DETROIT (AP) — When longtime Detroit community advocate Frank McGhee watched two Republican canvassers vote against certifying election results in the majority Black city, he was furious.
McGhee, 58, has spent more than two decades working with Detroit youth and educating them on the electoral process. He said it was “outrageous” to see hard-fought Black voter-mobilization efforts threatened.
“I thought, these are the ultimate executioners, if you will, put in place so that quietly they could take what belongs to us,” he said.
President-elect Joe Biden was in part powered to victory in Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Georgia by Black voters, many of them concentrated in cities such as Detroit, Philadelphia and Atlanta where he received a significant share of their support. Since Election Day, President Donald Trump and his allies have sought to expose voter fraud that simply does not exist in these and other overwhelmingly Black population centers.
Such a plainly racist strategy to contest the election could erode Black voters’ trust in elections. Voting-rights advocates say they stand ready to beat back any efforts to water down the Black vote. But fears persist that Trump’s allies will undermine democracy and disenfranchise Black Americans and other voters of color.
Trump renewed his attack on Motown voters Thursday, tweeting without evidence, “Voter Fraud in Detroit is rampant, and has been for many years.”
The GOP effort in Michigan came to a head Tuesday, when the Wayne County Board of Canvassers initially deadlocked on a vote to certify election results that included ballots from Detroit, the nation’s largest Black-majority city.
Two Republican canvassers tried to block the routine certification, which provoked an outcry from people attending the meeting and civil rights leaders who questioned whether race was a factor. The two GOP board members eventually reversed their votes and certified the results. They later tried to revert to their original position and were rebuffed by state officials who said the certification could not be rescinded.
“I think it’s a dose of reality of the times that we are living in,” said Nicole Small, vice chair of the Detroit Charter Commission, who believes the vote was a “blatant attempt at voter suppression.”
“I do not believe that Trump has created racism amongst people, but I do think he was the safety net and the vehicle for people to be more active in practicing their racism and their prejudiced beliefs publicly,” Small said.
Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel blasted the Trump campaign and other groups for filing election-related lawsuits that were frivolous and lacked evidence.
“The themes we see that persist here are this: ‘Black people are corrupt. Black people are incompetent, and Black people can’t be trusted,’” she said on a call with the nonpartisan Voter Protection Program.
Kristen Clarke, president and executive director of the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, said the Republican canvassers’ conduct was part of the ongoing effort “to disenfranchise voters on a scale that is simply unprecedented in modern times.”
Beyond Michigan, the Trump campaign sought a partial recount in Wisconsin — in Milwaukee and Dane counties, which include the majority of the state’s Black population. On Thursday, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani renewed unproven claims of voter fraud and impropriety during mail-in vote counting in Pennsylvania, naming Philadelphia and nearby Camden, New Jersey, which is also predominantly Black.
In Philadelphia, state Sen. Sharif Street said Trump’s attacks on the city are neither new nor surprising, given his “abject failure” around COVID-19 and the resulting economic fallout.
“This is an attempt to delegitimize our voters, but it only served to delegitimize himself.”
During a news conference Thursday in Wilmington, Delaware, Biden said Americans are “witnessing incredible irresponsibility. Incredibly damaging messages are being sent to the rest of the world about how democracy functions.”
Black voters are not the only targets. A Trump-allied group behind challenges in four states, True the Vote, filed a lawsuit alleging officials relaxed voter ID requirements for absentee voters in Menominee County, Wisconsin, which is essentially the Menominee Nation Indian reservation. Most of the group’s lawsuits have been tossed out or withdrawn.
Another lawsuit seeks nullification of votes in Nevada over fraud and irregularities. The Trump campaign and Nevada Republicans alleged the Nevada Native Voter Project illegally enticed Native American voters with gift cards, gas cards, raffle tickets and T-shirts if they voted early or on Election Day. That lawsuit has been dismissed.
And in Arizona, the Trump campaign and the state Republican Party jointly asked courts to halt certification of votes in Maricopa County, which includes Phoenix and a significant portion of the state’s Hispanic population. The lawsuit sought a hand-count of a sampling of ballots from the county. A judge dismissed that lawsuit on Thursday.
The rate of dismissal proves “there’s really no there there to the challenges,” said Anne Houghtaling, deputy director of the Thurgood Marshall Institute, which houses the NAACP Legal Defense Fund’s voting rights projects.
