Tuesday January 05, 2021
A Brother Named Ron
This made me laugh out loud. Well, the last part of it.
It's from The New York Times' coverage of Donald Trump's potentially criminal attempt to strong-arm the Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, to “find” 11,780 votes to overturn that state's already certified 2020 election results. Since Georgia wouldn't be nearly enough to actually win the electoral college, and thus the presidency, you can imagine Trump doing the same in other states. It's the president of the United States trying to subvert democracy. We knew he was doing this—only that and golf since Nov. 7—but now we can hear it for ourselves.
The phone call happened on Saturday and an audiotape of the conversation surfaced on The Washington Post on Sunday. I listened to the 4 1/2-minute version; my wife, poor thing, listened to all of it. What stood out for me was not only the request to “find” those votes but the way the president kept veering between vagueness about election fraud to absolute certitude and back again; from “That's what the rumor is” to “You know what they did and you're not reporting it” to “In my opinion, based on what I've heard...” It's nuts.
Among many other false claims, Mr. Trump and his lawyers have claimed that thousands of votes were cast in Georgia by people who were under 18, weren't registered to vote, registered late, or registered with a P.O. box instead of a residential address. The secretary of state's office investigated the claims, Mr. Sterling said, and did not find a single ballot cast by anyone in any of those categories.
“I've got such a long list,” he said as he rattled off claims about ballot scanning devices being hacked (“it's very hard to hack things without modems”) and people replacing parts in Dominion voting machines (“I don't even know what that means”). He added that Mr. Raffensperger does not have a brother named Ron who works for a Chinese technology company, as one of the conspiracies retweeted by the president claims — nor, in fact, does he have a brother named Ron at all.
Remember my love of the Hemingway paragraph that ends with “The Rhine does not show in the picture”? This is the journalistic version of that. It's about a president so dumb, so warped, so desperate to win, that he'll latch onto anything. No, Mr. Raffensperger does not have a brother named Ron who works for a Chinese tech company. He does not even have a brother named Ron.