Optimism about the economy has taken a nosedive among Republicans. But the economy did not drive the change. The presidential election did.After President Trump’s loss to former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., more than 40 percent of Republicans who were polled for The New York Times said they expected their family to be worse off financially in a year’s time, up from 4 percent in October. Democrats expressed a rise in optimism — though not as sharp as the change in Republican sentiment.The new polling, by the online research firm SurveyMonkey, reaffirms the degree to which Americans’ confidence …
In 2004, Hillary Clinton was in the Senate and Christopher Ruddy had some making up to do. He was, back then, best known as “the Inspector Clouseau” of the Vince Foster case — a New York Post reporter who had popularized the baseless theory that Mrs. Clinton’s friend, who committed suicide in 1993, had been murdered.But it now seemed possible that Mrs. Clinton might run for president, and Mr. Ruddy laid it on pretty thick. Mrs. Clinton was doing “a remarkably and surprising good job for NY as Senator,” he wrote to a mutual friend, former Mayor Ed Koch of New …
A day after the Trump administration effectively acknowledged the election of Joseph R. Biden Jr., investors showed their relief by pushing the two major stock market indexes to all-time records on Tuesday.It was a welcome party of sorts for Mr. Biden, but what investors were really embracing was the end of uncertainty. President-elect Biden has vowed to push for more stimulus to bolster the economy. His selection for Treasury secretary, Janet L. Yellen, is well known from her days as Federal Reserve chair. And several new coronavirus vaccine candidates mean that the pandemic could be under control in the …
SAN FRANCISCO — In the tense days after the presidential election, a team of Facebook employees presented the chief executive, Mark Zuckerberg, with an alarming finding: Election-related misinformation was going viral on the site.President Trump was already casting the election as rigged, and stories from right-wing media outlets with false and misleading claims about discarded ballots, miscounted votes and skewed tallies were among the most popular news stories on the platform.In response, the employees proposed an emergency change to the site’s news feed algorithm, which helps determine what more than two billion people see every day. It involved …
Change in the S&P 500 since the 2016 election
Up six percent
Up six percent
Change in the S&P 500 since the 2016 election
Up six percent since election day 2020
Change in the S&P 500 since the 2016 election
On the morning of Nov. 5, Eric Trump, one of the president’s sons, asked his Facebook followers to report cases of voter fraud with the hashtag, Stop the Steal. His post was shared over 5,000 times.
By late afternoon, the conservative media personalities Diamond and Silk had shared the hashtag along with a video claiming voter fraud in Pennsylvania. Their post was shared over 3,800 times.
That night, the conservative activist Brandon Straka asked people to protest in Michigan under the banner #StoptheSteal. His post was shared more than 3,700 times.
Over the next week, the phrase “Stop the Steal” was used to promote dozens of rallies that spread false voter fraud claims about the U.S. presidential elections.
New research from Avaaz, a global human rights group, the Elections Integrity Partnership and The New York Times shows how a small group of people — mostly right-wing personalities with outsized influence on social media — helped spread the false voter-fraud narrative that led to those rallies.
That group, like the guests of a large wedding held during the pandemic, were “superspreaders” of misinformation around voter fraud, seeding falsehoods that include the claims that dead people voted, voting machines had technical glitches, and mail-in ballots were not correctly counted.
“Because of how Facebook’s algorithm functions, these superspreaders are capable of priming a discourse,” said Fadi Quran, a director at Avaaz. “There is often this assumption that misinformation or rumors just catch on. These superspreaders show that there is an intentional effort to redefine the public narrative.”
Across Facebook, there were roughly 3.5 million interactions — including likes, comments and shares — on public posts referencing “Stop the Steal” during the week of Nov. 3, according to the research. Of those, the profiles of Eric Trump, Diamond and Silk and Mr. Straka accounted for a disproportionate share — roughly 6 percent, or 200,000, of those interactions.
While the group’s impact was notable, it did not come close to the spread of misinformation promoted by President Trump since then. Of the 20 most-engaged Facebook posts over the last week containing the word “election,” all were from Mr. Trump, according to Crowdtangle, a Facebook-owned analytics tool. All of those claims were found to be false or misleading by independent fact checkers.
