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    2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war?

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    elconquistador

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    Post  elconquistador 02/02/21, 05:09 am

    On the death of civic nationalism

    For as long as anyone can remember, to be a conservative meant embracing what is today known as civic nationalism. This is a form of nationalism that champions the traditional liberal values of individual liberty, equality before the law, tolerance of cultural diversity, and individual rights. Unlike old-school European nationalism, civic nationalism is divorced from biology. As Ben Shapiro would put it, nations are just ideas.

    Today, the term “civic nationalism” is a way to distinguish the old-school conservatives from the new Dissident Right that has risen up over the past decade or so. The civic nationalist is convinced he can find some way within the rules of the system to unriddle the puzzle of progressive control of the institutions. After every defeat, he commits himself to vote harder and wish harder. He never loses faith in the system.

    The late Sam Francis, a man who could arguably be called the father of the Dissident Right, observed almost a half century ago that it is this commitment to the system that would be the undoing of the conservative movement. In order for them to have a place at the table meant playing by the rules, but those rules were controlled by their opposition, so the rules would always prevent them from succeeding.

    Francis, of course, was correct in his prediction. If one were to conjure an image that represented the conservative movement, it would be a group of middle-aged white guys grinning like chimps while standing in front of an empty trophy case. Conservatism has become a mystery cult that champions people like Mitt Romney and makes the “conservative case” for the latest progressive cultural fads.

    The thing that Francis and his paleoconservative followers never grasped about the Buckley project was that it was vital to the success of the left. Conservatives operated like an electric fence, keeping sensible white people from wandering off into unapproved domains of thought. Conservatism kept middle-class white people believing in the system and the institutions, all of which are controlled by the left.

    The story of the past forty years is civic nationalists trying to figure how to make the system work to their advantage. They did not get what they wanted from Reagan but were told it was because the Democrats controlled Congress. In the 1990s, they put the Republicans in charge of Congress. When that did not work, they were told it was because a Democrat was in the White House.

    Finally, at the turn of the century the dream was realized. Conservatives controlled the House, the Senate, and the White House. Not only was Bush a conservative, but he was also an evangelical Christian who liked to talk about Jesus in public. The great fusion of cultural and economic conservatives had been made real. The result, however, was the complete opposite of everything middle-class whites had been told about conservatism.

    The last fifteen years have been a long coming to terms with the reality of conservatism and the system that it champions. The Republican Party found itself on life support at the end of the Bush years. The Tea Party Movement was a grassroots effort to pump air into the conservative circus tent, but that failed. The Trump insurgency was a last desperate attempt to make the system work, but it also failed.

    The denouement of this long story arc is the events of the past few months. It started with the massive election fraud, then was followed by the outlandish reaction by the establishment to the peaceful protests in January. Demanding that Americans exercising their rights be treated like terrorists has been an eye-opener for many. The images of Washington ringed with troops and razor wire have shocked millions.

    This past month we got what may be the kill shots for civic nationalism. The first item was the coordinated effort to suppress speech online. The tech oligarchs not only cleaned their platforms of Trump supporters, they also shut down the one explicitly conservative platform. Parler was celebrated by all the bigwigs of Conservative Inc. Then the oligarch shut the site down and conservatives did nothing.

    Last week a handful of wealthy hedge fund managers forced the trading platforms to rig the market to save them from their bad bets in the market. This is one that struck the white baby boomer in the groin, as they are deeply plugged into the markets. They obsess over their 401(k)s to the point of distraction. They watched in horror as a handful of plutocrats with the help of the White House rigged the market to save the short sellers.

    Alongside this was news that the FBI had arrested a young man for the crime of making fun of the left on Twitter. Douglas Mackey was the man behind the account “Rickey Vaughn” during the 2016 election. He was a prankster who was Trump’s biggest supporter during the Republican primaries and the general election. He went dark after being doxed, but the left never forgets, so they had him arrested last week.

    The result of all this is that millions of people, tens of millions, who used to be die-hard believers in the system now think the system is rigged. Elections are rigged. The laws are rigged. The stock market is rigged. The rules of public discourse are rigged. All of those people who held their nose and voted for Trump in 2016 are now convinced there is no solution within the system. The problem is the system itself.

    What we are witnessing is the death of civic nationalism. While individual liberty, equality before the law, and individual rights are laudable concepts, they are no longer a part of the people’s reality. In fact, there is growing suspicion that civic nationalism was always a lie. It was a way to keep middle-class whites from seeing who was subverting their society and corrupting their culture.

    The death of civic nationalism is no small thing. The managerial elite has depended upon it for generations. The managerial class relies upon middle-class whites following the rules and believing in those rules. Just as the slave owner relies on the slaves accepting their condition, the managerial class depends on the white middle class to support and defend the liberal democratic order.

    While it has been a wild few months, it promises to get crazier. No one really knows what will happen when the white middle-class collectively decides the system is hopelessly broken. The Tea Party Movement is a good example of how quickly these people can organize when motivated. Now that Conservative Inc. is on the enemy’s list, they cannot be counted on to subvert the next populist movement.

    When the people are up in arms over a policy or the behavior of an officeholder, that is not a threat to the system. It is a defense of the system. Implicit in the demands for a change in policy or for someone to resign is a faith in the rules. People outraged by the rules, by the system itself, are a very different thing. They are a direct threat to the system; one the managerial class has never had to face. No one knows how they will respond, but the results so far suggest it will only make things worse.


    https://www.takimag.com/article/the-death-of-civic-nationalism/

    In the Southern Baptist preacher style, 8 years ao

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    elconquistador

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    Post  elconquistador 02/02/21, 07:52 am

    GME stock is slowly deflating. Most if not all brokers place great restrictions on buying in. Some restrict it all together

    It was fun while it lasted. Bankers got an assraping and lost hundreds of billions if not trillions. Millions were woken up on how this game is rigged too.

    The silver market is too big to try anything similar and likely a psyop. Let's see if the bros can pull off anything similar in the near future.
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    Post  AlfaT8 02/02/21, 09:51 am

    elconquistador wrote:The silver market is too big to try anything similar and likely a psyop. Let's see if the bros can pull off anything similar in the near future.

    Yea, silver was a total psyop, heck not even psyop, more like basic mediaop.
    Reddit had no idea what the hell these fools were talking about, so it's total media nonsense.
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    Post  Maximmmm 02/02/21, 03:10 pm

    kvs wrote:What is next is a military confrontation with Russia in a 3rd party venue.   Bidet's handlers appear to be trying to pull something
    Syria.   I expect Banderastan to be activated as well.

    Uncle Swine-shit is too chicken shit to directly attack Russia, so you will have provocation theater and attempts to have
    Russia "over"-react.   I think Russia should hit Uncle Swine-shit in the balls as hard as possible in Syria.   It is a waste of
    time to appease these lunatics.   They only understand the language of force.   If it is to painful for them to engage in
    their provocation theater, then they will not be so brazen.   Basically call their bluff.  


