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Trump Is Still Spewing His Big Lie-- And The Suckers Believe It

Last year, Montana handed Trump a 343,602 (56.9%) to 244,786 (40.6%) win over Biden. Trump won all but 7 of Montana's 56 counties, although his margins of victory were reduced in most of them and went down from 20.4% in 2016 to 16.4% in 2020. Biden won Missoula County, the 2nd biggest in the state, heavily-- 43,357 (60.6%) to 26,347 (36.8%).

Last week, the Daily Montanan, reported that Señor Trumpanzee made allegations that missing mail-in ballots in an unnamed Montana county is evidence of fraud. Señor T: "In Montana, over 6 percent of a certain county’s mail-ballots are missing, evidence to prove that if they were legitimate or not, that they’re missing. All this evidence. Think of it, Montana. You know, a lot of mail-in ballots. Where you have mail-in ballots."

"That news," wrote Darrell Ehrlick, "comes as a surprise to Montana officials who point out that all ballots, including mail-in ones, are present and accounted for-- and have been for months." Those Montana officials are Republicans.

The reference is without support, and also shocking because Trump won the state handily as did Republicans statewide, sweeping the state’s top offices and dominating the legislature with a veto-proof majority for the GOP.
The Secretary of State’s Office has also confirmed that there are no reports of ballot problems or ballots missing.
“The office is not aware of any county election official that has self-reported missing absentee ballots,” said Richie Melby, Communications Director for the Secretary of State, which has responsibility for statewide results and certifying elections in Montana.

The Montana Republicans may be confused and scratching their heads, but what they and every other Republican should be wondering about is how they ever got hoodwinked into believing a cheap carnival hustler like Trump in the first place-- and why they still follow him. I'd venture a guess that most people who have heard of Phineas Taylor Barnum (P.T. Barnum) think he coined the phrase "there's a sucker born every minute." He didn't, nor did Trump, but both conscience-free grifters lived their lives as though they did. Barnum plagued America for most of the 19th Century, a hustler who Trump has modeled himself on. He was a businessman/showman, author and politician (briefly). He freely admitted that his actions were meant to "put money in my own coffers" and, more than anything else he considered himself "a showman by profession." His name is synonymous with hoaxes and self-serving "philanthropy." Like Trump, he made some spectacularly bad investments and went bankrupt. And, also like Trump, he ran for office, as a Republican, and won, serving 2 terms in the Connecticut state legislature and one term as mayor of Bridgeport.

The tragedy for America-- something that could lead to the union's dissolution-- is that the Republican Party base is so delusional, and so taken in by Trump and QAnon, and its leaders so craven and cowardly-- although some are as delusional as the base-- that now adherence to Trump's Big Lie is a sine qua non to even run for office under the party's banner. As Amy Gardner wrote in yesterday's Washington Post, GOP candidates are increasingly "running on the falsehood spread by Trump and his allies that the 2020 race was stolen from him. While most of these campaigns are in their early stages, the embrace of Trump’s claims is already widespread on the trail and in candidates’ messages to voters. The trend provides fresh evidence of Trump’s continued grip on the GOP, reflecting how a movement inspired by his claims and centered on overturning a democratic election has gained currency in the party since the Jan. 6 Capitol attack."

Watch this video of a Texas Republican congressman, Chip Roy, speaking about Biden's infrastructure proposals, "bipartisanship" and what he thinks his job is in Congress. "Honestly, right now, for the next 18 months," he said, "our job is to do everything we can to slow all of that down to get to December of 2022 and then get in here and lead... I actually say, 'thank you, Lord, 18 more months of chaos and the inability to get stuff done, that's what we want.'"

Why would anyone normal and not infected with this mass psychosis-- or mass stupidity-- want to be in a union with these people... let alone in a situation in which these congenital morons have a say in national policy? "Dozens of candidates promoting the baseless notion that the election was rigged," continued Gardner, "are seeking powerful statewide offices-- such as governor, attorney general and secretary of state, which would give them authority over the administration of elections-- in several of the decisive states where Trump and his allies sought to overturn the outcome and engineer his return to the White House... And many are current Republican officeholders, lining up to seek reelection, who have backed Trump’s efforts over the past eight months by questioning the validity of the 2020 result, taking legislative votes or signing on to official efforts to overturn it."

Today Washington Post reporters Tim Craig and Lenny Bronner looked at another example of this willful, and even dysfunctional, right-wing delusionism. Millions of hard core Trumpists were recipients of government stimulus checks. Some didn't want to cash them because they came from Biden. Many more convinced themselves that they weren't really from Biden at all.

In impoverished parts of the country where low IQ voters flocked to Trumpism, the $1,400 checks for Americans who earn up to $75,000 "was the difference between getting a medical treatment and not, enrolling a child in college and not." But crackpot Trump voters are either denying the checks came from Bidena nd congressional Democrats or blaming the payments for whatever they are told is wrong with America by Trump and his media surrogates-- keeping people from work, fueling a sense that the undeserving are exploiting the system. As the price of basic goods climbs, others worry that the stimulus will lead to runaway inflation on wood, cars, even milk. Some of the stupidest of the lot have convinced themselves that the checks actually came from Trump.

Craig and Bronner talked with the most typical Trump voter in the known universe, Edward from Monroe County, Ohio. To understand Edward is to understand the core dangers Trumpism holds for our country. "Edward has been surviving on Social Security disability payments for 34 years. He suffered a brain injury and a collapsed eardrum when a former hunting buddy beat him in the head with brass knuckles during an alcohol-fueled dispute. About half of Edward’s $500-a-month disability check goes to utility bills and rent for his government-subsidized one-bedroom apartment. To get by, Edward, 59, mows his neighbors’ lawns in exchange 'for free beer, a carton of cigarettes or a few dollars.' Last month, Edward used his stimulus check to buy new work boots, a bicycle, gasoline for his lawn mower and a weed eater in hopes of broadening his business."

[I]n Monroe County, the wounds of the 2020 election remain visible, as Trump flags and “Do you miss me yet” banners featuring the former president’s face continue to line highways.
...Using data from L2, a national voter file vendor, The Post estimates that nearly 6.5 million out of the 7.5 million Trump voters in the Appalachia region were eligible to receive a stimulus check.
The proportion of Trump voters who received the money was especially high in western Kentucky and central Mississippi.
But the flow of money into Appalachia doesn’t seem to have changed many hearts and minds... [One Trumpist] stressed that the stimulus didn’t change his negative impression of Biden. “The only thing Biden should get credit for is hundreds of dead people voting for his ass,” he said, repeating a false claim that fraudulent votes played a role in Biden’s victory last year.

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