The baseless election fraud claims have been used by the president and his supporters to challenge the vote in a number of states. Reports that malfunctioning voting machines, intentionally miscounted mail-in votes and other irregularities affecting the vote were investigated by election officials and journalists who found no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
The voter fraud claims have continued to gather steam in recent weeks, thanks in large part to prominent accounts. A look at a four-week period starting in mid-October shows that President Trump and the top 25 superspreaders of voter fraud misinformation accounted for 28.6 percent of the interactions people had with that content, according to an analysis by Avaaz.
“What we see these people doing is kind of like setting a fire down with fuel, it is designed to quickly create a blaze,” Mr. Quran said. “These actors have built enough power they ensure this misinformation reaches millions of Americans.”
In order to find the superspreaders, Avaaz compiled a list of 95,546 Facebook posts that included narratives about voter fraud. Those posts were liked, shared or commented on nearly 60 million times by people on Facebook.
Avaaz found that just 33 of the 95,546 posts were responsible for over 13 million of those interactions. Those 33 posts had created a narrative that would go on to shape what millions of people thought about the legitimacy of the U.S. elections.
A spokesman for Facebook said the company had added labels to posts that misrepresented the election process and was directing people to a voting information center.
“We’re taking every opportunity to connect people to reliable information about the election and how votes are being counted,” said Kevin McAlister, a Facebook spokesman. The company has not commented on why accounts that repeatedly share misinformation, such as Mr. Straka’s and Diamond and Silk’s, have not been penalized. Facebook has previously said that President Trump, along with other elected officials, is granted a special status and is not fact-checked.
Many of the superspreader accounts had millions of interactions on their Facebook posts over the last month, and have enjoyed continued growth. The accounts were active on Twitter as well as Facebook, and increasingly spread the same misinformation on new social media sites like Parler, MeWe and Gab.
Dan Bongino, a right-wing commentator with a following of nearly four million people on Facebook, had over 7.7 million interactions on Facebook the week of Nov. 3. Mark Levin, a right-wing radio host, had nearly four million interactions, and Diamond and Silk had 2.5 million. A review of their pages by The Times shows that a majority of their posts have focused on the recent elections, and voter fraud narratives around them.
None of the superspreaders identified in this article responded to requests for comment.
One of the most prominent false claims promoted by the superspreaders was that Dominion voting software deleted votes for Mr. Trump, or somehow changed vote tallies in several swing states. Election officials have found no evidence that the machines malfunctioned, but posts about the machines have been widely shared by Mr. Trump and his supporters.
Over the last week, just seven posts from the top 25 superspreaders of the Dominion voter fraud claim accounted for 13 percent of the total interactions on Facebook about the claim.
Many of those same accounts were also top superspreaders of the Dominion claim, and other voter fraud theories, on Twitter. The accounts of President Trump, his son Eric, Mr. Straka and Mr. Levin were all among the top 20 accounts that spread misinformation about voter fraud on Twitter, according to Ian Kennedy, a researcher at the University of Washington who works with the Elections Integrity Partnership.
Mr. Trump had by far the largest influence on Twitter. A single tweet by the president accusing Dominion voting systems of deleting 2.7 million votes in his favor was shared over 185,000 times, and liked over 600,000 times.
Like the other false claims about voter fraud, Mr. Trump’s tweet included a label by Twitter that he was sharing information that was not accurate.
Twitter, like Facebook, has said that those labels help prevent false claims from being shared and direct people toward more authoritative sources of information.
Earlier this week, BuzzFeed News reported that Facebook employees questioned whether the labels were effective. Within the company, employees have sought out their own data on how well national newspapers performed during the elections, according to one Facebook employee.
On the #StoptheSteal hashtag, they found that both The New York Times and The Washington Post were among the top 25 pages with interactions on that hashtag — mainly from readers sharing articles and using the hashtag in those posts.
Combined, the two publications had approximately 44,000 interactions on Facebook under that hashtag. By comparison, Mr. Straka, the conservative activist who shared the call to action on voter fraud, got three times that number of interactions sharing material under the same hashtag on his own Facebook account.
Jacob Silver contributed reporting.
