Oh, sorry, this time it's 'trespassing.' At the elections office.
You might recall the insane story of how Olivia Pearson, a civil rights activist and the first Black member of the Douglas, Georgia, city commission, got arrested and charged with voting fraud in 2012 for showing a first-time voter how to use a voting machine — Pearson didn't touch the machine or tell the voter who to vote for, but she was prosecuted anyway because Georgia only allows helping people with voting if the helper certifies that the voter is illiterate, not just unfamiliar with the voting machine technology. Pearson was also charged for "falsely swearing" that the person she'd helped was illiterate or disabled, although she said poll workers had asked her to help the voter and given her the form to sign afterward.
If you get the sense that there's a bit of bad blood between Pearson and local white officials in Douglas and Coffee County, you would get a nice pat on the head for being observant. She had also been investigated for such suspect activities as driving people to the polls, registering people to vote, and urging them to vote at election time. Such a troublemaker, in the John Lewis "good trouble" mold. And you know how many times he got arrested.
Pearson's first trial, in 2017, resulted in a hung jury; when she was finally able to get the venue moved to another county for her second trial in 2018, the jury acquitted her after just 20 minutes of deliberation, and everyone except the people she made uncomfortable in Douglas cheered. Oh, and don't forget, the prosecutor who went after Pearson over the six years of that case, District Attorney George Barnhill Sr., is the same worthless schmuck who initially decided the two white men who killed Ahmaud Arbery didn't need to be arrested, because "self defense." It's a small racist world, isn't it?
Now that Georgia has gone blue in the 2020 presidential election, thanks to the work of lots of Black women activists who followed Pearson, Slate reporter Joel Anderson, who had covered her trials, wanted to check in and see what she thought. She texted him back, telling him, "SURE I would LOVE to talk about it. [...] AND MY NEW ARREST AT THE POLLS."
Turns out that during early voting, on October 27, Pearson was doing her usual election season thing: driving people to the polls and generally pestering them to vote, because she takes democracy seriously. We'll hand the narrative over to Anderson here:
That morning, Pearson took a former student to the polls and caught the attention of an old foe: Misty Martin, the elections supervisor for Coffee County.
Pearson told me she had signed the form that allowed her to assist her former student "because I know she is illiterate and can't read." But, according to Pearson, Martin rushed in anyway to shoo Pearson away.
"She began hollering and screaming at me, saying, 'These are my buttons, my machines, don't touch them,' " Pearson said. "I kept asking her questions and she hollered, 'Call 911.' "
Pearson and the former student left, but when Pearson came back later with another friend she was shuttling to the polls, she was met by three police cars and handed a criminal trespass warning by one of the cops, because that's how they do things if you upset the elections supervisor who suspects you may have touched, or come near, buttons and/or machines.
"What is the reason I have to leave?" Pearson told me she asked the officer. Martin came outside and the two women went back and forth again before the officers arrested Pearson and placed her in handcuffs.
Someone's buttons were definitely pressed, sounds like. Pearson was booked into the county jail on a misdemeanor charge of criminal trespass and released after a few hours; she believes her arrest was intended to scare Black voters from going to the polls. She has a court date scheduled for December 21, but continued taking people to the polls — but parking across the street.
The local news site, Douglas Now, offers a different version of the events in the Coffee County elections office, although it doesn't seem to make a hell of a lot of sense:
According to witnesses, Commissioner Pearson was in the office assisting a voter. After completing the voting process, Commissioner Pearson allegedly began pushing buttons on a machine. Election officials asked her to stop but, said witnesses, she refused. The incident became heated and Commissioner Pearson was asked to leave. She eventually left the premises after officials called 911.
Why would she be "pushing buttons on a machine" and refusing to stop? No explanation at all; you're left to assume Pearson is just kind of an irrational jerk that way. We're sure we're reading more into the terse description than is intended. Was it a big red button? On the machine that goes ping?
