Professor Seth Masket Gets More Smarter

This week on The Get More Smarter Podcast, hosts Jason Bane and Ian Silverii talk with Professor Seth Masket, Director of the Center for American Politics at the University of Denver, about the 2020 election results and his new book, “Learning from Loss: The Democrats, 2016-2020.” Masket’s book analyzes how and why Democrats ended up nominating Joe Biden for President in 2020 and how the 2016 election shaped the strategy and thought process for that decision.

Catch up on previous episodes of The Get More Smarter Podcast at GetMoreSmarter.com.

Questions? Comments? Complaints? Hit us up at AngryRants@getmoresmarter.com.

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No, Denver-Based Dominion Didn’t Disappear Trump’s Votes

President Donald Trump’s all-caps rage Tweet went out to his 88 million followers yesterday:

Soon to be former President Donald Trump.

But as the Denver Post’s Conrad Swanson reports, Dominion Voting Systems, whose U.S. headquarters is in Denver, was ready for this already-circulating unfounded allegation once it was made by the President himself:

A Denver company that supplies voting machines across the United States pushed back Thursday against claims — shared without evidence — from President Donald Trump that millions of votes in his favor had been deleted.

Trump lost the 2020 presidential election by tens of thousands of votes in key swing states like Pennsylvania which tipped the electoral college victory in favor of Joseph R. Biden. The president, however, has refused to concede the race and has shared baseless claims that the election was instead stolen from him.

On a web page put up specifically to respond to these allegations, the company explains further:

Claims about Dominion switching or deleting votes are 100% false. Dominion systems continue to reliably and accurately count ballots, and state and local election authorities, as well fact checkers, have publicly confirmed the integrity of the process.

Claims that 2.7 million votes for President Trump were deleted – including 941,000 in Pennsylvania – are mathematically impossible. In Pennsylvania, Dominion serves 14 counties that produced 1.3 million votes with a voter turnout of 76%. Fifty-two percent of those votes went to President Trump. Calculating that out, Dominion processed about 676,000 votes for the President in Pennsylvania. There never were 941,000 votes to “delete.” [Pols emphasis]

Being just one of innumerable false claims circulated beyond the reach of fact-checkers in order to comfort both Donald Trump and his most faithful followers as they work through Trump’s narcissist despair over losing the election, this particular lie would probably not even merit a post but for the fact that it’s a local company Trump is accusing of “deleting” his votes. The audience for these accusations is not, after all, the critically thinking majority of the public who are likely to seek out the evidence (or lack thereof) backing them up. With 70% of Republicans telling posters they believe the election wasn’t fair, the people Trump wants to believe him will find nothing in his all-caps rage Tweet to question. They’ve already accepted the false premise, so it’s just confirmation.

The rest of us will need to keep Dominion’s debunking handy for Thanksgiving dinner.

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QAnon…And On…And On…

One of these people will have a job in January.

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy got his first official taste of what it will be like to be constantly answering questions about House Republicans — including Rep-elect Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert” — who are QAnon conspiracy enthusiasts.

As The Washington Post explains:

House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) on Thursday defended two incoming Republican congresswomen who have voiced support for QAnon, falsely asserting that Marjorie Taylor Greene and Lauren Boebert have denounced the baseless conspiracy theory.

In a news conference, McCarthy was asked whether he was concerned about the congresswomen-elect creating controversy for House Republicans after embracing elements of the theory, whose adherents believe Trump is battling a cabal of “deep state” pedophiles who worship Satan…

Boebert, of Colorado, has spoken positively about QAnon, saying in May that she hoped “some of it is real because it only means America is getting stronger and better and people are returning to conservative values.” She later sought to distance herself from QAnon, saying she was “not a follower” but affirming that she believed there was a conspiracy to undermine the president. [Pols emphasis]

Colorado Pols readers are well aware of Q*Bert’s fondness for wacky conspiracy theories, as well as the fact that BOEBERT HAS NEVER DENOUNCED QANON. McCarthy may wish that Boebert or fellow Rep-elect Marjorie Taylor Greene did not believe in lunatic conspiracies, but that doesn’t make it true. And as this Washington Post story proves once again, reporters aren’t confused about the subject, either.