    Yeah that's definitely true.
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    Post  elconquistador 02/02/21, 05:13 pm


    FYI the Washington Examiner is a 'Conservative' outlet

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    Post  kvs 02/02/21, 08:37 pm

    The US MSM is fully under the control of the neo-Trotskyist, neocon vermin. They are the real fascists/totalitarians. The attacks
    on Trump clearly have no grain of truth to them. Pure concocted smear. And calling the protestors who came out against the
    brazen election fraud as "fascists" is an example of such blood libel.

    I am sorry to say, but this is what happens when you give any power structure such as the MSM the benefit of the doubt. It was
    never going to be the case that some critical tool like the MSM would operate on innocent, non-manipulated terms. The idea
    that some ads would pay for this free lunch where "objective" and "independent" journalists tried hard to bring you the "truth"
    is a fairy tale.

    And I am not localizing my comments to the west. They still apply in Russia and independent media like the Youtube channel
    of Ostashko that I cite a lot routinely notes how they are being censored by the current Russian order. No independence
    will ever be allowed to control public opinion. At best you can hope for is some sort of balance. This balance has gone from
    the USA.

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    Post  elconquistador 04/02/21, 04:45 am

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    They are going after Elon. Elon is the biggest fish in the USA that is not fully on board with their plans (just check his twitter or his comments on the GME stock fiasco)

    Imagine replacing the name Elon Musk for Bill Gates.
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    Post  kvs 04/02/21, 05:08 am

    Musk may be a shyster but on this issue I am 100% behind him. Globalist vermin are taking the world to Hell in a hand basket.

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    Post  magnumcromagnon 04/02/21, 05:15 am

    Muskrat isn't part of their plans? Hard to believe when you consider he basically was given almost full reigns to privatize NASA, and he lobbied to have a coup in Bolivia to get cheaper Lithium and the US State Dept. obliged. If anything he didn't bribe/kick back enough money to the DOJ. Uncle Sham is all about greasing the right hands, pay-to-play, cronyism, kleptocracy and plutocracy. This is basically going after Al Capone for tax evasion.

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    Post  elconquistador 04/02/21, 05:36 pm

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    The purge.
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    Post  Maximmmm 04/02/21, 06:44 pm

    Regarding military preparedness, they've been crying for ages that their recruitment pool is rapidly shrinking and young americans either need to stop being fat or not mind the pathetically low salary that enlisted ranks make.
    So if they now lose the hardcore dedicated guys, it's not gonna look pretty.

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    Post  PapaDragon 04/02/21, 08:07 pm

    Maximmmm wrote:Regarding military preparedness, they've been crying for ages that their recruitment pool is rapidly shrinking and young americans either need to stop being fat or not mind the pathetically low salary that enlisted ranks make.
    So if they now lose the hardcore dedicated guys, it's not gonna look pretty.

    All y'all who know how to do your job should pack up and leave, we won't be needing your services anymore

    Rest of you are able to fill in for those who leave, right? Right?

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    Post  par far 04/02/21, 09:14 pm

    elconquistador wrote:2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war? - Page 29 Screen27

    The purge.


    They are slowly destroying the US army.

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    Post  kvs 04/02/21, 09:38 pm

    Maybe the silver lining is that there will not be a WWIII. But I think that would be overly optimistic.

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    Post  magnumcromagnon 05/02/21, 01:56 am



    John "Why the Horseface?" Kerry went and let Greta ThunAutism down. Then again Greta ThunDownSyndrome is polluting the atmosphere with her noxious brain farts.
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    Post  LMFS 05/02/21, 05:16 am

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    Post  kvs 05/02/21, 06:52 am

    Having a somewhat of an insider perspective on climate science, the politicization of this topic is grotesque and does a huge disservice
    to humanity. On the one side you have the "too big to fail" crowd on the right. So the Earth is forever an infinite toilet for all forms
    of human pollution and at the same forever and infinite source of resources (e.g. trillions of barrels of sweet light crude in Alaska
    denied to developers because of ANWAR). On the other side you have PC SJW degenerates who want to use climate change as
    a pony to push their demented agendas. This includes removing meat from the diet because cows fart CH4 and so warm up the planet
    and there are 80% of humans too many who need to be removed. These social engineer lemmings think that climate change is
    a great pretext to destroy what sane social norms persist and to replace them with tranny worship and other Sodom and Gomorrah
    depravity.

    1) Cow farts is a retarded myth. Cows are not fossil fuel carbon emitters, they have to consume natural carbon in plants to grow
    and the CH4 they emit comes from that carbon. Bogs emit CH4, maybe we should drain them all. That would be good for
    the environment...not.

    2) Harping about Kerry or Gore flying on jets is simply moronic. They are representatives and you can't expect them to get around
    by horse and buggy. If you stopped all such representatives from flying, it would do fuck all to help reduce CO2 emissions to any
    amount that matters. People do not have to live a life of deprivation because they spread the message about climate change.
    This is a false requirement and thus not any measure of hypocrisy.

    3) There are no trillions of barrels any oil in Alaska. No amount of wishing for it and pretending it magically clusters under a small
    wildlife refuge area (it is small by any measure of resource distributions) will make it come into being. Regardless, the 30+ billion
    tons of CO2 emitted by humans into the air every year (not fluctuating enough to matter, i.e. there are no 20 or 10 billion ton
    years) outpaces the average volcanic emissions of 600 million tons so much that yapping about natural sources is moronic.
    The planet had those volcanic emissions before 1850 so they are totally irrelevant. If we get some traps forming such as
    occurred when India collided with Asia, then we can start to worry but that is clearly not any sort of actual threat.

    There is no infinite capacity to absorb 30 billion tons of CO2 into the ocean and land reservoirs on a timescale that matters.
    So we have an accumulation and now the CO2 values are 410 ppmv when they were generally under 320 ppmv for millions
    of years. Thanks to this accumulation we have ocean surface warming that is killing off the ocean CO2 sink. There is
    50 times more CO2 dissolved in ocean water than in the atmosphere. by about 2100 we will shift from the oceans being
    a net sink for CO2 to a net source. This amounts to a runaway warming scenario even if we will never be like Venus.
    Together with the release of ocean carbon into the air, we are in the process of destabilizing over a trillion tons of
    permafrost carbon. Some of it comes out as CH4 and not only CO2.

    Accounting for all the other greenhouse gases including CH4 right now, we are around 490 ppmv CO2 equivalent. In the
    next 100-200 years we are going to hit over 700 ppmv. This corresponds to enough carbon loading in the atmosphere
    that the natural removal will take over 200,000 years through chemical weathering (carbonic acid in rain acting on rocks).
    People used to talk about CO2 having an e-folding time of 200 years in the atmosphere. That was perhaps true in 1850
    but is totally irrelevant now since we are killing the primary sinks.

    OK, so what is he big deal about 700 ppmv. It is enough to raise wet bulb temperatures to lethal levels for mammals
    in low latitudes. So people in the tropical belt are going to have to migrate towards the poles. If you think we have
    migration problems now, you ain't seen nothing yet. Then we have the little detail of food supply. We have been
    taking our stable climate over the last 8,000 years for granted. With warming will come a lethal variability including
    large movement of hot and cold air masses during the growing season that will fuck things up. Then we have the joy
    of atmospheric water loading. The Clausius-Clapeyron relation implies moisture content of air increases exponentially
    with temperature. This means huge increases both globally and especially locally of air moisture. This opens the door
    to epic convective rain-deluge events. Crops and infrastructure will not like them. At the same time wind gusting
    will get much worse so get prepared to starve as wheat fields are flattened. Globally and thus locally there will be
    a severe reduction in food production. There will be wars over food.