We also like the part where Misty Martin and her contentious history with Pearson vanishes right out of that version. Martin had testified against Pearson in her earlier trials, and in 2016 dismissed the very idea of voter suppression as "a joke."
The Douglas Now story also notes that the police incident report said Pearson "is being banned for disruptive behavior. She may only come to a polling place in order to vote and she has already cast her ballot for this year's election." Her ban from polling places lasted for the "remainder of the 2020 election cycle," so that means she'll be limited to dropping people off in the parking lot across the street for the January 5 runoff elections for the US Senate.
For all that, Pearson told Anderson she's already working on ideas to keep voters engaged for those elections, which will decide control of the Senate.
"I was just thinking today," Pearson told me, "You've got to push, push, push on trying to get the voters back."
Well there she goes with the pushing again. Seems like she just can't help stirring things up. God bless her for it.
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Also some Sunday show idiots, as usual.
It was a long four
hundred years coming since 2016, but we won!
In spite of or because of a still raging pandemic, the 2020 presidential election had the highest turnout rate (66.9 percent) in 120 years (since 1900 when the turnout was 73.7 percent), by preliminary estimates. Both Republicans and Democrats mobilized as many voters as they've ever done before in over a century.
But we won.
After President-Elect Joe Biden and Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris made history and gave their amazing victory speeches Saturday night, you could see on the Sunday shows that Republicans were already rewriting the narrative to seem like our victory is hollow.
Take Willard "Mittens" Romney. Making multiple appearances on CNN, ABC, NBC and Fox News (I didn't check Telemundo), the uncle of Ronna McDaniel tried to sound like a reasonable Republican. Here is a Romney quote from CNN's "State Of The Union" with Jake Tapper, responding to whether he thought it was good for the country that Biden was elected:
ROMNEY : Well, I think half the country thinks it's a great idea. I think the other half thinks it's not such a great idea But the reality is, given the fact that the statisticians have come to a conclusion at this stage, I think we get behind the new president. Unless, for some reason, that's overturned, we get behind the new president, wish him the very best. And I send our congratulations. And we will keep this president, just like the last president, in our prayers.
But it took almost zero time for Mittens to show his lack conviction when asked if he voted for Biden or Trump. (He famously wrote in his wife Ann rather than vote for Hillary to prevent Trump in 2016)
TAPPER: You said you didn't vote for President Trump, or you said you weren't going to vote for him. Did you vote for Joe Biden?
ROMNEY: I'm not going to talk about my vote. That's in the rearview mirror. I'm going to talk now about how I can work with the new president. I know he's on the other side of the aisle, but I want to make sure that we conservatives keep on fighting to make sure that we don't have a Green New Deal, we don't get rid of gas and coal and oil, that we don't have a Medicare-for-all plan put in place, that we don't raise taxes on American enterprise. That would kill the economy. So, look, I congratulate him, but I'm not going to put aside conservative principles. We're going to fight for the things that we believe in.
Ah, yes! Those good old "conservative principles," like continuing to kill the planet with fossil fuels, poisoning water with fracking, keeping those sweet ass tax cuts for corporations (they "are people, my friend" after all) and making sure America remains the only industrialized country not to provide healthcare as a basic human right.
Mittens added some extra spin to make losing the presidency, reducing the GOP's power in the Senate and not winning the House into somehow a Republican win, on "Meet The Press":
ROMNEY: Well, I learned that Republicans picked up seats in Congress, held onto the Senate, picked up statehouses across the country, but we lost the presidency. And so it's a bit of a mixed message. I think people are saying that conservative principles still account for the majority of public opinion in our country.
That's not how it works, Mittens. Technically, Democrats in the Senate lost one seat (Doug Jones, Alabama), won two (Mark Kelly in Arizona, John Hickenlooper in Colorado) and send both Georgia Republican Senate seats (Purdue vs. Ossoff and Loeffler vs. Warnock) into a runoff in new blue state Georgia. If we win those, Republicans lose the Senate completely. That is a pretty big repudiation when combined with all these progressive wins all over the country.
