Election 2020: Woodwork Squeaks And Out Comes Steve Bannon

The crack(pot) legal team heading up Trump's re-election effort's strategy was made plain today in several court filings: ignore how key states voted and instead have Trump electoral slates named. What was once the province of "this could be their eventual plan if they get desperate enough" is now explicit: in fact, in one filing in Pennsylvania, to quote the Washington Post, "Giuliani said Trump would ask the judge to consider declaring the state’s election results “defective” and order Pennsylvania’s Republican-controlled legislature to select the state’s presidential electors rather than Gov. Tom Wolf, a Democrat. Under state law, the governor appoints the electors based on the popular vote — a fact that even Republican legislative leaders have emphasized."

A similar filing was made today in Nevada, and of course in Michigan there was the Wayne County drama yesterday, which Trump today decried his side's defeat as the result of "harassment against patriots". (To be fair, Trump is very familiar with online harassment, having caused a great deal of it.) His Twitter feed is currently 99% conspiracy theory rebroadcasting, and 1% calling people like Darrell Issa who compliment him "so nice".

The Washington Post story today, one of the only ones apparently leavened with current leaks from inside the White House (I guess Maggie Haberman had the day off, so Robert Costa stepped up) is interesting for several reasons. One of them is that it has as part of Trump's new "fight with stubby fists until you can't" team with Guiliani is …Jason Miller. You might remember Jason Miller from yesterday's news leaks as screaming at Guiliani about how crazy he is for trying to take over the campaign. It's possible both are true! We are talking about Trumpworld. As I also mentioned yesterday, Jason Miller is pond scum in human form, who managed to impregnate not one but two women not his wife while with the 2016 campaign, tried to give one of them an abortifacent against her will, and after a lurid child support hearing where it came out that he spent a good part of the campaign in the arms of strippers and escorts, was overcome with shame and left public life. HAH HAH just kidding, this is 2020 so this year he by virtue of being one of the few people left who'd work for Trump became a senior campaign advisor known for making television appearances blaming Gov. Gretchen Whitmer of Michigan for "having hate in her heart for President Trump" causing her… let me check… yes, causing far right terrorists to plot to kidnap her. As a bonus, Boris Epshteyn is apparently back with the gang as well - Boris being both the press aide so obnoxious he had to be let go, only to land at Sinclair Broadcasting with a TV commentary stations literally had to be forced to air (that no one watched). Seems a good fit.

So really, Trump couldn't find anyone worse to work with this team HAH HAH HAH can't even finish that sentence, because the genius behind this whole strategy, as it turns out, is Stephen Fucking Bannon, returned from the dead (figuratively), out on bail (literally), three shirts to the wind (I dunno, it sounded good) and ready to put Dr. Fauci's head on a pike (again, apparently literally). Since Guiliani is, as we all saw from his courtroom appearance yesterday, literally unable to complete a sentence unassisted, Bannon is the ventriloquist feeding Rudy his lines. Or, to quote Yet Another Spineless and Nameless Republican Leaking To Reporters: "Guiliani is crazy and actually believes Bannon." Bannon's modus operandi throughout Trump's term has always been to cause as much chaos as possible - for example the ban on Muslims from entering the US, in addition to being hilariously unconstitutional was also unleashed with zero notice to the border control staff, because Bannon WANTED scenes of chaos at the border. And if liberals showed up to protest, all the better.

So. Will any of this actually work? We're still at the "very probably not" stage. The problem is we can't say "no, it won't work" because there's a small chance one of Guiliani's legal misfirings might hit a friendly judge who doesn't mind ignoring public opinion and the law to overturn the election. Things that work against this include Guiliani's incredible incompetence at being a lawyer, the spotlight that would immediately shine on any judge who cooperated with such a scheme (especially since given the general slipshod nature of this entire enterprise, they would be the only one doing this), and the minor detail that the law and the basic facts are very much not on Trump's side. However, things that work for this: Mitch McConnell has spent the past 4 years filling the judiciary with loyal conservative foot soldiers, many of whom were manifestly unqualified on any but political grounds. So, not 100% certain it won't happen. 99.8%. Maybe 99.5%. Maybe 98.2%. I'm not sure about you, but for me a 2% chance of "democracy collapsing" is bad.

While all this goes on, we apparently still have a government of some sort. Mark Meadows, the chief of staff recovering from COVID-19 much like literally everyone else at the White House, gave a dyspeptic press briefing where he sort of said goodbye but also said that there was so much fraud, you guys, he saw it personally! For his part, the person supposedly in charge of the COVID-19 response, Dr. Scott Atlas (who as a radiologist has about as much standing to comment on infectious diseases as you do, by the way), gave a news interview that said you might as well go see Grandma for Thanksgiving because, ya know, she's probably going to die anyway, being old and all. I feel I have to emphasize here, I'm not making any of this up. The White House continues to insist they're still here and not leaving and in fact we're hiring, step right up! To prove that point they hired a literal white nationalist today to be on "a commission that helps preserve sites related to the Holocaust."

Again, I have to emphasize here, I'm not making any of this up. Really. Welcome to the rest of 2020.