    Any notion that farms will just move north is insanely delusional. There will be no safe zone for farms and soil conditions
    will not migrate north. You should see the landscape in Ontario as one goes north to Muskoka. There is barely any
    sand or loam on those rocks.

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    Post  elconquistador 05/02/21, 07:37 am

    https://www.breitbart.com/politics/2021/02/04/exclusive-special-forces-warned-against-using-pepe-the-frog-iiiers-other-extremist-symbols/amp/?__twitter_impression=true

    Pepe is now considered a right wing extremist symbol and will got you fired and put on lists

    Clownworld never ceases to deliver!

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    Post  elconquistador 05/02/21, 07:49 am

    @kvs

    When looking at graphs like the one below I can no longer take the 'man made' climate change narrative seriously

    Also what's your opinion on the Grand Solar Minimum?

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    Post  kvs 05/02/21, 11:02 am

    Really, get better information. Some crap-ass graph art is not convincing of anything other than the idiocy of those who produced it.

    https://www.carbonbrief.org/factcheck-what-greenland-ice-cores-say-about-past-and-present-climate-change

    A misleading graph purporting to show that past changes in Greenland’s temperatures dwarf modern climate change has been circling the internet since at least 2010.

    Based on an early Greenland ice core record produced back in 1997, versions of the graph have, variously, mislabeled the x-axis, excluded the modern observational temperature record and conflated a single location in Greenland with the whole world.

    http://www.ifa.hawaii.edu/UHNAI/NAIweb/presentations/26-Thorsteinsson-isotopeclimate.pdf

    The isotope data stops in 1855 due to warming effect corruption of the near surface layer that would theoretically cover 1855 to 1997 when the
    data was published. And the warming only kicks in after 1980. All you see in that misleading graph is the expected interglacial pattern of
    slowly decreasing isotope anomaly (page 20 in the PDF).

    https://skepticalscience.com/argument.php?a=434&p=2

    We do not need ice cores for the last 100 years since we have actual temperature measurements. These actual temperature measurements
    that have enough spatial coverage to be meaningful show a rapid temperature increase beyond any climate relevant variability over the last 500 years.
    Using 50,000 year old conditions as some reference state is BS since that was a 180 ppmv climate. Instead of falling back to 180 ppmv as has been
    the pattern over the last 3.3 million years from interglacial maxima of 320 ppmv, we hare already at 410 ppmv of CO2. That is a measurement
    based number. The last time we saw 420 ppmv CO2 was when the Panama channel closed leading to an isolation of the Atlantic and Pacific Ocean
    basins. This led to a de-gassing of CO2 which increased temperatures before the system settled into the ice age of the last 3.3 million years.

    I it gets tiresome of politically motivated BS about how CO2 does not control climate. The fuck it doesn't. N2, O2 and Argon are transparent
    to infrared radiation and they account for 99.999% of the atmosphere. Without actual IR absorbers like CO2, CH4, N2O, NOx, and O3 the
    Earth would be an ice hell. Since H2O is not a dry gas at any temperature range we have on this planet (unless you think over 100 C is normal)
    it requires dry greenhouse gases to maintain it in vapour form. Removing the trace greenhouse gases and supposing that H2O existed in sufficient
    concentrations to maintain the temperature of today, we would see a pattern of progressive precipitation removal. At high latitudes in winter
    the falling out of snow would rapidly drop the temperature below anything we see today since dry air is not effective at trapping IR. Super
    cold winter temperatures would form high snow and ice albedo that would reduce solar surface heating (shortwave absorption by the ground)
    and give a glaciation process on steroids. High albedo conditions would be cumulative year to year. But the atmospheric H2O vapour removal
    at high latitudes would not even be balanced by low latitude evapouration since the cold temperatures would migrate towards the equator.
    Without IR trapping, the surface would get warm but the air would only be warmed by convection. But the high latitude glaciation would
    push towards the equator and we would have the Snowball Earth regime we already had on this planet when the Sun had less output. The
    only way that the system escaped these regimes in the past was through the accumulation of CO2 from volcanic emissions and the lack
    of the ocean CO2 sink due to sea ice cover (CO2 gets absorbed in cold waters and released in warm waters).

    So in summary,

    1) The graph is not even showing what you think it shows. There was no warming before 1855.

    2) Natural variability is an ignorant excuse. Especially when it is referenced to 50,000 years ago or millions of years ago. At no
    time over the last 15,000 years did we see the temperature change that we are seeing evolve between 1950 and today. Rapid
    albedo changes due to interstadials are not any proof of intrinsic variability, they are deterministic and depend on the glaciation
    conditions of the time. There is no way in hell that a Laurentide ice sheet can form today in a few years. But during those
    interstadials the ice sheet was still there.

    3) The radiative transfer effect of CO2, CH4, and other greenhouse gases is not variable. It is laboratory confirmed science that
    we understand without the need for any black box model. Unless you consider quantum mechanics to be BS.

    4) You should thank your lucky stars that H2O is not a dry gas at life-supporting temperatures. Otherwise there would
    never be any life in the first place. It is thanks to condensation of H2O that the primordial Earth managed to cool off fast
    enough to form oceans and sequester the 95% of its atmosphere that was CO2 into carbonate rocks. Water acts as
    an efficient heat pump today that regulates the global temperature by deep convection. Deep convection results in
    latent heat release from condensation in the tropopause region where the the atmosphere starts to become optically thin
    to IR. So we have the transport of surface heat to where it can more efficiently radiate to space. Get rid of the water
    and the Earth actually would be like Venus.








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    Post  GarryB 05/02/21, 02:13 pm

    The reality is that climate is not static and unchanging, so like it or not we are going to have to learn to cope with both global warming and global cooling...

    One of the worlds biggest peat bogs is Siberia... if that defrosts and releases and eye watering amount of Methane into the atmosphere then the runaway effect might be a sudden rise in temperatures which releases other supplies of methane like lime deposits in the deltas of most large rivers made of organic material that has built up over time being washed there during flooding.

    kvs likes this post

    LMFS
    LMFS

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    2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war? - Page 29 Empty Re: 2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war?

    Post  LMFS 05/02/21, 06:41 pm

    The senile gangster clown is not losing time to press forward with his Russophobic circus clown clown clown clown

    Biden: I made it clear to Putin that the days when the United States surrendered to Russian aggression are over

    https://en.topwar.ru/179707-bajden-ja-dal-ponjat-putinu-chto-proshli-te-dni-kogda-ssha-sdavalis-pered-agressiej-rossii.html
    miketheterrible
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    2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war? - Page 29 Empty Re: 2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war?

