What you missed in Columbus for Jan. 4

Andy Downing
adowning@columbusalive.com
President Donald Trump points to a question as he speaks during a briefing with reporters in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House.

The Washington Post published a bombshell story on Sunday, reportingon a phone call between President Donald Trump and Brad Raffensperger, Georgia’s secretary of state, in which Trump repeatedly pressures Raffensperger to overturn the state’s election results and award him the victory. “I just want to find 11,780 votes,” Trump is recorded saying in the call, audio of which has been posted in full.

“There’s no way I lost Georgia. There’s no way. We won by hundreds of thousands of votes,” Trump states falsely at one point, going on to push a number of discredited election conspiracy theories. 

Meanwhile, at least 12 senators and a majority of House Republicans plan to object to Joe Biden’s electoral college victory, which is still expected to be ratified by Congress on Wednesday, with Biden being inaugurated on Jan. 20. 

Regardless, Trump’s conspiracy mongering andpotentially illegal election tampering, as well as the number of Republicans who have enabled it in part out of the fear of alienating potential future voters, could be doing lasting damage to the country both in the near and far term.

In the immediate future,it could worsen the impact of the coronavirus, the Guardian reported.“If only 20 percent of the population is like, ‘You’re not my president, I’m going to double down on my mask resistance,’ or ‘I’m going to continue to have parties over the holidays,’ that means we are going to be even less likely to bring this thing under control,” said Whitney Phillips, a professor of communications at Syracuse University. 

Longer term, the conspiracies could undercut Biden’s ability to govern.

Despite all of this, it’s unlikely any more Republicans will join the likes of Sen. Mitt Romney in speaking out against Trump’s ongoing undemocratic push. Here in Ohio, for instance, Gov. Mike DeWine appeared on CNN over the weekend but largelyducked questions about Trump’s election lies, while Sen. Rob Portman has been tweeting congratulations to the playoff-bound Cleveland Browns and thanking frontline responders rather than addressing this new controversy. Expect Portman, ever the picture of political courage, to havemyriad lunches to attend today if confronted on the issue by the press.

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In better news, the Ohio State Buckeyes demolished the favored Clemson Tigers on New Year’s Day, winning bya final score of 49-28. The Buckeyes rode the hot hand of quarterback Justin Fields, who overcame a brutal early hit to pass for 385 yards and a remarkable six touchdowns, outdueling his counterpart Trevor Lawrence. (The two are expected to contend for the top pick in this year’s NFL draft, with Lawrence favored to go No. 1 overall.) With the semifinal win, the Buckeyes now move on to face the Alabama Crimson Tide in the national championship game on Monday, Jan. 11. The Crimson Tide, like Clemson, will be favored handily, but following this semifinal performance it’s impossible to entirely discount OSU’s chances.

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In other sports news, the Blue Jackets recently opened camp amid trade talk,with Pierre-Luc Dubois reportedly expressing his desire for “a change of scenery.” It’s a familiar refrain for Jackets fans (see: the end of the Rick Nash era, for one) and it wouldn’t surprise to see Dubois dealt sometime in the near future. The NHL season opens on Wednesday, Jan. 13.

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Finally, the music world lost yet another great in 2020, with word breaking just before New Year’s that rapper MF Doom, born Daniel Dumile, died in October at the age of 49. (The family only recently shared news of his passing.) For those unfamiliar with the masked MC,the Ringer assembled this helpful syllabus, which gathers a number of the highlights from his remarkable career. For a sample, check out the video forMadvillainy track “Accordion” below.