I'd call Mittens a
flip-flopper or spineless coward or a blatant opportunist for his own self-interest, but that would be petty. Because according to some, when Trump wins, liberals are told we must understand Trump supporters, and when Trump loses, liberals are told we must understand Trump supporters. Right?
For evidence of why we not only have to accept this win, but fight to keep it and maintain our focus we go to South Carolina GOP senator Lindsey Graham. Appearing on Fox News "Sunday Morning Futures" one week after begging teary-eyed for donations, Graham said the quiet part out loud while also disputing Romney's "conservatism is on the rise" rhetoric, by admitting cheating IS the game plan now:
“If Republicans don’t challenge and change the U.S. election system, there will never be another Republican preside… https://t.co/gqz5j17CwQ— Matt Wilstein (@Matt Wilstein)1604855251.0
Yes, he really said that.
But what should be a wake up call for all Democrats is Graham saying exactly what will happen if we fight each other rather that work together to win those two Senate seats in Georgia:
GRAHAM: The bottom line is House Republicans have increased their majority. They can slow down the 'radical agenda' coming out of the House. But Senate Republicans can kill it and stop it! If we pick up these two Republican seats in Georgia, we have the ability to stop the most radical agenda in the history of the United States. Kevin McCarthy can slow it down. Mitch McConnell, Lindsey Graham and others can stop it. Only if we win Georgia. We have to win these two seats in Georgia! I'm confident that we will. To the people of Georgia: The future of America is in your hands.
This is what Republicans were doing while we all celebrated the fall of the failed empire like "Return Of The Jedi" this weekend.
Yub nub, y'all... Here & all over the planet, YUB NUB*!!! 🇺🇸🌎🎆🗺️🧨🌐👏🌍🎇🌏😍🏳️🌈🥰🏳️⚧️👍 (*#Hooray_Freedom) https://t.co/igMe1c6qYI— Mark Hamill (@Mark Hamill)1604802355.0
It's time to get back to work and clinch this thing on January 5 if we want to see real progress from electing Joe Biden and Kamala Harris.
We won. Let's continue winning!
Have a week.
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She delivered some good trouble for Georgia.
I was up late last night, watching the updated numbers come in from Clayton County, Georgia, a majority Black town 30 minutes south of Atlanta. It is the heart of the late John Lewis's former congressional district, one soon-to-be former President Donald Trump once claimed was “crime-infested" and “falling apart," so it was fitting that this county was the one that put Joe Biden over the top in Georgia (barring sad Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger's desperately awaited military ballots).
Yes, Georgia. No Democratic presidential candidate has won the state since Bill Clinton in 1992. I was a college freshman during that election. My friend Zach ran around the Tate Student Center at the University of Georgia, cheering and dancing, once Clinton was declared president-elect. We were excited for change, but we didn't fear that democracy was at stake. We also didn't think we'd have to fumigate the White House once George H.W. Bush left.
It's a different, much darker time now, and not just because I've grown old and wear my trousers rolled. But I want us to reclaim our joy today and try not to think too much about President Klan Robe. Today is for the heroes.
Yes, sir. Clayton County, Georgia! https://t.co/m2Fr1rnNRV— Maya Harris (@Maya Harris)1604655141.0
Stacey Abrams narrowly “lost" the 2018 Georgia governor's race, one where her opponent was the secretary of state and literally in charge of who was able to vote. Brian Kemp's voter suppression tactics were blatant and repulsive, but Abrams still came within 55,000 votes of defeating him.
She accepted the tainted election results, but she didn't concede the battle. She launched the nonprofit Fair Fight, which according to Newsweek went on to register an estimated 800,000 new voters in the next two years.
