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Fri Nov 13, 2020, 09:01 PM

Friday Talking Points -- Trump Fiddles Around While The 'Rona Burns

OK, that subtitle is a bit of a stretch, we fully admit. It's supposed to be a pun on "Nero fiddled while Rome burned," but we know it kind of falls short. Hey, some weeks it's easy to come up with these, and some weeks it is harder, what can we say?

Bad puns aside, though, the dereliction of duty shown by President Donald Trump this week should stun us all. It doesn't, of course, because: he's been derelict on so many duties over the past four years already; he's been especially out to lunch on the coronavirus pandemic; and most people are paying more attention to his extended tantrum about losing the election to Joe Biden. But we should be paying a lot closer attention to what Trump is failing to do right now -- and our guess is that we will, very soon now.

Over 10,000,000 Americans have now been diagnosed with COVID-19. The last million of these happened in the first 10 days of this month. The infection rate is going through the roof, topping 120,000 a day... then 130,000... 140,000... and now 150,000. That was yesterday -- today might top 180,000 (final numbers were not in, as of this writing). At this rate, the next million new cases will appear in only a week's time... or even less. Some experts are now predicting that this will rise to a jaw-dropping 400,000 new cases a day by Inauguration Day. That will mean adding a million cases will only take two-and-a-half days, come January. This is what exponential growth looks like, folks.

The first wave topped out at around 30,000 new cases per day. The second wave hit 70,000 at its peak. We are now over twice that, but the truly frightening news is that the slope of the chart's rise is steeper now than it ever was in the first two waves -- and it shows no signs of flattening out at all. So as staggering as the numbers now are, they are almost guaranteed to get a whole lot worse before they get any better.

Throughout all of this, Donald Trump has been whining endlessly about all the non-existent voter fraud in his head. He's been petulantly refusing to let Joe Biden have intelligence briefings or even talk to people like Dr. Anthony Fauci. The State Department has raised such pettiness to what should be an embarrassing level by refusing to even forward foreign leaders' messages of congratulations to Biden. When Trump got bored with ranting and raving about all the non-existent voter fraud, he began an all-out war on Fox News to lift his spirits. Throughout all of this, he has not once addressed the frightening numbers of the third wave. According to him, please remember, the whole third wave was a Democratic/media hoax, and everyone was going to just stop talking about it after the election, since it was all nothing more than fake news specifically designed to make Donald Trump look bad. Of course, this was always a sick fantasy, but it perhaps explains why Trump has been so reluctant to admit the reality we're all now in.

In the past week, it was revealed that 130 Secret Service agents on the presidential detail have been forced to quarantine, while over a dozen people in the White House tested positive, as well as some of Trump's top political aides. The White House isn't just a pandemic hotspot, by travelling all over the country to give rallies, it also ranks as the biggest superspreader around.

Republican governors are, with some exceptions, also blindly following Trump's denial. Something like 16 of them have indicated that they will not be taking Biden's advice to institute mandatory public masking orders in their states. This includes both North and South Dakota, which, on a per capita basis, are now the hardest-hit two states in the country. This is nothing short of dangerous. Even some Democratic governors are only saying they'll tighten up restrictions and close things down "in a week" or maybe even two. This is almost as dangerous. Drastic action is needed right now, and even then it might not be enough. There's a raging pandemic sweeping the land, but sadly Trump has politicized it so fully that each governor has to face political backlash for taking rational and necessary mitigation measures designed to slow the spread -- which is right now fully out of control.

We are on the brink of seeing people needlessly die for lack of I.C.U. bed space or doctors to treat them. Some states are already full up, and they're sending patients to hospitals out of state. But this could soon become impossible, as all the other states also hit full capacity. This is deadly stuff, which is why Trump's dereliction of duty is so disgraceful.

We had to pause our writing here to watch Trump's first public address in over a week, but it was a giant nothingburger. There was no real news, and Trump spent the entire time patting himself on the back for how wonderful his coronavirus response has been. In other words, he is still a long way from reality. Cracks in his facade briefly appeared, when he stumbled around discussing "the next administration," and walked right up to admitting that it just might not be him in the White House next year. Unless Trump returns to the podium and actually answers questions (which is doubtful), this will be the clip you'll see on the news tonight.

Although he stopped short of admitting it, this week all the remaining states were called. Joe Biden will win the Electoral College by a vote of 306 to Trump's 232. The American people had a gigantic message for Donald Trump at the ballot box: "You're fired!" This being Trump, there's even a Trump tweet for this, from 2014: "What separates the winners from the losers is how a person reacts to each new twist of fate." Or, according to himself, Donald Trump is now a two-time loser, for losing the election and then for how he has handled it. As he might say (about someone else, of course): "SAD!"

Trump's loss was historic in many ways. Trump is the first sitting president to lose re-election in 28 years. He now joins the ranks of one-term presidents like Jimmy Carter. Biden not only received the most votes in history, it was during an election with the highest turnout (two-thirds of all eligible voters voted) since the year 1900. Biden's majority, which now stands at 50.8 percent of the vote (but could rise a bit further) is the largest percentage of any challenger to an incumbent since Franklin Delano Roosevelt beat Herbert Hoover in 1932. Trump's not just a loser, in other words, he's an epic loser.

The truly ironic thing is that Biden beat Trump by the exact same Electoral College count that Trump should have won against Hillary Clinton -- 306. In the end, Trump only got 304 Electoral College votes, because of two faithless electors, so Biden will actually beat Trump's winning margin. This is important because of all the lies and bluster from Trump about what a gigantic landslide his election was. It wasn't -- it was indeed one of the biggest "come from behind" wins of all time, but it was nowhere near a landslide and it was far, far down the list of presidential winning margins. But now, any time Trump whines that Biden didn't beat him by all that much (when he gets to that stage, of course), we'll all have his own grandiose claims about his 2016 win to point to.

Trump began his political career riding down an escalator. His political career's end may have been what can only be called a "clown show" put on by Rudy Giuliani.

The first person Rudy Giuliani, the attorney for President Donald Trump, called up as a witness to baseless allegations of vote counting shenanigans in Philadelphia during a press conference last week is a sex offender who for years has been a perennial candidate in New Jersey.

"It's such a shame. This is a democracy," Daryl Brooks, who said he was a GOP poll watcher, said at the press conference, held at Four Seasons Total Landscaping in Northeast Philadelphia. "They did not allow us to see anything. Was it corrupt or not? But give us an opportunity as poll watchers to view all the documents -- all of the ballots."

Trenton political insiders watched with bemusement as Brooks took the podium.

Brooks was incarcerated in the 1990s on charges of sexual assault, lewdness and endangering the welfare of a minor for exposing himself to two girls ages 7 and 11, according to news accounts.

Brooks has run for various offices, including U.S. Senate and the House of Representatives.

"I started watching it and all of a sudden I was like, 'there's New Jersey's perennial candidate claiming to live in Philadelphia and Giuliani claiming him to be a poll watcher and Philadelphia resident," Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said in a phone interview.

James Gee, chief of staff to U.S. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.), also said he immediately recognized Brooks.

"Yeah, I know Daryl. It's so fitting that he would be there," Gee said.

The most amusing thing about this whole spectacle was that while Trump learned he had lost the election on a golf course (naturally -- as one pundit put it: "The man who said he wouldn't play golf as president learned that he would no longer serve as president while he was playing golf. An almost Shakespearean coda." ), Rudy Giuliani learned about it during his clown show.

When news broke Saturday that Donald Trump's reign was ending, the president was on a golf course that he owns in Virginia, playing his last round as a non-loser. In Washington, about 125 of his worshipful supporters gathered on the stoop of the Supreme Court to "stop the steal," then circumnavigated the U.S. Capitol seven times, because that's how the Israelites conquered Jericho, according to the Book of Joshua. And a pair of Trump's most loyal surrogates made a defiant stand on the gravelly backside of a landscaping business in an industrial stretch of Northeast Philadelphia, near a crematorium and an adult-video store called Fantasy Island, along State Road, which leads -- as being associated with Trump sometimes does -- to a prison.

. . .

