Patterico's Pontifications

12/11/2020

Why Stop Now: Trump Reaping Big Bucks Post-Election

Filed under: General — Dana @ 11:13 am



[guest post by Dana]

‘What power has law where only money rules?’

While the long and baseless post-election slog through various courts continues, Trump’s grift is paying off handsomely:

President Donald Trump and his party raised $207.5 million in a less than three-week stretch after the U.S. election, fueled by outrage-filled solicitations to donors as he waged an unsuccessful challenge of the results.

Money flooded into Trump’s coffers at a much higher rate after he began to seek contributions to fight widespread voter fraud and election rigging, despite no evidence of either, after his loss to President-elect Joe Biden, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

The bulk of the cash — $121.7 million — came to the Trump Make America Great Again Committee via WinRed, the Republican platform for gathering smaller donations online. In the 20 days leading up to and including Election Day, those donors gave $44.8 million.

Via text message and email pleas Trump and the GOP continue to tap into a rich vein of MAGA anger and denial about the election results:

The TMAGA fundraising was spurred in part by an endless stream of text messages and emails insisting that the vote was marred and asking for help contesting the results of elections in Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin among other states.

“I trust you know that I’m fighting every second of every day to Make America Great Again and DEFEND the integrity of this Election,” began one recent pitch from the president to his supporters, despite a dismal record in the courts for his lawsuits.

However, it is unknown – and frankly, it wouldn’t matter – if contributors have read the fine print:

75% of money given to TMAGA will go to Save America, a political action committee Trump set up that allows him to spend the money on political activity, including holding rallies, advertising, fundraising, travel and supporting other candidates. The balance goes to the Republican National Committee.

The PAC is an alternative to raising money for the campaign directly, which is limited in what it can do with the cash in its coffers. Unless he officially files as a candidate running for president in 2024, Trump’s campaign can only raise money to pay down debts, fund his legal challenges or pay for modest wind-down expenses, said Larry Noble, a former general counsel at the FEC.

Interestingly, Trump’s campaign has $18.4 million cash, which is far more than enough to cover the $11.3 million owed to vendors. But still, if more money is there for the taking, why not just take it.

There are, however, limits on what the money can be spent on. Trump’s legal expenses won’t see much of it. But there is a plan to cover those:

Trump is funding those through the campaign, which attributed $4.3 million of the $37.5 million it raised after Election Day to its recount fund. The campaign also listed $8.8 million of recount expenses, with the biggest line item the $3 million paid for a partial recount in Wisconsin…The post-election pitches have not only raised more money than Trump’s closing argument for a second term, they’ve been far more cost effective. TMAGA spent $22.4 million on fundraising expenses after the election, compared to $43.5 million in the weeks leading up to and including Election Day.

In other words, when you’re running a successful grift, why stop it? It would be foolish to put the brakes on it now. Undermining the election? Trying to disenfranchise millions of voters? Undermining democracy? Making Herculean efforts to subvert the election in various states? Sow discord and distrust in our electoral process? Eh, whatever. If that’s what it takes to rake in the cash, then it’s a small price to pay for someone hell-bent on making a massive power grab and denying that he lost the election. Now that he has a substantial number of Congressional Republicans supporting him in his lunacy, one wonder just how long he will keep the nuttiness going. But remember, Trump will meet his electoral fate on Monday.

The prescience of David French: “When I wrote my book (finished in March), I warned that future politicians might recklessly threaten the union to preserve their power. In the election contest, the president, 126 members of Congress, and 18 state AG’s say that future is now.”

–Dana

Traitors to Democracy Supporting Texas Lawsuit Now Include 106 Elected Republican House Members

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am



Shameful in the extreme. Remember their names. They include people I once respected, like Dan Crenshaw and Tom McClintock.

A Republican congressional ally of President Trump solicited more than 100 of his fellow GOP lawmakers to sign on to a brief with the Supreme Court in support of a long-shot lawsuit filed by Texas seeking to delay certification of presidential electors in four battleground states won by President-elect Joe Biden.

Congressman Mike Johnson, a Republican from Louisiana, circulated an email, obtained by CBS News, from his personal account to GOP members Wednesday that asked them to join a friend-of-the-court brief to be filed in support of the effort spearheaded by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton. Johnson was a vocal defender of Mr. Trump during impeachment proceedings.

Some defend these people because they claim not to back the particular allegations of fraud in the lawsuit, but rather supposedly intend only to communicate their concerns about the election system, or something. But the reporting has made clear that Trump solicited their support, and it’s quite clear what they’re doing. To my knowledge, not a single one of these frauds has issued a public statement stating that Trump lost a free and fair election but nevertheless yada yada yada. The language in bold is what I would require to see from someone to take their fig leaf “we’re not really trying to overturn the election” argument seriously.

I don’t think any of these people should ever hold elective office again and I would never vote for any of them. It’s very difficult to overstate how terrible Trump’s actions are. Every dictator in history who has seized absolute power has had a pretext, and even if Trump is not able to pull off such a coup here, the presence of a flimsy and obviously false pretext for his actions does not justify what he is trying to do. Anyone who lends legitimacy to that pretext has, in my view, declared themselves to be an enemy of democracy, and should be written off for good.

People understate the seriousness of this simply because it is so farcical that it seems extraordinarily unlikely to work — but to me, the proper way to think about it is to imagine that it did work. After all, that is what Trump wants to happen, even if his effort is unlikely to succeed. If it did succeed, it would be the end of the American experiment. An illegitimate ruler would sit in power, with the only peaceful way to remove him — a free and fair election — having failed.

The only option left would be force.

That ought to frighten people.


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