    Post  miketheterrible 05/02/21, 07:56 pm

    LMFS wrote:The senile gangster clown is not losing time to press forward with his Russophobic circus  clown  clown  clown  clown

    Biden: I made it clear to Putin that the days when the United States surrendered to Russian aggression are over

    https://en.topwar.ru/179707-bajden-ja-dal-ponjat-putinu-chto-proshli-te-dni-kogda-ssha-sdavalis-pered-agressiej-rossii.html

    Not like they got a leg to stand on. Short of war, US cant do shit against Russia. Russia will just counter back. Much like Iran.

    Remember, US actually invaded Iranian territory (waters) not too long ago which Iran captured American sailors and made them wet their pants.

    America didn't do shit.
    AlfaT8
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    2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war? - Page 29 Empty Re: 2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war?

    Post  AlfaT8 05/02/21, 08:56 pm

    Holy F'ing sh%t, they are now admitting it, Celebrating it, and naming names. Shocked  Shocked  Shocked  Shocked
    WTFFFFF!!!! Shocked  Shocked  Shocked  clown  clown
    Archive/Print/Save everything.

    TIMES wrote:The Secret History of the Shadow Campaign That Saved the 2020 Election


    A weird thing happened right after the Nov. 3 election: nothing.

    The nation was braced for chaos. Liberal groups had vowed to take to the streets, planning hundreds of protests across the country. Right-wing militias were girding for battle. In a poll before Election Day, 75% of Americans voiced concern about violence.

    Instead, an eerie quiet descended. As President Trump refused to concede, the response was not mass action but crickets. When media organizations called the race for Joe Biden on Nov. 7, jubilation broke out instead, as people thronged cities across the U.S. to celebrate the democratic process that resulted in Trump’s ouster.

    A second odd thing happened amid Trump’s attempts to reverse the result: corporate America turned on him. Hundreds of major business leaders, many of whom had backed Trump’s candidacy and supported his policies, called on him to concede. To the President, something felt amiss. “It was all very, very strange,” Trump said on Dec. 2. “Within days after the election, we witnessed an orchestrated effort to anoint the winner, even while many key states were still being counted.”

    In a way, Trump was right.

    There was a conspiracy unfolding behind the scenes, one that both curtailed the protests and coordinated the resistance from CEOs. Both surprises were the result of an informal alliance between left-wing activists and business titans. The pact was formalized in a terse, little-noticed joint statement of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and AFL-CIO published on Election Day. Both sides would come to see it as a sort of implicit bargain–inspired by the summer’s massive, sometimes destructive racial-justice protests–in which the forces of labor came together with the forces of capital to keep the peace and oppose Trump’s assault on democracy.

    The handshake between business and labor was just one component of a vast, cross-partisan campaign to protect the election–an extraordinary shadow effort dedicated not to winning the vote but to ensuring it would be free and fair, credible and uncorrupted. For more than a year, a loosely organized coalition of operatives scrambled to shore up America’s institutions as they came under simultaneous attack from a remorseless pandemic and an autocratically inclined President. Though much of this activity took place on the left, it was separate from the Biden campaign and crossed ideological lines, with crucial contributions by nonpartisan and conservative actors. The scenario the shadow campaigners were desperate to stop was not a Trump victory. It was an election so calamitous that no result could be discerned at all, a failure of the central act of democratic self-governance that has been a hallmark of America since its founding.

    Their work touched every aspect of the election. They got states to change voting systems and laws and helped secure hundreds of millions in public and private funding. They fended off voter-suppression lawsuits, recruited armies of poll workers and got millions of people to vote by mail for the first time. They successfully pressured social media companies to take a harder line against disinformation and used data-driven strategies to fight viral smears. They executed national public-awareness campaigns that helped Americans understand how the vote count would unfold over days or weeks, preventing Trump’s conspiracy theories and false claims of victory from getting more traction. After Election Day, they monitored every pressure point to ensure that Trump could not overturn the result. “The untold story of the election is the thousands of people of both parties who accomplished the triumph of American democracy at its very foundation,” says Norm Eisen, a prominent lawyer and former Obama Administration official who recruited Republicans and Democrats to the board of the Voter Protection Program.

    For Trump and his allies were running their own campaign to spoil the election. The President spent months insisting that mail ballots were a Democratic plot and the election would be “rigged.” His henchmen at the state level sought to block their use, while his lawyers brought dozens of spurious suits to make it more difficult to vote–an intensification of the GOP’s legacy of suppressive tactics. Before the election, Trump plotted to block a legitimate vote count. And he spent the months following Nov. 3 trying to steal the election he’d lost–with lawsuits and conspiracy theories, pressure on state and local officials, and finally summoning his army of supporters to the Jan. 6 rally that ended in deadly violence at the Capitol.

    The democracy campaigners watched with alarm. “Every week, we felt like we were in a struggle to try to pull off this election without the country going through a real dangerous moment of unraveling,” says former GOP Representative Zach Wamp, a Trump supporter who helped coordinate a bipartisan election-protection council. “We can look back and say this thing went pretty well, but it was not at all clear in September and October that that was going to be the case.”

    This is the inside story of the conspiracy to save the 2020 election, based on access to the group’s inner workings, never-before-seen documents and interviews with dozens of those involved from across the political spectrum. It is the story of an unprecedented, creative and determined campaign whose success also reveals how close the nation came to disaster. “Every attempt to interfere with the proper outcome of the election was defeated,” says Ian Bassin, co-founder of Protect Democracy, a nonpartisan rule-of-law advocacy group. “But it’s massively important for the country to understand that it didn’t happen accidentally. The system didn’t work magically. Democracy is not self-executing.”

    That’s why the participants want the secret history of the 2020 election told, even though it sounds like a paranoid fever dream–a well-funded cabal of powerful people, ranging across industries and ideologies, working together behind the scenes to influence perceptions, change rules and laws, steer media coverage and control the flow of information. They were not rigging the election; they were fortifying it. And they believe the public needs to understand the system’s fragility in order to ensure that democracy in America endures.

    THE ARCHITECT

    Sometime in the fall of 2019, Mike Podhorzer became convinced the election was headed for disaster–and determined to protect it.

    This was not his usual purview. For nearly a quarter-century, Podhorzer, senior adviser to the president of the AFL-CIO, the nation’s largest union federation, has marshaled the latest tactics and data to help its favored candidates win elections. Unassuming and professorial, he isn’t the sort of hair-gelled “political strategist” who shows up on cable news. Among Democratic insiders, he’s known as the wizard behind some of the biggest advances in political technology in recent decades. A group of liberal strategists he brought together in the early 2000s led to the creation of the Analyst Institute, a secretive firm that applies scientific methods to political campaigns. He was also involved in the founding of Catalist, the flagship progressive data company.

    The endless chatter in Washington about “political strategy,” Podhorzer believes, has little to do with how change really gets made. “My basic take on politics is that it’s all pretty obvious if you don’t overthink it or swallow the prevailing frameworks whole,” he once wrote. “After that, just relentlessly identify your assumptions and challenge them.” Podhorzer applies that approach to everything: when he coached his now adult son’s Little League team in the D.C. suburbs, he trained the boys not to swing at most pitches–a tactic that infuriated both their and their opponents’ parents, but won the team a series of championships.

