Republican desperation/media stupidity roundup:
(1) The New York Post ran an obviously fraudulent story, probably concocted by Rudy G. and Steve Bannon, about Biden and Ukraine.
Guess who treated it seriously?
Haberman started backtracking as soon as it was pointed out to her that the story was preposterous on its face, but her initial linking to it evinced no recognition that this was a straight-up Murdoch-ordered fiction.
(2) Open vote suppression’s just another name for nothing left to lose:
As the presidential campaign entered its final stages, a fresh-faced Republican activist named Charlie Kirk stepped into the spotlight at a closed-door gathering of leading conservatives and shared his delight about an impact of the coronavirus pandemic: the disruption of America’s universities. So many campuses had closed, he said, that up to a half-million left-leaning students probably would not vote.
“So, please keep the campuses closed,” Kirk, 26, said in August as the audience cheered, according to video of the event obtained by The Washington Post. “Like, it’s a great thing.”
The gathering in Northern Virginia was organized by the Council for National Policy, a little-known group that has served for decades as a hub for a nationwide network of conservative activists and the donors who support them. Members include Ginni Thomas, wife of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, and Leonard Leo, an outside adviser to President Trump who has helped raise hundreds of millions of dollars from undisclosed donors to support conservative causes and the nominations of conservative federal judges.
Videos provided to The Post — covering dozens of hours of CNP meetings over three days in February and three in August — offer an inside view of participants’ obsessions and fears at a pivotal moment in the conservative movement. The videos, recorded by CNP to share with its members, show influential activists discussing election tactics, amplifying conspiracy theories and describing much of America in dark and apocalyptic terms.
“This is a spiritual battle we are in. This is good versus evil,” CNP’s executive committee president, Bill Walton, said on Aug. 21, addressing attendees at the Ritz-Carlton in Pentagon City. “We have to do everything we can to win.”
Tom Fitton, president of Judicial Watch, told attendees that same day that the left is “war-gaming” a plan to delay the election tally until Jan. 20, 2021, and enable House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) to become acting president. “This is kind of like crazy talk” among political people, Fitton said. But he added: “This is not an insignificant concern.”
Expressing concern about voter fraud and disenfranchisement, Fitton called on the audience to find a way to prevent mail-in ballots from being sent to voters. “We need to stop those ballots from going out, and I want the lawyers here to tell us what to do,” said Fitton, whose organization is a tax-exempt charity. “But this is a crisis that we’re not prepared for. I mean, our side is not prepared for.”
In an interview with The Post, Fitton elaborated on his remarks. “The left has war-gamed this out,” Fitton said. “And it could cause civil war.”
Brent Bozell, a CNP executive committee member and founder of the Media Research Center, another tax-exempt charity, told attendees at one of the August sessions that he believes the left plans to “steal this election.”
“And if they get away with that, what happens?” he said. “Democracy is finished because they usher in totalitarianism.”
Bozell did not respond to messages seeking comment.
At the February meetings, attendees discussed plans for seeking an advantage in the upcoming vote. Two said the right will begin “ballot harvesting,” a controversial technique that involves the collection and delivery of sealed absentee ballots from churches and other institutions.
At the time of the meeting, Trump, his campaign officials and other Republicans were blasting the practice as an abuse by Democrats. “GET RID OF BALLOT HARVESTING, IT IS RAMPANT WITH FRAUD,” Trump tweeted this spring.
But Ralph Reed, chairman of the nonprofit Faith & Freedom Coalition, told the CNP audience that conservatives are embracing the technique this year.
“And so our organization is going to be harvesting ballots in churches,” he said. “We’re going to be specifically going in not only to White evangelical churches, but into Hispanic and Asian churches, and collecting those ballots.”
Reed did not respond to requests for comment.
J. Christian Adams, a former Justice Department official and the president of the Public Interest Legal Foundation, a charity, described mail-in voting as “the number one left-wing agenda.”
Adams urged the activists not to worry about the criticism that might come their way. “Be not afraid of the accusations that you’re a voter suppressor, you’re a racist and so forth,” Adams said.
In response to questions, Adams wrote in an email: “I stand by what I said because it is accurate.”
The partisan commentary and election-related discussions captured on the videos involved members of an array of nonprofit organizations, including tax-exempt charities. In exchange for the right to accept tax-exempt donations, charities are prohibited from actively supporting political candidates or working in coordination on candidates’ behalf.
Such laws are rarely enforced, in part because of murkiness about what constitutes a violation, and because of the complex interactions between some charities and nonprofits known as “social welfare” groups, tax specialists said. Social welfare groups are permitted to engage in lobbying and advocacy but must devote less than half of their resources to political activity. An individual may serve as a leader of both a charity and an affiliated social welfare group.
(4) Mike Allen of Axios wonders why the media won’t ask Joe Biden any hard questions, as voters mull over the genuinely agonizing choice between voting for a sociopathic fascist kleptocrat, or a normal human being who also happens to have been in the national political spotlight continually for 48 years now.