“It’s all sort of tilting at windmills,” Houghtaling said.
Black voters and other voters of color were guaranteed free and fair access to the polls through the landmark Voting Rights Act of 1965. Prior to its passage, Black voters, primarily in the South, were routinely subjected to intimidation and deadly violence for simply registering to vote. In places where they could register, some voters faced literacy tests and poll taxes that effectively left them disenfranchised.
In some states, voter discrimination complaints worsened after a 2013 Supreme Court ruling gutted a section of the voting rights law requiring states with a history of discrimination to get federal approval before changing voter regulations. States have passed strict voter ID requirements, carried out voter roll purges and limited early voting in places where minority voters were disproportionately affected.
Election officials from both political parties have stated publicly that the 2020 election went well, and international observers confirmed there were no serious irregularities.
“It’s not the use of the word ‘legal’ vote, it’s the constant insinuation that there are so many illegal or fraudulent votes out there,” said Rick Hasen, a professor of law and political science at the University of California Irvine and author of the Election Law blog. “There’s no evidence produced by the campaign to support there has been a lot of fraud.”
A hand recount of ballots in Georgia affirmed Joe Biden’s victory in the state over Donald Trump, state officials announced on Thursday, even as Trump continues to press unfounded claims of voter fraud.
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said that the “historic first statewide audit reaffirmed that the state’s new secure paper ballot voting system accurately counted and reported results.”
The audit showed that Biden won the state by 12,284 votes, compared to 12,780 before the recount. Trump gained 486 votes in the audit.
The audit showed that the highest error rate in any county recount was 0.73%. Most counties reported no change in their tally, and the majority of remaining counties had changes of fewer than ten ballots. The most significant change was found in counties that had not uploaded all of their memory cards, which was blamed on human error, but it did not change the outcome.
In a long press conference, Trump’s legal team, led by Rudy Giuliani, made a series of claims of election fraud, even though they produced little evidence and bandied about a series of wild conspiracy theories. Fox News was the only major cable news network to carry the press conference live, as CNN and MSNBC stuck to regular programming.
Raffensperger indicated that the results will be certified on Friday. At the press conference, Giuliani said that the Trump campaign planned to file a new lawsuit in the state.
Stephen Colbert burned lame-duck President Donald Trump by comparing his presidency to horrifying moments from school. (See the monologue below.)
Referring Tuesday to President-elect Joe Biden’s comment that Trump’s refusal to concede is “more embarrassing for the country than debilitating for my ability to get started,” “The Late Show” host snapped:
“Oh we’re way past embarrassment, Joe. After a full term of this president, we could get our period in gym class, accidentally call the teacher ‘Mom,’ trip in the hallway in front of our crush, and still be like, yeah, better than the last four years.”
Ivanka Trump’s childhood best friend, Lysandra Ohrstrom, claims in a new essay that Donald Trump body-shamed her when she was just a young teen, saying he was ‘doing her a favor.’
Being best friends with Ivanka Trump came with its perks — and its downfalls, Lysandra Ohrstrom learned as a teenager. The journalist, now 38, details in a sprawling essay for Vanity Fair trips to Paris, sleepovers at the Trump Tower, photoshoots, and days shopping in Manhattan with her former best friend. But sometimes, that included having to deal with her father, Donald Trump, who allegedly had no qualms about belittling a young girl for her appearance.
“Though [Trump] never remembered my name, he seemed to have a photographic memory for changes in my body,” Lysandra wrote in the November 17 essay. “I’ll never forget the time Ivanka and I were having lunch with her brothers at Mar-a-Lago one day, and while Mr. Trump was saying hi, Don Jr. swiped half a grilled cheese sandwich off my plate. Ivanka scolded him, but Mr. Trump chimed in, ‘Don’t worry. She doesn’t need it. He’s doing her a favor.’ Conversely, he’d usually congratulate me if I’d lost weight.
The incident apparently took place right before their freshman year of high school. Lysandra detailed more creepy behavior from the future president in her essay. Just as he allegedly chided her about her weight, he was overly complimentary about other girls. “[Trump] would barely acknowledge me except to ask if Ivanka was the prettiest or the most popular girl in our grade,” said Lysandra. “Before I learned that the Trumps have no sense of humor about themselves, I remember answering honestly that she was probably in the top five.”