Flanked by aides in the Oval Office on Wednesday, President Trump dialed up a friend in the news media with a message: Keep up the good work.
“He said that it’s just incredible, the ratings you’re getting, and everyone’s talking about it,” recalled Christopher Ruddy, the owner of Newsmax, a niche conservative cable network that has yet to declare a winner in the 2020 presidential election.
Based in Boca Raton, Fla., the network features lo-fi production values and off-brand personalities like Sean Spicer and Diamond and Silk. Even finding it can be a chore: It appears on Channel 1115 in some major markets. But since Election Day, Newsmax has become a growing power in a conservative media sphere that has been scrambled by President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.’s victory and Mr. Trump’s refusal to concede.
Hundreds of thousands of new viewers have tuned into Newsmax programs that embrace the president’s debunked claims of voter fraud and insist that Mr. Trump can keep the White House. Until recently, the network’s top shows attracted a paltry 58,000 viewers. On Thursday night, the network drew its biggest audience ever, notching 1.1 million viewers at 7 p.m.
The out-of-nowhere rise has come as Fox News — the No. 1 network in TV news and long the destination of choice for many Trump partisans — has experienced a rare dip in dominance. Ratings for the Rupert Murdoch-owned network have dropped since election night, when its early projection that Mr. Biden had won Arizona infuriated Mr. Trump and his allies.
“The great @FoxNews daytime ratings CRASH will only get worse!” the president tweeted on Friday.
“CRASH” is overstating things: Fox News remains the most-watched cable news network in prime-time, averaging about 3.5 million viewers the week after the election. But the shift underscores a volatility among conservative audiences as Mr. Trump denies the reality of his defeat.
While Fox News is home to Trump cheerleaders like Sean Hannity, it also runs a decision desk and a daytime news operation that have declared Mr. Biden the president-elect. That is something many Trump fans do not want to hear, and Newsmax, which frequently reminds viewers it has not projected a winner, is rushing to provide an alternative.
“This whole idea of a president-elect, it is a media fabrication,” Greg Kelly, the 7 p.m. Newsmax host, told viewers last week. “This is not done. This thing could turn.” On Thursday, Mr. Kelly recorded his best numbers yet, pulling 1.1 million viewers for his hour.
Mr. Kelly, a former Fox News correspondent and a son of the former New York City police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said in an interview that his belief in Mr. Trump’s chances is genuine. “I really believe he’s going to prevail,” he said. “It’s a sense I have. Can I articulate perfectly why I thought he was going to win? No. But I’ll say the media has been wrong about him so many times.”
In fact, Mr. Biden won a decisive victory. Newsmax’s founder, Mr. Ruddy, contends that he is merely staying open-minded. “My view is that it’s an uphill battle for the president to change the vote, but he should be given the right to have a recount,” he said in an interview.
Newsmax is an unusual tribune for baseless accusations of voter fraud.
Mr. Ruddy is a longtime confidant of Mr. Trump and a member of his Mar-a-Lago Club in Palm Beach. But he calls himself a “Reagan conservative,” belongs to no political party and is a friend of Bill Clinton — despite having built his career in part as a New York Post reporter who cast doubt on the investigation into the death of a Clinton aide, Vincent Foster. Mr. Ruddy later contributed large sums to the Clinton Foundation and has a photograph of himself with the former president on his wall.
The 12th of 14 children, Mr. Ruddy grew up on Long Island and attended the London School of Economics before founding Newsmax in 1998 as a conservative website. The TV network followed in 2014, originally positioned as a centrist alternative to Fox News.
These days, Newsmax is a cozy clubhouse for Trump allies who speak emphatically about a purported second term and have taken shots at Fox News. Mr. Kelly expressed his contempt on his Thursday episode after playing a clip of a Fox News White House correspondent, Kristin Fisher, calling claims by the Trump legal team “light on facts.”
“The nerve they have, the arrogance,” Mr. Kelly said.
Newsmax says it is available in more than 70 million households, but on many cable systems it is listed alongside obscure channels like Newsy, Cheddar and United Nations TV. (Newsmax is still more prominent than One America News, another network that Mr. Trump has promoted.) Mr. Kelly recently thanked viewers for their “deliberate effort” in finding the network.
