Dave Wiegel this morning talked about a ridiculous, ludicrous story that barely even bats a single brow, here in the late bitter cold of 2017.
Roy Moore, the Republican nominee who lost Alabama’s closely watched Senate race this month, has filed a last-minute legal complaint alleging “election fraud” and asking the state not to confirm the victory of Democrat Doug Jones.
In the complaint filed in state court, Moore’s campaign argues that Alabama “will suffer irreparable harm if the election results are certified without preserving and investigating all the evidence of potential fraud.” It cites rumors of election fraud that have already been investigated and refuted by the Alabama secretary of state, argues that high Democratic turnout in key areas was statistically unlikely, and reports that Moore himself has taken a polygraph test — an attempt to disprove allegations that he made unwanted sexual advances on teenagers when he was in his 30s.
Weigel obviously gets to the heart of this nonsense when he talks about rumors that have been “investigated and refuted” by Alabama’s deeply-red Secretary of State. These aren’t even “rumors”, really, as much as “completely made up nonsense by racists and vandals.”
They involve, as you would assume, Soros-funded buses dragging out-of-state blacks and other liberals into small towns in a state with the toughest voter ID laws in the country to swing an election by some 20,000 votes.
There’s another great part in this story.
The complaint also recounts how the secretary of state investigated a viral video of a man saying people had come from “across the country” to help beat Moore — but goes on to argue that the investigation was not transparent. The man in the video turned out to be a legal Alabama voter.
Now, anyone who has ever worked on any election know what that means: there were volunteers coming from everywhere. That happens in every election. This was one Jones volunteer who excitedly said that they united the country to win, and the right-wing took that as proof of a massive conspiracy. That’s right: they think that they caught some guy going “We have voter fraud, baby! We made the illegal!”
(The whining about it being investigated but not being “transparent” is great. You know the investigation was the SoS going into another room, counting to ten, and coming out and being like “Well boys, we looked into it…”)
The other part of the complaint is that it was statistically unlikely that Democratic turnout in general, and black turnout specifically, was so high. That’s almost cute, because Roy Moore can’t fathom how so many people hate him.
Now, Moore is backed up in this by “election experts”, which is a way of saying people who make up stuff about elections in order to suppress black votes. Weigel politely puts paid to the story.
The experts came to the case with baggage of their own. James Condit Jr., one of the election analysts who signed an affidavit on behalf of Moore’s campaign, has written and spoken about “Zionist” control of world politics, and alleged an Israeli role in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. Richard Charnin, who provided the court with an argument that there was just enough possible fraud to swing the election, claimed to have “mathematically” proven a conspiracy behind the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
OK, so a loathsome, wildly unpopular figure disputes that unpopularity by claiming to be the victim of massive fraud and conspiracy, against the reality of any evidence, gethers cranks and weirdoes to “prove” his entirely fabricated allegations, takes every opposition statement in bad faith and blows it up into conspiratorial nonsense which gets amplified by the right-wing noise machine, and uses the machinery of state to further his ambitions and monkey-wrench our democracy. What does that make Roy Moore?
An establishment Republican.
As we (unoriginally) pointed out when he won his run-off against Luther Strange, Roy Moore is a perfect establishment Republican: beholden to conspiracy, an expert at self-victimization, a bully and a brute, and an anti-democratic demagogue. To quote myself, because no one else will:
Roy Moore is just another example of how wild and ultimately ungovernable this country is, and how mean-spirited and bigoted and narrow-minded today’s right wing is, and with that, with his comic-opera cruelty and sneering, gun-blasted piety, he’ll fit right into Mitch McConnell’s Senate.
What was true then is even more true now. Since then Trump’s assaults on the FBI have ramped up, and the Republican Party has continued to march lockstep with this hammering away at our norms. They are undermining any attempt to have a law-based society, and a fact-based one, and are giving into authoritarianism far quicker than I had even thought possible.
This week’s terrifying calls for “purges” of disloyal FBI agents by Florida Congressman Francis Rooney is part of that. While it is easy to write off as the ravings of a lunatic, it isn’t very far off from what other people, both inside government and in the influential right-wing circus media, have been saying.
These people are working for a government of permanent minority, dedicated to white supremacy in the form of plutocratic worship and exclusionary theocracy. They are willing to commit treason for it (as Digby points out, the leading Congressional charge against Mueller is coming from Floridians, who seem to be pretty involved in Russian electoral interference). They believe in wild conspiracies and outlandish assaults on reason.
So why should Moore concede? Why should he back down? What difference do facts make when you have no shame, and are willing to do whatever it takes to establish a denuded landscape of wage-servants fighting each other along racial lines while walled off from the billionaire class and their self-selected fetch-servants?
After all, he is a Republican, dead-center in the mainstream of that wretched collection of goons and thieves. They’re falling in line behind Trump, and Trumpism, as this terrible year ends in the vice-grip of a shattering cold, driving deep into the frozen marrow of our bones, threatening to break everything we once knew.