The Morning Jolt


The Post-Election Madness Gets Worse

Attorney Sidney Powell looks at attorney L. Lin Wood as he speaks during a press conference on election results in Alpharetta, Ga., December 2, 2020. (Elijah Nouvelage/Reuters)

On the menu today: Two lawyers who aren’t formally on the president’s legal team but who keep filing lawsuits on his behalf tell Georgia Republicans to not vote in the Senate runoffs; Michael Flynn endorses a call for “limited martial law” and a “re-vote” of the presidential election; and the president retweets a claim that Nevada is setting up “fake hospitals” that have “never seen a single patient” to exaggerate the extent of the pandemic. You can be forgiven for feeling as if you awoke this morning in a twisted, insane mirror universe.

The Post-Election Craziness Takes a Darker and More Dangerous Turn

What we’ve seen in the past day or two represents a very 2020-appropriate turn of events for the post-election period.

Two lawyers who are not formally a part of the president’s legal team, but who are widely perceived to be some sort of allies, held a “press conference” in Atlanta that looked and sounded a lot like a political rally, complete with chanting supporters, with the clear message that Georgians should not vote in the runoff elections:

Pro-Trump attorneys Sidney Powell and L. Lin Wood urged Georgians not to participate in a runoff vote that will determine control of the Senate in January until state officials address unsubstantiated claims that President-elect Joe Biden won the White House through voter fraud. Powell and Wood are not working for the Trump campaign in an official capacity but have waged legal battles on his behalf. Speaking to the president’s supporters at a press conference in Atlanta, Powell said state residents should not vote until Georgia overhauls its procedures and ends the use of Dominion voting machines.

“I would encourage all Georgians to make it known that you will not vote at all until your vote is secure – and I mean that regardless of party,” Powell said. “We can’t live in a republic, a free republic unless we know our votes are legal and secure. So we must have voter ID and we probably must go back to paper ballots that are signed and have your thumbprint on them. We certainly should be able to find a system that can count them, even if it has to be done by hand.”

“This is Georgia – we ain’t dumb. We’re not going to go vote on January 5th on another machine made by China. You’re not going to fool Georgians again. If Kelly Loeffler wants your vote, if David Perdue wants your vote, they’ve got to earn it,” Wood said. “They’ve got to demand publicly, repeatedly, consistently: Brian Kemp, call a special session of the Georgia State Legislature. And if they do not do it…they have not earned your vote.”

Matthew Boyle of Breitbart, about as reflexive a defender of the president as they come, points to Wood’s long history of campaign donations to Democrats.

State records also show that Wood has not voted in a Republican primary since 2004, but did request Democrat ballots in the 2006, 2008, 2010, and 2018 primary elections in Georgia. That means that even when Trump was president, in the 2018 midterm elections, Wood requested a Democrat primary ballot in Georgia and voted for Democrats in the primary in the state while Trump was universally backing Republicans there.

Wood’s declaration that Perdue and Loeffler haven’t earned the votes of Trump supporters echoes the language of ReallyAmericanPAC, a liberal, pro-Biden political-action committee. That PAC is posting billboards in “Trump counties” in Georgia denouncing Perdue and Loeffler for “not delivering for Trump” — discouraging Trump supporters from voting for the Republican senators.

You may have seen the Twitter hashtag, #WriteInTrumpForGA. There is no line for write-in candidates in the Georgia Senate runoff elections. This is consistent with Georgia election law: “The run-off primary or election shall be a continuation of the first primary or election, and only those votes cast for the candidates receiving the two highest numbers of votes in the first primary or election shall be counted. No write-in votes may be cast in such a primary, run-off primary, or run-off election.” Any write-in vote for anyone will count as a spoiled ballot.