Its Manhattan studio is bare-bones — Mr. Ruddy called his cable operation “fledgling” and suggested it did not yet turn a profit — and its visuals are more public access than prime-time, lacking the splashy graphics of better-financed rivals. Some of its guests have been shunned by other networks, like Mark Halperin, a political journalist accused of sexual misconduct. (Mr. Kelly was the subject of a sexual assault claim in 2012; prosecutors declined to file charges.)
Then, there are the technical snafus. Wednesday’s episode of “Greg Kelly Reports” opened with a blank screen. After 12 seconds, the host appeared, midsentence in a monologue.
None of this has stopped Mr. Kelly from now drawing an audience about four times larger than CNBC’s Shepard Smith, a former Fox News anchor whose heavily promoted new program airs against it at 7 p.m.
Fox News, which benefited enormously from Mr. Trump’s rise, easily beats Newsmax in overall viewership. But since the network called the race for Mr. Biden, Trump supporters have chanted “Fox News sucks!” at demonstrations in Arizona and Washington, and its ratings have fallen well below pre-election levels.
Much of the drop has come during daytime hours, when its news anchors acknowledge Mr. Biden’s victory. But several Fox News opinion shows have seen a dip, too: Earlier this month, for the first time in 19 years, “Fox & Friends” drew a smaller weekly audience than MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.”
The loss of viewers has set off alarm bells inside Fox News, said several people with ties to the network who spoke on the condition of anonymity to avoid straining relationships. A new slogan promoting its pro-Trump opinion hosts — “Standing Up For What’s Right” — is now in heavy rotation.
“There’s a ton of discontent with Fox News in conservative circles,” said Nicole Hemmer, a Columbia University scholar who studies right-wing media.
The tensions have spilled into Fox News programming. On “The Five,” Geraldo Rivera attacked a pro-Trump colleague, Jesse Watters, for endorsing baseless claims about a stolen election. In prime time, Tucker Carlson cast doubt on the claims of Sidney Powell, a Trump lawyer, saying she had failed to produce evidence of election fraud. But in the next hour, Mr. Hannity invited another Trump lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, to share his baseless claims with viewers.
Fox News declined to comment. But the network remains a ratings goliath: This summer, its prime-time audience was not merely the largest on cable, but the largest across all of television. And many in the TV industry expect the network to thrive once Mr. Biden takes office, capitalizing on the same conservative “resistance” viewership that fueled its success during the Obama years.
Even if Newsmax is more willing to indulge the outlandish prospect that Mr. Trump can serve a second term, Mr. Ruddy said that Newsmax would not become, in his words, “Trumpmax.”
“I don’t see him becoming a partner in the company,” he said, adding that he doubted that Mr. Trump “would want to tether himself to one news organization.” A Trump-hosted talk show, he added, would be “terrific,” but he has not made a formal approach.
“He’s confident he has a good shot at winning, and I think he’s focused on that,” Mr. Ruddy said. “I wouldn’t want him to lose his focus.”
WASHINGTON — In addition to a deadly pandemic and a weakened economy, President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. will inherit one more challenge when he takes office in January: a toxic relationship with the world’s second-largest economy.
President Trump has placed tariffs on hundreds of billions of dollars of products from China, imposed sanctions on Chinese companies and restricted Chinese businesses from buying American technology — a multiyear onslaught aimed at forcing Beijing to change its trade practices and as punishment for its authoritarian ways. He shows no sign of letting up in his final days in office: On Thursday, Mr. Trump issued an executive order barring investments in Chinese firms with military ties.
The hard choices for Mr. Biden will include deciding whether to maintain tariffs on about $360 billion worth of Chinese imports, which have raised costs for American businesses and consumers, or whether to relax those levies in exchange for concessions on economic issues, or other fronts, like climate change.
Mr. Biden will need to walk a careful line. He and his advisers view many of Mr. Trump’s measures, which were aimed at severing ties between the Chinese and American economies, as clumsy, costly and unstrategic. They say they want to take a smarter approach that combines working with the Chinese on some issues like global warming and the pandemic, while competing with them on technological leadership and confronting them on other issues like military expansionism, human rights violations or unfair trade.
But even if it departs from Mr. Trump’s punishing approach, the Biden administration will be eager to maintain leverage over China to accomplish its own policy goals. And the new administration will face pressure from lawmakers in both parties who view China as a national security threat and have introduced legislation aimed at penalizing Beijing for its human rights abuses, global influence operations and economic practices.
“This is likely going to be a period of continuing uncertainty on the U.S.-China front,” said Myron Brilliant, the executive vice president of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. “There is no question that President Trump has adopted a tough stance on China, and this probably doesn’t give President-elect Biden a lot of political flexibility early on, but we expect a significant departure in tone, style and process.”
Mr. Biden has given few details about his plans for U.S.-China relations, other than saying he wants to recruit American allies such as Europe and Japan to pressure China to make economic reforms, like protecting intellectual property. He has pledged to devote more resources to enhancing American manufacturing capacity, infrastructure and technological development, to ensure the United States retains an edge over China even as it invests huge sums in fields like telecommunications, artificial intelligence and semiconductors.
But Mr. Biden will face pressure from both parties not to revert to the approach that he and many of his predecessors had earlier embraced in trying to transform China’s economic practices by bringing it into the global economy.
Like many Democrats and Republicans in the 1990s and early 2000s, Mr. Biden argued that integrating China into the global trading system would force Beijing to play by international rules, to the benefit of American workers. In 2000, he voted to grant China permanent normal trading relations, which paved the way for China’s entry into the World Trade Organization and deeper global economic ties.
In 2016, Mr. Trump won the presidency in part by loudly rejecting that approach, arguing that the United States needed to isolate, not integrate, Beijing.
Two decades later, Mr. Biden acknowledges that China exploited the international system, and he has called for a more aggressive approach. Mr. Biden has said the United States must get “tough with China,” and referred to Xi Jinping, the Chinese leader, as a “thug.”
Congress is also relatively unified on taking a tough stance on China. Hundreds of China-related bills are circulating, including several bipartisan efforts that echo Mr. Biden’s emphasis on competing with China by investing in American industries like quantum computing and artificial intelligence.
Mr. Biden’s first moves on China could also be dictated by Mr. Trump’s last months. Many trade experts say they are concerned Mr. Trump, who has promised to make China “pay” for not doing enough to contain the coronavirus, could amp up his economic fight. Several of Mr. Trump’s aides are bitter at China for its role as the source of the coronavirus, which they see as a major contributor to Mr. Trump’s loss, people familiar with their thinking say.
One area of focus is the trade deal that Mr. Trump signed with Chinese officials in January. While China has largely kept commitments to open up its markets to American companies and Mr. Trump’s advisers have continued to defend the pact, Beijing has fallen far behind schedule in its promise to buy an additional $200 billion of goods and services by the end of next year.
Mr. Trump’s most likely path will be to leave the deal intact, said Chris Rogers, a global trade and logistics analyst at Panjiva. But he wouldn’t rule out “a scorched-earth policy where China is declared to be in violation of its Phase 1 trade deal commitments and there’s a return to tariff escalation. President-elect Biden will be left holding the pieces if the deal is broken,” Mr. Rogers said.
And the president shows no signs of backing off a confrontational approach in other areas. On Nov. 20, his administration is expected to begin economic talks with Taiwan that are likely to rankle Beijing. His advisers are considering other measures to punish China in the coming weeks, including sanctions related to China’s security crackdowns in Hong Kong and Xinjiang, where the Chinese government has carried out mass detentions and harsh policing of ethnic minorities.
“We are worried that he’s going to do some rash things that aren’t going to make sense for the future of the country or global stability,” said Rufus Yerxa, the president of the National Foreign Trade Council, which represents major multinational companies. “Given the history of President Trump’s use of executive authority, we’re taking nothing for granted in these next few months.”
Still, “most of what he could do is through executive orders and executive actions, which can be reversed by a Biden administration,” Mr. Yerxa added.
Whether Mr. Biden opts to roll back Mr. Trump’s more punitive measures will depend, at least in part, on China’s future behavior, including whether it pursues more aggressive incursions into the South China Sea, Taiwan and Hong Kong, people close to his campaign say.
Beijing has recently endorsed a policy of greater technological self-reliance and a stronger military to protect itself from a more antagonistic United States, and moved ahead with cementing other economic partnerships. On Sunday, China signed the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, a pan-Asian trade pact that includes Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Thailand, Vietnam and other countries, and will help cement China’s image as the dominant economic power in the region.
Mr. Biden’s appointments for trade and foreign policy posts could help determine his approach toward China, though it remains unclear whom he might nominate for such critical jobs as secretary of state and commerce and the United States trade representative.
Similar to Mr. Biden himself, many of Mr. Biden’s closest advisers have a moderate track record on trade and China, believing they can work with Chinese leaders on some issues even as they challenge them on others. But several of his national security advisers are more skeptical of China.
No matter the path, business groups, economists and others are hoping for a coherent strategy that does not result in the type of economic brinkmanship Mr. Trump appeared to thrive on.
While Democrats and Republicans have credited Mr. Trump with drawing attention to China’s security threats, and its unfair economic practices like intellectual property theft, his dealings with China have also been transactional and inconsistent. In an attempt to secure a trade deal, Mr. Trump lavished praise on Mr. Xi, delayed sanctions against China’s human rights violations for months, and pardoned the Chinese company ZTE for running afoul of U.S. law. And he has employed racist and xenophobic rhetoric, like calling the coronavirus the “kung flu,” that has fueled attacks on people of Asian descent around the country.
“The Trump administration never did lay out a coherent, comprehensive, engaged trade strategy,” said Thea M. Lee, an economist and the president of the Economic Policy Institute. “It was much more scattershot: Throw up a tariff here, do a deal with China, disparate elements that didn’t seem to talk to each other.”
“But there are a lot of tools in that toolbox, and I would like to see the Biden administration be thoughtful and strategic about how to use them,” Ms. Lee said.
Some experts are urging Mr. Biden to take a more nuanced approach. In a report to be published on Monday, 29 China specialists and other experts, some with close ties to Mr. Biden’s advisers, urge American policymakers to better compete with China by strengthening U.S. research and innovation, preserving the openness of American universities and the economy, and taking a more targeted approach to Chinese security threats.
The working group, organized by the 21st Century China Center at the University of California, San Diego, argues that the United States has allowed its technological leadership over China to erode through a lack of funding in research and development, and overreacted to threats from China in a way that has damaged America’s own economic prospects, including severing economic ties with China, and turning away Chinese students and researchers.
Peter Cowhey, the dean of the School of Global Policy & Strategy at the University of California, San Diego, and chairman of the working group, said its primary takeaway was that the United States “must invest and reorganize the U.S. innovation system across the board, including basic research and development and specialized manufacturing capabilities.”
“It’s a lot easier to manage risks with China if we are in an overall robust period of leadership,” he added.
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur, the law firm leading the Trump campaign’s efforts to cast doubt on the presidential election results in Pennsylvania, abruptly withdrew from a federal lawsuit that it filed days earlier on behalf of President Trump.
“Plaintiffs and Porter Wright have reached a mutual agreement that plaintiffs will be best served if Porter Wright withdraws,” the law firm said in a federal court filing.
The firm’s withdrawal followed an article in The New York Times on Monday that described internal tensions at the firm about its work for Mr. Trump’s campaign in Pennsylvania. Some employees said they were concerned that the firm was being used to undercut the integrity of the electoral process. One Porter Wright lawyer resigned in protest over the summer.
“Cancel Culture has finally reached the courtroom,” said Tim Murtaugh, the Trump campaign’s communications director. “Leftist mobs descended upon some of the lawyers representing the president’s campaign and they buckled.” He added that Mr. Trump’s team “is undeterred” and would continue its litigation.
Porter Wright — which is based in Columbus, Ohio, and has offices in Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington, D.C. — is one of the few prominent law firms that has been representing Mr. Trump’s campaign or the Republican Party as they challenge aspects of the election.
In states like Arizona, the Trump campaign and Republicans have mostly relied on local law firms, not ones with national profiles, to file cases challenging the election results or the voting process.