Lest it be forgotten, nobody took Boebert’s words out of context on QAnon. This is exactly what she said:


As we wrote last week, Republicans mostly gained a headache with Boebert, whose victory in CO-03 merely allowed the GOP to maintain a seat it already held. Questions like this are the price that Republicans will be forced to pay.

Again, and again.

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Different Year, Same Mountain: GOP Plants Flag on Denial

UPDATE: In his column for The Denver Post, soon-to-be-former District Attorney George Brauchler explains that there was no blue wave in Colorado because Republican Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert was elected to a Congressional seat that Republicans already held and Democrats only won one extra battle in the State Senate:

The Blue Wave redux appears to have only dampened Republican socks.

Ah, yes, “2020: The Dampening.”

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Democrats had another successful election cycle in Colorado, winning a U.S. Senate seat, expanding on their majority in the State Senate, and maintaining a massive advantage in the State House. As Ian Silverii writes for The Denver Post, there was not a lot of suspense last Tuesday after the polls closed at 7:00 pm:

At 7:01 p.m. on Election Day our state was called for Biden and U.S. Senator-elect John Hickenlooper. Most of the statewide ballot initiatives were declared quickly, and most competitive legislative races were called right away as well. Our nationally-renowned and bipartisanly-lauded system of all-options voting with universal mail ballots delivered a doubtless result once again, and our Democratic, unaffiliated, and Republican county clerks and recorders, as well as our secretary of state, Jena Griswold, should be applauded for another competent administration of an incredibly high-stakes election.

Colorado Democrats will continue to dominate state government, as I predicted, possessing the most power Democrats have held in our state since FDR was president. They picked up a seat in the state Senate and held a massive 41-24 seat majority against a demoralized state House Republican minority who only after another punishing defeat grasped their previous leadership was leading them into the abyss.

Republicans currently hold only 24 seats in the State House, which is the lowest number since 1965. Actually, it’s the lowest number since 2018, when the same thing happened.

How are Colorado Republicans reacting to their troubles? As The Colorado Sun reports:

It took only an hour after the first election results posted for Colorado Republicans to start seeing the disaster ahead…

…For the party, the examination about how to move forward centers on a fundamental question: Was it President Donald Trump or was it us?

Oh, wait. Those two sentences were written in 2018.

The Republican bench in Colorado

Here’s the 2020 version:

Republicans in Colorado are facing a real crisis as the state moves further to the left. The bench of future GOP leaders the party hoped to build now is looking thin, one that could rival the Broncos’ injured list…

…No Republican running statewide has won more than 45% of the vote in the past two election cycles.

So, again, how did things get this bad for Colorado Republicans? That’s a question that the GOP asked itself after 2018 but never bothered to answer…and it doesn’t look like much has changed after another drubbing at the polls. This section from the 2020 Colorado Sun article is particularly enlightening:

Colorado House Democrats spent big money aiming to expand their majority this year, including in the Republican stronghold of Douglas County, only to see it maintain the status quo.

“That tells me a lot about the voters in this state,” said McKean, the House Republican leader. “We hear all this talk about how blue Colorado might be getting. I don’t believe it for a second.”

You could say that the recently-named House Minority Leader is looking at the world through rose-colored glasses, but that would be overly generous. In reality, McKean is looking at the Colorado political world through glasses covered in black felt. What he’s doing here is essentially celebrating the fact that Democrats only have a 17-seat majority after the 2020 elections.

Did Republicans hold the line this year? Or did Democrats just finally run out of competitive seats that could be flipped? The answer is closer to the latter than the former. After all, there’s no scenario whereby either political party is going to gain 100% of the seats in the state legislature.

It matters not whether McKean and Republicans “believe” that Colorado has turned blue, because this is not a subjective question. What matters is what Colorado Republicans are going to do about it.

If past is prologue, the answer is obvious: Not much.

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At Least She’s Not Your Press Secretary

It’s fair to say that we have long since passed the point of absurdity when it comes to the Trump administration, but apparently we still have yet to reach the absolute bottom.

Via Political Wire:

Via Political Wire (11/12/20)

 

So, we should just call the White House Press Secretary, then?