Giuliani stood in the landscaping company's dusty parking lot with campaign adviser Corey Lewandowski, in front of a garage door plastered with Trump placards, flanked by a few disgruntled GOP poll observers, facing a gaggle of journalists. He claimed there was fraud; he also said GOP observers were prevented from witnessing fraud. About 30 minutes into his show, Giuliani was informed that the race had been called for Biden on television. He stretched out his arms, looked to the heavens and seemed to mock-crucify himself on the notion.

"Come on, don't be ridiculous," Giuliani said. "Networks don't get to decide elections. Courts do."

Um, actually Rudy, it's the voters who decide elections. Of course, this whole sad spectacle was resoundingly mocked far and wide, as it so richly deserved to be. Alexandra Petri, the resident humorist at the Washington Post, was especially scathing:

Hi! I saw you were having a credible press conference about President Trump's serious allegations of voter fraud, led by a serious person, at the Four Seasons. I'm at the Four Seasons. I don't see you.

Ah. Yes. Well. I understand the mix-up! You just have to keep going a little bit down the highway. We're actually at the Four Seasons Total Landscaping, by the adult bookstore. If you get to the prison, you have gone too far.

Does it look nice?

Absolutely not. We are standing in front of some very sad-looking signage in what I think is a parking lot? Lot of peeling green paint. It looks like a garage sale that someone is having as a last resort, where everything they are trying to sell you is broken.

That will go down in history as the end of Trump's political career. Hopefully, at the least, because it was so tawdry -- and so entirely fitting. Even a newspaper owned by one of Trump's biggest supporters, Sheldon Adelson, had to admit that the race was over and Trump had lost, calling his claims of non-existent voter fraud "a disservice to his more rabid supporters" and "simply false." It brought up one very important point, as well:

In fact, rhetoric from Trump surrogates alleging widespread illegal activity has been devoid of detailed evidence supporting the charge that there was a concerted effort to "steal" the election through corruption. An electoral system that involves the participation of 150 million Americans will have its share of issues, but it's an insult to reason and logic to argue that isolated irregularities constitute proof of a grand national conspiracy.... Why, if there were some orchestrated Democratic attempt to rig the balloting, did the party underachieve in congressional and statewide balloting across the country?

In fact, the only widespread conspiracy to cast fraudulent votes came from the Republicans in Pennsylvania, when they urged Republicans to vote after Election Day. All the other "evidence" has been laughed out of every court to date. And the only people arrested so far were two armed men in a Hummer travelling to Philadelphia to unleash violence on the people counting the ballots, with "QAnon" decals on their vehicle.

And that wasn't even the worst report of violent threats from Republicans. A police chief in Arkansas posted on social media such cheerful thoughts as: "death to all Marxist Democrats," "take no prisoners," and "leave no survivors." Another post featured a photo of Hillary Clinton, Nancy Pelosi, and Barack Obama in prison jumpsuits with the comment: "I pray all those in that picture hang on the gallows and are drawn and quartered!!!! Anything less is not acceptable." He was quickly fired by the town, thankfully.

On the brighter side, it seems that Trump and his enablers are getting downright desperate to prove all of the non-existent voter fraud somehow magically exists. They announced a hotline for people to call who might have seen any such voter fraud, and it was quickly overwhelmed with pranksters. The funniest of these: "One woman said she met the devil at her Georgia polling place and he challenged her to a fiddle contest, but if she lost, Biden would win."

To date, there has been no solid evidence of any widespread voter fraud at all. Republicans thought they might have some when a postal worker claimed he had seen a postmaster in Erie, Pennsylvania backdating ballots, but he later recanted his claims in a sworn affidavit, so that one went up in smoke. Trump's lawyers are still valiantly trying to prove there was massive fraud in court, but they're mostly just getting laughed at by all the judges for the non-existent nature of their "evidence." Here's just a sample, from a court filing in Michigan:

Inside Detroit's absentee-ballot-counting center, one Republican poll watcher complained that workers were wearing Black Lives Matter gear. She thought one of them -- a "man of intimidating size" -- had followed her too closely.

Another Republican poll watcher complained about the public address system. Workers were using it to make announcements. It was loud. "This was very distracting to those of us trying to concentrate," he said.

That's their "evidence" of widespread voter fraud, folks. This is why two of the three big law firms Trump was using in these cases have, in essence, fired Trump as a client. Well, that and the fact that the Lincoln Project was about to unleash some scathing advertisements against the big law firms, for participating in an unfounded effort to undermine our democracy.

Today, the first post-election interview with Trump ran in the media, which shows just how delusional Trump's perceived chances of success truly are:

In his interview with [Washington Examiner correspondent Byron] York, [President Donald] Trump argued he was still competitive in several key swing states where Biden had already emerged victorious, saying he was "going to win Wisconsin" -- a state called for Biden last Wednesday where Trump is currently trailing by more than 20,000 votes.

In Arizona, which was also called for Biden as early as last Wednesday, the race will "be down to 8,000 votes," Trump said, even though he is behind by more than 11,000 votes there. "If we can do an audit of the millions of votes, We'll find 8,000 votes easy. If we can do an audit, we'll be in good shape there," he said.

Trump went on to say he was "going to win" Georgia, which has not been officially called but where Biden has a lead of more than 14,000 votes. Georgia's top election official announced Wednesday that the state would conduct a hand recount of every ballot cast in the presidential race.

"Now we're down to about 10,000, 11,000 votes, and we have hand counting," Trump told York, incorrectly stating his vote deficit in Georgia. "Hand counting is the best. To do a spin of the machine doesn't mean anything. You pick up 10 votes. But when you hand count -- I think we're going to win Georgia."

Trump also asserted that he would win North Carolina, an uncalled state where he is ahead of Biden by more than 71,000 votes, and said his campaign's litigation could result in him picking up both Michigan and Pennsylvania -- two states that were called for Biden last week where Trump trails by more than 146,000 votes and more than 60,000 votes, respectively.

Since that was written, North Carolina was called for Trump while Georgia was called for Biden. Even Karl Rove is now admitting that it is over, writing in the Wall Street Journal that: "the president's efforts are unlikely to move a single state from Mr. Biden's column, and certainly they're not enough to change the final outcome."

Rove's not the only prominent conservative saying it's over for Trump. Others are waving red flags and sounding alarms as well. Here is Ben Ginsberg, a lawyer who was at the center of the Bush v. Gore fight, warning how dangerous it is for his party to blindly follow Trump's rabid post-election litigation:

This is as un-American as it gets. It returns the Republican Party to the bad old days of "voter suppression" that landed it under a court order to stop such tactics -- an order lifted before this election. It puts the party on the wrong side of demographic changes in this country that threaten to make the GOP a permanent minority.

These are painful words for me to write. I spent four decades in the Republican trenches, representing GOP presidential and congressional campaigns, working on Election Day operations, recounts, redistricting and other issues, including trying to lift the consent decree.

Nearly every Election Day since 1984 I've worked with Republican poll watchers, observers and lawyers to record and litigate any fraud or election irregularities discovered.

The truth is that over all those years Republicans found only isolated incidents of fraud. Proof of systematic fraud has become the Loch Ness Monster of the Republican Party. People have spent a lot of time looking for it, but it doesn't exist.

. . .

All of the [law]suits include the mythical fraud claim. Many are efforts to disqualify absentee ballots, which have surged in the pandemic. The grounds range from supposedly inadequate signature matches to burdensome witness requirements. Others concern excluding absentee ballots postmarked on Election Day but received later, as permitted under state deadlines. Voter-convenience devices such as drop boxes and curbside voting have been attacked.

Texas Republicans even thought it was a good idea to challenge 100,000 ballots already cast at a Harris County drive-through voting center that they want retroactively declared illegal. Perhaps they forgot the Republican expressions of outrage in Florida in 2000 when Democrats sought unsuccessfully to exclude 25,000 absentee ballots in GOP counties because of administrative error, not voter fault.

I was there, and I haven't.

. . .

How sad it is to recall that just seven years ago the Grand Old Party conducted an "autopsy" that emphasized the urgency of building a big tent to reach communities of color, women and young voters. Now it is erecting voting barriers for those very groups. Instead of enlarging the tent, the party has taken a chain saw to its center pole.