An exception is Jones Day, one of the country’s largest law firms. It represented Mr. Trump’s campaigns in 2016 and 2020, and during the Trump presidency, it has been involved in roughly 20 lawsuits involving Mr. Trump, his campaign or the Republican Party.
Most recently, Jones Day has been representing the Republican Party in Pennsylvania in litigation about the handling of mail-in votes received after Election Day. Some partners at the firm have voiced discomfort about its involvement in that case, as well as Jones Day’s broader work for the Trump campaign.
Dave Petrou, a Jones Day spokesman, said in a statement this week that the Pennsylvania litigation involved important constitutional questions. “Jones Day will not withdraw from that representation,” he said. Mr. Petrou noted that the firm had not made allegations of voter fraud and was not contesting the election results.
The Lincoln Project, a well-funded group of anti-Trump Republicans, this week began publicly urging employees of Jones Day and Porter Wright to resign and said it would call on clients to stop working with the firms.
Porter Wright is the firm that has been most involved in the Trump campaign’s efforts to invalidate the results in Pennsylvania, where President-elect Joseph R. Biden Jr. beat Mr. Trump by more than 50,000 votes.
Porter Wright had filed a number of actions in Pennsylvania courts challenging aspects of the state’s voting process. The suit that the law firm withdrew from was filed on Monday in the Federal District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania on behalf of the Trump campaign. It alleged that there were “irregularities” in the presidential vote across the state.
Jones Day was not involved in that suit, which is pending. The Democratic National Committee has filed a motion to dismiss it.
A Porter Wright spokeswoman, Melanie Farkas, said on Friday that the firm would work “to ensure transition to substitute counsel, and so as not to cause material adverse effect on the client’s interest.” She declined to comment further.
It isn’t clear if Porter Wright will continue to represent Mr. Trump’s campaign on the other cases it has filed.
Prominent lawyers at Porter Wright have donated to the Trump campaign, according to federal election records.
One partner, Jeremy A. Mercer, spoke at a Trump campaign news conference in Pennsylvania last week. Mr. Trump’s personal lawyer, Rudolph W. Giuliani, introduced Mr. Mercer as a volunteer election observer who had been “obstructed in a horrible way.” Mr. Mercer added, “We’re there, supposedly observing, but we can’t see.”
Neither mentioned that Mr. Mercer was a lawyer at the firm that was representing Mr. Trump’s campaign. Reached on Friday, Mr. Mercer declined to comment.
On Wednesday, Porter Wright issued a statement noting its “long history of election law work during which we have represented Democratic, Republican and independent campaigns and issues.”
“At times, this calls for us to take on controversial cases,” the statement said. “We expect criticism in such instances, and we affirm the right of all individuals to express concern and disagreement.”
Alan Feuer contributed reporting. Kitty Bennett contributed research.
OAKLAND, Calif. — In the weeks leading up to November, Iashia Kilian felt her anxiety deepen.
She knew her vote in the swing state of Michigan could help decide who the next president would be. She had done everything she could to help campaign for her candidate of choice. Now, all she could do was sit back, wait and make sure she had her favorite marijuana edibles at hand.
“The panic, the anxious feelings, it has all been too much. I knew I was only going to get through it with some help,” said Ms. Kilian, 43, who lives in Center Line. “I used to be the kind of person who would judge someone, especially a mother like me, taking edibles. But you know what? Everything happening here in this country is just too much. The people need some help.”
For many people across the United States, help came in the form of gummy bears, cookies, chocolates and gel capsules, all infused with a dose of cannabis calibrated to soothe Election Day jitters. While nationwide sales information is hard to come by, companies that specialize in edibles said sales soared in the weeks leading up to the election.
No longer a fringe item limited to pot brownies in a college dorm, edibles are being sold as part of the wellness industry and marketed as pantry staples. Or, as one Facebook group recently boasted, there is now an edible for every type of anxiety.
National surveys and elections show that Americans are increasingly interested in legalizing marijuana use. According to polls from Gallup, support for legalization rose from 12 percent in 1969 to 31 percent in 2000 and 66 percent in 2019. And on Nov. 3, voters in New Jersey, South Dakota, Montana and Arizona added their states to the 11 others that had legalized recreational marijuana. Mississippi and South Dakota made medical marijuana legal, bringing that total to 35.