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Ted Harvey, Colorado’s Premiere Political Ambulance Chaser

Over on the alt-facts social media network Parler, former state Sen. Ted Harvey of Highlands Ranch is up front about how he feels the 2020 elections have gone (Biblical reference above). But Harvey, whose job since the Colorado General Assembly has been running so-called “Scam PACs” that spend most of their raised funds on overhead instead of winning hearts and minds, isn’t stopping there:

We are unable to verify to what extent Harvey’s organization is “leading the legal effort” to ensure that overseas military votes in Georgia are counted, but it’s consistent with reports that “small conservative firms” are handling the majority of the legal grunt work in Trump’s hodge-podge of small-potatoes challenges. Politico:

Behind the scenes, much of the legal work has been handled by small conservative firms. And publicly, President Donald Trump has relied on his staunchest political allies — some of whom aren’t even lawyers — to explain why states should toss out ballots or invalidate the results altogether.

There’s a reason for that.

As with everything Trump, the messaging has served as more a base-pleasing political play and less as an attempt to make a logical legal argument to the country, according to Republicans familiar with the plan. The goal is to not only undermine the legitimacy of Joe Biden’s win, but to also rile up supporters for the runoff fight in Georgia that will determine which party controls the Senate next year. It also serves to sow doubt about the integrity of U.S. elections now and in the future, benefiting Trump’s I-never-lose posture.

Because Ted Harvey’s political committees are first and foremost self-sustaining fundraising operations with no accountability to donors or reputation to uphold, they’re the perfect vehicle for diversionary legal actions that nobody with a clue expects will alter the results of the election. What they are expected to do is facilitate the passage of the Republican base through the trauma of Trump’s defeat, by giving them a way to deny its legitimacy. Bad for the country, good for keeping the Republican base placated for whatever comes next.

And along the way, Ted Harvey will get paid his own thirty pieces of silver.

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Get More Smarter on Wednesday (November 11)

Happy Veterans Day! Let’s Get More Smarter. If you think we missed something important, please include the link in the comments below (here’s a good example). If you are more of an audio learner, check out The Get More Smarter Podcast. And don’t forget to find us on Facebook and Twitter.

 

CORONAVIRUS INFO…

*Colorado Coronavirus info:
CDPHE Coronavirus website 

*Daily Coronavirus numbers in Colorado:
http://covid19.colorado.gov

*How you can help in Colorado:
COVRN.com

*Locate a COVID-19 testing site in Colorado:
Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment 

 

► President Trump is still refusing to concede defeat to Democrat Joe Biden, but most Americans are not at all confused about who won the 2020 Presidential election (though many Republicans are yet clinging to a deflated life preserver). As The Hill newspaper reports:

The overwhelming majority of Americans say President-elect Joe Biden won the 2020 presidential election amid unsubstantiated cries of fraud from President Trump, according to a Reuers/Ipsos poll released Tuesday.

The survey, conducted from Saturday afternoon to Tuesday, showed 79 percent of U.S. adults believe Biden is the winner of the presidential election. Approximately 60 percent of Republicans said Biden won.

Even Ben Ginsburg believes it is ridiculous to challenge Biden’s victory. Think of it like two people racing in a 100 meter sprint in front of a packed stadium; it’s hard to keep claiming that the winner of the race was not the first person across the finish line when everybody watched it happen.

Via The Hill newspaper (11/11/20)

 

► President Trump isn’t the only Republican elected official refusing to concede an election loss. As Salon reports:

Martha McSally, R-Ariz., refuses to concede her election, even though she trails her Democratic rival by a margin which exceeds the total number of outstanding ballots by the thousands.

The Associated Press projected that Senator-elect Mark Kelly, a retired astronaut and the husband of former Rep. Gabby Giffords, D-Ariz., would win the election nearly a week ago. Kelly has already named his transition team, and he’s been assigned temporary office space

…Though McSally graciously conceded her 2018 race to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, D-Ariz., she appears to have latched onto President Donald Trump’s baseless allegations sowing doubt in the election result this go around.

