Unfair! Michigan Trumpy Mob Deprived Of Inalienable Right To Stop Vote Count!
A crowd of angry Donald Trump supporters tried to interrupt vote counting at a convention center in Detroit yesterday, convinced by rightwing media that something nefarious must be going on with the count. Roughly equal numbers of both Democratic and Republican observers — Michigan calls 'em "vote challengers" — were already inside the counting area in the TCF Center Wednesday afternoon, but when officials refused to let even more come crowding in, the Trumpenmob took that as proof that their inalienable right to disrupt the counting of votes was being infringed.
Great whinging ensued on social media and at wingnut websites, which prompted still more yahoos to show up and chant "Let us in!" and "Stop the count!" It made for some good video, at least.
Election challengers shout “Stop the count” as poll workers count absentee ballots in #Detroit, Michigan in the 202… https://t.co/Hisk2c3F97— Salwan Georges (@Salwan Georges)1604525333.0
#TCFCENTER: From the inside, the heavy thudding of rhythmic banging against the glass after the boxes were taken do… https://t.co/QxdYTC6lsz— Steve Patterson (@Steve Patterson)1604524265.0
It wasn't quite the Brooks Brothers Riot, since there weren't a bunch of lawyers in suits and the count actually did go on, but rightwing crazies sure were worked up about how the tyrants in Detroit wouldn't let anyone — apart from the 400 or so challengers already inside the counting area — see what those evil Democrats were doing to steal Donald Trump's mandatory victory from him. By late afternoon, the vote tallies for Detroit and the rest of Michigan were nearly finished. The Associated Press called the state for Joe Biden, while the Trump campaign sued to stop the count. Which is kind of a dumb move, given that by the time Trump sued, Biden already had a clear majority of Michigan's votes.
Again, for all the crying about "fraud," or the count being hidden, or access being denied, there were already more than the allowed number of vote challengers on the floor. As the Detroit Free Press points out, election rules allowed 134 challengers from each party, plus another 134 from nonpartisan groups like the League of Women Voters, ACLU, or Ducks Unlimited (in case anyone needed to cry fowl).
Leah Garcia, a Detroit city attorney, told the Washington Post the problem was that while roughly equal numbers of observers from each party had been in the hall all day, more people just kept showing up:
[By] midafternoon, Garcia said, the center's sign-in book showed that more than 250 Democrats and 225 Republicans were inside.
"When we saw that, we said, 'Whoops, we'd better stop people from coming in until we get a better number,' " Garcia said.
But once you start enforcing occupancy limits, indoors, during a pandemic, then clearly you're a tyrant, and the crazies started whining about the unfairness of it all. The wingnuts were also outraged when the glass doors and windows of the counting areas were covered with paper and posterboard, because WHAT ARE THEY HIDING, HUH? The Free Press 'splains officials covered the glass because
some challengers tried to take pictures or videotape the counting process. Many ballot counters felt intimidated and asked for security to address the issue. But the paper on the windows caused challengers to bang on the glass even harder.
Brain Genius Ben Shapiro was, as you'd expect, completely disgusted. What about the People's Right To Know, he cried, posting video taken by a Fox News reporter who was actually inside the counting area, along with the aforementioned too many challengers already.
@benshapiro Yes, this totally kept the 200 or so Republican vote challengers already inside the counting area from… https://t.co/CjAwxWfPqY— Doktor Zoom (@Doktor Zoom)1604534151.0
At rightwing fake news factory the Gateway Pundit, the Stupidest People on the Internet spent much of yesterday insisting something horrible must be going on, and whipping up calls for Trump fans to get down to the TCF Center to stop Democrats from imposing mob rule. Here's a selection of Team Shitferbrains's breathless headlines (screenshots not in order of appearance):
The Stupidest Man on the Internet himself, Jim Hoft, helped fuel the paranoia over the Michigan vote count, because he's a good citizen that way. As FactCheck.org explains, a data input error in one Michigan county was incorrectly uploaded to the state's computers. That incorrect count, showing a sudden increase of 140,000 votes for Joe Biden, was quickly corrected and not kept as part of the official count. But it showed up just long enough for a Republican consultant to post a screenshot of the erroneous data to Twitter.
Hoft posted a story claiming that a "Massive Dump of Over 200,000 Ballots for Biden All the Sudden Appear Overnight" in Michigan, a claim the site continued to repeat even after the error had been corrected and explained, and even after the GOP consultant tweeted that he had been wrong.
The Gateway Pundit dismissed the correction in an update saying "Officials are calling it a 'typo,'" but has continued to lie about massive fraud in Michigan anyway, because that's his business model.
Eventually, after police showed up and told people to calm the fuck down, the crowd died down and the ballot counters got back to work. But the incident still inspired Tucker Carlson to complain that the ballot counting in Detroit was an absolute disgrace.
We like the part where Carlson cuts to a Fox News reporter who calmly explains what happened, without any conspiratorial embellishment, leading Carlson to gripe, "Detroit, Michigan, one of the most mismanaged places in the Western hemisphere. Now tonight, helping to pick YOUR president." We'd say more about the not terribly subtle suggestion Carlson was making about people in Detroit, but since we played that video, our apartment has been surrounded by howling stray dogs.
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