Justice Brett M. Kavanaugh.

Relationship with Biden: Harris had a friendly relationship with Biden before they competed in the 2020 primaries, and Harris knew his late son, Beau, when they served as attorneys general. But Harris also attacked Biden more harshly than any other Democrat in the 2020 race, rebuking him in the first televised debate for having worked with segregationist senators to oppose school busing policies in the 1970s.

Pros and cons: Harris is among the best-known Black women in American politics, with appeal to both moderates and liberals. But she ran an unsteady presidential campaign last year and struggled with questions about her law-enforcement record. The way she and her advisers handled the 2020 primary left some in the Biden campaign with significant reservations.

On being considered for vice president: “I know that conversation is taking place in the press and among the pundits, and I’m honored to even be considered, if that’s the case.”

Sen Elizabeth Warren
Bio: Senator from Massachusetts since 2013; former presidential candidate; former Harvard Law School professor and bankruptcy expert; architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

How seriously is she being vetted? Very seriously. Warren, 71, has been among the strongest contenders to be Mr. Biden’s running mate.

Signature issues: Has long criticized wealth concentration and corporate power; proposed plans to break up big companies, tax the extremely rich and use proceeds to fund new social benefits; recently called for investigations of how the Trump administration has distributed economic stimulus money and pushed a measure to strip the names of Confederate generals from military bases.

Relationship with Biden: Warren and Biden have a relationship of mutual respect, framed by significant ideological differences. When Biden was a senator and Warren a Harvard professor, they clashed in a Senate hearing over bankruptcy regulation. But when Biden was mulling a campaign for president in 2016, he met with Warren privately and considered the idea of asking her to run with him.

Pros and cons: Warren would bring sterling progressive credentials and a forceful economic message to Biden’s ticket. But she does not represent racial or generational diversity, and her populist record could unnerve some moderates.

On being considered for vice president: “I’m focused right now on this crisis.”

Sen Tammy Duckworth
Bio: Senator from Illinois since 2017; served two terms in the House; former director of the Illinois Department of Veterans Affairs; a retired Army lieutenant colonel and helicopter pilot who lost both legs in combat while serving in Iraq.

How seriously is she being vetted? Very seriously. Duckworth, 52, has been interviewed by the Biden team and she has been asked to submit documents for vetting.

Signature issues: Has been a prominent spokeswoman for her party on national security and the concerns of veterans and military families; championed policies to protect people with disabilities.

Relationship with Biden: Duckworth does not have an especially close relationship with Biden, but as vice president he backed her 2016 candidacy to unseat a Republican senator, Mark Kirk. Duckworth introduced Biden’s late son, Beau, as a speaker at the 2008 Democratic National Convention.

Pros and cons: Duckworth’s personal story could be powerful in a presidential campaign; she would be the first veteran on a national ticket since John McCain, and the first female veteran ever. She is a less prominent voice on some of the issues most central to the campaign, like policing and the economy.

On being considered for vice president: “I can push back against Trump in a way others can’t.”






Some powerful new ads from The Lincoln Project going into some targeted regions…These guys bring it.

Exclusive: Lincoln Project’s $4 million ad blitz targets Alaska, Maine and Montana Senate seats

The Lincoln Project, a group founded by “never Trump” Republicans that has produced some of the cycle’s most memorable ads, today begins spending $4 million to blitz Senate races in Alaska, Maine and Montana.

Why it matters: This is the Lincoln Project’s biggest buy to date, and the Senate ads will air for seven to 10 days in key markets.

  • The ads — which include “Real” in Alaska and “Strong” in Montana — support challengers to incumbent Republicans.
  • "Trump Stooge, " airing in Maine, criticizes Sen. Susan Collins for not standing up to President Trump.
  • “Maine deserves a leader, not a Trump stooge,” the ad says.

What they’re saying: “We’re moving into the active phase of the fall campaign as voters, stuck at home because of COVID-19, tune in earlier than ever,” communications director Keith Edwards told Axios.

See the ads:


A few hints from Biden’s notes of what he thinks about Sen Kamala Harris - he likes her. Next week we have his choice for VP revealed.

Presumptive Democratic nominee Joe Biden on Tuesday was photographed holding handwritten notes with Sen. Kamala Harris’ name at the top along with a set of talking points about her, fueling fresh speculation about the California Democrat’s standing as a vice presidential running mate.

The notes, which were photographed at a speech in Wilmington, Delaware, feature Harris’ name followed by five talking points: “Do not hold grudges,” “Campaigned with me & Jill,” “Talented,” “Great help to campaign” and "Great respect for her."

The Biden campaign declined to comment to CNN on Tuesday night.

(David Bythewood) #911

Powerful new video, focused especially on Georgia, from Brave New Films.


I think it’ll be Kamala, she’s the only one besides Warren with established campaign infrastructure ready at a moment’s notice.

(David Bythewood) #913

My wife is really hoping for it. I’m between her and Sen. Duckworth, both very worthy of it.