My party is destroying itself on the Altar of Trump. Republican elected officials, party leaders and voters must recognize how harmful this is to the party's long-term prospects.

And here's a man nobody in their right mind would ever accuse of being some sort of secret liberal Democrat, John Bolton, striking exactly the same notes:

As of this writing, the Republican Party has not suffered permanent damage to its integrity and reputation because of President Trump's post-election rampaging. This will not be true much longer.

It is simply a truism that Trump has a legal right to pursue all appropriate election-law remedies to ensure an accurate, lawful vote count. To be credible, however, any aggrieved candidate must at some point produce valid legal arguments and persuasive evidence.

Trump has so far failed to do so, and there is no indication he can. If he can't, his "right" to contest the election is beside the point. The real issue is the grievous harm he is causing to public trust in America's constitutional system. Trump's time is running out, even as his rhetoric continues escalating. And time is running out for Republicans who hope to maintain the party's credibility, starting with Georgia's two Senate runoffs in January. Here is the cold political reality: Trump is enhancing his own brand (in his mind) while harming the Republican brand. The party needs a long internal conversation about the post-Trump era, but first it needs to get there honorably.

. . .

Republican passivity risks additional negative consequences for the country. Trump is engaging in what could well be a systematic purge of his own administration, starting with the utterly unjustified firing of Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper this week and continuing through high- and mid-level civilian offices in the department. Lisa Gordon-Hagerty, head of the National Nuclear Safety Administration, was forced to resign. Washington is filled with rumors that the CIA and FBI directors are next.

This is being done with just 10 weeks left in the administration. All transitions bring uncertainty, but to decapitate substantial parts of the national security apparatus during such a period for no reason other than personal pique is irresponsible and dangerous. Republicans know this.

Well, at the very least, they used to know it. But this intro has gone on for far too long, and we'd like to end on an upbeat note, today. [Perhaps we should have tried the segue: "speaking of blowing up rotting whale carcasses," but we thought that a bit too much, personally.]

This week was the 50th anniversary of one of the most hilarious pieces of video of all time, when Oregon state highway engineers in the town of Florence decided to dispose of a dead whale's 45-foot-long, eight-ton carcass by blowing it up with a half-ton of dynamite.

People gathered to see the spectacle, but they gathered just a wee bit too close. From the television news story which shot the timeless video:

"Here come pieces of... uh... whale," a woman said, her tone incongruously calm as the flesh came hurtling back to the ground, landing with a stomach-flipping squelch. [Paul] Linnman, in his news report, said "the blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds."

Bonus points for that alliteration, there, Paul!

Thankfully there were no serious injuries, although the crowd was showered with chunks of rotting whale. One car was crushed. But 50 years later, the town has realized the tourism potential of their claim to fame, and so: "Florence in June christened a riverfront park 'Exploding Whale Memorial Park' to mark the 50th anniversary." That's the spirit! And it's good news for Donald Trump, because even an exploding rotting whale can be turned into a solid revenue stream, obviously. He should keep that in mind, when planning his presidential "library."

For once, it seems our pick for Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week is actually getting the lion's share of the credit -- which she completely deserves.

Joe Biden's victory in Georgia did not just magically happen. It was the direct result of the efforts of Stacey Abrams and all who joined in her years-long effort to register every person of color in the state that they could find. She's been at this for the past 10 years, in fact, and it has finally paid off in the biggest way possible.

As Joe Biden opened a narrow lead in Georgia on Thursday, Democrats across the country couldn't quite believe it was happening.

But Stacey Abrams and a network of activists had been planning for the moment for nearly a decade.

The people leading the effort to flip the state -- a group composed of Black female elected officials, voting rights advocates and community organizers -- understood why Democrats had often fallen short in the South the past decade. Topping the list of reasons: the region's long-running conservative bent, voter suppression tactics by the right and the failure by Democrats to mount a sustained voter outreach program.

