Wednesday, November 28, 2018

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Cindy Hyde-Smith wins Mississippi senate unoff

There was really no contest, although it was closer than it should have been.

President Trump late Tuesday congratulated incumbent Republican Sen. Cindy Hyde-Smith for handily defeating an insurgent challenge by Democrat Mike Espy in Mississippi's contentious special election runoff to become the first woman ever elected to Congress from the state.

Hyde-Smith, 59, is an ardent supporter of Trump who was appointed earlier this year by Mississippi's governor to fill retiring Sen. Thad Cochran's seat. She will finish out the remaining two years of Cochran's term in the deep-red state that went for Trump by nearly 20 percentage points in the 2016 presidential election.

"Congratulations to Senator Cindy Hyde-Smith on your big WIN in the great state of Mississippi. We are all very proud of you!” Trump tweeted.

With 95 percent of precincts reporting, Hyde-Smith had 446,927 votes to Espy's 374,880 -- a commanding margin of 54.4 percent to 45.6 percent, according to state election officials. The race marks the final midterm contest of 2018.

“I want everybody to know, no matter who you voted for today, I’m gonna always represent every Mississippian,” Hyde-Smith said at her victory party late Monday night. "Being on that MAGA-wagon, the Make American Great Again bus, we have bonded, we have persevered, we have gotten through things, we were successful today."

Hyde-Smith's win gives Republicans more leeway to ensure the confirmation of Trump's federal judicial and Cabinet nominees that require Senate approval and strengthens the party's chances of holding the majority in 2020.

"She has my prayers as she goes to Washington to unite a very divided Mississippi," Espy said in his concession speech.

This brings the Senate total for Republicans to 54, a critical number given the sometimes ify voting of Susan Collins, Lisa Ann Murkowski, making them less of a factor, that should mean clean saling for Trump judicial nominees and a possible Supreme Court pick if a retirement occurs.

Monday, November 26, 2018

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Dershowitz: Mueller’s Trump Report Will Be ‘Devastating’ But Won’t Lead To Charges

A bit of overselling?

Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz said on Sunday that he does not believe Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s report on President Donald Trump will show any criminality.

Dershowitz told George Stephanopoulos, host of ABC’s “This Week,” that he does think Mueller’s impending report about Trump and Russia will be politically “devastating.” However, he guessed that there will not be anything in the report that will lead to charges against the president.

“I think the report is going to be devastating to the president and we know the president’s team is already working on a response,” Dershowitz explained. “The critical questions are largely political — when I say devastating, I mean it’s going to paint a picture that’s going to be politically very devastating.”

“I still don’t think it’s going to make a criminal case because collusion is not criminal,” he asserted, adding that conspiracy is “too much of a stretch.”

First, Dershowitz really has no clue in the matter. He's lately made himself a regular on cable news as a reluctant defender of Trump in the Mueller farce, but he has no clue what the final report will be. In fact, no one will until the AG determines whether to release it.

Mueller is expected to wrap things up now that the midterms have concluded, and so far no proof of conclusion or interference in the 2016 election has occurred. Remember the primary reason this mess began is really just because people simply believed that something had to occur to allow Trump to beat Clinton in 2016. The decision to appoint a Special Council was based as we know now on false evidence and election meddling, most illegal activities of the FBI and IC (spying on Trump) during the campaign. Strong evidence that the Obama administration was behind most of it.

The "politically devastating" reference Dershowitz makes is likely to how the media and the newly minted Democrat congressional majority will attempt to use it to hound Donald Trump out of town(impeach?), or at least paralyze his remaining term and kill chances at a 2020 run.

While that may be true, I doubt it based on polls that the American public, except those with their minds made up (Democrats), will really buy it. Recent polls show Americans mostly believe the probe is politically motivated.

Friday, November 23, 2018

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Media Prounouces Trump Re-election DOA (again)

Well you knew this was coming - right?

Donald Trump insists the GOP’s midterm election shellacking had nothing to do with him. Things will be different, he says, when his name is actually on the ballot in 2020.

While it’s true that most presidents who see their party suffer major losses in their first midterm election get reelected anyway, Trump isn’t most presidents — and there are lots of blaring-red warning lights in this month’s election results for his bid for a second term.

