Patterico's Pontifications


After Mitch McConnell’s “Betrayal,” What Will MAGA Outlets Do Now?

Filed under: General — Dana @ 3:36 pm

[guest post by Dana]

After Mitch McConnell publicly acknowledged and made it clear to the Republican Party that Joe Biden was the next President of the United States, the current President, with uncharacteristic restraint, implored McConnell to re-consider:

Mitch, 75,000,000 VOTES, a record for a sitting President (by a lot). Too soon to give up. Republican Party must finally learn to fight. People are angry!”

We know, that while a handful of Republicans followed McConnell’s lead and hesitatingly acknowledged Biden’s win, a majority of courageous lawmakers opted to hide out in their bunks.

So, how did the news of McConnell’s acknowledgment that Biden is indeed the President-elect play out in MAGA world? I’m glad you asked. McConnell’s actions were not well received:

McConnell, who had been celebrated throughout the Trump years for putting conservatives on the Supreme Court and helping acquit Trump during impeachment, was suddenly the target of blistering attacks from some of the very right-wing media figures who had celebrated him when he did their bidding.

McConnell became the target of some in MAGA Media. Charlie Kirk raged on his podcast, “You typically don’t use the term ‘congratulations’ when someone just stole a bank — stole money from a bank.” The Gateway Pundit accused him of “supporting election fraud” and questioned his wife’s dealings with China. An OANN host said he would “regret revealing his own corruption in less than 30 days.” Sebastian Gorka said he had “cave[d] to the mob.” Mark Levin bashed him and said it’s “time for some fresh thinking and new blood.”

Additionally, Trump-promoting attorney Lin Wood referred to McConnell as “a traitor to American Patriots,” and warned that “his day of judgment is coming.”

And although she didn’t specifically name McConnell, Marjorie Taylor Greene, the Georgia representative-elect and QAnon conspiracy theory supporter commented right after his announcement, saying:

Republicans who don’t continue contesting the election results are supporting “the Chinese Communist Party takeover of America.”

More reactions to McConnell from MAGA world:

Recently pardoned former National Security Advisor Mike Flynn joined the outcry, retweeting a Twitter user who called on ‘American patriots’ to let ‘McConnell know we aren’t on board with his ‘President Elect Biden’ mindset.’

Flynn told Trump: ‘millions & millions & millions of Patriots stand behind, alongside & in front of you during this crucible moment in US History where our very Republic is on the line. We won’t fail or cower like some in the Republican Party have shown.

Hard-right commentator Nicholas J. Fuentes, who has been appearing at rallies across the country to protest the election results, tweeted simply: ‘McConnell is a traitor and a RINO.’

And Michelle Malkin tweeted this:

MCCONNELL/CHAO SWAMP FLASHBACK OF THE DAY. The enemy is not without. The enemy is within. Has always been.

It’s been riveting to see the wave of anger directed at McConnell for stating the truth and congratulating Biden as the next President of the United States. Painful as it might be for the deluded Trump superfans, McConnell did what needed to be done. Frankly, it should have happened weeks earlier. At the very least, McConnell should have publicly recognized Biden as the President-elect before Vladimir Putin. What’s most surprising about the party of personal responsibility (although they aren’t encouraging Trump to assume responsibility for his election loss) and the party that hates “cancel culture,” is that they appear to be on a path to cancel McConnell for doing the right thing his betrayal. This is from Brian Stelter, a journalist I have never held in high regard. However, I think he is provably right here:

The whole episode underscored — yet again — the true nature of the MAGA Media diehards. These pro-Trump personalities claim to be against groupthink and cancel culture, but are ready to cancel anyone who steps out of line, regardless of who they are. Don’t just look at the attacks McConnell has faced. Look at the wrath folks like Attorney General William Barr and Tucker Carlson faced in recent weeks for rejecting wild election conspiracy theories. And, more broadly, look at how former GOP heroes like Jeff Sessions and John Bolton were treated by right-wing media when they had the nerve to diverge from Trump.

There is a small sliver of conservative media that remains which is genuinely interested in advancing conservative philosophy and debating on the merits. But that small sliver is nothing compared to the rest of the right-wing apparatus that has pledged undying support to Trump. Dissent from Trump and they will aim to destroy. The ironic feature of right-wing media is that at its core it often acts as an agent of the cancel culture that it professes to hate. The question now becomes: What do they do when Trump is gone?