    Trump’s election in 2016–credited in part to his unusual strength among the sort of blue collar white voters who once dominated the AFL-CIO–prompted Podhorzer to question his assumptions about voter behavior. He began circulating weekly number-crunching memos to a small circle of allies and hosting strategy sessions in D.C. But when he began to worry about the election itself, he didn’t want to seem paranoid. It was only after months of research that he introduced his concerns in his newsletter in October 2019. The usual tools of data, analytics and polling would not be sufficient in a situation where the President himself was trying to disrupt the election, he wrote. “Most of our planning takes us through Election Day,” he noted. “But, we are not prepared for the two most likely outcomes”–Trump losing and refusing to concede, and Trump winning the Electoral College (despite losing the popular vote) by corrupting the voting process in key states. “We desperately need to systematically ‘red-team’ this election so that we can anticipate and plan for the worst we know will be coming our way.”

    It turned out Podhorzer wasn’t the only one thinking in these terms. He began to hear from others eager to join forces. The Fight Back Table, a coalition of “resistance” organizations, had begun scenario-planning around the potential for a contested election, gathering liberal activists at the local and national level into what they called the Democracy Defense Coalition. Voting-rights and civil rights organizations were raising alarms. A group of former elected officials was researching emergency powers they feared Trump might exploit. Protect Democracy was assembling a bipartisan election-crisis task force. “It turned out that once you said it out loud, people agreed,” Podhorzer says, “and it started building momentum.”

    He spent months pondering scenarios and talking to experts. It wasn’t hard to find liberals who saw Trump as a dangerous dictator, but Podhorzer was careful to steer clear of hysteria. What he wanted to know was not how American democracy was dying but how it might be kept alive. The chief difference between the U.S. and countries that lost their grip on democracy, he concluded, was that America’s decentralized election system couldn’t be rigged in one fell swoop. That presented an opportunity to shore it up.

    THE ALLIANCE

    On March 3, Podhorzer drafted a three-page confidential memo titled “Threats to the 2020 Election.” “Trump has made it clear that this will not be a fair election, and that he will reject anything but his own re-election as ‘fake’ and rigged,” he wrote. “On Nov. 3, should the media report otherwise, he will use the right-wing information system to establish his narrative and incite his supporters to protest.” The memo laid out four categories of challenges: attacks on voters, attacks on election administration, attacks on Trump’s political opponents and “efforts to reverse the results of the election.”

    Then COVID-19 erupted at the height of the primary-election season. Normal methods of voting were no longer safe for voters or the mostly elderly volunteers who normally staff polling places. But political disagreements, intensified by Trump’s crusade against mail voting, prevented some states from making it easier to vote absentee and for jurisdictions to count those votes in a timely manner. Chaos ensued. Ohio shut down in-person voting for its primary, leading to minuscule turnout. A poll-worker shortage in Milwaukee–where Wisconsin’s heavily Democratic Black population is concentrated–left just five open polling places, down from 182. In New York, vote counting took more than a month.

    Suddenly, the potential for a November meltdown was obvious. In his apartment in the D.C. suburbs, Podhorzer began working from his laptop at his kitchen table, holding back-to-back Zoom meetings for hours a day with his network of contacts across the progressive universe: the labor movement; the institutional left, like Planned Parenthood and Greenpeace; resistance groups like Indivisible and MoveOn; progressive data geeks and strategists, representatives of donors and foundations, state-level grassroots organizers, racial-justice activists and others.

    In April, Podhorzer began hosting a weekly 2½-hour Zoom. It was structured around a series of rapid-fire five-minute presentations on everything from which ads were working to messaging to legal strategy. The invitation-only gatherings soon attracted hundreds, creating a rare shared base of knowledge for the fractious progressive movement. “At the risk of talking trash about the left, there’s not a lot of good information sharing,” says Anat Shenker-Osorio, a close Podhorzer friend whose poll-tested messaging guidance shaped the group’s approach. “There’s a lot of not-invented-here syndrome, where people won’t consider a good idea if they didn’t come up with it.”

    The meetings became the galactic center for a constellation of operatives across the left who shared overlapping goals but didn’t usually work in concert. The group had no name, no leaders and no hierarchy, but it kept the disparate actors in sync. “Pod played a critical behind-the-scenes role in keeping different pieces of the movement infrastructure in communication and aligned,” says Maurice Mitchell, national director of the Working Families Party. “You have the litigation space, the organizing space, the political people just focused on the W, and their strategies aren’t always aligned. He allowed this ecosystem to work together.”

    Protecting the election would require an effort of unprecedented scale. As 2020 progressed, it stretched to Congress, Silicon Valley and the nation’s statehouses. It drew energy from the summer’s racial-justice protests, many of whose leaders were a key part of the liberal alliance. And eventually it reached across the aisle, into the world of Trump-skeptical Republicans appalled by his attacks on democracy.

    SECURING THE VOTE

    The first task was overhauling America’s balky election infrastructure–in the middle of a pandemic. For the thousands of local, mostly nonpartisan officials who administer elections, the most urgent need was money. They needed protective equipment like masks, gloves and hand sanitizer. They needed to pay for postcards letting people know they could vote absentee–or, in some states, to mail ballots to every voter. They needed additional staff and scanners to process ballots.

    In March, activists appealed to Congress to steer COVID relief money to election administration. Led by the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, more than 150 organizations signed a letter to every member of Congress seeking $2 billion in election funding. It was somewhat successful: the CARES Act, passed later that month, contained $400 million in grants to state election administrators. But the next tranche of relief funding didn’t add to that number. It wasn’t going to be enough.

    Private philanthropy stepped into the breach. An assortment of foundations contributed tens of millions in election-administration funding. The Chan Zuckerberg Initiative chipped in $300 million. “It was a failure at the federal level that 2,500 local election officials were forced to apply for philanthropic grants to fill their needs,” says Amber McReynolds, a former Denver election official who heads the nonpartisan National Vote at Home Institute.

    McReynolds’ two-year-old organization became a clearinghouse for a nation struggling to adapt. The institute gave secretaries of state from both parties technical advice on everything from which vendors to use to how to locate drop boxes. Local officials are the most trusted sources of election information, but few can afford a press secretary, so the institute distributed communications tool kits. In a presentation to Podhorzer’s group, McReynolds detailed the importance of absentee ballots for shortening lines at polling places and preventing an election crisis.

    The institute’s work helped 37 states and D.C. bolster mail voting. But it wouldn’t be worth much if people didn’t take advantage. Part of the challenge was logistical: each state has different rules for when and how ballots should be requested and returned. The Voter Participation Center, which in a normal year would have deployed canvassers door-to-door to get out the vote, instead conducted focus groups in April and May to find out what would get people to vote by mail. In August and September, it sent ballot applications to 15 million people in key states, 4.6 million of whom returned them. In mailings and digital ads, the group urged people not to wait for Election Day. “All the work we have done for 17 years was built for this moment of bringing democracy to people’s doorsteps,” says Tom Lopach, the center’s CEO.

    The effort had to overcome heightened skepticism in some communities. Many Black voters preferred to exercise their franchise in person or didn’t trust the mail. National civil rights groups worked with local organizations to get the word out that this was the best way to ensure one’s vote was counted. In Philadelphia, for example, advocates distributed “voting safety kits” containing masks, hand sanitizer and informational brochures. “We had to get the message out that this is safe, reliable, and you can trust it,” says Hannah Fried of All Voting Is Local.

