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Votes, Vaccines and Villains

On this episode of democracy-ish, the Electoral College has spoken and the transition to some semblance of post-Trump, post-pandemic normalcy continues. But Danielle doesn’t know “why everyone is sighing with relief,” she says. “As if we're not still in trouble.”

  • Electors met in every U.S. state and territory on Monday, officially voting to elect Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as our next president and VP.

  • But most of the Republican party didn’t seem to get the memo. Why is the right wing still rallying behind a sore loser?

  • The first vaccine for COVID-19 rolled out this week across America. How can we overcome a history of medical racism and instill confidence in the vaccine among communities of color –– who need it most?

It’s official: We finally have a new president and vice president –– signed, sealed and delivered by the Electoral College.

“I never had a doubt,” says Toure. “But Trump continued to sow doubt and fight against reality to the bitter end.”

Danielle isn’t sure the drama is well and truly over. The stretch between Election Day and Inauguration Day “shouldn't be nerve-wracking,” she says.

It was upsetting that the Electoral College votes were newsworthy at all –– because until now, we’ve always just assumed we’d have a peaceful transition of power, she adds.

But it’s 2020, and Mitch McConnell’s mere acknowledgment of Biden’s win made headlines. So did the 126 House Republicans and 17 state attorneys general who backed a brief in support of a Texas lawsuit seeking to overturn election results in four battleground states.

That suit was meant “to overthrow our democracy,” Danielle argues.

“If it wasn’t for [the justices] doing the job they took an oath to do, our republic would be standing in the fucking gutter.”

Toure understands her fear. Over the last six weeks, it seems like “a very small number of people stood their ground when a bizarrely large number of people lost their minds,” he says.

This week, our fearless hosts unpack some of the most compelling reasons why Republicans continue to parrot Trump’s claims of election fraud and discuss the politics of the COVID-19 vaccine.

Episode Highlights –– Why Republicans Suck

Levee-ing judgment on Trump’s ‘fraud’ claims

Toure has been listening to Floodlines, a new podcast from The Atlantic that explores the devastation (and root causes) of what happened when the levees broke in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina.

He sees an analogy to our current slow-motion disaster: “Trump tried to be Katrina, New Orleans is our democracy and the levees are our institutions,” he says.

But this time, our institutions held. In lawsuit after lawsuit, judges across the country demanded Trump’s receipts. Of course, his motley crew of lawyers had none –– and even the highest court in the land agreed.

“Everyone thought all Trump needs to do is find a path to the Supreme Court,” he notes –– surely, his three handpicked conservative justices would “do whatever Trumpy wants.”

But in a 9-0 decision, the justices essentially said: you can’t come in here with that bulls**t.

‘Gut’ check: questions ≠ evidence

Biden will take the oath of office in just over a month. So why can’t the vast majority of the Republican party admit the truth?

“I think the depth of partisanship is a big part of it,” says Toure. “They have a separate media system, by which I mean a bubble ... sealed off from reality. They believe things that aren't true because they are being told so by their media, be it Fox, Newsmax or Breitbart.”

Through that media and the outsize personalities of right-wing leaders, conservatives have been “trained somehow to believe that gut knowledge is what's really important, rather than head knowledge. The assertion that we –– Rudy Giuliani, whoever –– have questions … that alone serves as evidence.”

The left functions in a fundamentally different manner. If Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton claimed there had been election fraud, “we’d say, we hear you; give us some evidence. And we would expect CNN and the New York Times to come up with it,” he adds.

Apparently, all Trump and his enablers need to come up with is a malevolent inflection. Anything can sound threatening if it’s delivered in a nasty tone: Hunter Biden. Election fraud. Clinton Foundation.