But something changed in 2018. Abrams' razor-thin loss in Georgia's gubernatorial election made clear to her and other liberals in the state that demographic shifts in the suburbs had reached a tipping point. Their argument to the national party was simple: Democrats could win more races by expanding their coalition to include disengaged voters of color, as opposed to continuing the focus on persuading undecided, moderate, often white voters.

Abrams had come close with the strategy: Her campaign and its allies registered more than 200,000 new voters in the run-up to the 2018 election. When Fair Fight and the New Georgia Project, two organizations founded by Abrams, tried again this year, they quadrupled their gains, registering more than 800,000 new voters.

We first met and heard Abrams speak at the 2017 Netroots Nation conference, which was held in Atlanta. She laid out what she was trying to accomplish and how far she'd come in achieving her goal. At that point, she was still running for governor.

She is an impressive politician all around. She has oodles of energy and optimism, which are almost requirements for a progressive in a red state. She swore that Georgia could be competitive, and this year she was proven right in the best way possible.

During the same conference, we also heard Jon Ossoff speak, but we were nowhere near as impressed by him we were by Abrams. Ossoff is now one of two Democrats in runoff elections for the Senate in Georgia, and control of the chamber hinges on these two contests. The race will be bitterly fought, and we have to admit that if history is any guide, neither Democrat really has much of a chance of winning. But then again, history might not be a good guide, because of what just happened there.

Runoff elections typically see only about half the turnout as the general election. The election will be held the first week in January, so it will be a question of which side can convince enough of their voters to make the effort to get out and vote one last time. Nobody knows what the outcome will be -- perhaps the turnout will be a lot higher this time around, seeing as how the state is now the center of the political universe. Tens of millions of dollars will be spent from now until the new year on ads for both sides.

But win or lose, the fact remains that even the possibility of winning is largely due to the efforts of Stacey Abrams and everyone who worked with her on her massive voter registration drive. For that, she really deserves more than just a weekly award, but it's what we've got, so we'll gladly give her this week's Most Impressive Democrat Of The Week for her efforts. Thank you, Stacey, for making all of this even possible.

[Stacey Abrams is a private citizen, and our policy is not to provide contact information for such persons, so you'll have to look it up yourself to let her know you appreciate her efforts.]

We're not going to hand out any individual Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week awards this week, instead we're going to give a blanket award to all the progressives and moderates -- mostly in the House -- who are now engaging in a grand game of finger-pointing.

The moderates say the progressives are the reason moderate Democrats lost House seats. The progressives say the moderates are blaming progressives for their own losses. Both sides have their points to make.

From the moderates' point of view, phrases like "defund the police" and "socialism" were what gave the Republicans ammunition during the campaign. From the progressives' point of view, Joe Biden was the nominee and even he got called a "radical socialist lefty," which he most assuredly is not. The GOP is going to use this slam no matter what the progressives say, in other words, and no matter how believable it is.

All of it has played out in the media, because everyone's leaking their side of the story. But this giant blame game is decidedly not what Democrats need right now. It just allows the media to fall back into their lazy "Democrats In Disarray" storyline, once again.

Perhaps we'll get over this, and Nancy Pelosi will be able to move forward. She's going to have a tougher time in the next Congress, because she'll have a smaller majority to work with. So it's going to be hard enough for her to get some good things done. Moderates and progressives are going to have to bury the hatchet to some degree for this to happen. We'll see whether this turns out to be a tempest in a teapot or whether it becomes a real defining divide in the next House, but it is spectacularly unhelpful right now. Which is why we say a pox on both their houses and are giving the Most Disappointing Democrat Of The Week to them all.

Volume 596 (11/13/20)

Now that the election has been called, we're back to our usual format once again. Here are our seven talking points Democrats should be using this week, in no particular order. As always, use responsibly!

A threat to national security

We've all given Trump a week to get over his hissy fit. But that's long enough.