I love Sen. Duckworth but the only thing she doesn’t have is national campaign ready to go. :thinking:

(David Bythewood) #915



I think so too. She has been battle-tested in the campaign already, as you say and she has a strength about her that compliments Biden’s ‘heartful’ approach.

She does well with women, all women. That is important.

She is in for something big…as will Warren, Duckworth in the cabinet.

…Kamala had a fast start out of the gate in the Dem presidential campaign. She alienated some with her AG record perhaps. But she has heart, seems very real…and a fighter.

A few more days before we know…wow!!!


Complaint Says Trump Campaign Payments Broke Rules

WASHINGTON—President Trump’s re-election effort is alleged to have paid more than $170 million to companies affiliated with former campaign manager Brad Parscale without disclosing the ultimate recipients of the money, a campaign-finance oversight group says in a new complaint.

The Campaign Legal Center says in the complaint filed Tuesday with the Federal Election Commission that other records show the campaign has used an external firm to buy TV and radio advertising, but that company isn’t named in disclosure filings, nor were some other vendors that have been publicly connected to the campaign.

The Washington oversight group—which has sued Republicans and Democrats in the past over disclosure issues—said that violates the Federal Election Campaign Act requirement that campaigns clearly document their vendors.

“The campaign’s failure to itemize disbursements to its ultimate vendors means that the public is left in the dark about the entities working for the Trump campaign, the nature of their services, and the full amount they are paid,” the complaint says.

The Trump campaign said the complaint was without merit. “The campaign complies with all campaign finance laws and FEC regulations,” spokesman Tim Murtaugh said.

FEC complaints generally take years to resolve, and currently the election-monitoring body doesn’t have enough commissioners to take any action.

Mr. Trump removed Mr. Parscale as campaign manager late last month, tapping former White House political director Bill Stepien to take his place. Mr. Parscale is now the campaign’s senior adviser for data and digital operations.

Most of the payments documented in the complaint were made to American Made Media, a company Mr. Parscale created in 2018 but has said he has no financial ties to. Other campaign payments in question were made to Mr. Parscale’s consulting firm, Parscale Strategy.

Mr. Parscale and other campaign aides told The Wall Street Journal when American Made Media was established that it would directly buy digital, television and radio advertising, saving the campaign money because it would cut out the need for an external media-buying firm that would charge a steep commission rate.

But advertising forms filed with the Federal Communications Commission show that the campaign has used an external firm, Harris Sikes Media, throughout the re-election campaign for all of its $250 million worth of TV and radio buys.

Mr. Murtaugh said in response to the complaint that American Made Media “builds efficiencies and saves the campaign money by providing these in-house services that otherwise would be done by outside vendors.” He didn’t respond to questions about the campaign’s use of an external media buyer.

That Alexandria, Va.-based media buyer, Harris Sikes Media, doesn’t appear in Trump campaign FEC reports, suggesting it is a vendor paid by American Made Media or Parscale Strategy, the Campaign Legal Center’s complaint says.

The group also said campaign-related salaries and expenses for Kimberly Guilfoyle, the girlfriend of Donald Trump Jr., and Lara Trump, Eric Trump’s wife, don’t appear in FEC documents. Both women are working alongside the president’s sons to help re-elect him.

“We can only speculate about what might be being hidden,” Brendan Fischer, Campaign Legal Center’s director of federal reform. He said it is important to have full disclosure to ensure the campaign isn’t violating rules about overpaying relatives and sharing vendors with super PACs, for example.

(David Bythewood) #918

So… do you think that story is connected to this one from not long ago?

Jared Kushner has more say than RNC Chairwoman Ronna McDaniel over funding & is completely ignoring desperate pleas from Senior House Republicans to provide financial help as Democrats vastly outraise the GOP.


An amalgamation of polls taken by FiveThirtyEight and looks likes Dems are leading. So far so good.

(David Bythewood) #920

Meidas Touch with another video, this one to be airing nationally on TV using Reagan’s famous “are you better off than you were four years ago” speech.

It’s only 30 seconds, but it packs a punch.

(David Bythewood) #921

Here’s how to prepare for Trump rejecting the election results in November

President Trump is laying the groundwork to do something that no previous president has ever done: falsely claim that an election was fixed against him in order to discredit the vote. Trump has repeatedly — and incorrectly — claimed the election will be “rigged” against him. By promoting a series of wacky, debunked conspiracy theories, he has primed his supporters to wrongly believe he is the victim of some unknown, shadowy “deep state” plot. In an interview that aired last week, he refused to commit to accepting the results in November.

His actions challenge the flagship event of our republic: the peaceful transfer of power after an election, accepted by all candidates. (It’s worth noting that in 2016, Hillary Clinton quickly accepted the results and congratulated her opponent, while also criticizing the election’s integrity based on verified instances of Russian information warfare — a far cry from Trump peddling the debunked myth of widespread voter fraud.) With about 100 days to go, we are careening toward an extraordinarily dangerous crisis of American democracy.