    At the same time, Democratic lawyers battled a historic tide of pre-election litigation. The pandemic intensified the parties’ usual tangling in the courts. But the lawyers noticed something else as well. “The litigation brought by the Trump campaign, of a piece with the broader campaign to sow doubt about mail voting, was making novel claims and using theories no court has ever accepted,” says Wendy Weiser, a voting-rights expert at the Brennan Center for Justice at NYU. “They read more like lawsuits designed to send a message rather than achieve a legal outcome.”

    In the end, nearly half the electorate cast ballots by mail in 2020, practically a revolution in how people vote. About a quarter voted early in person. Only a quarter of voters cast their ballots the traditional way: in person on Election Day.

    THE DISINFORMATION DEFENSE

    Bad actors spreading false information is nothing new. For decades, campaigns have grappled with everything from anonymous calls claiming the election has been rescheduled to fliers spreading nasty smears about candidates’ families. But Trump’s lies and conspiracy theories, the viral force of social media and the involvement of foreign meddlers made disinformation a broader, deeper threat to the 2020 vote.

    Laura Quinn, a veteran progressive operative who co-founded Catalist, began studying this problem a few years ago. She piloted a nameless, secret project, which she has never before publicly discussed, that tracked disinformation online and tried to figure out how to combat it. One component was tracking dangerous lies that might otherwise spread unnoticed. Researchers then provided information to campaigners or the media to track down the sources and expose them.

    The most important takeaway from Quinn’s research, however, was that engaging with toxic content only made it worse. “When you get attacked, the instinct is to push back, call it out, say, ‘This isn’t true,'” Quinn says. “But the more engagement something gets, the more the platforms boost it. The algorithm reads that as, ‘Oh, this is popular; people want more of it.'”

    The solution, she concluded, was to pressure platforms to enforce their rules, both by removing content or accounts that spread disinformation and by more aggressively policing it in the first place. “The platforms have policies against certain types of malign behavior, but they haven’t been enforcing them,” she says.

    Quinn’s research gave ammunition to advocates pushing social media platforms to take a harder line. In November 2019, Mark Zuckerberg invited nine civil rights leaders to dinner at his home, where they warned him about the danger of the election-related falsehoods that were already spreading unchecked. “It took pushing, urging, conversations, brainstorming, all of that to get to a place where we ended up with more rigorous rules and enforcement,” says Vanita Gupta, president and CEO of the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights, who attended the dinner and also met with Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey and others. (Gupta has been nominated for Associate Attorney General by President Biden.) “It was a struggle, but we got to the point where they understood the problem. Was it enough? Probably not. Was it later than we wanted? Yes. But it was really important, given the level of official disinformation, that they had those rules in place and were tagging things and taking them down.”

    SPREADING THE WORD

    Beyond battling bad information, there was a need to explain a rapidly changing election process. It was crucial for voters to understand that despite what Trump was saying, mail-in votes weren’t susceptible to fraud and that it would be normal if some states weren’t finished counting votes on election night.

    Dick Gephardt, the Democratic former House leader turned high-powered lobbyist, spearheaded one coalition. “We wanted to get a really bipartisan group of former elected officials, Cabinet secretaries, military leaders and so on, aimed mainly at messaging to the public but also speaking to local officials–the secretaries of state, attorneys general, governors who would be in the eye of the storm–to let them know we wanted to help,” says Gephardt, who worked his contacts in the private sector to put $20 million behind the effort.

    Wamp, the former GOP Congressman, worked through the nonpartisan reform group Issue One to rally Republicans. “We thought we should bring some bipartisan element of unity around what constitutes a free and fair election,” Wamp says. The 22 Democrats and 22 Republicans on the National Council on Election Integrity met on Zoom at least once a week. They ran ads in six states, made statements, wrote articles and alerted local officials to potential problems. “We had rabid Trump supporters who agreed to serve on the council based on the idea that this is honest,” Wamp says. This is going to be just as important, he told them, to convince the liberals when Trump wins. “Whichever way it cuts, we’re going to stick together.”

    The Voting Rights Lab and IntoAction created state-specific memes and graphics, spread by email, text, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and TikTok, urging that every vote be counted. Together, they were viewed more than 1 billion times. Protect Democracy’s election task force issued reports and held media briefings with high-profile experts across the political spectrum, resulting in widespread coverage of potential election issues and fact-checking of Trump’s false claims. The organization’s tracking polls found the message was being heard: the percentage of the public that didn’t expect to know the winner on election night gradually rose until by late October, it was over 70%. A majority also believed that a prolonged count wasn’t a sign of problems. “We knew exactly what Trump was going to do: he was going to try to use the fact that Democrats voted by mail and Republicans voted in person to make it look like he was ahead, claim victory, say the mail-in votes were fraudulent and try to get them thrown out,” says Protect Democracy’s Bassin. Setting public expectations ahead of time helped undercut those lies.

    The alliance took a common set of themes from the research Shenker-Osorio presented at Podhorzer’s Zooms. Studies have shown that when people don’t think their vote will count or fear casting it will be a hassle, they’re far less likely to participate. Throughout election season, members of Podhorzer’s group minimized incidents of voter intimidation and tamped down rising liberal hysteria about Trump’s expected refusal to concede. They didn’t want to amplify false claims by engaging them, or put people off voting by suggesting a rigged game. “When you say, ‘These claims of fraud are spurious,’ what people hear is ‘fraud,'” Shenker-Osorio says. “What we saw in our pre-election research was that anything that reaffirmed Trump’s power or cast him as an authoritarian diminished people’s desire to vote.”

    Podhorzer, meanwhile, was warning everyone he knew that polls were underestimating Trump’s support. The data he shared with media organizations who would be calling the election was “tremendously useful” to understand what was happening as the votes rolled in, according to a member of a major network’s political unit who spoke with Podhorzer before Election Day. Most analysts had recognized there would be a “blue shift” in key battlegrounds– the surge of votes breaking toward Democrats, driven by tallies of mail-in ballots– but they hadn’t comprehended how much better Trump was likely to do on Election Day. “Being able to document how big the absentee wave would be and the variance by state was essential,” the analyst says.

    PEOPLE POWER

    The racial-justice uprising sparked by George Floyd’s killing in May was not primarily a political movement. The organizers who helped lead it wanted to harness its momentum for the election without allowing it to be co-opted by politicians. Many of those organizers were part of Podhorzer’s network, from the activists in battleground states who partnered with the Democracy Defense Coalition to organizations with leading roles in the Movement for Black Lives.

    The best way to ensure people’s voices were heard, they decided, was to protect their ability to vote. “We started thinking about a program that would complement the traditional election-protection area but also didn’t rely on calling the police,” says Nelini Stamp, the Working Families Party’s national organizing director. They created a force of “election defenders” who, unlike traditional poll watchers, were trained in de-escalation techniques. During early voting and on Election Day, they surrounded lines of voters in urban areas with a “joy to the polls” effort that turned the act of casting a ballot into a street party. Black organizers also recruited thousands of poll workers to ensure polling places would stay open in their communities.