Unlike most of his predecessors, he’s been persistently unpopular, with approval ratings mired in the 40-percent range — so far, he’s the only president in the modern era whose job approval ratings have never been over 50 percent, according to Gallup.

Some of Democrats’ biggest gains came in the states that powered Trump’s Electoral College victory in 2016: Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. And while a president’s base has stayed home in previous midterm elections, leading to losses, the record turnout in this year’s races suggests 2018 was more like a 2016 re-run than Trump voters standing on the sidelines.

Thus far, even Trump loyalists in the party haven’t seen the president expand his electoral base beyond core Republicans.

Well I like when the media labels these groups, like, "core Republicans" and "beyond his base".


New Gringrich on Twitter gives us some stats.







Of course the first paragraph tells us that "most presidents" win reelection (except for Democrat Jimmy Carter), but that Trump is somehow "different". We've heard this since he announced his run in 2015. Remember this montage?



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Should Trump Bust up Tech Monopolies?

The question, "Should a conservative even entertain the idea of being anti-business?"

Perhaps it depends, especially when it comes to the juggernaut that has become modern day technology companies. Glenn Reynolds writes.

I’ve just finished reading Columbia Law professor Tim Wu’s new book on antitrust, "The Curse of Bigness," and my biggest takeaway is that President Donald Trump has an opportunity to follow in former President Teddy Roosevelt’s footsteps.

Roosevelt built a strong reputation by going after the trusts, huge combinations that placed control of entire industries in the hands of one or a few men. He broke up John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil, the Google of its day. He shut down J.P. Morgan’s Northern Securities Co., which would have monopolized rail transportation in much of the United States. And he pursued numerous other cases (45 in all) that broke up monopolies and returned competition to markets.

Roosevelt operated against a Gilded Age background in which a few companies had, by means both fair and foul, eliminated virtually all competition. This was bad for consumers, as it drove prices up. It was also, surprisingly, bad for shareholders: Wu notes that Standard Oil’s value actually increased post-breakup, as it went from inefficient monopoly to a collection of competitive companies. Most of all, it was bad for American society.

It's an interesting question, but then the size and spread of tech companies far outweigh that of Standard Oil of the time. Oil was used, but not did not infiltrate the lives of people that Amazon, Facebook, and other tech giants do now.

In any case does the Trump administration risk a potential hit to the economy? A look at the crashing of tech stocks in October of this year shows it's volatility. Technology is still a relatively young commodity. Twenty years ago, no one saw the beginning of Amazon - basically a computer driven mail-order company - would rise to the monster it is today, nor the rise of basically a college chat program grow into a system where billions of people connect to one another.

Yet it may force itself to be regulated and broken up especially taken the controversies it's become embroidered with, privacy and political advocacy.

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

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Don't Blame California Fires on Climate Change

As with any previous disaster, hurricanes, flooding, wildfires in the western US, such as the recent fires in California get the usual push from Climate Change enthusiast, clamoring for more awareness, and yes, change.

However is it the Climate, or simply the way it is in a dry climate that needs only a spark or strike of a match to get going. According to Chuck DeVore writing in the Federalist, it's more the latter.

Climate change is a danger to us all and President Trump must be stopped — that’s the chorus we always hear when new climate reports are released and destructive fires ravage California. But is it true?

On Oct. 31, six days before the midterm elections, the journal Nature published an article suggesting that the world’s oceans were absorbing much more heat from climate change than previously calculated. The research, by scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography in San Diego, California, and New Jersey’s Princeton University, was obligingly picked up by the national media with alarming headlines such as:

Study: Oceans warming faster than anticipated giving humanity even less time to stave off worst impacts of climate change — San Diego Union-Tribune

Oceans warming faster than anticipated, giving even less time to stave off worst impacts of climate change, study finds — Los Angeles Times

Startling new research finds a large buildup of heat in the oceans, suggesting a faster rate of global warming — The Washington Post

Oceans Warming Much Faster Than Thought, Study Finds – The New York Times

Politicians and their campaigns quickly followed suit. California’s senior senator, Dianne Feinstein, running for re-election against a fellow Democrat, tweeted this on Oct. 31: “New science shows the oceans are warming more than we thought. We may have to cut emissions 25% faster to avoid a disastrous 2°C of global warming. It’s time to stop pretending climate change isn’t a real threat—our future depends on it.”