We have no doubt that McSally is thoroughly embarrassed at losing two consecutive races for U.S. Senate in Arizona, so maybe this is just her weird way of dealing with failure. Republican John James, who was unable to unseat Democrat Gary Peters in Michigan, is also refusing to concede a Senate loss.

***Here’s a fun trip down memory lane: Former Republican Congresswoman Marilyn Musgrave never conceded her 2008 loss to Democrat Betsy Markey. If Musgrave’s refusal to concede actually meant something, then Republican Cory Gardner could not have gone on to defeat Markey in 2010.***

Meanwhile, as The New York Times reports, another leg of Trump’s precarious fraud stool has been knocked out:

The Postal Service’s inspector general informed Congress on Tuesday that a worker who had made unfounded allegations of ballot corruption inside a facility in Erie, Pa., had disavowed his claims, which Republicans had amplified to suggest there was widespread fraud in Pennsylvania’s voting.

Richard Hopkins, a post office employee in Erie, “completely” recanted allegations that a supervisor was “tampering with mail-in ballots” after investigators questioned him, the inspector general’s office said, according to the Democratic leadership of the House Oversight and Reform Committee…

…The inspector general’s office told Congress that Mr. Hopkins had recanted his allegations on Monday but “did not explain why he signed a false affidavit,” according to the oversight committee’s staff.

If you’re not convinced by that story, there’s more where that came from. The Washington Post breaks down all of the various election fraud claims made by the Trump campaign and associates and notes that NONE of them have been confirmed:

Republicans have made claims of election irregularities in six states where President-elect Joe Biden leads in the vote count, alleging in lawsuits and public statements that election officials did not follow proper procedures while counting ballots in Tuesday’s election.

So far, they have gone 0 for 6.

 

Democratic Senator-elect John Hickenlooper is in Washington D.C. working on transition efforts after his blowout election victory over Sen. Cory Gardner.

Former Gov. John Hickenlooper, left, meets with Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and others.

 

 

More political (and coronavirus) news is available right after the jump…

 

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Wednesday Open Thread

“I despise people who go to the gutter on either the right or the left and hurl rocks at those in the center.”

–Dwight D. Eisenhower

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Suzanne Staiert Reacts Poorly (Again) on Her Senate Bid

We took note back in June of a very odd decision by then-State Senate candidate Suzanne Staiert to request space for an Op-Ed to attack a reporter who wrote a story for that same publication. As we wrote at the time, it’s never a good idea to publicly attack a reporter and draw more attention to a story that you yourself cannot actually dispute. 

Yep, she did it again.

Alas, Staiert did not learn this lesson. Today, The Colorado Sun published another opinion piece from Staiert (who now goes by the name Suzanne Taheri) in which she shakes her fist at pretty much everybody — both Democrat and Republican — while alleging that communications related to the State Senate race she just lost were all about destroying her as a person. There are numerous Colorado candidates from both political parties who faced negative advertisements in 2020; most of them know enough not to take it personally. 

Staiert Taheri also insists on once again discussing the same campaign finance complaint that she screeched about in June. She doesn’t mention that she appealed that complaint and LOST, garnering a $1,000 fine and a rebuke from an Administrative Law Judge.

As we did with Staiert’s June Op-Ed, we went through her latest missive point by point. Enjoy:

 

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Reality Proof: 70% Of GOP Thinks Election Was Rigged

No middle ground here, folks.

With most of planet Earth outside of Russia, China, and the Republican Party congratulating President-elect Joe Biden on his hard-won victory over Donald Trump in last week’s election, Trump’s refusal to concede and the Republican “dead enders” raging on against hope that some development may yet be uncovered mandating a do-over, or Trump getting another four years anyway, or something similarly insane are increasingly out on a limb.

And to carry that metaphor through, as Politico reports, it had better be a strong limb:

Multiple new organizations announced Biden as the election winner on Saturday after four days of counting in several swing states. Following the news, 70 percent of Republicans now say they don’t believe the 2020 election was free and fair, a stark rise from the 35 percent of GOP voters who held similar beliefs before the election. [Pols emphasis] Meanwhile, trust in the election system grew for Democrats, many who took to the streets to celebrate Biden’s victory on Saturday. Ninety percent of Democrats now say the election was free and fair, up from 52 percent before Nov. 3 who thought it would be.

