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Desperate Trump in last bid to derail US presidential vote

If the anti-democratic plotting taking place in Washington right now were unfolding in a developing nation, the United States would no doubt lead the condemnation.

Imagine: A raging president refuses to accept that his rule is ending and incites mass protests to disrupt the certification of his election loss. A radicalized band of loyalist lawmakers also tries to deny voters’ verdict. The wannabe autocrat leans on a party subordinate to “find” enough votes to let him win.

Propagandistic media organs spew misinformation to support the his lies. Meanwhile the real crisis — a once-in-a-century pandemic that kills 3,000 citizens each day — is ignored in a gross display of negligence.

Were this anywhere else, the US State Department would issue a statement calling for the restoration of democratic principles and good governance. The President might make a disapproving comment in a press conference, and legislators might call for sanctions.

But they can’t, because the turmoil is here at home, wracking world’s oldest democracy and undermining America’s claim to be a moral example and advocate for free people worldwide.

When Congress meets on Wednesday to certify the presidential election results, more than half of the elected Republicans in the House and a quarter of their number in the Senate are expected to support an effort to raise baseless claims of mass voter fraud.

They won’t stop President-elect Joe Biden from becoming President. But they will cement a false belief among millions of Trump voters that the election was stolen.

Before that, two Senate runoffs in Georgia Tuesday will decide whether Democrats can achieve a 50-50 split in the chamber. If so, Biden’s party will have the advantage of Vice President-to-be Kamala Harris’s tie-breaking vote. But a thin Republican majority would create huge friction on Biden’s administration, complicating efforts to confirm cabinet nominees, secure a new stimulus plan and money to fix a botched vaccine rollout, and to advance big goals in climate policy, health care and rebuilding US infrastructure.

Trump pressured Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” votes to transform his election loss into a win, according to a recording of a phone call obtained by CNN and first reported by The Washington Post. In excerpts of the one-hour phone call Saturday, Trump tells Raffensperger, a fellow Republican, “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have. Because we won the state.”

In another excerpt from the call, Trump says, “The people of Georgia are angry, the people in the country are angry. And there’s nothing wrong with saying that, you know, um, that you’ve recalculated.” (Raffensperger responded, “Well, Mr. President, the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”) – CNN

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