Such crises never happen in other functioning democracies. But they happen all the time in broken countries around the world. In contentious elections from Africa to southeast Asia, incumbents who lose often refuse to accept defeat. Welcome to the club, America!

All the warning lights are blinking red. University of Birmingham professor Nic Cheeseman , an expert on contentious elections and political violence with whom I co-authored the book “How to Rig an Election,” normally worries when contested votes happen in Kenya or Zimbabwe. Now, he’s worried about the United States. “There are five warning I always look for,” he told me. “Organized militias, a leader who is not prepared to lose, distrust of the political system, disinformation, and a potentially close contest. Right now, the U.S. has all five.”

Consider ourselves warned. The question, then, is: What do we do about it? If Trump ends up trying to torch crucial norms of democracy in order to save face, how can we prepare? Other countries offer a series of lessons we should urgently learn from, so that if (or when) the worst happens, Trump’s matches don’t light.

First, we need a bipartisan pact endorsing the results. Incumbents who reject results solely because they lost tend to get more traction when their party backs them uniformly. When cracks show, the self-serving farce falls apart. Democrats and Republicans who believe in democracy should agree to immediately and publicly accept the election results (barring any major irregularities).

All living former presidents should be involved. It would also be particularly helpful to ensure that former members of the Trump administration — such as John Kelly, H.R. McMaster and Jim Mattis — are on board. The broader the coalition, the more Trump’s desperate ploy would be exposed for what it is.

Second, shore up public confidence with oversight. State election officials can conduct quick randomized audits and release results that demonstrate the integrity of the process. Many states do not automatically mandate such audits, but there is still time to expand them before November. And while some states have put up roadblocks to independent international election observers in the past, now would be a good time to welcome them with open arms. They might shine an embarrassing light on any state’s electoral failings, but can quickly debunk false claims of manipulation made by losers.

Third, the media should do more to educate voters about election administration. Trump’s lies about election procedures work when people don’t understand the process. For example, Trump tried to attack mail-in ballots while saying that he has no issue with absentee ballots, even though no-fault absentee ballots and mail-in voting are exactly the same thing. Just as it’s easier to scare people with the risks of dihydrogen monoxide until people realize that it is water, educating voters will make it harder for Trump to get away with lying about how elections are held.

Fourth, state and local election officials should do more contingency planning for a pandemic election. Things will go wrong. The more preparations are done now, the fewer examples Trump and his allies can cherry-pick to make false claims of being the victim of an unfair vote. Again, the media can help expose states that aren’t ready, to help kick them into gear.

Sign up for The Odds newsletter for election updates from data columnist David Byler

Finally, it would help if the margin was clear and court rulings were swift and decisive to uphold democracy. As professor Sarah Birch, author of “Electoral Violence, Corruption, and Political Order,” told me: “Malawi provides a good example of a country that recently weathered a contentious election more successfully than many observers had expected.” Even though the president tried to manipulate the vote — and even tried to cancel it — “the clear margin of victory of the winner together with the resoluteness of the courts in insisting on adhering to democratic electoral norms” blunted the damage done by the losing incumbent.

If Trump’s authoritarian populism wins in November, the United States faces an existential threat to its democracy. But if he loses, the period between Nov. 4 and Jan. 20, 2021, will be particularly dangerous, too. It’s not too late. But we must get ready.


Another excerpt from Crooked Media newsletter

This one talks about what strategies that T and/or R’s might use to stifle the mail-in ballots

While they have all this leverage, Democrats should use it to save the election from President Trump’s ongoing efforts to sabotage it.

  • Under intense pressure from Republican leaders and prominent conservatives, Trump has (mostly) abandoned his insane “suggestion” that the election be delayed indefinitely. He has instead replaced it with a new demand that the election be called on November 3, even if millions of ballots remain uncounted. “I’ve been watching elections. And they say the ‘projected winner’ or the ‘winner of the election’—I don’t want to see that take place in a week after November 3 or a month or, frankly, with litigation and everything else that can happen, years.”

  • With an unprecedented number of people voting absentee thanks to the raging plague Trump failed to contain, it’s likely we won’t know who won the election on election night, and Trump’s doing everything in his power to make that impossible. Postal workers now say the loyalist Trump placed in charge of the Postal Service, Louis DeJoy, has instituted policies that “could undermine their ability to deliver ballots on time for the November election.”

Trump can’t cancel the election, but his new play is obvious: Trap as many mail ballots into a backlogged postal system as he can, then claim efforts to count them after Election Day are illegitimate. We know prominent Republicans will play along with this scam, because they did the same thing after the 2018 midterms (see: Rubio, Marco). Democrats can’t stop Republicans from lying and trying to cheat. But they can insist that this relief bill include ample funds for both the Post Office and election administration—and they must.


More from The Lincoln Project

1)We will Vote - The Lincoln Project

  1. Nationalist Geographic - Impotus Americanus - The Lincoln Project


@Windthin we need a lobbying intensifies gif for this one.