Headlines: November 6, 2020
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Vote counting in several key states continued late Thursday night into Friday morning leaving the results of the November 3rd Presidential race up in the air for the third day in row. In the middle of the night, votes that had been cast in the Democratic strongholds of Philadelphia and Atlanta flipped President Donald Trump’s lead in Pennsylvania and Georgia respectively, giving Joe Biden the edge. Those densely populated cities where communities of color organized massive voter registration efforts had large backlogs of votes to count and turned the tide against Trump as many had predicted. Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger announced, “With a margin that small, there will be a recount in Georgia. Interest in our election obviously goes far beyond Georgia’s borders. The final tally in Georgia at this point has huge implications for the entire country.” Georgia’s state legislature is dominated by Republicans. In Arizona, where Biden took an early lead, the race appears to be tightening but the Democratic nominee maintains his lead.
Many blame Republican state lawmakers for this week’s vote counting delays in Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania where it was known that densely populated districts that leaned heavily Democratic would vote early and/or by mail. Lawmakers in those states insisted that there could be no counting of votes until election day, thereby setting up nail-biting finishes where President Donald Trump could cast doubts on vote tallies and challenge results in court. Trump has lost challenges in Pennsylvania, Michigan, Georgia, and Nevada. On Thursday late afternoon Trump gave a low-energy press briefing at the White House where he spewed so many lies that most networks simply cut away from carrying it live. He began by saying, “If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.” Later, on Twitter, where the social media platform has flagged many of his posts, Trump said out loud what he has planned for weeks: that the Supreme Court should intervene in the election. The campaign lawyers that are petitioning the court apparently have ties to Trump-appointed Justice Brett Kavanaugh through the Federalist Society.
The one legal victory that the Trump campaign can claim is a judge’s recent ruling to overturn Covid-19 social distancing rules in Pennsylvania and allow election observers from both parties to watch vote counting from up close. But Trump allies in the U.S. Senate are now jumping on the bandwagon of trying to delegitimatize the state election saying election observers were not allowed. Fox News host Sean Hannity spoke with Republican Senators Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz and discussed invalidating Pennsylvania’s election. PLAY VIDEO. That’s Senator Ted Cruz and before him Lindsey Graham saying that Pennsylvania’s election needed a do-over because their president was losing. House minority leader Kevin McCarthy went even further saying simply, “President Trump won this election.” CNN reporter Kaitlan Collins said that White House aides were having a discussion about how to stage an “intervention” to convince Trump he had no path to reelection. Joe Biden will reportedly give a prime time address to the nation on Friday evening at 8 pm Eastern.
In Nevada, where a slow vote count has inspired thousands of online memes, the state Republican Party sent the Justice Department a criminal complaint about allegations of thousands of cases of voter fraud. The Nevada GOP posted on Twitter, “Our lawyers just sent a criminal referral to AG Barr regarding at least 3,062 instances of voter fraud. We expect that number to grow substantially. Thousands of individuals have been identified who appear to have violated the law by casting ballots after they moved from NV.”
In Michigan Republican Senate candidate John James is now reportedly refusing to concede to Democratic incumbent Senator Gary Peters after news outlets projected Peters as winning reelection. James released a statement calling for an investigation into Michigan’s election saying, “I have deep concerns that millions of Michiganders may have been disenfranchised by a dishonest few who cheat.” It is not clear what sort of disenfranchisement James is referring to.
Philadelphia Police on Thursday night arrested two men on firearms charges after receiving a tip that they may have planned an attack on the convention center where vote counting was taking place. Tensions are high around the nation as Trump has mobilized an “army” of armed supporters calling on them to “fight back,” against his legitimate loss. Facebook and Twitter are scrambling to stop the massive spread of violent rhetoric online. Facebook removed a group called “Stop the Steal” which echoed the slogan promoted by a network of far right and Republican-linked and funded groups to engineer a win for Trump. According to Reuters, the “Stop the Steal” Facebook group, “was adding 1,000 new members every 10 seconds and had grown to 365,000 members in a day.” A Facebook spokesperson said, “The group was organized around the delegitimization of the election process, and we saw worrying calls for violence from some members.” Small groups of protesters have been rallying outside vote counting centers in key states all over the country. Meanwhile, Twitter permanently banned former White House advisor Steve Bannon for calling for the beheading of two government officials that he perceives are working against Trump’s interests: Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray.
The U.S. Postal Service which is being run by a Trump loyalist Louis DeJoy, has been ordered to comply with a federal judge’s ruling to search for remaining mail-in ballots. The USPS refused to comply with the judge’s deadline of election day to locate hundreds of thousands of missing ballots and deliver them on time, thereby jeopardizing those votes. The Postal Service delivered about 40,000 ballots on Thursday and announced on Friday that an additional 1,076 were found at a mail processing center in Philadelphia.
And finally, U.S. cases of coronavirus infections rose for a second day in a row, to more than 120,000 in a 24-hour period – a new record. States are now imposing restrictions once more in response.