As with many scientific studies in the climate science realm, this one had been weaponized in the service of politics. But the study was deeply flawed. On Election Day, after five days of extensive and frequently breathless media treatment of the ocean warming study, British mathematician Nicholas Lewis posted some doubts on Dr. Judith Curry’s blog:

I was asked for my thoughts on the Resplandy paper as soon as it obtained media coverage. Most commentators appear to have been content to rely on what was said in the press release. However, being a scientist, I thought it appropriate to read the paper itself, and if possible look at its data, before forming a view.

… A quick review of the first page of the paper was sufficient to raise doubts as to the accuracy of its results. Just a few hours of analysis and calculations, based only on published information, was sufficient to uncover apparently serious (but surely inadvertent) errors in the underlying calculations.

Soon, the authors of the study admitted to fundamental errors in math that unraveled their frightening conclusions. Many of the stories in the mass media were corrected and, in some cases, editors felt the need to change their headlines. The New York Times now heads their shortened story from Oct. 31 with the pedestrian, “Scientists Find a New Way to Take the Oceans’ Temperature.”

His point is very valid. First, more and more of the wealthy are moving more and more into the "woods" and therefore more collateral damage happens. Secondly, President Trump was criticized for blaming much of the fires on lack of proper forest management.

President Trump’s critics are belittling him for not buying the lefty narrative that global warming is to blame for the California wildfires. Instead, Trump points to decades of mistakes by government agencies that caused the woodlands to become overly dense and blanketed with highly flammable dead wood and underbrush.

Turns out he’s exactly right.

Just ask California officials. Two months ago, the state legislature enacted a measure that would expedite the removal of dead trees and use “prescribed burns” to thin forests. In other words: the very same reforms that Trump is now being mocked for proposing. The September law followed a Gov. Jerry Brown executive order earlier this year that also called for “controlled fires” to improve forest health.

This scientific approach isn’t easily conveyed in Trump’s preferred mode of communication, the 280-character tweet. But University of California forest expert Yana Valachovic conceded in a Washington Post interview that Trump’s “general sentiment is correct — that we need to manage fuels.” That is, to get rid of dangerous buildups of dead and dying trees.

Read more.

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Report: House GOP 'Working With Whistleblowers' In Clinton Foundation Probe

Trick to see is whether how long this will last with Democrats taking the House in January 2019.

Meadows - chairman of the House Oversight Subcommittee on Government Operations, told The Hill that it's time to "circle back" to former Utah Attorney General John Huber's probe with the Justice Department into whether the Clinton Foundation engaged in improper activities, reports The Hill.

"Mr. [John] Huber with the Department of Justice and the FBI has been having an investigation – at least part of his task was to look at the Clinton Foundation and what may or may not have happened as it relates to improper activity with that charitable foundation, so we’ve set a hearing date for December the 5th.," Meadows told Hill.TV on Wednesday.

According to a report by the Dallas Observer last November, the Clinton Foundation has been under investigation by the IRS since July, 2016.

Meadows says that it's time for Huber to update Congress concerning his findings, and "expects him to be one of the witnesses at the hearing," per The Hill. Additionally Meadows said that his committee is trying to secure testimonies from whistleblowers who can provide more information about potential wrongdoing surrounding the Clinton Foundation.

"We’re just now starting to work with a couple of whistleblowers that would indicate that there is a great probability, of significant improper activity that’s happening in and around the Clinton Foundation," he added.

The Clinton Foundation - also under FBI investigation out of the Arkansas field office, has denied any wrongdoing.



More at Zerohedge.

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

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No Comparison between Hillary Clinton and Ivanka's private Emails

Big huffing and puffing in liberal media today. It's been discovered that Ivanka Trump used private email - you know just like Hillary Clinton! Well, not so much.