Once Trump leaves and/or is removed from office, what do the MAGA media outlets do? I’m not talking about OANN, Newsmax, or Fox News. They’ll stay the course as long as they get the eyes and the ratings. No, I’m talking about fellow right-leaning outlets and blogs whose writing we read because we considered them reliable – until they weren’t. What do they do now given their leader will soon be out of the seat of power? Do they remain in the alternate realities they have created because there is an audience for it? Do they continue to hold in contempt members of the Republican Party, like McConnell, who do the right thing? Or do they find their way back to reasonable soundness?

I suspect MAGA outlets will continue to feed the audiences they’ve cultivated with the red meat they demand. This while keeping an eye on the revenue stream. That might be cynical of me, but four years of Trump will do that. All I can do is to assure you that this humble blogger will continue to house politicians of every political stripe in a purgatoric-like circle of hell designed especially for them. A holding place, if you will, where they will be viewed with a jaded eye until they prove themselves. One way or the other and for better or worse. In other words, every elected official from city councilmember to the President of the United States and in between remains fair game.


The Electoral Count Act of 1887 and How Trump Could Use It in a Coup Attempt

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 12:42 pm

In the latest episode of the Lawfare podcast, Benjamin Wittes, Molly Reynolds, and Scott R. Anderson discussed potential scenarios for Banana Republicans to override the vote of the American people in the 2020 presidential election. I alluded to this yesterday but thought it deserved a fuller discussion. The bottom line is that, while mischief is possible, a coup is extraordinarily unlikely . . . but only because the House of Representatives is controlled by Democrats and not Republicans.

It all comes down to the application of the Electoral Count Act of 1887. If you want to read up on it, there is a good summary here. Here is the heart of how it works if there is an objection to the slates of electors submitted by the states:

“Objections to individual state returns must be made in writing by at least one Member each of the Senate and House of Representatives. If an objection meets these requirements, the joint session recesses and the two houses separate and debate the question in their respective chambers for a maximum of two hours,” the CRS said. “The two houses then vote separately to accept or reject the objection. They then reassemble in joint session, and announce the results of their respective votes. An objection to a state’s electoral vote must be approved by both houses in order for any contested votes to be excluded.”

Mo Brooks is already on board to object from the House. All he needs is one partisan clown from the GOP Senate to join him in a signed, written objection. In my view, he has a handful of potential fascists to choose from who are likely to be willing to make such an undemocratic move: Ted Cruz, Josh Hawley, Ron Johnson, or Rand Paul, possibly among others. Incredibly, it apparently takes only a majority vote of each body to sustain the objection, in which case Congress can choose an alternate set of electors.

A majority vote of Congress is all it would take to overrule the collective decision of some nearly 150 million voting American citizens.

That will not happen — again, because the House is controlled by Democrats. But what if it weren’t?

By the way, the sort of insanity that could result in an objection on January 6 is not unique to Republicans. It’s not like Democrats are inherently people of better character. It’s just that Republicans happen to be the fascists this time. But students of history will remember that in 2005, Barbara Boxer joined some stooge from the House in raising an objection based on fever-swamp conspiracy theories about Diebold and Ohio. “The House denied the objection in 31-267 vote, and the Senate denied it in a 1-74 vote.”

There are those who will tell you that there is no danger that Congress would rubber-stamp such a theft of the election, and they support their case by pointing to the fact that Mitch McConnell — who congratulated Joe Biden shortly after Vladimir Putin did — has thrown cold water on the notion, and several GOP senators have said they would not engage in such a ploy. How reassuring is that, when we know that Congress is controlled by Democrats? How confident would you feel that they would do the same if they knew that a GOP-controlled House would vote to accept an alternate slate of Trump electors from battleground states?

After watching the impeachment vote, I am not confident at all.

Americans will not have to take to the streets, like Ukranians did in the Orange Revolution of 2004, in a show of force designed to insist that the person they actually elected will be the one who takes office. But the only reason I can say that with any degree of confidence is because Democrats control the House. If Republicans held the House, I worry that these soulless power-grabbing opponents of democracy would actually try to execute a coup.

This statute needs to be amended. The precedent has been set, and future “populists” have a ready-made playbook for a coup: inventing a claim of fraud as a transparent pretext to seize power. All they need is both houses of Congress under their control, and for every member of those bodies to vote on a party line, and the American experiment would be dead.

It’s not that implausible, in the era of Trump. It has to be changed.

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