[Fair Fight] also raised around $32 million by October 2020 to help increase registration. Abrams previously founded the The New Georgia Project in 2013, which focused on registering minority voters in the state.
Discussing these new voters with NPR on November 2, Abrams said: "Of those numbers, what we are excited about is that 45 percent of those new voters are under the age of 30. Forty-nine percent are people of color. And all 800,000 came on the rolls after November '18."
The early voting numbers in Georgia were through the roof and had almost matched the 2016 turnout before Election Day. It was predicted at least six million Georgians would vote in 2020. Black voters across the state, joined by more than a few Julia Sugarbakers in the Atlanta suburbs, came out in force to dump Trump.
This isn't “fraud." These are all legal ballots cast legally by American voters in a free and fair election. Republican officials have done everything they can to disenfranchise Black voters, but this election in particular has shown us our strength, the power we possess. Georgia was always more than Brian Kemp, Kelly Loeffler, and David Perdue. It's the home of Martin Luther King Jr., John Lewis, and Stacey Abrams, who broke through the red wall like the Doctor in my favorite episode of television.
Even if Biden's lead doesn't hold or survive a recount, this was a remarkable achievement that gave us a shot at prying the Senate from Mitch McConnell's cold, dead hands. Perdue fell below 50 percent and will face Jon Ossoff in a January runoff. Loeffler, who ran an overtly anti-Black campaign, will go head-to-head against Rev. Raphael Warnock. Flipping those seats feels like less of a longshot now.
Black voters also helped return the Rust Belt to the Democratic column. We turned out in record numbers in Detroit, Milwaukee, and Philadelphia. Some of the people sitting in lawn chairs in lines that wrapped around the block had never voted before, even for Barack Obama. That's how much was at stake this year.
Gerry Gaines was 62 years old when she cast her first-ever ballot — on Tuesday in West Chester for Joe Biden.
"After the  election, I felt bad," Gaines. "I said, 'That's it. I'm voting.'"
Philadelphia Councilwoman Cherelle Parker, who is the leader of Northwest Philadelphia's 50th Ward, said proudly, "People came on a mission, they came to get a job done."
Philadelphia is known as the birthplace of freedom, but like most majority-Black cities, Trump considers it hostile territory. During his first deranged debate performance, he claimed that “bad things happen in Philadelphia." He apparently meant voting. This is why he declared victory Tuesday night before votes from the state's largest city were fully counted.
If only white people voted, Trump would've comfortably won reelection. But Black people in this country vote and we will continue to vote. Republicans who oppose true democracy won't stop their dirty tricks, but heroes like Stacey Abrams will make sure every Gerry Gaines has their voice heard. Today, we are speaking loudly and uniformly, and it's beautiful to see.
Follow Stephen Robinson on Twitter.
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This week with an extra helping of SAYING OUT LOUD HOW THEY WANT TO STEAL THE ELECTION.
With less than 24 hours before Election Day officially begins and the GOP begin its official election night fuckery, it's clear the "Grand Old Party" is desperate to try to steal this thing if it's close. While most actual Trump administration and campaign members avoided coming on the Sunday shows, the few Republicans that did were dealing with the stages of grief at the possibility of losing, and badly.
On CBS's "Face The Nation," RNC Chairperson Ronna
Romney McDaniel tried to spin a shiny, happy narrative to deal with her denial of how the election seems to be headed. After host Margaret Brennan pointed out the record-breaking pace of early voting turnout in key swing states, McDaniel said rosy words about a Trump "surge" on Tuesday.
RNC Chair Ronna McDaniel predicts Election Day surge for Trump www.youtube.com
MCDANIEL: COVID has changed things, so it's pulled a lot of Democrat Election Day voters into that absentee and early vote category. And Republicans are wanting to vote on Election Day in person and cast their ballot that way. So we feel very strong that we have a surge coming on Election Day.
But the fragility of that denial quickly faded as McDaniel contradicted herself.