White House ethics officials learned of Trump’s repeated use of personal email when reviewing emails gathered last fall by five Cabinet agencies to respond to a public records lawsuit. That review revealed that throughout much of 2017, she often discussed or relayed official White House business using a private email account with a domain that she shares with her husband, Jared Kushner.

The discovery alarmed some advisers to President Trump, who feared that his daughter’s practices bore similarities to the personal email use of Hillary Clinton, an issue he made a focus of his 2016 campaign. Trump attacked his Democratic challenger as untrustworthy and dubbed her “Crooked Hillary” for using a personal email account as secretary of state.

Some aides were startled by the volume of Ivanka Trump’s personal emails — and taken aback by her response when questioned about the practice. Trump said she was not familiar with some details of the rules, according to people with knowledge of her reaction.

In a statement, Peter Mirijanian, a spokesman for Lowell, acknowledged that the president’s daughter occasionally used her private email before she was briefed on the rules, but he said none of her messages contained classified information.

“While transitioning into government, after she was given an official account but until the White House provided her the same guidance they had given others who started before she did, Ms. Trump sometimes used her personal account, almost always for logistics and scheduling concerning her family,” he said in a statement.

...

Austin Evers, executive director of the liberal watchdog group American Oversight, whose record requests sparked the White House discovery, said it strained credulity that Trump’s daughter did not know that government officials should not use private emails for official business.

“There’s the obvious hypocrisy that her father ran on the misuse of personal email as a central tenet of his campaign,” Evers said. “There is no reasonable suggestion that she didn’t know better. Clearly everyone joining the Trump administration should have been on high alert about personal email use.”

Ivanka Trump and her husband set up personal emails with the domain “ijkfamily.com” through a Microsoft system in December 2016, as they were preparing to move to Washington so Kushner could join the White House, according to people familiar with the arrangement.

The couple’s emails are prescreened by the Trump Organization for security problems such as viruses but are stored by Microsoft, the people said.


A few problems with this story.

1. Ivanka wasn't a Secretary of State, running an undeclosed email server from her basement, in a highly classified position.

2. The White House discovered this and corrected the issue - more of training than of something nefarious as Clinton was.

3 Ivanka wasn't a first lady, former Senator on the Arms Services Committee, and four other committees, and Secretary of State who knew full well of what classified and unclassified meant.

Ignorance isn't an excuse for violating law, but there is no evidence any law was violated. Ivanka's email was more of a personal family nature. Not state secrets, and most important Ivanka's emails are present and accounted for. Not like the 33,000 missing from Hillary's server.
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Acosta Files: Careful that you don't get what you wished for

As you know Jay Acosta and CNN sued - and won - to get his White House press pass back. The judge in his ruling didn't rule on Acosta's right to free speech, but that his supposed 5th amendment rights were violated. The ruling dinged the White House for not giving him advanced knowledge and allowing him to defend himself against the charge of being disruptive - and violent- during press briefings.

So....

The transcript of the Nov. 16 court session in which Kelly delivered his oral ruling was released in a group of court papers on Monday. Kelly declared that the White House could not eject Acosta without first providing him due process — specifically, notice of the revocation of his press pass, a chance for Acosta to respond, and a written decision.

In short, the judge said to the White House: You can't throw out a reporter without going through a process. But if you go through a process — which you, the White House, can design — then you can throw the reporter out. In the end, it could be that Kelly's ruling will make it easier for the White House to oust reporters in the future — and to make the decision stick.

Throughout the court session, Kelly referred to the only real precedent in the Acosta matter, a 1977 case from the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals called Sherrill v. Knight. In that case, the court ruled that the White House — specifically the Secret Service — could not deny a press pass to a "bona fide journalist" without due process. The court defined due process as "procedures whereby an applicant is given notice of the evidence upon which the Secret Service proposes to base its denial, [and] the journalist is afforded an opportunity to rebut or explain this evidence, and the Secret Service issues a final written decision specifying the reasons for its refusal to grant a press pass."

In court, Kelly told lawyers for CNN and the government that he would use Sherrill as a guide in the Acosta matter. In his view, the due process arrangement outlined in Sherrill should apply to the Trump White House's treatment of Acosta or any other White House reporter. "The court in Sherrill held that this process must include notice, an opportunity to rebut the government's reasons, and a written decision," Kelly said.