Among Republicans who believed that the election wasn’t free and fair, 78 percent believed that mail-in voting led to widespread voter fraud and 72 percent believed that ballots were tampered with — both claims that have made a constant appearance on the president’s Twitter thread. Like President Donald Trump, a majority of the people that thought the election was unfair, 84 percent, said it benefited Biden.

The lack of trust in the election system has led to Republicans being more skeptical about the election results. Although only 18 percent of Republicans had said the results would be unreliable prior to Election Day, now 64 percent feel the same way following Biden’s victory. By contrast, 86 percent of Democrats say they trust the results.

It’s possible and optimists will certainly hope that the results of this Morning Consult poll reflect only a temporary irrational discontent over the outcome of the 2020 elections, much the way any football fan scrutinizes the referees after losing the big game. Unfortunately, years of Trump’s loyal Republican base being steadily weaned off fact-based information sources has created a distressingly large segment of American voters–much larger than believed to exist before last Tuesday–who really do believe and internalize the Trump propaganda that the mainstream media laughs off along with most Americans not in the bubble.

Over the years, we’ve had many occasions in this space to ridicule the far-right fringe that took control of the Republican Party at all levels, beginning with the “Tea Party” and the fateful 2010 elections that gave Republicans the power to stymie Barack Obama’s agenda. When Sarah Palin warned of “death panels” and Bob Beauprez worried aloud that Obama was “pushing the country” toward civil war, we laughed with the assumption that most Coloradans like most Americans were also scoffing at such unhinged babble.

Today, with 70% of Republicans telling pollsters that something for which there is absolutely no evidence of occurring has just occurred, rejecting all of the good faith Americans are supposed to presume for an institution as sacred as our election process, the deep damage done to our nation by the last decade of Republican total political warfare is revealed.

Those responsible have done something terrible to our country, and we can’t say today how to fix it.

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Meet Your New COVIDiot GOP House Minority

TUESDAY UPDATE: 9NEWS’ Kyle Clark had some words of praise last night for Rep. Terri Carver, the only Republican lawmaker in the photo you can see below wearing a face mask as is mandatory in indoor public spaces.

That’s one, anyway.

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As the Denver Post’s Saja Hindi reports, the all-but-maskless (photo above) Colorado House GOP minority elected new leadership today to replace outgoing and thoroughly disgraced Minority Leader Patrick Neville, who led his caucus to its teensiest, tiniest littleness in decades through two successive election cycles:

After two rounds of voting, Rep. Hugh McKean of Loveland was selected as House minority leader, his supporters citing a need for change and leadership that understands each district’s needs are unique. McKean replaces Rep. Patrick Neville of Castle Rock, who decided not to seek another term in leadership following an internal battle about the caucus’ priorities.

The power struggle was evident as two people challenged McKean for the seat, including the assistant minority leader, Rep. Kevin Van Winkle of Highlands Ranch, and Rep. Tim Geitner of Falcon. Rep. Dave Williams of Colorado Springs turned down a nomination for assistant minority leader after McKean won the top post, citing their different views…

We wouldn’t call new Minority Leader Hugh McKean “moderate” in any objective sense, maybe graded on a curve already shot by fringe members of the Republican caucus like Neville and Rep. Dave Williams. Williams, who has happily settled into the job of lead House Republican freakshow succeeding his predecessor in HD-15 Rep. Gordon “Dr. Chaps” Klingenschmitt, is determined to not learn a single lesson from the party’s 2018 and 2020 shellackings in Colorado:

“I think the reason we’re losing elections is because the voters are being tricked and deceived by Democrats, and we need to do everything we can to expose that deception,” he said.

Rep. Tim Geitner was Williams’ choice to be the next Minority Leader, and although Williams himself will not have a post in House Minority Leadership Geitner will keep the far right’s home fires burning as assistant minority leader. McKean’s ascension to House Minority Leader will also result in turnover for the lucrative job running the “independent” campaign arm of the House GOP, previously run by the Neville family’s stable of political storefronts including Values First Colorado–and after two of the most abysmal election cycles in Colorado House Republican history, nobody can consider this a bad development for Colorado Republicans. It is simply difficult to envision what greater failure looks like.