Meanwhile, the recently pardoned Michael Flynn — who was the president’s national-security adviser for 25 days, and a client of Sidney Powell — tweeted a call for the president “to invoke limited martial law” and to “hold a new election.” The call for “limited martial law” comes from an organization called We The People Convention:

You must be ready, Mr. President, to immediately declare a limited form of Martial Law, and temporarily suspend the Constitution and civilian control of these federal elections, for the sole purpose of having the military oversee a national re-vote.

You must also act, like Lincoln did, to silence the destructive media’s one-sided propaganda designed and proven to influence the election outcome, and end the unlawful censorship of Big Tech, to restore the confidence of the American People in our electoral process or we cannot continue as a nation. Failure to do so could result in massive violence and destruction on a level not seen since the Civil War. Limited Martial Law is clearly a better option than Civil War!

The message concludes, ‘We will also have no other choice but to take matters into our own hands, and defend our rights on our own, if you do not act within your powers to defend us.”

When those with prominent platforms and positions of responsibility begin to characterize presidential elections — a normal quadrennial step in changing or maintaining leaders in a constitutional republic — in life-and-death terms, and compare the loss of a preferred candidate to mass murder — say, comparing it to the terrorists in the cockpit of Flight 93 — no one should be surprised when certain folks out there take those words literally and start to see the outcome of an election as a life-or-death struggle that justifies violence.

The President Promotes a COVID Hoax

Yesterday, Worldometers stated that 2,833 Americans died from COVID-19. The Covid Tracking Project puts the figure at 2,733. Johns Hopkins University puts the number of deaths Wednesday at 2,597. I’m sure some folks will point to the discrepancies as evidence of their inauthenticity, but different institutions are tabulating the deaths in different ways and from different sources. Worldometers is updated throughout the day, and the others aren’t.

I mention this awful daily death toll because earlier this week, the president of the United States retweeted a hoax picture claiming that a coronavirus patient-care site was empty, adding, “fake election results in Nevada, too!The picture represented a case of online identity theft:

In the picture posted to Twitter on Sunday, the doctor, Jacob Keeperman, is standing at the Renown Regional Medical Center’s alternate care site in Reno, Nev. In the background, empty hospital beds covered in plastic stand in a vacant parking area. The photo was taken on Nov. 12, the day the site opened, so patients had not yet arrived, Renown Health said.

“I want to thank all the incredible staff who are Fighting the Good Fight to help all those suffering from COVID-19,” Dr. Keeperman, the medical director for Renown’s Transfer and Operations Center, wrote. “With 5 deaths in the last 32 hours, everyone is struggling to keep their head up. Stay strong.”

His photograph was then used by the account @Networkinvegas to erroneously claim that it showed a “fake hospital” that had “never seen a single patient.”

On Tuesday, President Trump brought that falsehood to a wider audience, retweeting the @Networkinvegas post with the comment: “Fake election results in Nevada, also!” Twitter flagged the president’s tweet, noting that the claim about election fraud was “disputed.”

In fact, the alternate care site in Reno has cared for a total of 219 Covid patients in the three weeks it has been open. And across Nevada, hospitalizations have risen 43 percent in the last 14 days, with a 55 percent increase in deaths, according to a New York Times database.

We’re witnessing more than 2,000 Americans perish from this pandemic per day, and the president believes that Nevada hospitals are creating fake treatment centers that have no patients in order to fool the public about the severity of the coronavirus pandemic. He’s got an entire government full of doctors and virologists and epidemiologists who will answer any question he has on this. He’s the president of the United States; anyone in the world will answer his phone call and happily and gladly explain anything he wants to know, walk him through any aspect that confuses him, and get him any answer he needs — particularly doctors, and particularly those who are trying to save patients infected with COVID-19.

The president of the United States chooses to believe the assertions of some account on Twitter, instead.

ADDENDUM: Progressive writers are starting to realize they’re not winning the staffing wars of the Biden administration. “We Can’t Restore The Soul Of The Nation With Rahm Emanuel In Public Office.” “Potential HHS Nominee Gina Raimondo Has a ‘Mixed’ Record on Abortion.