The judge's clear implication was that if the White House takes those actions if it jumps through those hoops in the future, it can expel a reporter without raising due process concerns.

So the White House has created such rules and procedures as the judge indicated.

The White House has halted efforts to bar CNN journalist Jim Acosta but has introduced a wave of new rules for reporters attending news conferences.

According to a letter sent to Mr Acosta, reporters will now only be allowed one question each if called on at future news conferences and are only allowed to ask follow-up questions at the discretion of the US leader.

Guidelines state journalists are compelled to physically surrender microphones if Mr Trump has not granted a follow-up question.

Failure to abide by the new guidelines could result in reporters losing their passes.

It comes after the White House previously accused Mr Acosta of manhandling an intern who tried to take his microphone away as he questioned Donald Trump during a heated news conference. He was subsequently banned from the White House.

Mr Trump's administration warned his credentials could be pulled again if he failed to adhere to the new guidelines for journalists.

This will no doubt cause friction between Acosta and other journalists in the room. It reminds me of the military where one guy would screw up and the rest of us would pay. Mr. Acosta's rights aren't being violated, he's simply an ass who shows his ass every chance he gets.

Monday, November 19, 2018

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Whitaker Appointment is Constitution - So Why are the Democrats Freaking out

Here they come again.

A group of Senate Democrats is suing to block Matt Whitaker from serving as acting attorney general on grounds that his placement in the post was unconstitutional.

The suit, which is being filed by Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI), and Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia, is the latest and most aggressive salvo against the Whitaker appointment. Last week, the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel defended Whitaker’s promotion in a memo that drew immediate criticism for its expansive understanding of the president’s power. That view is in hot dispute, including from the state of Maryland, which petitioned a federal judge to stop him from serving on constitutional grounds.

The latest suit, which was brought by the groups Protect Democracy and the Constitutional Accountability Center for the Senators, argues that Whitaker’s appointment violates the Constitution’s Appointments Clause because the U.S. Senate did not confirm him to his prior post. Whitaker was chief of staff to now-former Attorney General Jeff Sessions before President Trump elevated him to his current gig. Trump did so through the Vacancies Reform Act, which allows the staffing of vacant positions for up to 210 days. But many constitutional scholars have argued that the Vacancies Reform Act doesn’t let the president appoint people to cabinet-level positions who haven’t been senate confirmed. The Senate confirmed Whitaker in 2004 as a U.S. Attorney in Iowa, but his opponents—most prominently George Conway, the husband of White House senior staffer Kellyanne Conway, and former Solicitor General Neal Katyal—say that confirmation has effectively lapsed.

First, the appointment is legal. The appointment passed muster with the DOJ:


The Justice Department told President Donald Trump that Matthew Whitaker could hold the post of acting attorney general, before Trump appointed him to that post.

News of that preapproval comes as critics have said Trump violated the Constitution by installing the 49-year-old Whitaker on a temporary basis as the nation's top law enforcement official without first getting Senate approval.

That argument was based on the fact that Whitaker had not held a Senate-approved position before he was appointed acting AG. The state of Maryland cited that claim when it filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging Whitaker's appointment, calling him an "unqualified" partisan.

But NBC News reported Wednesday that the department told Trump, before he tapped Whitaker for the job, that he could appoint Whitaker as acting head of Justice.

Whitaker was named to the post a week ago, after Trump forced out Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

His temporary appointment immediately sparked concerns that he will squelch the ongoing investigation by special counsel Robert Mueller's office into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election, and possible coordinating with the Trump campaign in that effort.

Whitaker before joining the Justice Department had been a critic of Mueller's probe. He now has oversight of Mueller's office, due to his appointment as acting attorney general.

Whitaker, a former U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa, had been Sessions' chief of staff. He will be allowed to serve as acting attorney general for at up to at least 210 days.

Steven Engel, assistant attorney general for the Office of Legal Counsel, said in a written opinion cited by NBC News that his office told the White House — before Whitaker was appointed — that the president "could designate a senior Department of Justice official, such as Whitaker, as acting attorney general."

