President-elect Biden (a few historic tidbits)

As everyone on earth knows by now, Joe Biden has won the election and will be the 46th president of the United States. Pennsylvania became the deciding state. He is on track to winning 306 electoral votes, if he ultimately wins Georgia.

Here are a few historic tidbits about the election:

  • Biden received the most votes of any presidential candidate in history. That is partly due to the unusually large turnout this year, and efforts to make participation easier for people during the pandemic with early voting and vote-by-mail.
  • Biden won a majority of the votes cast, which Trump never has.
  • Trump became the 10th U.S. president to lose reelection. You can see a short list of the previous losing incumbents here.
  • Biden becomes the oldest president-elect in history, at age 77.
  • If he goes on and wins Georgia, Biden will be the first Democrat to win that state since Clinton in 1992, and the first non-Southern Democrat to win Georgia since JFK in 1960.
  • If Trump doesn’t concede, he will be the first loser not to do so in modern history. The modern understanding of a public concession can be traced to 1896, when William Jennings Bryan sent opponent William McKinley a cordial telegram.
  • And of course Kamala Harris makes history as the first Black woman and first person of Asian descent elected vice president.

Trump’s condition worsens, Biden tests negative

In the latest developments, Trump is to be taken to Walter Reed Medical Center Friday afternoon according to two administration officials, less then 24-hours after testing positive for the deadly coronavirus. He is expected to remain there for several days.

The president’s condition worsened on Friday, officials said, though they maintained he remained “in good spirits.” The president is struggling with a low-grade fever, a cough and nasal congestion, among other symptoms, two people familiar with his condition.

Joe Biden’s campaign announced that Biden and his wife, Jill Biden, have both tested negative for the coronavirus.

Donald and Melania Trump Test Positive for Coronavirus

Breaking news. – WASHINGTON — Trump said early Friday that he and the first lady have tested positive for the coronavirus, throwing the nation’s leadership into uncertainty and escalating the crisis posed by a pandemic that has already killed more than 207,000 Americans and devastated the economy.

Trump received the test result after one of his closest advisers, Hope Hicks, became infected, bringing the virus into his inner circle and underscoring the difficulty of containing it even with the resources of a president. Trump has for months played down the severity of the virus and told a political dinner just Thursday night that “the end of the pandemic is in sight.”

Trump’s positive test result could pose immediate difficulties for the future of his campaign against Biden. with just 33 days before the election on Nov. 3. Even if Mr. Trump, 74, remains asymptomatic, he will have to withdraw from the campaign trail and stay isolated in the White House for an unknown period of time. If he becomes sick, it could raise questions about whether he should remain on the ballot at all.

Even if he does not become seriously ill, the positive test could prove devastating to his political fortunes given his months of diminishing the seriousness of the pandemic even as the virus was still ravaging the country and killing about 1,000 more Americans every day. He has repeatedly predicted the virus “is going to disappear,” asserted that it was under control and insisted that the country was “rounding the corner” to the end of the crisis. He has scorned scientists, saying they were mistaken on the severity of the situation.

Things seem to be falling apart for Trump after his raucous, incoherent debate behavior

In a major shift, Republicans have distanced themselves from Trump over his failure to unambiguously condemn white supremacists during the presidential debate on Tuesday night. Trump faced a torrent of criticism, including a rare rebuke from the Senate’s top Republican, Mitch McConnell.

McConnell, the majority leader and a close ally of the president’s, told reporters he condemned Trump’s refusal to categorically denounce white supremacy during the presidential debate.

McConnell said, “It was unacceptable not to condemn white supremacists and so I do so in the strongest possible way.”

Trump’s raucous, interruption-filled debate performance also led the Commission on Presidential Debates to say Wednesday that it would make changes to the format of this year’s remaining debates. Among things they are considering is turning off the mic when Trump attempts to interrupt against the agreed-upon debate rules.

Trump’s continued efforts to sow doubts about the integrity of the vote, both at the debate and on Wednesday, also alarmed election-monitoring experts who said that they feared that he was laying the groundwork to delegitimize the election results.

CNN has an extensive fact-check of the debate which documents all of Trump’s repeated lies.

All these developments suggested that the debate was shaking up the campaign with a little over a month left until the election in a way not to Trump’s advantage.

