Falsehoods and Threats – The New York Instances
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The US is approaching vaccines. And dozens of Republicans are campaigning to overthrow the elections.
President Trump’s attempts to reverse the election result are very unlikely to be successful. Because of this, the effort can sometimes seem like a publicity stunt – an effort by Trump to raise money and polish his image with his followers.
And it can be all of these things. But it is also a remarkable campaign against American democracy. It has grown into most of the Republican-led states, most of the Republican members of Congress, and numerous threats of violence. I want to use today’s newsletter to explain it.
The new centerpiece of the effort is a lawsuit the state of Texas filed with the Supreme Court this week that supports Trump. It is alleged that elections in four swing states – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – suffered from “unconstitutional irregularities.”
The lawsuit is based on the same lies Trump told about election fraud. In reality, there was no significant fraud as noted by local officials from both parties. William Barr, Trump’s attorney general, came to the same conclusion.
Still, attorneys general of 17 states – including Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Utah, Arizona and the Dakotas – backed the Texas lawsuit. Yesterday, more than half of the Republicans in the House released a legal letter backing this. “If they prevail in court (they don’t) they would break the country,” wrote David French of The Dispatch, a Conservative publication.
They do this, as my colleagues Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman have pointed out, largely because they believe that resisting Trump would damage their standing with Republican voters. This is how politicians “inflame” the public, according to the French, and many voters wrongly believe that a presidential election is unfair. And that belief leads to an outbreak of violent threats against election officials, including:
Dozens of Trump supporters, some armed, went to the home of Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Democratic Secretary of State, and started shouting profanity.
Trump supporters posted photos of Ann Jacobs, a Wisconsin officer, on Twitter and mentioned her children.
In Phoenix, around 100 Trump supporters, some armed, protested the building where officials were counting votes.
In Vermont, officials received a voice message threatening them with execution by shooting.
Seth Bluestein, a Philadelphia official, received anti-Semitic and violent threats after Pam Bondi, an ally of Trump’s ally, publicly mentioned him.
A Georgia polling officer went into hiding after a viral video falsely claimed he had discarded ballots.
Georgia’s Republican Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger and his wife have received death threats, including text messages, and trailers have circled their home.
Gabriel Sterling, another Georgia official, received a message wishing a happy birthday and saying it was his last.
In a later interview with Time Magazine, Sterling argued that elected politicians could defuse the threats by recognizing that the election was fair. “Leadership is supposed to look like adults in the room who say, ‘I know you’re upset, but that’s the reality,” Sterling said.
A swing state reacts: In a Supreme Court lawsuit, Pennsylvania identified the Texas lawsuit as part of a “cacophony of falsified claims”, a “seditious abuse of legal process” and “a violation of the principles of constitutional democracy.”
THE LATEST NEWS
An FDA advisory panel voted for Pfizer’s vaccine, clearing one of the final hurdles before the agency approves the drug. It is likely to happen within days.
South Korea recorded 686 new cases on Wednesday, the highest daily total since February, and a health official called it “our biggest coronavirus crisis ever”. Over the past week, 45 states have an average of more daily cases.
New Hampshire House spokesman Richard Hinch died suddenly of Covid-19 on Wednesday. Hinch, 71, recently attended an indoor meeting with his Republican counterparts that saw several members contract the virus.
Ellen DeGeneres said she tested positive.
From the opinion: What is the future of the Republican Party? RealClearPolitics ‘Sean Trende speaks to The Times’ Jane Coaston and Ross Douthat on Jane’s first episode as co-host of The Argument podcast.
Lived life: As the nation’s first nationally syndicated lesbian columnist to regularly write about gay life, Deb Price covered topics such as the debate about gay people in the military. However, she also wrote about same-sex couples in everyday domestic situations, believing that doing so would make it more difficult for society to deny them equality. Price died at 62.
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ART AND IDEAS
Beyond a kale and quinoa diet
The American diet is fantastically diverse. But the list of American dietitians is less: about 71 percent are non-Hispanic white. As a result, the leading U.S. nutritionists’ recommendations often ignore non-Western foods.
A new wave of experts is trying to change this, as Priya Krishna writes in The Times.
Some dietitians have already created their own resources. Hazel Ng made handouts for cooking with Asian products like bitter melon and lychees. Ryan Bad Heart Bull shared healthy Native American food tips for cancer survivors trying to make diet adjustments. Nazima Qureshi, a Toronto-based nutritionist, herself published a guide to healthy fasting during Ramadan. Other organizations like Diversify Dietetics are addressing job inequalities by providing mentoring and teaching materials for color students.
The national organization – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – wants to improve. Kristen Gradney, a nutritionist speaking on behalf of the academy, said that while she “really missed the mark” in preparing nutritionists to deal with diverse populations, she was making progress. Still, she said that “real change” would most likely come from grassroots efforts.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook