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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Welcome to “This Week In Crazy,” The National Memo’s weekly update on the wildest attacks, conspiracy theories, and other loony behavior from the increasingly unhinged right wing. Starting with number five:

5. Louie Gohmert

Representative Louie Gohmert (R-TX) claims his regular spot on the list this week for offering one of the most deluded cases against immigration reform in memory. In an interview with right-wing conspiracy repository WorldNetDaily, Loony Louie predicted that — contrary to popular belief and common sense — killing immigration reform would actually help Republicans win Hispanic voters.

“Yeah, we could possibly pay in the polls in the short term,” Gohmert acknowledges. “But just as you’ve had more and more African-Americans realizing ‘Wow! We have one party that’s pandered to us, doled out government benefits, kept us from reaching our God-given potential,'” so too will Hispanics realize that Republicans “want you not to be a ditchdigger because you can’t communicate. We know you are smart enough to be president of this company and to be president of this country if you’re born here.”

So if Republicans successfully kill immigration reform, Gohmert insists “I think you will see people start waking up and go ‘Wow, I’m Hispanic, and these Republicans really like me!'”

Putting aside the notion that African-Americans who aren’t employed by Cain TV are suddenly turning against the Democratic Party in droves, Gohmert’s theory seems deeply unlikely to work out for the Republican Party. But hey, it’s good to know that Gohmert is theoretically open to expanding the GOP tent to include Hispanics — just watch out for undercover radical Islamists!

4. Michele Bachmann

Gohmert’s puzzling claim seems downright genius compared to Congresswoman Michele Bachmann (R-MN). In an interview of her own with WorldNetDaily, the outgoing chair of the GOP’s Crazy Caucus warned that President Obama can “wave his magic wand before 2014” to give immediate voting rights to all of the immigrants who would be put on a path to citizenship by the Senate’s reform bill.

How is Bachmann so sure that Obama can use his New Black Panther Party wizardry to steal the midterm elections? “He did it in 2012!” Bachmann claimed. “Anyone who was here as a Latina under age 30, he said, ‘You get to vote.'”

Thankfully, Rep. Bachmann has an uncomfortably kinky solution to the problem: “He has a perpetual magic wand, and nobody’s given him a spanking yet and taken it out of his hand,” Bachmann said. “That’s what Congress needs to do…and the way we spank the president is through the checkbook. We’re the ones who say, ‘No, you can’t have the money.'”

MSNBC’s Steve Benen has a full breakdown of the factual inaccuracies in Bachmann’s argument –spoiler alert: there are lots of them — but suffice it to say that at times like this, Bachmann could really use an aide who is monitoring her media appearances instead of pilfering petty cash.

3. Bryan Fischer

Late last week, Bryan Fischer — a leader of the hate group the American Family Association who last appeared on this list in February for continuing to refuse to give up on Todd Akin — checks in at number three for a history lesson that makes Glenn Beck look like Herodotus.

On his radio show, Fischer warned that “Christians are being moved out of the United States military so hypermasculine homosexuals can move in, similar to the kind of homosexuals that formed Hitler’s stormtroopers.”

Yes, you read all of that correctly.

As evidence, Fischer pointed to the movie 300, which — according to Professor Fischer — was actually based on 150 same-sex couples. Fischer declined to offer evidence that Hitler’s brownshirts were actually a fabulous gay terror squad, but it will hopefully be explained in the sequel to God Made Dad & Mom.

H/t: The New Civil Rights Movement.

2. Larry Pratt

Gun Owners of America director Larry Pratt appeared on conspiracy king Alex Jones’ radio show this week, and the results were just as crazy as you would’ve hoped and feared.

After Jones argued that the gun lobby needs to “get on the offense culturally, because [gun safety advocates have] kids in their clutches right now,” Pratt emphatically agreed.

“I think we have to push back in whatever smart way we can do to make sure that kids see, yeah, having a gun is just as much fun as you thought it was when you were shooting your buddy with a water pistol yesterday,” Pratt said. He later added that having a gun “beats living in Detroit or Chicago.”

Note to Pratt: if there is a smart way to teach kids that real guns are just as fun as water guns, appearing on Infowars and encouraging them to shoot their friends isn’t it.

1. Rush Limbaugh

This week’s “winner” is Rush Limbaugh, who outdid several other pundits for the title of “worst reaction to the George Zimmerman trial.”

For Limbaugh, the main takeaway from the tragic killing and divisive trial is that he’s allowed to use the N-word now.

“So, ‘nigga,’ with an ‘a’ on the end, well, I think I can now,” Limbaugh brayed, in response to witness Rachel Jeantel’s interview with CNN. “Isn’t that the point? ‘Cause it’s not racist. That’s the point. I could be talking about a male, a Chinese male, a guy at the laundromat. I could be talking about a man.”