The Election Day sweep means legal marijuana sales will soon reach one-third of Americans, expanding a market already experiencing booming sales during the pandemic.
In Facebook groups dedicated to edibles, people shared recipes to help calm Election Day jitters. Biden Brownie Bites and Trump Truffles were two dessert recipes featured, along with a note that no matter what side of the partisan divide people fell on, they could probably use an edible to help get them through the wait as ballots were counted.
Even as news networks declared on Saturday that Joseph R. Biden Jr. was the president-elect, many people said they remained anxious about battles over the vote count making their way through the courts, and the uncertainty over President Trump’s transition from power.
“There was the pandemic, and then the summer with all the social justice issues, and now the election stress,” said Coco Meers, co-founder and chief executive of Equilibria, a women-focused company in Chicago that specializes in CBD, a hemp-derived compound. “It has been nonstop, and it has led to extraordinary demand of cannabis.”
Her sales over the past month have increased over 40 percent from previous months, without marketing or promotions, Ms. Meers said. Demand for CBD gel capsules has skyrocketed, along with a concierge service that helps Equilibria’s customers decide how much to take, how often and what time of the day the capsules are best ingested.
“It is definitely becoming normalized,” Ms. Meers said. “We are seeing grandmothers who never thought they would be open minded to cannabis calling us. Mom groups are discussing it openly. It has just become a recognized thing to help people with anxiety.”
In New York, Doug Cohen and his business partner, Miguel Trinidad, a chef, started a multicourse marijuana dining experience last year, typically costing $150 per person. During the pandemic, they shifted from meals to cooking courses, helping customers experiment with new ways to sauté, sear, broil and bake with marijuana at home. Demand for at-home edibles cooking classes skyrocketed as the election neared.
“I would say we had three or four times as many people reaching out to us for help over the last couple weeks,” Mr. Cohen said.
The cook-at-home items are less complicated than the marijuana-infused spicy Sichuan noodles or seared Japanese Wagyu beef that the business might serve at its dinners. One of the top requests is cherry-chile-chocolate-cannabis ice cream.
“Food as a concept is so much less scary than smoking. It feels easier, and something that can be part of your routine,” Mr. Cohen said. “If it can taste great and also help calm down your anxiety, it is a win-win.
He added that many customers had become more interested in marijuana edibles because, during the pandemic, they wanted to spare their lungs damage from smoking.
- Officials across the U.S. say they found no evidence that voter fraud played a role in the election results.
- Trump harnesses the federal government’s power as he fights the election results.
- Pence rallied G.O.P. senators around Trump’s election challenges, promising to help defend their majority in Georgia.
Medical professionals largely agree that edibles appear to be safer than smoking or vaping, but note that they carry some risk. The psychoactive effects from edibles can take hours to kick in, leading people to consume one gummy or chocolate too many as they grow impatient.
Daria Carmon, 39, said edibles had become part of her daily care routine before the election.
“It’s too tense, there is too much going on, and people need to practice self care,” said Ms. Carmon, who lives in Brooklyn. She added that the normalization of edibles meant that people openly shared and discussed what dosages, brands and types worked best for them.
She has learned, for instance, that her edibles need to “not be too tasty.”
“I had to stop buying these salted caramels because they were too delicious and I was worried I would go overboard,” Ms. Carmon said. “You can see a situation where you are watching election results come in and snacking and the tastiest thing in your house also happens to be your edible. Not good.”
In Michigan, Ms. Kilian said edibles had helped her get through the stress of waiting for election results, all while she watched the number of people infected with coronavirus in the United States rise each day and home-schooled her soon.
On election night, she stayed awake until 3 a.m., watching the results of the vote slowly roll in.
“I had every news station going — NBC, Fox, CNN,” Ms. Kilian said. “I was listening to everyone, and they weren’t saying anything. If I had not had my edible, I would have been stressed. As it was, I felt a little stress, but I also felt a calm. I knew I could wait and find out who won.”
Days later, she was happy that she had the foresight to stock up on her favorite edibles.
“Shops are selling out — people are stressed,” she said. “People need their medicine.”