BRENNAN: He's playing defense in Florida. He's playing defense in Georgia. What is the path to 270 that you have charted?
MCDANIEL: Well, Florida is critical, and we've seen us take the lead in early voting and really erase the deficit we had with the absentee ballots. So as our voters- as early voting becomes available to our voters, they're doing it.
So are Democratic votes coming in early overwhelmingly and that is why you are behind now instead of Tuesday? Or are Republicans taking the lead due to early voting so there wont be a "surge"? Can't claim you are going to have this election day wave, but then argue that actually your supporters are early voting now.
Brennan noted the cognitive dissonance of McDaniel's argument:
BRENNAN: If your voters are so excited about President Trump, why haven't they shown up yet?
MCDANIEL: Because they really want to vote in person.
MCDANIEL: And I will say it's been interesting, Margaret, this year, as we've surveyed our voters, a vast majority of them want to vote in person. They want to make sure that- that their vote counts. They're not completely trusting of the mail ballot system. And so they've made that very clear.
See that? They are hinting that any votes cast outside of election day and not in person will "not count" or will be disputed as they try to claim early victory and cheat through chaos.
Over on ABC's "This Week," bearded talking thumb Jason Miller admitted to George Stephanopoulos that cheating and declaring victory, as Wonkette explained this morning, are their only plan:
'We feel very good': Trump campaign senior adviser on election final days | ABC News www.youtube.com
MILLER: George, if you speak with many smart Democrats, they believe President Trump will be ahead on election night, probably getting 280 electoral, somewhere in that range. And then they're going to try to steal it back after the election. […] So no matter what they try to do, what kind of hijinks or lawsuits or whatever kind of nonsense they try to pull off, we're still going to have enough electoral votes to get President Trump re-elected.
And again, there will be no scenario where Trump has "280 electoral" on election night, not before "280 electoral" have actually been called by the people who call elections. That is not how any of this works.
Or as Crooked Media's Jon Lovett put it:
Trump can't declare the election over any more than he can declare the pandemic over - it's not up to him and most… https://t.co/wp4n6IAoem— Jon Lovett (@Jon Lovett)1604264644.0
Meanwhile on Fox News's "Sunday Morning Futures," Lindsey Graham seemed depressed about losing his job, even if he hasn't accepted the possibility yet. He put on a happy face while somehow still looking like he was on the verge of tears the whole time:
Graham has a question for mainstream media if Trump gets reelected www.youtube.com
MARIA BARTIROMO: Thank you very much for being here. Do you have the momentum?
GRAHAM: Yeah, I think I do.
Literally in the next sentence that façade melted away:
GRAHAM: Number one, my opponent has raised more money than anybody in the history of the United States Senate. Liberals all over the country hate my guts because I stood up for Kavanaugh, I'm helping Trump, I need to close the money gap at Lindsey Graham dot com. […] But the momentum is real and let me tell you why ...
If you have to sandwich your pleas for money between saying you're winning, it says the opposite. Graham tried to brag about stealing another Supreme Court seat, before again letting the truth slip out accidentally:
GRAHAM: You know all of the liberal media is following me around. Help Me! Lindsey Graham dot org. I've got everybody in the country on the liberal side trying to take me out 'cause I'm helping the president, I stood up for Kavanaugh and I got Amy Barrett confirmed through the process. […] If they win they will lock our country down like Europe. That is definitely on the ballot. Lindsey Graham dot org. Help me keep the Senate...Dot com, I'm sorry!
Bartiromo, after letting Graham plug his website like a YouTuber, gave Graham a Fox News softball question about Hunter Biden, Hillary Clinton and the Deep State. He was thrilled to report that "after the election, you're gonna get a report and I'll be shocked if people are not indicted."
He is really scared of Jaime Harrison.
We need to stay focused and vote them out. They know they are losing. Let's finish the job.
See you on the other side.
Have a week!
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