Thursday, September 29, 2022

No Hoodwinking Allowed

On Friday evening's Overtime segment on Real Time with Bill Maher, guest Vivek Ramaswamy tried to equate the refusal of Stacey Abrams to concede the 2018 Georgia gubernatorial race to GOP election deniers. Bill Maher would have none of that, responding

Yeah, you know, I've heard this on the show before. I just got to call bullshit on this. It's just such silly whataboutism. You pick out the one example on the left- one example among Democrats that it's not nearly as consequential as what is going on in the entire Republican Party, including the leader of the Party, Donald Trump.

That's the answer- Stacey Abrams? It's a bullshit answer, man. with all due respect, it's a bullshit answer to a giant problem that exists almost exclusively on one side.

In May, 2019 Vox explained of the effort by Abrams' organization

The 66-page lawsuit highlights voting issues that affected the state including voter purges, registration applications put on hold, Election Day troubles at predominantly nonwhite voting precincts, and problems with voters’ absentee and provisional ballots.

Each of these issues fueled their own series of lawsuits (several of them successful) in the weeks before and after the election, but this latest lawsuit cites them collectively to make a larger point: Georgia’s current election system created an unconstitutional series of obstacles that are disproportionately likely to disadvantage, and in some cases completely disenfranchise, voters of color.

At the time of the election, the Secretary of State of Georgia, charged with overseeing elections, was none other than Brian Kemp- Abrams' opponent and presumptive winner of the election. However, the most telling factor may be that the plaintiffs proposed a series of reforms.

Donald Trump & Co. challenged the results of the 2020 election for one reason and one reason only: Donald Trump lost.  It was not about the voters; it was about him, only.

But Maher was correct. Whatever Abrams' justification, she did not incite an insurrection and she is not a leading presidential candidate. Ramaswamy argued "we're not going to have faith in either side of the electoral system" unless "everyone who at least points to someone in their tribe." To that Maher noted "Yes, but more so when the two things are of equal merit . And this a mouse and an elephant, you know. I mean, it's a cheap trick."

However, the (willfully) blind cannot be deterred and Ramaswamy stated

What role did this play where a lot of Democrats were not willing to accept the legitimacy of the 2016 election outcome on the back of the Russia collusion narrative. What role does that play in giving legitimacy to the other side to now say they're not going to accept the election. I think this has been a game of escalation going on for a long time.

Maher noted "who didn't accept the election? Hillary came down in her purple suit within- before she went to bed."  

The narrative of what the right dismisses as "the Russia collusion" included the 140+ contacts between Donald Trump and 18 of his associates with Russian nationals and Wikileaks, or their intermediaries, during the 2016 campaign and presidential transition. This was not to conduct their fantasy football draft.

After Ramaswamy again invoked "a Russia collusion narrative," Maher responded "the impeachment was not about Russia collusion. It was about Ukraine. the impeachment was about the Ukraine scandal."

The blueprint was laid with the Brooks Brothers Riot of November 2000 and included the announcement by George W. Bush of victory and nomination of a cabinet before all the votes were counted.  A week before the last presidential election, Roger Stone laid out the Republican playbook: "When that happens, the key thing to do is claim victory. Possession is nine-tenths of the law. No, we won." As noted here, Roger "Stone coordinated the program to shut down the vote count and throw the election to Bush, who had lost the election by 500,000 votes nationwide, a role Stone reprised in both 2016 and 2020." 

The game is election manipulation, there is only one side playing it. Bill Maher knew it and called it for it is.


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