Jeffrey Goldberg interviewed Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) for The Atlantic for a piece about the real meaning of "RINOs": Adam Kinzinger: Republicans Are "Frigging Crazy". Kinzinger describes Señor Trumpanzee's demagogy for what it is," wrote Goldberg-- "a danger to the republic." Goldberg added that Kinzinger "possesses spine enough to excoriate members of his own party for succumbing to Trump’s imbecilic authoritarianism." Yeah, but not 'til all the bridges were burned and there was no going back. Don't get the idea that he's a liberal; he's more conservative than anyone he's accusing of being a RINO.
Kinzinger, a former protégé of John McCain's, told Goldberg that the GOP is no longer his tribe. "Madison Cawthorn can invoke coming bloodshed, and Paul Gosar can flirt with white nationalism," said Kinzinger, "and they’re signing a letter asking to have me kicked out of the caucus. This is how far the Republican Party has fallen. They call me a RINO but I haven’t changed. The Republican Party has changed into an authoritarian Trump organization. They’re the RINOs. Trump is a RINO."
Are 47 million Republican voters also RINOs? That's how many a newly released University of Chicago survey indicates believe that Trump won the election and that Biden is an illegitimate president. 21 million of them say Trump should be restored to office by force. "Our survey," wrote Robert Pape, "found that many of these 21 million people with insurrectionist sentiments have the capacity for violent mobilization. At least 7 million of them already own a gun, and at least 3 million have served in the U.S. military and so have lethal skills. Of those 21 million, 6 million said they supported right-wing militias and extremist groups, and 1 million said they are themselves or personally know a member of such a group, including the Oath Keepers and Proud Boys." RINOs? Fascists for sure; can a fascist be a Republican? Is the heart of the Republican Party now fascists?
Goebbels-like, as always, Trump is working overtime to control the narrative and the messaging. Yesterday, the fake Maricopa County audit found that Biden actually won more votes than previously believed and that Trump won fewer. He's telling his easily deceived and manipulated moron followers that the audit reaffirmed that he won and that the media is spinning it. Señor T: "Huge findings in Arizona! However, the Fake News Media is already trying to 'call it' again for Biden before actually looking at the facts-- just like they did in November! This is a major criminal event and should be investigated by the Attorney General immediately. The Senate’s final report will be released today at 4:00PM ET. I have heard it is far different than that being reported by the Fake News Media." It wasn't.
"The news that the sham Arizona 'audit' has 'confirmed' President Biden’s victory is being widely cast as a huge setback for purveyors of former president Donald Trump’s 'big lie' about the 2020 election," wrote Greg Sargent in his Washington Post column today. "In one sense this is true, but this insta-conclusion misses a crucial part of the story."
If anything, the audit’s conclusion only confirms the very worst suspicions that have arisen about the true significance of Trump’s continuing insistence that the election was stolen from him, the response of many Republicans to that mythologizing, and the broader continuing threat all this poses.
That’s because it’s already clear that some Republicans will not use the audit news to affirm that confidence in our election system has been restored. Instead, they’ll use it to continue undermining that confidence, for the express purpose of justifying further anti-democratic tactics.
...A spokesman for the audit, Randy Pullen, told an Arizona news outlet that it found there wasn’t “massive fraud.”
That’s reassuring, right? Well, no, it isn’t.
That’s because the audit also magically did purport to “find” serious problems with the vote counting. As The Post notes, it “undercut” its own conclusion about the validity of the outcome by suggesting that some ballots might have been “improperly accepted and counted.”
...As Arizona elections experts from both parties told The Times, these findings are nonsense. The paper concluded that the report’s methodology and data are “faulty.”
On top of all that, the report declares that its own confirmation of Biden’s win was “inconclusive.” Why? Because, it says, the county’s election’s officials didn’t “cooperate,” thus “actively interfering” with the audit and preventing it from being “complete.”
It gets worse. The report also recommends reforms, some of which would make easier to purge voters from the rolls and less likely that people are sent mail ballots. The Times also reportsthat Arizona Republicans may seize on those recommendations to call for more voting restrictions.
So we can see what’s really happening here. Yes, the audit isn’t declaring outright that the election’s outcome was indeed fraudulent. But it is declaring there are still many reasons to doubt that outcome, that elections officials who actually operated in good faith are covering this up, and that the right response is more voting restrictions.
A mea culpa: Like many others, I expected that this audit would flagrantly manufacture evidence that the election was stolen from Trump. I was wrong about that. However, this outcome does confirm many of our worst suspicions, as the draft itself shows that the audit’s function was, and is, to continue sowing doubts about our election system.
Which blows up another GOP big lie: the notion that such audits are merely about “restoring confidence” in our elections and in “election integrity.”
Oozing with unctuously phony piety, Republicans told us again and again and again that this audit was merely about allaying the doubts of voters who have lost confidence in our elections, a specter that Republicans have widely used to justifyvoting restrictions everywhere.
But, now that this audit “confirmed” Biden’s win, it is still telling us that we should doubt our electoral outcomes, and that more voting restrictions are necessary to allay those doubts. Why, it’s almost as if that was the real point all along!
There’s a danger in downplaying this part of the story. Many headlines about this audit say in one way or another that it “confirmed” Biden won. But we don’t need this audit to confirm that, and it isn’t actually confirming that voters should have confidence in that outcome.
Treating this audit as if it somehow “confirmed” this suggests it was about empirical verification of the results, and as such, risks normalizing such practices. But it wasn’t about that, and it absolutely cannot be normalized. It has always been about undercutting the legitimacy of a Democratic electoral victory, and about justifying escalated anti-democratic tactics in response.
The conclusion to this ugly saga did backfire, in that it blew up efforts to sustain the big lie about 2020. But the real story here is that it blows up the big lie that Republicans investigating “election fraud” are merely trying to restore confidence in our elections, when in fact they continue to try to undermine it. And that story isn’t going away.
Meanwhile, Señor Trumpanzee deleted last night's statement-- referring to the so-called auditors as "highly respected"-- after they confimed that Biden had won Arizona by even more than what was originally reported.