Trump paid no US income tax 10 of past 15 years, tax records show

LONG-CONCEALED RECORDS SHOW TRUMP’S CHRONIC LOSSES AND YEARS OF TAX AVOIDANCE

Donald Trump paid no federal income taxes in 10 of the past 15 years, according to a report Sunday in The New York Times, largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.

Trump, who has fiercely guarded his tax filings and is the only president in modern times not to make them public, paid $750 in taxes to the federal government the year he was elected, 2016, and $750 again his first year in office.

The disclosure, which the Times said comes from tax return data it obtained extending over two decades, comes just prior to the first presidential debate Tuesday, and 5 weeks before the election.

Trump’s finances are under stress, due to losses and hundreds of millions of dollars in debt coming due that he has personally guaranteed.

The records also show that Trump depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in direct conflict of interest with his job as president.

A lawyer for the Trump Organization, Alan Garten, and a spokesperson for the Trump Organization did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on the report.

The Times summarized its report:

“Mr. Trump’s finances are under stress, beset by losses that he aggressively employs to avoid paying taxes, and hundreds of millions in debt that he has personally guaranteed, which comes due in the coming years.

“He paid $750 in federal income taxes in 2016, and nothing in 10 of the previous 15 years — largely because he reported losing much more money than he made.

“Also hanging over him is an audit battle that he has long been waging, out of public view, with the I.R.S. An adverse ruling could cost him more than $100 million.”

Trump Again Refuses To Abide By Election Results But Top Republicans Promise Peaceful Transfer of Power

Trump’s refusal to commit to accepting the results of November’s election — something no other modern president has put in doubt — led several prominent Republicans, including Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, to insist Thursday that there would be a peaceful transfer of power come January.

“The winner of the November 3rd election will be inaugurated on January 20th,” Mr. McConnell wrote on Twitter. “There will be an orderly transition just as there has been every four years since 1792.”

Trump also went on to question the integrity of “the ballots” — apparently referring to mail-in voting, which he has falsely called rife with fraud — and added that if he were able to “get rid of” the ballots and ensure a “continuation” rather than a “transfer,” it would be peaceful.

The peaceful transfer of power and accepting election results are fundamentals of democracy.

Many Republicans, including McConnell, distanced themselves from the remarks and insisted that there would be a peaceful transfer of power if Biden wins the presidency.

Senator Dan Sullivan, Republican of Alaska, declaired, “of course we’re going to have a peaceful transition of power. We’re the United States of America. We’re not a banana republic.”

“I don’t know what his thinking was, but we have always had a controlled transition between administrations,” said Senator Susan Collins, Republican of Maine. She said “the peaceful transfer of power is a fundamental tenet of our democracy, and I am confident that we will see it occur once again.”

Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina said, “People wonder about the peaceful transfer of power,” he said. “I can assure you, it will be peaceful.” He added, “I promise you as a Republican, if Joe Biden wins, I will accept the result. If Republicans lose, we’ll accept the result.”

Trump escalates, breaks voting laws, and encourages others to as well; North Carolina officials outraged

North Carolina officials condemned President Trump for encouraging North Carolinians to try to vote twice, an attempt to “sow chaos” in the state’s election, according to the state attorney general.

On Wednesday, Trump told supporters in the state they should try to vote twice, once by mail and once in person, as a test of the security of the election process — and incidentally a way to have their vote counted twice if election officials mistakenly allow it.

Voting twice is illegal — as is encouraging others to do so.

“So let them [mail] it in and let them go vote, and if their system’s as good as they say it is, then obviously they won’t be able to vote. If it isn’t tabulated, they’ll be able to vote,” Trump said when asked about the mail-in system in the swing state, adding, “So that’s the way it is. And that’s what they should do.”

Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the North Carolina State Board of Elections, issued a statement Thursday reminding residents that voting twice is a Class I felony.

“Attempting to vote twice in an election or soliciting someone to do so also is a violation of North Carolina law,” said Bell. “There are numerous checks in place in North Carolina that prevent people from double voting. Electronic pollbooks with information about who has already voted are used at every early voting site. If a voter tries to check in who has already voted, they will be prevented from voting a regular ballot.”

Trump’s comments Wednesday generated enough confusion that the N.C. Board of Elections issued a statement saying that it is a Class 1 felony to intentionally vote twice. The board also noted that it is illegal to solicit someone to vote twice.