According to Engel's opinion, the Justice Department has identified more than 160 occasions in which a president appointed government officials who not been confirmed by the Senate to serve in high-level positions, NBC News reported.

The larger question is why are Democrats so against the appointment? Well the obvious answer is Democrats believe Whitaker, who previouly critized the Special Counsel investigation in 2016 election interference by Russia, will fire Mueller and end the investigation, or somehow protect Trump should Mueller throw down the hammer. That is an obvious concern not only to Democrats but Republicans as well. For Republicans they are so concerned that Senator Flake and a few others want to protect Mueller though legislation. That alone is a constitutional concern, as Trump constitutionally can fire Mueller at any point, for any reason and be within his constitutional authority.

Is is no indication that's going to happen at this point.

I think Democrats are worried about something much more and that's is Whitaker might - finally - take the action againt Hillary Clinton's email scandal, Unranium deals with Russia along with a litany of other scandles that gathered dust during Session's tenure. That's the last thing they would want to happen entering into 2020, but more to the point, Hillary's alledged crimes could bring down a large part of the Democrat apparatus, along with components of the FBI, CIA, and the rest of the "dark state", that on a continual basis endangers the Trump administration.

Sessions was too weak, along with an anemic GOP house and Senate over the last 8 years that produced nothing of merit in investigations. No, what Democrats really fear is a new sheriff in town and the wrath - long too overdue - he may bring.
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Democrat Fraud in the 2018 Election - Investigate and Expose Before 2020

Hard to believe that two weeks after the 2018 midterms, races are still be decided by "found votes", votes that exceed registered people to produce that number, and Republican candidates announced as winners were suddenly losers as more ballots were discovered. This isn't a new occurrence, it happens time to time in election history. Democrats who have decried voter-ID (for obvious reasons), shout their mantra of "count every vote", while it's countered with "count every LEGAL vote", have spread across news stories coast to coast.


No other hotbed compares to the confusion than the usual suspects of Broward and Dade County Florida, but specifically Broward County. Current elections supervisor Brenda Snipes is under fire for what appears to be the largest example of incompetence in the history of elections. It's not the first time for Snipes either. Example.

"For 15 years, Snipes has served as Broward County’s elections chief, with mixed results. Long lines and vote counts that continued long after polls closed marred elections in 2002, 2004, 2006, 2012, 2016 and, of course, this year.

Among other issues:

-- A court ruled she had broken election law when she destroyed ballots from the 2016 election 12 months after it, instead of the 22 months required by federal law.
Broward elections supervisor illegally destroyed ballots in Wasserman Schultz race, judge rules

-- A medical marijuana amendment was left off some ballots in 2016.

-- Election results in the 2016 primary were posted on the elections office’s website before polls closed, another violation of election law.

-- In 2012, almost 1,000 uncounted ballots were discovered a week after the election

-- In 2004, some 58,000 mail-in ballots were not delivered to voters, leaving election officials to scramble to send new ones."

Now after numerous starts and stops and a failure to properly submit results, and two law-suits who ruled against her, one, for violating Florida law, she is again at the end of a complete screw up the recount of Florida.

Now that the counting is done and both DeSantis and Scott have come out victorious, the looming question remains is how to prevent Democrats from pulling the same election-games in 2020. I have no doubt that Florida election results would have been very different had conservative media, bloggers, activist not descended on Broward County - and even Palm Beach counties and put eyes on what was going up.

More specifically Broward County where an astounding 80,000 votes "appeared" just days after the election where Rick Scott's lead of 55,000 was reduced to 12,000 vote, which is nearly mathematically impossible.

This "magic" happened all around the country in the days after the election. True, some expansion of votes is due to absentee and mail-in ballots, but as we saw in Florida some of it is also because of malfeasance, and just plain cheating. I believe that if it had not be for the expanded focus on South Florida by media, the GOP of Florida and activists the end result may have been much different.

That needs to be fine-tuned as we move to 2020 so the Democratic Party is on notice that it won't be tolerated, it will be exposed and we will fight back.

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