“‘Who’s prettier than Ivanka?” I recall him asking once with genuine confusion, before correctly naming the two girls I’d had in mind,” Lysandra continued. “[Trump] described one as a young Cindy Crawford, while the other he said had a great figure.” Ivanka and Lysandra remained tight for over a decade; she even served as a Maid of Honor in Ivanka’s 2009 wedding to Jared Kushner. But something seemed to change soon after. Ivanka allegedly told Lysandra that she “didn’t have time for this s**t” when she tried to tell her about her new job.
While they’ve remained polite, Lysandra now doesn’t recognize the ride-or-die bestie she once adored. “I’ve watched as Ivanka has laid waste to the image she worked so hard to build. In private, I’ve had countless conversations with friends who also grew up with Ivanka about how appalled we are that she didn’t publicly oppose Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination, or any of her dad’s especially repugnant policies.
“Whether Ivanka is able to rehab her stained image or not, I hope she wasn’t able to drown out the applause of the city she once aspired to rule, cheering and celebrating her political downfall,” Lysandra wrote. “I was with them, crying with relief, matched only by the regret and shame I feel for not holding my former friend to account sooner.”
Jimmy Kimmel says President Donald Trump’s having trouble coming to grips with the fact that he lost the election to President-elect Joe Biden.
“He’s like a kid slowly realizing that nobody’s coming to his birthday party,” Kimmel said on “Jimmy Kimmel Live!” Monday night.
Instead of conceding, Trump has made false claims that the election was “rigged” against him.
“It’s gonna take him some time to digest this loss,” Kimmel said, then named the 10 stages of grief the president’s going through, complete with video demonstrations. There’s denial, anger, blame and delusion ― and those are just for starters.
Why is everyone taking photos of their pancakes on Nov. 14? The push for pancakes on social media has more to do with trolling the #MillionMAGAMarch than a love of carbs.
Once again, K-pop fans and TikTokers have creatively taken over another Donald Trump event by flooding social media with photos of pancakes and the Trump march hashtag. Actor Shea Depmore developed a site to lead the charge, using mapa2020.com.
Instead of the Million MAGA March, Depmore suggests the “Million Pancake Brunch.” She calls for “anti-racists, K-pop stans, witches, and cool people of the Internet,” to fill the hashtag with pancakes. She adds that the group will not counterprotest in person, but instead post morning pancake photos or images of K-pop stars eating pancakes. The pancake troll is meant to remind Trump fans that Joe Biden flipped a slew of states in his favor.
Social media pancakes take over
The hashtag featured a bevy of mouthwatering and funny pancake memes. “Blue corn pancakes! Thank you to the Navajo Nation for helping flip AZ!!!” one person shared on Twitter.
“When I flip you flip we flip. GA and AZ I see you,” another person shared along with pancakes covered in strawberries, blueberries and whipped cream. Another person added, “Mmmmm… Red, white and blueberry…”
One person used a photo of Melania Trump enjoying a stack of flapjacks. “Melania Trump wants to eat Pancakes too,” the Twitter user captioned the photo. Some people used a play on words with their post. “Voting blueberry pancakes as best ones,” a person wrote. “I’ve been Biden my time with a cup of Joe before breakfast. Don’t Harris me about it, ok? They’re homemade.”
Another meme featured the iconic photo of John Candy in the film Uncle Buck where he flips a pancake the size of a kitchen island. “I’ll take 306, please,” the person posted. “Make America Pancakes Again! Just like Trump’s presidency…people expected greatness, got a half cooked mess,” another person shared along with a photo of pancakes and the word, “expectations.”
Trolling is easy
This isn’t the first time social media disrupted a Trump event. TikTokers and K-pop stans also took down a Trump rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma in June. Knowing that Trump craves a huge crowd, social media aficionados ordered as many free tickets to Trump’s Tulsa rally as possible and then didn’t show up. The prank spread quietly within the community as Trump anticipated a packed stadium of fans, despite the global pandemic.
“It spread mostly through Alt TikTok — we kept it on the quiet side where people do pranks and a lot of activism,” YouTuber Elijah Daniel told The New York Times. “K-pop Twitter and Alt TikTok have a good alliance where they spread information amongst each other very quickly. They all know the algorithms and how they can boost videos to get where they want.”
Pranksters deleted posts to keep the plan under wraps. The rally was ultimately a dud with 17,000 tickets ordered by TikTokers. The stadium was designed to hold 19,000 attendees.