You un-American, anti-democracy, lying sack of shit
Liar or believer? I’ve asked that a lot these past four years, as Republican politicians and media figures spout falsehood after Trump-supporting falsehood. Do they really believe it? Or are they cynically going along with claims they know have no basis in reality — or are even the opposite of reality — because they don’t value truth, don’t respect their supporters, and see personal advantage in the lies?
Do they really believe Vladimir Putin is right and the U.S. intelligence community is wrong about Russia’s interference in the 2016 election?
Do they really believe “there is no longer a nuclear threat from North Korea”? That COVID is no more dangerous than the flu? Or that Trump recalled the corruption-fighting ambassador to Ukraine, froze legally-allocated aid to Ukraine, and asked Ukraine’s president to do him the “favor” of announcing an investigation into Joe Biden because Trump was trying to oppose corruption, rather than trying to manufacture an advantage against the candidate he expected to face in 2020?
And now, most importantly, do they really believe these fantastical, widely-debunked conspiracy theories that claim the recent presidential election was illegitimate?
Ted Cruz does not. He is lying.
“Liar or believer?” is often hard to answer. Trump-loving Congressmen Matt Gaetz and Jim Jordan, Fox personality Sean Hannity, MAGA “youth activist” Charlie Kirk, and President Trump himself seem to really believe some of it (though can’t possibly believe it all).
With Ted Cruz it’s easy. There’s no doubt that the Republican Senator from Texas is fully aware that Trumpist claims of mass voter fraud are complete and utter bunk. He’s a Harvard-educated attorney, clerked for Chief Justice William Rehnquist, and taught law at UT Austin.
He knows that Team Trump lost 61 court cases in their effort to overturn state election results, winning only one (a Pennsylvania case with no effect on the outcome). He knows, contra Trump’s whining, that lack of standing is a perfectly legitimate reason for courts to reject a case. And he knows that the time for legal challenges is over now that states have recounted and audited their votes, and certified Electoral College results.
But he’s still voting to reject electors from states Joe Biden won when Congress officially counts them on January 6, which before this year had been properly treated as a formality.
Cruz’s official statement, which 10 other GOP Senators signed on to, shows he’s aware that it’s bullshit.
The joint statement does not level accusations of voter fraud. It does not present a lick of evidence (because there isn’t any). Its entire rationale is the existence of allegations. Seriously.
Here’s the text (emphasis mine):
The election of 2020, like the election of 2016, was hard fought and, in many swing states, narrowly decided. The 2020 election, however, featured unprecedented allegations of voter fraud, violations and lax enforcement of election law, and other voting irregularities.
“Voter fraud has posed a persistent challenge in our elections, although its breadth and scope are disputed. By any measure, the allegations of fraud and irregularities in the 2020 election exceed any in our lifetimes.
“And those allegations are not believed just by one individual candidate. Instead, they are widespread. Reuters/Ipsos polling, tragically, shows that 39% of Americans believe ‘the election was rigged.’
It’s false, but some people believe it, and they’ve leveled allegations based on those falsehoods, so Congress needs to join Trump’s effort to steal the election because the allegations exist. It’s a weak, post-truth, belief-not-reality argument, one that reveals, yet again, that the operative word in popular right-wing slogans like “facts don’t care about your feelings” and “fuck your feelings” was always “your,” not “feelings.”
It’s not like those beliefs came out of nowhere. A bunch of Republican voters believe “the election was rigged” because political and media leaders told them so.
Trumpist leaders lie about the election, Trump supporters believe those lies, and Trumpist politicians claim that voters believing their lies means those lies have to be treated as not-lies. This despite the fact that the allegations are such obvious lies that Trump’s lawyers aren’t even alleging them in court.
To address the allegations, Cruz’s statement calls for “an emergency 10-day audit of the election returns in the disputed states.”
Did he call for such an audit in the two months following the election? Does he offer any reason why states’ already-conducted audits might be inaccurate?
Of course not. Everyone knows that even a dishonest commission wouldn’t find evidence of something that didn’t happen, and that, when it doesn’t, Trump and his allies would just lie that it’s rigged and keep pushing. The point is to delay, to make a hard deadline softer, to continue misleading supporters, and signal loyalty to Donald friggin’ Trump over the U.S. Constitution.
What do you think you’re going to get from this, Ted? You’re already a senator and you’ll never be president. You already tried kissing up to Trump in 2016 in the vain hope that his candidacy would collapse and you could collect the pieces. It didn’t work then, and it won’t work now.
You’re too much of an elitist wuss for the MAGA crowd. They hear you talk. They saw how you came crawling back after Trump insulted your wife and called your father a murderer. They like Trump’s over-the-top reality show charisma, which you very much lack.
And you’re too much an opponent of the Constitution for the conservative establishment. The weaselly, technically-not-lying excuse won’t fly. “All I did was note the allegations” or “I just called for an investigation to restore confidence” is transparent bullshit. Maybe some rubes don’t understand the “just asking questions” style of conspiracy theorizing, but enough people do.
This gambit is awful for the country not because it’ll work — it won’t, the Democratic House majority would have to be on board — but because it violates the most bedrock principle of constitutional democracy, and makes the unthinkable a lot more thinkable. Patriotic Americans freaking out about this will stop it now, but that reaction won’t have the same impact the second time. And, having pushed through these previously-untouched normative barriers, ambitious politicians who don’t respect democracy will see that, if Republicans held the House as well as the Senate, it might’ve worked.
Cruz knows all this. We know he knows. And he knows we know he knows. He’s doing it anyway.
And so to Ted Cruz I say, from the bottom of my America-loving heart: Fuck you.
Donald Trump has pardoned former senior adviser Steve Bannon, among scores of others including rappers, financiers and former members of Congress in the final hours of his presidency.
Donald Trump left Washington DC and the White House for the last time on Wednesday morning, giving a typically pugnacious and misleading speech as he departed and offering his parting words to America: “Have a good life, we will see you soon.” The outgoing president, who has broken with tradition by refusing to attend his successor’s inauguration, took a government helicopter from the White House at 8.18am, leaving what has been his home for four tumultuous years, and headed for Joint Base Andrews, a military facility in Maryland.
Four years after he kicked off the Trump presidency by lying angrily about the size of the inauguration crowd, the former press secretary Sean Spicer has applied to join the White House press corps.