With that said, the near-absence of face masks at this caucus meeting in defiance of statewide and Denver mandatory public health orders, indoors where it really matters, is all the non-COVIDiot majority of the voting public needs to know about the new House GOP minority under Hugh McKean. The same obstinate backwardness that brought Republicans in Colorado to ruin prevails.

Want us to think differently? Tell your caucus to obey the law.

We hope the conference room where this meeting took place is thoroughly disinfected before its next use.

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At Least You’re Not About to Get Fired by President Trump

It’s gonna be a long two months if you work in the Trump administration.

President Trump found out on Saturday that he will need to find a new place to live in January. Trump has yet to acknowledge that he lost the 2020 election to Joe Biden, and it’s quite possible that he will never admit defeat; fortunately, our system of government does not require a sitting President to make a definitive statement about failing to garner as many votes as the other candidate.

Trump hasn’t made an official public appearance since news broke on Saturday morning that Biden had been elected President of the United States (unless you count golfing as a public appearance), but he continues to vent his fury in private and through social media. On Monday, Trump took to Twitter to fire Defense Secretary Mark Esper. As The New York Times reports:

The president wrote that he was appointing Christopher C. Miller, whom he described as the “highly respected” director of the National Counterterrorism Center, to be acting defense secretary. Mr. Miller will be the fourth official to lead the Pentagon under Mr. Trump.

The president noted that Mr. Miller had already been approved by the Senate for his current position, perhaps as a way to argue that the firing of a defense secretary should not be viewed as a sign of turmoil in the highest ranks of the nation’s national security structure.

Mr. Esper’s departure means that Mr. Miller would — if he lasts — see out the end of the Trump administration at the Pentagon. While Mr. Trump has over two months left in office, it could still be a significant time, as Defense Department officials have privately expressed worries that the president might initiate operations, whether overt or secret, against Iran or other adversaries in his waning days in office.

If it’s any consolation to Esper, he may have plenty of company at the unemployment office. It has been reported that Trump wants to fire FBI Director Christopher Wray and CIA Gina Haspel, and the President himself suggested last week that he might fire Dr. Anthony Fauci, the nation’s foremost expert on infectious diseases.

On Friday, Trump fired Bonnie Glick, the deputy administrator of the U.S. Agency for International Development, without offering any explanation. Acting administrator John Barsa was named acting deputy administrator, an announcement that came on the same day that Barsa’s term as acting administrator was set to expire (via the Federal Vacancies Reform Act, federal officials can only serve in an “acting” position for 210 days following a vacancy; former administrator Mark Green resigned in April).

Trump is also angry with Attorney General William Barr for not agreeing to his every demand and for not listening to calls from Newt Gingrich and others that he arrest Pennsylvania poll workers for…something. According to Slate.com, Barr may resign before Trump can get around to firing him.

And then there’s this, from CNN reporter Shimon Prokupecz:


Unless you are really excited about the opportunity to be unemployed in two months — Trump’s term in office ends on January 20, 2021 — it makes perfect sense that you would be updating your resume this week.

But in Trump’s world, loyalty means that you can’t leave before he does…unless he tells you to leave. Which he might, because said loyalty is absolutely not reciprocal.

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Lauren Boebert In Total Denial Of Trump Defeat, Of Course

Lauren Boebert (R-ifle).

The world may be celebrating Joe Biden’s victory over Donald Trump in last week’s presidential elections, but as readers know there is a faction of hardcore Trump “dead enders” clinging to every word from Rudy Giuliani is what is overwhelmingly considered to be false hope that some late-breaking revelation might swing the election. Reportedly, close associates of President Trump including son-in-law Jared Kushner and First Lady Melania Trump are urging him to concede for the sake of his legacy, while Trump’s pugnacious adult sons tell him to battle on.

Who else is encouraging Donald Trump to not accept the results of the election as called by every credible news outlet in America? Rep.-elect Lauren “Q*Bert” Boebert, you already guessed!