You don’t have to be black, or a media professional, to come to the conclusion that Rush Limbaugh cannot in fact drop N-bombs on Chinese people he meets at the laundromat (although plenty of respected black media figures did come to that obvious conclusion).

Ultimately, as Media Matters points out, racist behavior from Limbaugh is no surprise. What’s really crazy is that Limbaugh remains an influential and well-respected figure within the Republican Party.

Many Democrats are getting nervous about the upcoming presidential election. Ominous, extensively reported articles by two of the best in the business—the New Yorker's Jeffrey Toobin and The Atlantic's Barton Gellman—outline Boss Trump's plot to keep control of the White House in 2021 no matter how the American people vote.
Trump is hardly making a secret of it. He's pointedly refused to commit to "a peaceful transfer of power."

"Well, we're going to have to see what happens," is how he answered the question. He added that after we "get rid of the ballots"—presumably mail-in ballots he's been whining about for weeks--"there won't be a transfer, frankly. There'll be a continuation."

Of course, Trump himself has always voted by mail, but then brazen hypocrisy is his standard operating mode. If you haven't noticed, he also lies a lot. Without prevaricating, boasting, and bitching, he'd be mute. And even then, he'd still have Twitter. He recently tweeted that the winner "may NEVER BE ACCURATELY DETERMINED" because mail-in ballots make it a "RIGGED ELECTION in waiting."
Gellman gets this part exactly right in The Atlantic: "Let us not hedge about one thing. Donald Trump may win or lose, but he will never concede. Not under any circumstance. Not during the Interregnum and not afterward. If compelled in the end to vacate his office, Trump will insist from exile, as long as he draws breath, that the contest was rigged.
"Trump's invincible commitment to this stance will be the most important fact about the coming Interregnum. It will deform the proceedings from beginning to end. We have not experienced anything like it before."
No, we haven't. However, it's important to remember that Trump makes threats and promises almost daily that never happen. Remember that gigantic border wall Mexico was going to pay for? Trump has built exactly five miles of the fool thing, leaving roughly two thousand to go.
His brilliant cheaper, better health care plan? Non-existent.
On Labor Day, Boss Trump boasted of his unparalleled success in strong-arming Japan into building new auto-manufacturing plants. "They're being built in Ohio, they're being built in South Carolina, North Carolina, they're being built all over and expanded at a level that we've never seen before."
Not a word of that is true. Two new plants, one German, another Swedish have opened in South Carolina, but construction began before Trump took office. Auto industry investment during Barack Obama's second term far exceeded Trump's. His version is sheer make-believe.
But back to the GOP scheme to steal the election.
First, it's clear that even Trump understands that he has virtually no chance of winning the national popular vote. He's been polling in the low 40s, with no sign of change. To have any chance of prevailing in the Electoral College, he's got to do the electoral equivalent of drawing to an inside straight all over again—winning a half-dozen so-called battleground states where he defeated Hillary Clinton in 2016 by the narrowest of margins.
At this writing, that looks highly unlikely. The latest polling in must-win Pennsylvania, for example, shows Trump trailing Joe Biden by nine points. That's a landslide. Trump's down ten in Wisconsin, eight in Michigan. And so on.
So spare me the screeching emails in ALL CAPS, OK? Polls were actually quite accurate in 2016. Trump narrowly defeated the odds. It can happen. But he's in far worse shape this time. Furthermore, early voting turnout is very high, with Democrats outnumbering Republicans two to one.
Hence, The Atlantic reports, "Trump's state and national legal teams are already laying the groundwork for post-election maneuvers that would circumvent the results of the vote count in battleground states."
The plan is clear. Because more Democrats than Republicans are choosing mail-in voting during the COVID pandemic, Trump hopes to prevent those ballots from being counted. Assuming he'll have a narrow "swing state" lead on election night, he'll declare victory and start filing lawsuits. "The red mirage," some Democrats call it.
"As a result," Toobin writes, "the aftermath of the 2020 election has the potential to make 2000 look like a mere skirmish." With Trump in the White House urging armed militias to take to the street.
Mail-in votes take a long time to count. Things could definitely get crazy.
True, but filing a lawsuit to halt a Florida recount was one thing. Filing suits against a half dozen states to prevent votes from being counted at all is quite another. Public reaction would be strong. Also, winning such lawsuits requires serious evidence of fraud. Trumpian bluster ain't evidence.
The Atlantic reports that GOP-controlled state legislatures are thinking about sending Trumpist delegations to the Electoral College regardless of the popular vote winner—theoretically constitutional but currently illegal.
Fat chance. If that's the best they've got, they've got nothing.
Anyway, here's the answer: Vote early, and in person*.

[Editor's note: In some states, receiving an absentee ballot means that a voter can no longer vote in person* or may have to surrender the absentee ballot, including the envelope in which it arrived, at their polling place. Please check with your local election authorities.]