    The summer uprising had shown that people power could have a massive impact. Activists began preparing to reprise the demonstrations if Trump tried to steal the election. “Americans plan widespread protests if Trump interferes with election,” Reuters reported in October, one of many such stories. More than 150 liberal groups, from the Women’s March to the Sierra Club to Color of Change, from Democrats.com to the Democratic Socialists of America, joined the “Protect the Results” coalition. The group’s now defunct website had a map listing 400 planned postelection demonstrations, to be activated via text message as soon as Nov. 4. To stop the coup they feared, the left was ready to flood the streets.

    STRANGE BEDFELLOWS

    About a week before Election Day, Podhorzer received an unexpected message: the U.S. Chamber of Commerce wanted to talk.

    The AFL-CIO and the Chamber have a long history of antagonism. Though neither organization is explicitly partisan, the influential business lobby has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into Republican campaigns, just as the nation’s unions funnel hundreds of millions to Democrats. On one side is labor, on the other management, locked in an eternal struggle for power and resources.

    But behind the scenes, the business community was engaged in its own anxious discussions about how the election and its aftermath might unfold. The summer’s racial-justice protests had sent a signal to business owners too: the potential for economy-disrupting civil disorder. “With tensions running high, there was a lot of concern about unrest around the election, or a breakdown in our normal way we handle contentious elections,” says Neil Bradley, the Chamber’s executive vice president and chief policy officer. These worries had led the Chamber to release a pre-election statement with the Business Roundtable, a Washington-based CEOs’ group, as well as associations of manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, calling for patience and confidence as votes were counted.

    But Bradley wanted to send a broader, more bipartisan message. He reached out to Podhorzer, through an intermediary both men declined to name. Agreeing that their unlikely alliance would be powerful, they began to discuss a joint statement pledging their organizations’ shared commitment to a fair and peaceful election. They chose their words carefully and scheduled the statement’s release for maximum impact. As it was being finalized, Christian leaders signaled their interest in joining, further broadening its reach.

    The statement was released on Election Day, under the names of Chamber CEO Thomas Donohue, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and the heads of the National Association of Evangelicals and the National African American Clergy Network. “It is imperative that election officials be given the space and time to count every vote in accordance with applicable laws,” it stated. “We call on the media, the candidates and the American people to exercise patience with the process and trust in our system, even if it requires more time than usual.” The groups added, “Although we may not always agree on desired outcomes up and down the ballot, we are united in our call for the American democratic process to proceed without violence, intimidation or any other tactic that makes us weaker as a nation.”

    SHOWING UP, STANDING DOWN

    Election night began with many Democrats despairing. Trump was running ahead of pre-election polling, winning Florida, Ohio and Texas easily and keeping Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania too close to call. But Podhorzer was unperturbed when I spoke to him that night: the returns were exactly in line with his modeling. He had been warning for weeks that Trump voters’ turnout was surging. As the numbers dribbled out, he could tell that as long as all the votes were counted, Trump would lose.

    The liberal alliance gathered for an 11 p.m. Zoom call. Hundreds joined; many were freaking out. “It was really important for me and the team in that moment to help ground people in what we had already known was true,” says Angela Peoples, director for the Democracy Defense Coalition. Podhorzer presented data to show the group that victory was in hand.

    While he was talking, Fox News surprised everyone by calling Arizona for Biden. The public-awareness campaign had worked: TV anchors were bending over backward to counsel caution and frame the vote count accurately. The question then became what to do next.

    The conversation that followed was a difficult one, led by the activists charged with the protest strategy. “We wanted to be mindful of when was the right time to call for moving masses of people into the street,” Peoples says. As much as they were eager to mount a show of strength, mobilizing immediately could backfire and put people at risk. Protests that devolved into violent clashes would give Trump a pretext to send in federal agents or troops as he had over the summer. And rather than elevate Trump’s complaints by continuing to fight him, the alliance wanted to send the message that the people had spoken.

    So the word went out: stand down. Protect the Results announced that it would “not be activating the entire national mobilization network today, but remains ready to activate if necessary.” On Twitter, outraged progressives wondered what was going on. Why wasn’t anyone trying to stop Trump’s coup? Where were all the protests?

    Podhorzer credits the activists for their restraint. “They had spent so much time getting ready to hit the streets on Wednesday. But they did it,” he says. “Wednesday through Friday, there was not a single Antifa vs. Proud Boys incident like everyone was expecting. And when that didn’t materialize, I don’t think the Trump campaign had a backup plan.”

    Activists reoriented the Protect the Results protests toward a weekend of celebration. “Counter their disinfo with our confidence & get ready to celebrate,” read the messaging guidance Shenker-Osorio presented to the liberal alliance on Friday, Nov. 6. “Declare and fortify our win. Vibe: confident, forward-looking, unified–NOT passive, anxious.” The voters, not the candidates, would be the protagonists of the story.

    The planned day of celebration happened to coincide with the election being called on Nov. 7. Activists dancing in the streets of Philadelphia blasted Beyoncé over an attempted Trump campaign press conference; the Trumpers’ next confab was scheduled for Four Seasons Total Landscaping outside the city center, which activists believe was not a coincidence. “The people of Philadelphia owned the streets of Philadelphia,” crows the Working Families Party’s Mitchell. “We made them look ridiculous by contrasting our joyous celebration of democracy with their clown show.”

    The votes had been counted. Trump had lost. But the battle wasn’t over.

    THE FIVE STEPS TO VICTORY

    In Podhorzer’s presentations, winning the vote was only the first step to winning the election. After that came winning the count, winning the certification, winning the Electoral College and winning the transition–steps that are normally formalities but that he knew Trump would see as opportunities for disruption. Nowhere would that be more evident than in Michigan, where Trump’s pressure on local Republicans came perilously close to working–and where liberal and conservative pro-democracy forces joined to counter it.

    It was around 10 p.m. on election night in Detroit when a flurry of texts lit up the phone of Art Reyes III. A busload of Republican election observers had arrived at the TCF Center, where votes were being tallied. They were crowding the vote-counting tables, refusing to wear masks, heckling the mostly Black workers. Reyes, a Flint native who leads We the People Michigan, was expecting this. For months, conservative groups had been sowing suspicion about urban vote fraud. “The language was, ‘They’re going to steal the election; there will be fraud in Detroit,’ long before any vote was cast,” Reyes says.

    He made his way to the arena and sent word to his network. Within 45 minutes, dozens of reinforcements had arrived. As they entered the arena to provide a counterweight to the GOP observers inside, Reyes took down their cell-phone numbers and added them to a massive text chain. Racial-justice activists from Detroit Will Breathe worked alongside suburban women from Fems for Dems and local elected officials. Reyes left at 3 a.m., handing the text chain over to a disability activist.

    As they mapped out the steps in the election-certification process, activists settled on a strategy of foregrounding the people’s right to decide, demanding their voices be heard and calling attention to the racial implications of disenfranchising Black Detroiters. They flooded the Wayne County canvassing board’s Nov. 17 certification meeting with on-message testimony; despite a Trump tweet, the Republican board members certified Detroit’s votes.

