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I finally got past this, thank goodness. After lots of reading and hacking and try-try-trying again, there are a two things I did to correct this that I want to point out for the community:

  1. I manually installed the "DigiCert SHA2 Secure Server" certificate with instructions from this site: https://bugs.launchpad.net/ubuntu/+source/ca-certificates/+bug/1795242

This seems necesarry to talk to raw.github.com. That did not fix everything by itself, but seemed to be necessary based on connectivity issues I was having. Not sure why this wasn't already installed, but I don't know anything about certificates. I don't know if this was the issue.

What then ultimately fixed it for me was this:

  1. Editing c_rehash lines 15 and 16 to point to "/usr/local/ssl" and copying certificates to that location, which has something to do with making "wget work as before upgrade to Ubuntu 18.04". I found those instructions at this site: https://superuser.com/questions/1387295/ca-certificates-is-broken-or-not-fully-installed