"Donald Trump has not only refused to admit the reality that he lost the election -- which is dangerous enough -- but he is also forcing the rest of the executive branch to buy into his delusion as well. He has told his cabinet not to cooperate with Biden's transition team, the G.S.A. -- supposedly a nonpartisan office -- has refused to certify Biden as the president-elect, and his State Department is acting like a petulant toddler by not even forwarding congratulatory messages to Biden from other world leaders. But what is truly dangerous is that Biden has also been blocked from receiving the top-secret Presidential Daily Brief, which outlines all national security threats against the country. Perhaps Trump's team is just so embarrassed by what passes for a P.D.B. these days -- lots of colorful maps on single pages, with no in-depth text whatsoever -- that they're hastily trying to put together what every other president has gotten instead. But for whatever the reason, this is a danger to the national security of this country. President-Elect Biden needs to see this information so he can hit the ground running in January. To deny him access is not only petty and childish, it is downright dangerous for the entire country."

Speaking of dangerous...

In a different sphere, but just as disconcerting.

"And another thing that's equally as dangerous is that Joe Biden is being denied access to government scientists and experts like Dr. Anthony Fauci so they can coordinate Biden's new pandemic response efforts. Biden's first step in forming his transition team was to announce his own coronavirus panel of experts to help guide his policy decisions. But they need access to both all the current data and to the government scientists and departments responsible for handling the crisis. Denying Biden access is almost as dangerous -- for a completely different reason -- than denying him the P.D.B., and it needs to end right now."

Tell the truth, get fired

This one hasn't happened yet, but it may only be a matter of time until Trump notices the guy.

"Over at the Department of Homeland Security, there is an office called the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency. The head of this office is Chris Krebs, and he has overseen their 'Rumor Control' website, which has done an admirable job of shooting down internet rumors and conspiracy theories about the safety of the election and the ballot-counting. Krebs has done a stellar job of keeping on top of and totally debunking all these conspiracy theories, and he has publicly stated that this was the most secure election ever in America. Telling the bald truth in this fashion, however, has sadly meant that he now expects to be fired by Donald Trump any day now, for informing the public what is real and what is fantasy. Thank all that's holy that this sort of thing will stop when Joe Biden takes over, because it is nothing short of a disgrace."

It wasn't that bad

It wasn't the greatest night, but it wasn't the worst night either.

"Democrats obviously wanted to do much better in the election than they did. But not only did Joe Biden decisively win the biggest race of the night, but several very progressive initiatives won as well. Florida voted for Donald Trump, but it also voted for a $15-an-hour minimum wage -- making it only the most recent red state to do so, over the wishes of the Republicans who run these states. Recreational marijuana legalization won in four states, only one of which can truly be called a blue state: Arizona, Montana, New Jersey, and South Dakota. This now makes marijuana available to all adults in 15 states in all. Oregon decriminalized possession of all drugs. Colorado passed family leave, becoming the ninth state to do so, and it also defeated a strict abortion ban for the fourth time in a row. One county in Oregon passed universal preschool for all, and Washington state will now require schools to teach sex education. So all around, some very progressive initiatives were passed in both blue states and red alike."

Also, some history was made

Some firsts were chalked up, as well.

"The most Native American women in history -- three -- were elected to the House of Representatives in this election. Cori Bush, a Black woman, was elected to the House from the district which includes Ferguson, Missouri. All four members of The Squad coasted to re-election. The first gay Black/Latino House member was also elected from the South Bronx. Three transgender candidates made history by winning seats in their state legislature, including one in the Delaware state senate who will become the highest-ranking trans officeholder in the entire country. So while Democrats overall didn't do as well as they had hoped, there were more than a few who made history in this election."

Too funny

Many have commented about John Lewis looking down from above as his former district provided the crucial votes to hand Georgia to Joe Biden. But there's another one celebrating up above as well.

"Meghan McCain posted a hilarious photo of her dad John with a caption specifically designed to get under Donald Trump's skin: 'I like people who don't lose Arizona.' Couldn't have said it better myself...."

A week late...

And finally, the apple doesn't fall far from the tree.

"Eric Trump tweeted out a message urging the people of Minnesota to go vote on Tuesday. The only problem was he tweeted it out this Tuesday, not last Tuesday when it could have done his father some good. Nothing like being a week late and 240,000 votes short!"

Chris Weigant blogs at: ChrisWeigant.com
Follow Chris on Twitter: ChrisWeigant
Full archives of FTP columns: FridayTalkingPoints.com

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