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Once upon a time, a very terrible man who is now dead halted the counting of votes in Florida because doing so would cast "a cloud upon what he claims to be the legitimacy of his election." The "he" in this case was one George W. Bush, and had those votes been counted, had the butterfly ballot used by Florida not led to many people accidentally voting for Pat Buchanan, Al Gore would have been our president, we probably would have never gone to war with Iraq, and things probably would have been a lot nicer across the board. We might have even had less fucked up elections were this not a thing people felt they could get away with.

Of course, at that time, the Supreme Court was not the only one demanding Gore give up. Even many people who considered themselves Democrats at the time were going the route of "OH MY GOD THIS IS SOOOOOOO EMBARRASSING, JUST STAHP!" and demanding Gore do the "statesman-like" thing and concede. And he did.

This year, however? Shit is changing, and Democratic candidates are not so easily shamed into backing down, especially when things are looking shady. Stacey Abrams is holding out in Georgia, where votes were clearly screwed with, waiting until all the votes have been counted in Arizona -- despite the preferences of the Arizona GOP -- has led to Krysten Sinema taking a significant lead against Martha McSally, and in Florida, Democrat Bill Nelson is refusing to back down until all the votes are counted, despite the fact that Rick Scott has already declared victory.

In Florida, if the vote margin is less than 0.5 percent, the state's election rules will require a recount. Because of the way things are done now, two of Florida's more liberal counties -- Palm Beach and Broward County -- have not yet finished counting mail-in ballots, Broward hasn't finished counting early ballots, and many other counties have yet to finish counting provisional ballots. However, according to Marco Rubio and Donald Trump, counting these ballots amounts to trying to steal an election. Or, as they say, cast a cloud on what Rick Scott believes is the legitimacy of his election.

Naturally, the Right is panicking, and a cabal of conspiracy theorists led by Roger Stone -- whom you may recall led the Brooks Brothers Riot of 2000, when a bunch of Republican operatives got extremely violent trying to intimidate vote counters into stopping -- have descended upon Broward county to demand the vote counting stop. They also think that Nelson is trying to steal the election by adding in a bunch of fake ballots or something. Basically, they don't understand the way any of this works or where the ballots are coming from, and have filled in the blanks themselves. Which, historically, has been a stupid idea.

The Daily Beast reports:

Former Infowars reporter Joe Biggs declared on Twitter that he was heading to Florida to stop "radical leftists."
Right-wing activist Laura Loomer, a former James O'Keefe associate who has made her name by yelling at prominent Democrats in a stunt that she calls "Loomering", said on Twitter that she too was headed to Broward and planned to meet with Stone.

"I'll #Loomer the whole state of Florida if that's what it takes," Loomer tweeted.

Ali Alexander, a pro-Trump figure who runs a PAC bankrolled by the billionaire Mercer family, claimed that he would recruit both believers in the ludicrous QAnon conspiracy theory and homeless people to picket the Board of Elections.

Truly, a star-studded event if ever there was one. Also participating in the event are a group of Proud Boys, the violent Republican street gang known for stomping on people they disagree with and also acting as Stone's bodyguards.

A judge held on Friday afternoon that Broward County release the number of votes they have left to count, in hopes of appeasing the conspiracy theorists, but that will be unlikely to happen as they will then just come up with another thing.

Regardless of how these elections turn out, the fact that these candidates were not cowed by Republican whines to just concede already is a victory and a huge deal in and of itself. Not only because it takes away their power, but because standing up for every person's vote to be counted, demanding they be counted, is the right thing to do for our country. It's what they should be doing.

[Daily Beast]

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Robyn Pennacchia

Robyn Pennacchia is a brilliant, fabulously talented and visually stunning angel of a human being, who shrugged off what she is pretty sure would have been a Tony Award-winning career in musical theater in order to write about stuff on the internet. Previously, she was a Senior Staff Writer at Death & Taxes, and Assistant Editor at The Frisky (RIP). Currently, she writes for Wonkette, Friendly Atheist, Quartz and other sites. Follow her on Twitter at @RobynElyse

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Good morning, America! Attorney General Bill Barr is doing a presser at 9:30 AM EDT about the Mueller report, which nobody will be able to see until around noon or after, once Congress gets the redacted report on CDs. Seeing as that is bullshit, there's no reason to watch this thing, as journalists won't be able to ask him questions about a document they haven't seen. So ... go back to bed, everyone!

Ugh, fine, we guess we will do this, and that is because we care, even though we are quite certain HGTV is doing some kind of very important "Property Brothers" marathon that adds much more of value to the national discourse, and also covers it up with shiplap accent walls. Does Bill Barr do cover-ups with shiplap? No, because he doesn't have the good taste for that.

Reportedly, we are going to hear from Barr why certain things were redacted, including why he thinks certain facts are subject to executive privilege, which is funny because he is not the president and therefore cannot invoke executive privilege. But oh whatever! Details! Robert Mueller won't be there and none of his team will be there, which tells you something about how they feel about this whole process. If they felt like this was on the up-and-up, you'd imagine they might show up to present a united front. As that is not happening, assume the entire thing is a bullshit act meant to help Donald Trump set the narrative for what will otherwise be a very bad day for him.

The New York Times reported last night that the White House has already been briefed on significant portions of the report, because Bill Barr is a rightwing scam artist piece of shit who gives the Trump White House reacharounds. The briefings have reportedly been very helpful for the White House in coming up with how to rebut today's report, which is funny because we thought Trump said this report was a full exoneration, NO COLLUSION, NO OBSTRUCTION. (Actually nope on both counts, since Mueller didn't decide the obstruction question, and even according to Barr's mash notes, he took a very limited view of the conspiracy question, focusing on the Russian government's hack and dump WikiLeaks operation.)

Anyway, assuming Trump is right about full exoneration, we guess Rudy Giuliani's rebuttal will state that Trump is guilty, full stop. Because that's what "rebuttal" means, correct?

Committee chairs in the House including Jerry Nadler, Adam Schiff and Maxine Waters have called upon Bill Barr to cancel today's briefing, as it is useless horseshit. Because Barr literally gives zero fucks about his reputation and apparently is OK with going down in history as a fecal stain on our institutions and the rule of law, the show will go on.

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Now What? Wonkagenda For Thurs., April 18, 2019

Bill Barr's book report, the NRA is doomed, and Johnny Cash will watch over the Capitol. Your morning news brief!

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Morning Wonketariat! Here's some of the things we may be talking about today.

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