It’s been a week marred with bleak court decisions, Supreme Court debacles, and our authoritarian president becoming increasingly authoritarian. But what better way to end this shitty week than to watch a video of a run-down Donald Trump Jr. urging his father’s supporters to do a little bit of light voter intimidation?
“The radical left are laying the groundwork to steal this election from my father, President Donald Trump,” Don Jr says, tone hoarse as if he’s sick or has simply been screaming nonsense for four years straight.
He continued: “Their plan is to add millions of fraudulent ballots that can cancel your vote and overturn the election. We cannot let that happen. We need every able-bodied man and woman to join the Army for Trump’s election security operation...”
Don Jr plugged a site called “defendyourballot.com” which redirects to “armyfortrump.com.” There, visitors are met with the following (emphasis ours):
The Role: As a member of our Election Day Team, you will assist Team Trump and grassroots operations across the country on Election Day 2020. Our Election Day Team primarily focuses on Getting Out the Vote (GOTV) to ensure any voters who did not vote early vote on election day. Depending on the state, volunteers may be involved in other Election Day activities such as precinct coverage.
Hmm, precinct coverage. That sounds like a cute way of saying “poll watching,” which has a long history of acting as a voter disenfranchisement tactic. They’re already doing it, too: Voters in Virginia reported feeling “intimidated” by a group of rambunctious Trump supporters at an early voting site last week.
The Team Trump operation may attempt a more sophisticated approach at voter suppression. In a video embedded on the Army for Trump site, Team Trump’s communications director, Erin Perrine, describes Election Day Operations volunteers as people who will simply monitor the polls to make sure that people are voting “legally.” Perrine warns viewers that, “Democrats will be up to their old dirty tricks on Election Day to make sure that President Trump doesn’t win... we cannot let that happen. That is why our goal is to cover every polling place in the country with people like you.”
This screams “fill cities and places where black and brown people live with Trump thugs on Election Day” to me, but hey...
Has enough time gone by since Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing to talk about how she probably should have retired when the Democrats had a majority in the Senate? Well, I think so, and the New York Times apparently agrees. On Friday, the Times published a retelling of a private meeting former President Obama had with the late Supreme Court justice in 2014. While Obama didn’t insist that Ginsburg retire, it was certainly implied.
From the New York Times (emphasis ours):
[Obama] did, however, raise the looming 2014 midterm elections and how Democrats might lose control of the Senate. Implicit in that conversation was the concern motivating his lunch invitation — the possibility that if the Senate flipped, he would lose a chance to appoint a younger, liberal judge who could hold on to the seat for decades.
But the effort did not work, just as an earlier attempt by Senator Patrick Leahy, the Vermont Democrat who was then Judiciary Committee chairman, had failed. Justice Ginsburg left Mr. Obama with the clear impression that she was committed to continuing her work on the court, according to those briefed.
In an interview a year later, Justice Ginsburg deflected questions about the purpose of the lunch. Pressed on what Mr. Obama might think about her potential retirement, she said only, “I think he would agree with me that it’s a question for my own good judgment.”
And now there’s a very real chance that a Republican-controlled Senate will vote for Trump’s Supreme Court pick, anti-abortion conservative Judge Amy Coney Barrett, as Ginsburg’s replacement.
The Times piece went on to recall previous instances in which nudging justices to retire was frowned upon or backfired, which is apparently a sensitive topic among the justices. For example, a 2005 Washington Post opinion column calling for Supreme Court term limits and cameras in the courtroom was met with a scathing rebuttal from Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. She insisted that such suggestions interfered with judicial independence—but at what point does this simply become a matter of ego above all else?
Ginsburg’s agency shouldn’t be denied of her, and this potential imbalance of the Court is by no means her fault. But it’s hard to ignore that the current situation is in part due to the fact that an aging two-time cancer survivor didn’t want to quit her day job just yet. (Justice Breyer, who is 82, should have retired, too.) Whatever ideal conditions Ginsburg was waiting for never materialized in time, and now we’re scrambling to figure out solutions. You can have plenty of respect for Ginsburg and her legacy and acknowledge that this, too, is true.
- Speaking of RBG, here’s her trainer doing some push-ups in her honor as her body lies in state:
- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is moving to fully re-open bars and restaurants in the state. What could possibly go wrong? [Miami Herald]
- In other covid-19 news, the Governor and First Lady of Virginia have tested positive for the virus. [Politico]
- And so have the Governor and First Lady of Missouri! [Washington Post]
- Old people in Maine don’t fuck with Susan Collins anymore. [Mother Jones]
- Breonna Taylor’s mother says she doesn’t trust the legal system, which is incredibly fucking fair. [NPR]
- There’s a Senate resolution assuring the peaceful transfer of power of President Trump loses re-election in November. Good luck with that, guys. [The Hill]
- Uh, Ron Paul may have had a stroke during a livesteam? But he’s okay? [Business Insider]