Remember Back When the Loser Attempting to Overturn an Election Was Cool?

Saturday Night Live remembers!

One of my guilty pleasures is the 24/7 SNL Vault channel on my Roku: a random selection of Saturday Night Live sketches, only a few interspersed commercials. The politics are occasionally tedious, especially from the last decade or so.

So this gem from Christmas season 2016 popped up last night: Hillary Actually.

If you don't want to play the clip: It's a parody of a scene from the 2003 romcom Love, Actually, where the guy from Walking Dead woos Keira Knightley (who's married his best friend) via a succession of cue cards displayed at her doorway.

It shows Hillary Clinton (Kate McKinnon) importuning (via those cue cards) an Electoral College elector (Cecily Strong) to cast her vote for "literally anyone else" than Donald Trump, who apparently won the elector's state.

And yes, although it didn't affect the overall result, there was an earnest effort to generate "faithless electors" in 2008; there's even a Wikipedia page about it: Faithless electors in the 2016 United States presidential election.

Although there had been a combined total of 155 instances of individual electors voting faithlessly prior to 2016 in over two centuries of previous US presidential elections, 2016 was the first election in over a hundred years in which multiple electors worked to alter the result of the election.

So much for shattering democratic norms!

Also of note: Hillary/Kate's final two cue cards: "If Donald Trump becomes President/He will kill us all".

Which kind of puts this year's hysteria in context, and explains why people seem so unmoved by it: it's just a Saturday Night Live rerun. One we've seen before, not that funny, tedious, predictable, going on way too long.

Also of note:

  • Use your imagination, Harsanyi! David Harsanyi did something I was too lazy to do: I Read The ‘Project 2025’ Playbook, And I Couldn’t Find A Single White Christian Nationalist Policy.

    Project 2025, a suggested roadmap for a second Trump Administration pulled together by the Heritage Foundation, is a nearly 1,000-page document written by a bunch of think tankers and right-wing policy experts running the gamut of conservatism.

    President Joe Biden says the document “should scare every single American.” Democrats, one strategist told the Washington Post, need to “instill fear in the American people.” Donald Trump and his surrogates are already distancing the candidate from the effort.

    So, I decided to read it. Listen, it wasn’t easy. I did plenty of skimming. But the chances that Biden, or any of the Democrats who are fearmongering about its contents, understands what’s in it is highly doubtful.

    Let me (once again) quote from the Underground Grammarian essay titled "The Answering of Kautski", which (in turn) quoted Lenin on dealing with his political opponent Karl Kautski:

    Why should we bother to reply to Kautski? He would reply to us, and we would have to reply to his reply. There's no end to that. It will be quite enough for us to announce that Kautski is a traitor to the working class, and everyone will understand everything.

    Substitute "Heritage Foundation" for "Kautski" and "dangerous Christian Nationalists" for "traitor to the working class" and voila

  • All the cool kids are doing it. If you're feeling like a political orphan these days, Philip Klein will make you feel even more orphany: Republicans Make Fiscal Irresponsibility Part of Their Official Platform.

    For decades, the criticism of Republicans among limited-government advocates was that the party would talk a big game about balancing the budget and reducing the debt when seeking power, only to toss aside those goals once in power. Ever since the party was taken over by Donald Trump, Republicans have backed away from speaking of debt reduction as an important goal — even as the situation has deteriorated. Now, they have made that fiscal irresponsibility part of their official platform.

    On Monday, Republicans released a skimpy platform that brings the party into conformity with the Trump campaign. There may be reasons for the lack of details compared with previous versions of the document, as party platforms are rarely read, mostly do not translate into actual policy, and typically make news only when they provide fodder for opponents.

    Summary: the GOP is promising tax cuts and more spending. I'm wondering whether they think they can outdo the Democrats on shameless pandering; seems like a misguided strategy to me, but….

  • Not yet, anyway. The WSJ editorialists think The 25th Amendment Isn’t for Joe Biden.

    The omerta has broken, and worrying anecdotes about President Biden’s age are now common. He used a teleprompter while speaking to about 30 donors in a living room. Prep materials for an event include photos of the hallway to the stage, with an instruction in large font: “Walk to podium.” Voters already think Mr. Biden is too old to be President for another four years.

    But is he too old to make it for another six months, until the end of this term? That’s what Republicans will be asking as they try to press their advantage. Talk is circulating again about using the 25th Amendment to remove the President posthaste, on the theory that his incapacity is a danger to the country. The argument is that Mr. Biden blamed his bad debate performance on “a bad night,” but next time it could be during some geopolitical crisis.

    As bad as Biden is, it's an argument for withdrawing "voluntarily" from the race, and maybe also "voluntarily" resigning ASAP. Putting on their big-boy pants, the WSJ editorialists say attempting an involuntary Section 4 remedy would be futile and more country-damaging. Even as I might enjoy the spectacle, they're probably right about that.

  • Also, rock and roll. Speaking of withdrawal, George Will is… um… also speaking of withdrawal: Biden might exit, but rising distrust of institutions seems here to stay.

    The leakage of trustworthiness from American institutions began with the lies that enveloped Watergate and Vietnam. It accelerated during the 2008 financial crisis, when cynicism (“You never want a serious crisis to go to waste”) fueled the government’s indiscriminate and lawless response: The law restricted bailouts to financial institutions? Declare automobile manufacturers to be such. The leakage became a cataract during the pandemic because of the public health establishment’s plucked-from-the-ether edicts (about masks, social distancing, which political gatherings should be exempt from social distancing, etc.) and the sacrifice-the-children opportunism of the most powerful segment of organized labor (teachers unions).

    Now the world’s oldest political party and its media accomplices have effected a gigantic subtraction from trust: Leaders of the former lied about President Biden’s condition until, on June 27, continuing to do so became untenable. The latter had allowed the lying because they believe Donald Trump’s many mendacities are an excuse for theirs.

    One example: The bleating sheep on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” reminiscent of a chorus of quadrupeds in George Orwell’s “Animal Farm,” were vehemently wrong in denouncing (“so tilted,” “shocking,” “a classic hit piece,” etc.) the Wall Street Journal’s meticulously reported June 4 catalogue of the abundant evidence of Biden’s decline. That the sheep are still on the air, dispensing undiminished certitudes, is evidence of two things. That — outside of a few bastions of meritocracy and accountability, such as professional sports — there is no penalty for failure in contemporary America. And that many prominent people have the scary strength that comes from being incapable of embarrassment.

    Fun fact: George Will is about a year and a half older than Joe Biden. I'd love to see 'em debate.

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Last Modified 2024-07-10 3:07 AM EDT