    Election boards were one pressure point; another was GOP-controlled legislatures, who Trump believed could declare the election void and appoint their own electors. And so the President invited the GOP leaders of the Michigan legislature, House Speaker Lee Chatfield and Senate majority leader Mike Shirkey, to Washington on Nov. 20.

    It was a perilous moment. If Chatfield and Shirkey agreed to do Trump’s bidding, Republicans in other states might be similarly bullied. “I was concerned things were going to get weird,” says Jeff Timmer, a former Michigan GOP chair turned anti-Trump activist. Norm Eisen describes it as “the scariest moment” of the entire election.

    The democracy defenders launched a full-court press. Protect Democracy’s local contacts researched the lawmakers’ personal and political motives. Issue One ran television ads in Lansing. The Chamber’s Bradley kept close tabs on the process. Wamp, the former Republican Congressman, called his former colleague Mike Rogers, who wrote an op-ed for the Detroit newspapers urging officials to honor the will of the voters. Three former Michigan governors–Republicans John Engler and Rick Snyder and Democrat Jennifer Granholm–jointly called for Michigan’s electoral votes to be cast free of pressure from the White House. Engler, a former head of the Business Roundtable, made phone calls to influential donors and fellow GOP elder statesmen who could press the lawmakers privately.

    The pro-democracy forces were up against a Trumpified Michigan GOP controlled by allies of Ronna McDaniel, the Republican National Committee chair, and Betsy DeVos, the former Education Secretary and a member of a billionaire family of GOP donors. On a call with his team on Nov. 18, Bassin vented that his side’s pressure was no match for what Trump could offer. “Of course he’s going to try to offer them something,” Bassin recalls thinking. “Head of the Space Force! Ambassador to wherever! We can’t compete with that by offering carrots. We need a stick.”

    If Trump were to offer something in exchange for a personal favor, that would likely constitute bribery, Bassin reasoned. He phoned Richard Primus, a law professor at the University of Michigan, to see if Primus agreed and would make the argument publicly. Primus said he thought the meeting itself was inappropriate, and got to work on an op-ed for Politico warning that the state attorney general–a Democrat–would have no choice but to investigate. When the piece posted on Nov. 19, the attorney general’s communications director tweeted it. Protect Democracy soon got word that the lawmakers planned to bring lawyers to the meeting with Trump the next day.

    Reyes’ activists scanned flight schedules and flocked to the airports on both ends of Shirkey’s journey to D.C., to underscore that the lawmakers were being scrutinized. After the meeting, the pair announced they’d pressed the President to deliver COVID relief for their constituents and informed him they saw no role in the election process. Then they went for a drink at the Trump hotel on Pennsylvania Avenue. A street artist projected their images onto the outside of the building along with the words THE WORLD IS WATCHING.

    That left one last step: the state canvassing board, made up of two Democrats and two Republicans. One Republican, a Trumper employed by the DeVos family’s political nonprofit, was not expected to vote for certification. The other Republican on the board was a little-known lawyer named Aaron Van Langevelde. He sent no signals about what he planned to do, leaving everyone on edge.

    When the meeting began, Reyes’s activists flooded the livestream and filled Twitter with their hashtag, #alleyesonmi. A board accustomed to attendance in the single digits suddenly faced an audience of thousands. In hours of testimony, the activists emphasized their message of respecting voters’ wishes and affirming democracy rather than scolding the officials. Van Langevelde quickly signaled he would follow precedent. The vote was 3-0 to certify; the other Republican abstained.

    After that, the dominoes fell. Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and the rest of the states certified their electors. Republican officials in Arizona and Georgia stood up to Trump’s bullying. And the Electoral College voted on schedule on Dec. 14.

    HOW CLOSE WE CAME

    There was one last milestone on Podhorzer’s mind: Jan. 6. On the day Congress would meet to tally the electoral count, Trump summoned his supporters to D.C. for a rally.

    Much to their surprise, the thousands who answered his call were met by virtually no counterdemonstrators. To preserve safety and ensure they couldn’t be blamed for any mayhem, the activist left was “strenuously discouraging counter activity,” Podhorzer texted me the morning of Jan. 6, with a crossed-fingers emoji.

    Trump addressed the crowd that afternoon, peddling the lie that lawmakers or Vice President Mike Pence could reject states’ electoral votes. He told them to go to the Capitol and “fight like hell.” Then he returned to the White House as they sacked the building. As lawmakers fled for their lives and his own supporters were shot and trampled, Trump praised the rioters as “very special.”

    It was his final attack on democracy, and once again, it failed. By standing down, the democracy campaigners outfoxed their foes. “We won by the skin of our teeth, honestly, and that’s an important point for folks to sit with,” says the Democracy Defense Coalition’s Peoples. “There’s an impulse for some to say voters decided and democracy won. But it’s a mistake to think that this election cycle was a show of strength for democracy. It shows how vulnerable democracy is.”

    The members of the alliance to protect the election have gone their separate ways. The Democracy Defense Coalition has been disbanded, though the Fight Back Table lives on. Protect Democracy and the good-government advocates have turned their attention to pressing reforms in Congress. Left-wing activists are pressuring the newly empowered Democrats to remember the voters who put them there, while civil rights groups are on guard against further attacks on voting. Business leaders denounced the Jan. 6 attack, and some say they will no longer donate to lawmakers who refused to certify Biden’s victory. Podhorzer and his allies are still holding their Zoom strategy sessions, gauging voters’ views and developing new messages. And Trump is in Florida, facing his second impeachment, deprived of the Twitter and Facebook accounts he used to push the nation to its breaking point.

    As I was reporting this article in November and December, I heard different claims about who should get the credit for thwarting Trump’s plot. Liberals argued the role of bottom-up people power shouldn’t be overlooked, particularly the contributions of people of color and local grassroots activists. Others stressed the heroism of GOP officials like Van Langevelde and Georgia secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, who stood up to Trump at considerable cost. The truth is that neither likely could have succeeded without the other. “It’s astounding how close we came, how fragile all this really is,” says Timmer, the former Michigan GOP chair. “It’s like when Wile E. Coyote runs off the cliff–if you don’t look down, you don’t fall. Our democracy only survives if we all believe and don’t look down.”

    Democracy won in the end. The will of the people prevailed. But it’s crazy, in retrospect, that this is what it took to put on an election in the United States of America.

    –With reporting by LESLIE DICKSTEIN, MARIAH ESPADA and SIMMONE SHAH

    Correction appended, Feb. 4: The original version of this story misstated the name of Norm Eisen’s organization. It is the Voter Protection Program, not the Voter Protection Project.

    This appears in the February 15, 2021 issue of TIME.

    https://time.com/5936036/secret-2020-election-campaign/

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    elconquistador

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    2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war? - Page 29 Empty Re: 2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war?

    Post  elconquistador 05/02/21, 09:17 pm

    It's either a flex or someone is trying to get rid of the insane psychological burden of having deceived an entire nation and everything its stood for

    Actually forget about that last one, they don't have a conscience. It's just a flex because they know they can get away with it

    2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war? - Page 29 Etbs8x11
    2020 US elections. What's the status of pindostan and their 2nd civil war? - Page 29 Etbs8w12

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