In a statement, Karen Brinson Bell, executive director of the board, also discouraged voters from coming to the polls on Election Day to verify that their mail-in ballots had been counted.

“The State Board office strongly discourages people from showing up at the polls on Election Day to check whether their absentee ballot was counted,” Bell said. “This is not necessary, and it would lead to longer lines and the possibility of spreading COVID-19.”

Separately, Facebook announced that it would delete a video of Trump’s original comments.

“This video violates our policies prohibiting voter fraud and we will remove it unless it is shared to correct the record,” the company said in a statement.

Lincoln misquotes at the Republican National Convention

The Republican Convention needs non-stop fact checking. Of course there were incorrect statements at the Democratic Convention as well, but the GOP out-and-out made up statements, distortions, and lies are drowning the coverage. Fact checkers can’t keep up. They seem to just make things up as they go along.

Just a couple, about Lincoln.

Lara Trump:

“Abraham Lincoln once famously said ‘America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves.’ While those words were spoken over 150 years ago, never have they been more relevant.”

Lincoln never said this. Historians agree it is an apocryphal quote. Snopes and PolitiFact have traced it to a Facebook meme that went viral last year.”

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron:

“Lincoln said that ‘any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure,’” Cameron continued. “Sadly, there are some who don’t believe in this wisdom or in the better angels of our shared American history, as they tear down the statues of people like Ulysses S. Grant, Frederick Douglass and even Mr. Lincoln himself.”

Lincoln did not say that. The earliest occurrence is actually from a speech given about Lincoln in 1911 by Hugh Gordon Miller.

In secretly recorded audio, President Trump’s sister says he has ‘no principles’ and ‘you can’t trust him’

This is what Trump’s own sister, a federal judge, has to say about him.

“Maryanne Trump Barry was serving as a federal judge when she heard her brother, President Trump, suggest on Fox News, “maybe I’ll have to put her at the border” amid a wave of refugees entering the United States. At the time, children were being separated from their parents and put in cramped quarters while court hearings dragged on.

“All he wants to do is appeal to his base,” Barry said in a conversation secretly recorded by her niece, Mary L. Trump. “He has no principles. None. None. And his base, I mean my God, if you were a religious person, you want to help people. Not do this.”

Barry, 83, was aghast at how her 74-year-old brother operated as president. “His goddamned tweet and lying, oh my God,” she said. “I’m talking too freely, but you know. The change of stories. The lack of preparation. The lying. Holy shit.”

Lamenting “what they’re doing with kids at the border,” she guessed her brother “hasn’t read my immigration opinions” in court cases. In one case, she berated a judge for failing
to treat an asylum applicant respectfully.

“What has he read?” Mary Trump asked her aunt.

“No. He doesn’t read,” Barry responded.

At one point Barry said to her niece, “It’s the phoniness of it all. It’s the phoniness and this cruelty. Donald is cruel.”

Listen in: https://www.washingtonpost.com/video/politics/maryanne-trump-barry-im-talking-too-freely/2020/08/22/5deea287-e5ee-499d-a4a3-06efeef30aff_video.html

Trump attempts voter suppression by blocking Postal Service funding

Trump said Thursday that he does not want to fund the U.S. Postal Service because Democrats are seeking to expand mail-in voting during the coronavirus pandemic, making explicit the reason he has declined to approve $25 billion in emergency funding for the agency.

Trump has railed against mail-in balloting for months, and at a White House briefing Wednesday, he argued without any evidence that the Postal Service’s enlarged role in the November election would perpetuate “one of the greatest frauds in history.”

In remarks Thursday morning, Trump even went so far as to blame Democrats for their efforts to make it easier for Americans to vote amid the pandemic. It is already well known that Trump fears that the more people who vote the less likely it is he will win.

Joe Biden criticized Trump’s statement, saying Trump was “sabotaging a basic service that hundreds of millions of people rely upon.”

“This is an assault on our democracy and economy by a desperate man who’s terrified that the American people will force him to confront what he’s done everything in his power to escape for months — responsibility for his own actions,” Biden campaign spokesman Andrew Bates said in a statement.

Meanwhile, the Supreme Court on Thursday rebuffed the Republican Party and allowed a consent decree to go forward so that Rhode Island voters could cast mail-in ballots without in-person witness verification during the coronavirus pandemic