Although there’s some back and forth over this today in British media outlets, Guy Fawkes Day was last Thursday, not Saturday night in the U.K.–which was right after Joe Biden was declared the winner of the presidential election Saturday morning in the U.S. Britons may have had leftover fireworks from Bonfire Night, but Biden provided a suitable reason to fire them off–just like the celebrations in cities across the world and the United States including a huge street party in Denver.

We digress. The point is Biden won the election, and most of the world is pretty happy about that. Here in America, it’s true, there are some Trump voters who are less happy–but even most of them are moving on now, because it’s clear that Trump lost and rational people tend to accept such things once they are factually plain.

For Lauren Boebert, elected to Congress in an R+6 district despite it becoming painfully clear on the campaign trail that she is an unqualified mess willing to sing the praises of whatever nonsensical conspiracy theory is fed to her, this is most likely just the first of a long two years of such embarrassments. An “Election 2020 Truther” movement coming out of Trump’s fact-averse presidency is of course inevitable, with a wilder variation of the story certain to merge with the “QAnon” fictional universe to close the loop for the faithful.

All of which will have a torchbearer in Colorado’s Third Congressional District now!

Buckle up, folks.

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Hope Outbreak Grips Nation

It’s morning in America, as the Washington Post reports:

U.S. stocks soared Monday, as promising coronavirus vaccine news and Joe Biden’s White House victory sent investors into a frenzy.

The Dow Jones industrial average spiked nearly 1,600 points, or 5.6 percent, at opening bell Monday after drug giant Pfizer and German biotechnology firm BioNTech announced that their vaccine candidate was more than 90 percent effective, compared with a placebo. It is the strongest sign yet that the unprecedented effort, breaking every scientific speed record, to develop a vaccine was within sight…

Biden applauded Pfizer’s breakthrough in a statement Monday, but warned that the end of the battle against Covid-19 is still months away. “Today’s news does not change this urgent reality,” Biden said. “Americans will have to rely on masking, distancing, contact tracing, hand washing and other measures to keep themselves safe well into next year.”

Despite plenty of caution flags underlying this good news on the vaccine front against the COVID-19 pandemic, markets are obviously very pleased with the development, along with the resolution of political uncertainty in the United States this weekend that provoked celebrations across the world this past week a la the final scene of Return of the Jedi. Take a few minutes to savor this good news before the bad news of the pandemic’s rapid acceleration over the past few weeks pulls you back to under the clouds.

In other news, an angry, defeated man is still angry. It’s a story we’re following, of course, but increasingly parenthetical to reality’s main track.

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President-Elect Joe Biden

SATURDAY UPDATE 9:30AM: At long last.

AP has also called the race. So has NBC, ABC, CBS… It’s truly all over but the shouting now.

—–

Politico reports, it’s really almost over:

Joe Biden pulled narrowly ahead of Donald Trump in Pennsylvania on Friday, hours after doing the same in Georgia, making it more certain than ever that Democrats will reclaim the White House.

After trailing Trump by hundreds of thousands of votes on Election Day in Pennsylvania, Biden steadily ate into his margins as more mail-in ballots were tallied in the state and put him in the lead for the first time after 32,000 ballots from heavily Democratic Philadelphia were counted.

We’re waiting for the networks to call the race this morning, and for Donald Trump to do…whatever he’s going to do about it. But after two and a half excruciating days of not-really uncertainty, we’re finally feeling the inevitability of a Joe Biden victory.

Prepare to exhale, nation. We’ll update when it’s official.

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Weekend Open Thread

“Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear and obstacles vanish.”

–John Quincy Adams

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Tallest-Ever Colorado House Speaker Elected

Speaker-elect Alec Garnett with former House Speaker Mark Ferrandino who represented the same district.

Colorado Newsline reports, and no we haven’t actually checked that but it’s a pretty good bet:

Colorado House Democrats elected Rep. Alec Garnett of Denver as the new House speaker on Nov. 5, replacing Rep. KC Becker, of Boulder, who is term-limited.

Garnett faced no opposition, but the battle for House majority leader was more competitive — with Reps. Adrienne Benavidez of Commerce City, Daneya Esgar of Pueblo, Chris Kennedy of Lakewood and Leslie Herod of Denver all vying for the position.

After two runoff elections and a technical problem with the virtual platform the caucus was using, Esgar emerged victorious and will be the next majority leader in the House.

After two years as “speaker in waiting” under K.C. Becker, Alec Garnett’s ascendancy to the top job in the Colorado House was not the dramatic action of the day, with that honor going to contest for the next House Majority Leader to succeed Garnett. He’ll preside over an unchanged 41-seat Democratic majority after trading one seat with Republicans for a net wash–though it remains the biggest House majority Democrats have enjoyed in Colorado in the lifetime of most people now living.

Garnett is a regular guest on the Get More Smarter podcast, and we’re excited to continue bringing his wit and wisdom to our readers/listeners after he moves into the Speaker’s office in January. The full release from Colorado House Democrats follows after the jump.

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“Stop The Steal” Colorado Heads To Wrong City

The word went out to the party faithful that tomorrow at noon in the capitals of every state in the land, the “Stop The Steal” pushback will begin–and no amount of social media reality checking is going to get in their way:

But apparently in Colorado, there’s been a change in plans with respect to that “every state capitol” part:

That’s right, folks! While every other “Stop The Steal” protest is set to take place on the steps (or inside as the laws permit) of state capitol buildings across America, in Colorado the protest is being held at the Colorado Springs Municipal Court building 90 miles away. It’s bizarre that the big bad boys of Colorado’s premiere “brownshirt lite” group FEC United is concerned about “safety” in Denver, since they have their affiliated militia the so-called United American Defense Force standing back and standing by to protect them:

The real reason this protest is headed for Colorado Springs instead of the Colorado State Capitol in Denver is of course not any concerns for the “safety” of “Stop The Steal” protesters. It’s about the safety of Denver residents from these people. Because open carrying of firearms is illegal in Denver, this protest is headed to a locale where they can hold their little rally in their preferred condition of armed to the teeth.

It’s our hope and expectation that nothing bad will happen while these particularly excitable members of society blow off the inevitable steam necessary to get over what is surely a difficult moment in their lives. We feel especially bad for “QAnon” adherents, who are about to discover that there was never a global war against the pedophile elite to stop the harvesting of children’s blood for fountain of youth serums. Let them grieve in the way that suits them as long as no actual “boogaloos” get started–and luring them 90 miles away from Denver with the chance to legally brandish weapons will certainly draw no objections from Denver.

For the next rally, try La Junta! It’s even freer.

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Once Again, Mitt Romney Speaks Out While Cory Gardner Hides

Donald Trump, Mitt Romney.

The Hill:

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) on Friday pushed back against President Trump’s baseless claim that the election is being stolen, warning that his rhetoric is only inflaming partisan tensions.

Romney, in a statement posted to Twitter, said the president was “right” to “exhaust legal remedies,” including asking for recounts and that alleged voting irregularities be investigated, but “wrong to say that the election was rigged, corrupt and stolen.”

“Doing so damages the cause of freedom here and around the world, weakens the institutions that lie at the foundation of the Republic and recklessly inflames destructive and dangerous passions,” Romney added.

With President Donald Trump’s rhetoric increasingly detached from reality, insisting he has won an election that at this point we can say with some certainty he did not win and making so-far totally unsubstantiated claims of election fraud, most Republicans are taking the middle ground of acknowledging Trump’s legal rights while reinforcing in the abstract that American elections are safe and sound.

As has been his trademark since winning Utah’s Senate seat in 2018, Sen. Mitt Romney has once again gone farther to condemn Trump’s irresponsible statements and actions than any of his Republican colleagues. Romney’s consistency in holding Trump accountable, including being the only Republican Senate vote to convict Trump in the impeachment trial, directly undermines the spin that now-defeated Sen. Cory Gardner of neighboring Colorado was a hapless victim of anti-Trump sentiment he could not avoid. Gardner made a deliberate choice to ride Trump’s ship down, and the debate will go on whether taking a Romney-like path of distance from Trump from the beginning might have saved Gardner in an election that wasn’t as big a Democratic wave as predicted.

But alas, even now…nothing. Presumably there are future career considerations.

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