No one seems much troubled by Trump’s coup attempt, on the I-hope-valid assumption it will fail.

But before we get to that . . . and the specifics of dead Pennsylvanians voting (if you make it all the way to the end) . . .

The Nostalgia Machine — pick any year from 1951 on.

Eternal youth — a progress report.  (Just in case you’re interested.)

Okay, now . . .

Trump will leave office having allowed North Korea to gain the ability to nuke our cities and Russia the ability to wreak havoc with our national defense, economy, financial system, and infrastructure.

With unemployment far above the rate he inherited.

With the nation many trillions deeper in debt.

With our infrastructure four years deeper in decline.

With world confidence in us severely shaken.

He came into office with a full CDC pandemic team forward-deployed in China (which he pulled back) . . . and a “pandemic playbook” and tabletop exercise orchestrated as part of the elaborate effort the Obama team made to give the Trump team all the help it could — which help (see Michael Lewis’s The Fifth Risk) was all but entirely ignored.

Yet with that horrible record, with his horrible personal failings . . .

. . . and with more dying of Covid each day than died at Pearl Harbor or on 9/11 . . .

. . . and with life terribly difficult for so many . . .

. . . Trump and his followers can’t believe he wasn’t re-elected in a landslide.

Like the landslide he won in 2016 (when he came within 3 million votes of Hillary) that was celebrated on the Mall by the largest Inaugural crowd in history.

Some of this is how The Big Lie works.  How strongmen work.  How fascism works.  How Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News has worked.  How Bill Barr has worked.  (Fox and Barr only now, WAY too late, having backed off a bit.)

And it’s how Vladimir Putin works.

As previously noted:

Q-Anon was nurtured by Russia.

Well, Q-Anon is now in Congress and, the past few days, in the Oval Office.

The Russians have hacked our computer systems — and millions of our minds.

It is ongoing.

Trump’s followers have been conned into believing Putin over our intelligence agencies.

The Second Cold War has pitted a judo black belt against a fake-wrestling fan; a KGB-military veteran over a bone-spur lothario.

Guess whose country is on the mat?

Before I leave this, I want to take the example of just one mind that’s been hacked.

A highly educated mind.

He writes:

I can live with Biden (not Harris).  But I cannot abide the belief that we no longer live in a country where voters get to choose the government. This is a foundational risk to the country. Whatever the result of this election, the opaque and fraudulent voting system must be reformed. I attach a screen shot I took from Pennsylvania — all fraudulent votes of dead or nonexistent people, all duly logged.

In addition to the screen shot of dead voters, he included a 4-point Trump retweet.

I replied:

Yes!  Faith in fair and honest elections is key.

To me, no one has done more to shake that faith than Trump — except possibly Putin.

His screen shot showed the first page of a statewide registry of Pennsylvania voters who had requested to vote by mail, ordered by birthdate, starting with one from Chester County born September 6, 1903.

We can’t know for sure that he or she is dead, but at 117, it’s a reasonable assumption.

Each successive line on the screenshot grew a little younger, with the youngest of the 17, from Northumberland County, having been born February 27, 1912.

Probably dead, too.

Not good, right?

And just the sort of thing that would reinforce my friend’s feeling — bred of so many repetitions and tweets and posts from so many directions — that there was massive fraud.

And yet on closer inspection, it turns out that of the 17 screenshotted ballot requesters, 4 were registered Republicans and 3 had no party affiliation.

Six of the 17 never returned the ballot they were sent.

The 11 who did should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law!

Except . . . wait.  Is it possible that, in inputting millions of data entries, someone slipped and hit a ZERO instead of a NINE — a quarter-inch to the left — making the birth year 1903 instead of 1993?

I truly don’t know.

Yet even assuming all 11 were fraud – 2 fraudulent Republicans, 2 fraudulent no-party-affiliation, 7 Democrats – is this in any way meaningful?

This is just one page taking us only from 1903 to early 1912 . . . there would presumably have been several more pages before you got to more plausible ages (there ARE centenarians in Pennsylvania, and they do have the right to vote) . . . so maybe instead of 11 there are 100 or even 200 such questionable ballots, and maybe the ratio skewed Democratic, netting Biden an extra few dozen votes — but Trump lost Pennsylvania by 82,000!

And if this was systemic Democratic fraud, why include Republicans?  And why not return all 17 ballots?  Why waste any precious votes if you’re going to all this trouble and risking prison?

I mean — it’s just crazy.  No?

What makes it significant is that it doesn’t come from a crazy person.  It comes from a a really smart, opinionated person.  People listen to him.

The Trump retweet my friend included had Trump saying:

If you think this is all a coincidence you’re an idiot.  These are statistical impossibilities.”

This is the line of argument every court has rejected — including all three of Trump’s personally-appointed Supreme Justices — but let’s take a fresh look at the four items that supposedly make the case for Trump.

  1. “Biden outperforms Senators in swing states, underperforms in VA, NH, RI.”  One explanation is some systemic fraud no one has been able to unearth.  A far better one, it seems to me, is that in the swing states, voters KNEW they were in swing states — and so tried extra-hard to get rid of Trump, even though some were lifelong Republicans (like all those “Lincoln Project” Republicans) who gritted their teeth and voted for Biden (wishing they could have voted for Romney or McCain) but not for other Democrats.
  2. “Biden underperforms Hillary/Obama in cities, except in MI, PA, GA, WI.”  Assuming this is accurate, so what?  Virtually no resources were expended to turn out Biden voters in solid blue states.  Tremendous efforts were made in swing states.  Why is it odd – let alone impossible – that voters in Detroit, Philadelphia, Atlanta, and Milwaukee who had stayed home in 2016 (because everyone knew Hillary would win and their votes weren’t needed) would this time show up?  Why would Georgia’s Republican Governor and Secretary of State be so adamant in saying the election, thrice counted and backed up with paper ballots, was fair and secure?
  3. “Biden mail-in dumps with 100% margins.” I’m not sure what this refers to.  Clearly, anything ABOVE 100% is either fraud or an error, and even 100% in a large sample size seems impossible.  But Trump was telling his people not to use mail-in ballots and we were begging our people to use them . . . so why is it remarkable that – especially in heavily Democratic areas like Philadelphia, which would skew 90%+ our way, anyway – the mail-in skewed close to 100%?  In the states where ballot counting was delayed, it was because Republican legislatures would not allow the processing/counting of mail-in ballots to begin until Election Day.  The purpose of that was to allow Trump to show a big margin on Election night, so he could claim theft and rigging as the counting wore on.  And maybe stage a coup.
  4. “GOP lose zero House races. ” See #1 above.  And also: if we had the ability to rig results for Biden, wouldn’t we also have rigged to win the Senate?  And House and state legislative chambers?

Tribal Trumpers are so deeply dug in that, as he told us at the outset, he could walk down Fifth Avenue shooting people and they would still support him.

Not because they are stupid (or murderous), but because Trump (in this way, at least) and Putin (who is murderous) and the folks heading Fox (looking to make money) are very, very smart.

UnAmerican and untruthful, but very very smart.



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