Lies and Threats – The New York Times
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The United States is moving closer to vaccines. And dozens of Republicans are joining the campaign to overturn the election.
Attempts by President Trump to overturn the election result are unlikely to succeed. For this reason, the effort can sometimes feel like a publicity stunt – an effort by Trump to raise funds and boost his image with his supporters.
And it just might be all of those things. But it is also a remarkable campaign against American democracy. It has grown to include most of the Republican-led states, most of the Republican members of Congress, and many threats of violence. I want to use today’s newsletter to explain it.
The new centerpiece of the effort is a lawsuit that the state of Texas filed with the Supreme Court this week and which Trump is supporting. He says elections in four swing states – Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – suffered from “unconstitutional irregularities.”
The lawsuit is based on the same lies Trump told about voter fraud. In reality, there was no significant fraud, as local officials on both sides concluded. William Barr, Trump’s attorney general, came to the same conclusion.
Nonetheless, attorneys general in 17 states – including Florida, South Carolina, Tennessee, Indiana, Utah, Arizona and the Dakotas – supported the Texas lawsuit. Yesterday, more than half of Republicans in the House released a legal brief supporting it. “If they succeed in court (they won’t) they would break up the country,” wrote David French of The Dispatch, a conservative publication.
They do it, as my colleagues Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman have explained, in large part because they believe challenging Trump would hurt their standing with Republican voters. In doing so, politicians “inflame the public,” French noted, leading many voters to believe – mistakenly – that a presidential election was unfair. And that belief is fueling an outbreak of violent threats against election officials, including:
Dozens of Trump supporters, some armed, came to the home of Jocelyn Benson, Michigan’s Democratic Secretary of State, and started shouting obscenities.
On Twitter, Trump supporters posted photographs of the home of Ann Jacobs, a Wisconsin official, and mentioned her children.
In Phoenix, a hundred supporters of Trump, some armed, protested in the building where officials were counting votes.
In Vermont, officials received a voicemail message threatening with “execution by firing squad”.
Seth Bluestein, an official from Philadelphia, received anti-Semitic and violent threats after Pam Bondi, a Trump ally, mentioned it publicly.
A poll worker from Georgia went into hiding after a viral video falsely claimed he rejected ballots.
Gabriel Sterling, another Georgian official, received a message wishing him a happy birthday and telling him that it would be his last.
In a later interview with Time magazineSterling argued that elected politicians could defuse threats by acknowledging the election was fair. “Leadership is supposed to be like adults in the room saying, ‘I know you’re upset, but it’s reality,’ Sterling said.
A swing state responds: In a Supreme Court filing, Pennsylvania called the Texas lawsuit a “cacophony of false claims”, “a seditious abuse of the judicial process” and “an affront to the principles of constitutional democracy.”
THE LAST NEWS
An FDA advisory group voted in favor of Pfizer’s vaccine, clearing one of the last hurdles before the agency cleared the drug. He’s likely to do it in a matter of days.
South Korea recorded 686 new cases on Wednesday, its highest daily total since February, and a health official called it “our biggest coronavirus crisis ever.” Over the past week, 45 U.S. states averaged more daily cases.
New Hampshire House of Representatives Speaker Richard Hinch died suddenly from Covid-19 on Wednesday. Hinch, who was 71, recently attended an indoor meeting with his fellow Republicans where several members contracted the virus.
Ellen DeGeneres said she tested positive.
From the review: What does the future of the Republican Party look like? Sean Trende of RealClearPolitics chats with Jane Coaston and Ross Douthat of The Times, in Jane’s first episode as co-host of “The Argument” podcast.
Lives lived: As the country’s first lesbian columnist to write regularly about gay life, Deb Price has covered issues such as the gay debate in the military. But she also wrote about same-sex couples in everyday domestic situations, believing it would make it harder for society to deny them equal rights. Price died at 62.
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ARTS AND IDEAS
Beyond a “kale and quinoa” diet
The American diet is incredibly diverse. But the list of American dietitians is less so: about 71% are non-Hispanic white. As a result, America’s leading organization’s recommendations for nutrition professionals often ignore non-Western foods.
A new wave of experts are trying to change this, as Priya Krishna writes in The Times.
Already, some dietitians have created their own resources. Hazel Ng made gifts for cooking with Asian products, like bitter melon and lychees. Ryan Bad Heart Taurus advice offered on Healthy Native American Foods for Cancer Survivors Trying to Adjust Their Diets. Toronto dietitian Nazima Qureshi self-published a guide to a healthy fast during ramadan. And other organizations, like Diversify dietetics, tackle inequalities in the profession by offering mentoring and educational materials to students of color.
The national organization – the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics – says it wants to improve. Kristen Gradney, a registered dietitian who spoke on behalf of the academy, said that while she “really missed the mark” in preparing dietitians to deal with diverse populations, she was starting to make headway. Still, she said the “real change” would most likely come from grassroots efforts.
PLAY, WATCH, EAT
What to cook