With the electoral college having sat and the Supreme Court essentially closing the main legal avenues, the election-denial is mainly focused on shouting and fantasies of a military coup. Those fantasies are both dangerous and ridiculous.
A development in a different direction is the degree of legal pushback against the clownish-coup.
“Today, the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc. (LDF), a non-partisan civil and human rights organization, filed an amended complaint in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia a lawsuit challenging President Trump and the Trump Campaign’s ongoing efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election by disenfranchising Black voters.”https://www.naacpldf.org/press-release/ldf-files-amended-complaint-in-its-lawsuit-against-president-trump-and-his-campaigns-attempts-to-overturn-the-election-by-disenfranchising-black-voters/
I don’t know if this complaint has any legs legally but it is good to see some pushback.
One legal threat that has already gained some results outside of court, the electoral-IT companies Smartmatic and Dominion have begun pressing defamation claims against news outlets pushing the wild conspiracy claims that they have been switching votes or are in league with Hugo Chavez. Fox News and right-wing outlet Newsmax have been offering semi-retractions as a result:
“Fox News has engaged in a concerted disinformation campaign against Smartmatic,” charged the company in its 20-page demand letter sent to Fox News Media. “Fox News told its millions of viewers and readers that Smartmatic was founded by [the late Venezuelan President] Hugo Chávez, that its software was designed to fix elections, and that Smartmatic conspired with others to defraud the American people and fix the 2020 U.S. election by changing, inflating, and deleting votes.”https://www.forbes.com/sites/jemimamcevoy/2020/12/21/fox-news-newsmax-walk-back-election-fraud-claims-after-voting-machine-manufacturer-threatens-legal-action/?sh=7c78046acfd2
The legal action is not just confined to news outlets:
‘Dominion Voting Systems has hired another high-powered libel lawyer, Tom Clare, who has threatened legal action against Ms. Powell and the Trump campaign. Mr. Clare said in an emailed statement that “we are moving forward on the basis that she will not retract those false statements and that it will be necessary for Dominion to take aggressive legal action, both against Ms. Powell and the many others who have enabled and amplified her campaign of defamation by spreading damaging falsehoods about Dominion.”’https://www.nytimes.com/2020/12/20/business/media/smartmatic-lawsuit-fox-news-newsmax-oan.html?action=click&module=Top%20Stories&pgtype=Homepage
As well as these defamation claims, electoral-fraud claiming lawyer Lin Wood is facing other legal problems:
“Attorney Lin Wood’s lawsuits aimed to topple the 2020 election may have violated Delaware’s rules of professional conduct, preventing him from representing President Donald Trump’s ex-campaign advisor Carter Page in a defamation suit there, a judge found. In a detailed order to show cause, Delaware Superior Court Judge Craig Karsnitz itemized defects and alleged unprofessional behavior in Wood’s lawsuits in Wisconsin and Georgia, including filing suit without a plaintiff’s authorization, submitting a false affidavit, and making a series of gaffes that the judge said call his competence into question.”https://lawandcrime.com/2020-election/judge-says-lin-woods-post-election-lawsuits-may-have-violated-several-professional-rules-orders-him-to-respond/
Meanwhile, there is speculation that Rudy Guiliani may face perjury charges but this appears to be speculative currently https://www.motherjones.com/2020-elections/2020/12/could-rudy-giuliani-face-a-perjury-charge/
Amid all this there is a growing gulf amid the election-denialists online. On the one hand, there is a camp (let’s call them the ‘Rabids’) who are claiming that all the prior legal action was just a smokescreen while the wheels were put in motion for a coup sometime in January aka “Trump crossing the Rubicon”. Meanwhile, still in the land of banana-pants fantasies the other camp (let’s call them ‘Sads’) are confused and sad that none of the legal strategies worked. The Sad camp have been pointing at a summary report of ‘all the fraud’ compiled by Republican politician Peter Navarro.
The Navarro report (entitled ‘The Immaculate Deception’) has been described by the Washington Post as ‘this might be the most embarrassing document created by a Whitehouse staffer’. You can read it here https://bannonswarroom.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/The-Immaculate-Deception-12.15.20-1.pdf but you really don’t need to bother. It contains nothing new (which is fair enough) but it is also not even particularly comprehensive. I was kind of hoping that at least it would be a handy round-up of all the nonsense in one handy document (an Encyclopedia Bananapantia) but it’s not even that. Arguably, it is a more curated list that avoids some of the more ridiculous claims and yet it also repeats some of the potentially defamatory claims about Dominion and Smartmatic (although phrased with a cautious degree of deniability):
‘Much has been made about the shadowy genesis of a company called Dominion which provides voting machines and equipment to 28 states.110According to critics, Dominion’s roots may be traced to an effort by the Venezuelan dictator Hugo Chavez to rig his sham elections.111Dominion is also alleged to have ties to the Clinton Foundation,112while the Smartmatic software used in the Dominion machines is alleged to have links to the shadowy anti-Trump globalist financier George Soros.113‘
The section I was most interested in was “VIII. Statistical Anomalies in the Six Battleground States” which neatly exemplifies the grab-bag approach to the document. Notably two claims of “anomalies” that have been pushed by Sad-camp sci-fi author Larry Correia are missing. One is the ‘statistical model’ that I covered last week https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/12/16/bonus-straw-pup-poll-more-crimes-against-statistics/ and fair enough, it actually shows that most of the marginal states aren’t anomalous even by the standards of the dubious model but then again the whole report contains claims that are just as unsupported (if not more so).
What other “anomaly” is absent without leave? Remember Benford’s Law https://camestrosfelapton.wordpress.com/2020/11/10/and-another-right-wingers-talking-nonsense-about-benfords-law-update/ ? It has been a busy set of weeks in psychic-trauma but of all the multiple kinds of nonsensical claims, the one that seems to have had a very short shelf life has been the first-digit analysis known as Benford’s Law. Not only does Navarro’s report not mention it among the ‘statistical anomalies’, it has not been prominent (that I can see) in the many court cases. So what happened? Did all the deboonking work? Did, at least in this one instance, we all manage to convince right-wingers to listen to sense?
No or at least the collective “we” didn’t. Sidney “release the Kraken” Powell made major use of statistician William Briggs in multiple legal claims (you can read his account here https://wmbriggs.com/post/33710/ and yes, it is also another flavour of banana pants). However, Briggs was an early sceptic of claims about Benford’s Law showing anomalies in the 2020 election:
“Update Benford’s law is only useful in uncovering multiple and on-going instances of cheating. As in somebody consistently cooking financial books. As I showed above, assuming the curiosities are cheats, it only took two instances to tip the balance. Benford’s law will never pick this up: never. I’m skeptical of what I’m seeing in other analyses, because if somebody turns something up with Benford, it implies that many, many vote totals were tampered with, which increases the possibilities of getting caught. And you don’t need to tamper with many. Only a few.”https://wmbriggs.com/post/33377/
Consequently, Benford’s Law drifted out of favour as other wild claims and analyses caught the attention of the right.
ETA: William Briggs shouldn’t be confused with Rex Briggs https://thenevadaindependent.com/article/trump-supporters-asked-me-to-look-into-voter-fraud-in-nevada-what-i-found-debunked-what-they-were-alleging