And a few other notes as we head into 2021…
If you believe Trump’s endless allegations that Democrats stole the election out from under him, but there’s no explicit smoking gun proof because they did it in such a coordinated way, across many states each with different voting rules, and they did it seamlessly and invisibly, turning around a dire situation for themselves literally overnight, can we at least agree those should be the people in charge of distributing Coronavirus vaccines?
Even though the word “fraud” keeps coming out of Trump’s mouth, and appearing in his Tweets, if you look at the substance of what he’s saying and Tweeting—if you can call it that—every “huge” revelation is based on some ridiculous, tortuous stab at “data analysis”, and never on any findings of actual widespread fraud in fact.
Or not even that. Trump accused the Secretary of State of Georgia this week with having a brother who works for China. Which would apparently explain his unwillingness to throw the election Trump lost in Georgia, to Trump. Except the person to whom Trump was apparently referring is not the Georgia Secretary of State’s brother. Because it just doesn’t matter: Trump just floods the zone with misinformation, and people start believing it because they’re hearing so much, there must be something to it.
And most of that “data analysis” boils down to an argument that Trump didn’t lose because how could he possibly have lost? And most of Trump’s personal argument boils down to that too: “I didn’t lose, because how could I possibly have lost”?
Except he did. I even have to remind myself from time to time that the Electoral College margin is 306 to 232 for Biden. Trump lost because he lost. Not even close.
Meanwhile, Missouri Republican Senator Josh Hawley said he’d endorse some House Republicans’ challenge of the counting of Electoral Votes next week, which probably means some other Republican Senators will now jump on that bandwagon, especially since doing that would now force all of them to go on the record about whether they favor Trump and his efforts to overturn election results or not anyway. It will definitely draw out the process, and you can be sure Trump will use whatever time he has, to go to every despicable option possible, to explore every last loophole that might transform him, the loser, into the winner anyway.
Unless something completely crazy happens, that won’t happen. Still, there’s significance to the move anyway that will outlast the day.
That’s why 2 Senate runoff elections in Georgia are so crucial. If Democrats win both, the Senate will be split 50-50. With Democrats having an advantage because the Vice-President is President of the Senate, and breaks any ties. But what about committee assignments? And prioritizing what bills to consider?
In previous situations where that happened, the leader of the vice president’s party was recognized as majority leader. That happened just a few years ago with Bush/Cheney in the White House. But that’s not a hard and fast rule; just what’s happened in practice, in the past.
Anyway, if Democrats don’t win both up-for-grabs seats in Georgia, here’s what I see happening, and Hawley’s move almost certainly assures it:
- “Election Integrity” suddenly becomes very important to Republicans. So much so that it logjams the Senate for the next couple years at least, with endless hearings about 2020 fraud and “irregularities”. They won’t come up with much. How am I so sure? Because Trump’s already spent millions on trying to find fraud after the fact and has found nothing substantial. Hand recounts of paper ballots that were supposedly–according to Trump–algorithmically adulterated when they passed through voting machines, showed no such thing occurred. When signatures were rechecked on ballot envelopes, they matched, despite assurances from the President and his minions that they wouldn’t. Regardless, Senate Republicans will transfer further pursuit of those conspiracy theories onto the U.S. Taxpayers’ tab, and Trump can use the rest of the money he’s raised to amplify his voice. He and his cohorts work to oust Republican Senators who did not support his coup attempts, and replace them with those who would’ve.
- Republicans in the Senate decide in the interest of “Election Integrity” there needs to be more uniformity to election laws and voting practices, so they start trying to pass legislation that takes power away from states to set their own voting rules, select their own vendors, etc. I wonder how Texas—which just tried to sue Georgia in order to tell it how it should run its elections—will react when the federal government starts trying to dictate how it’ll run its elections? One of the main reasons Trump so far hasn’t been able to pull off his coup is that elections in this country are decentralized: individual states control how they’re conducted. And I think a lot of the reason some Republican legislators and elections officials didn’t roll over to Trump, is they’re proud of where they come from, and the voting systems they’ve created in their states. So, of course, President Joe Biden will veto these anti-Democratic bills Republican Senators will try to pass, and there won’t be enough votes to override, but to far-right voters that in itself will be confirmation that Democrats stole the last election and just want to do it again. Even though Biden will actually be trying to keep things safe for voters.
And that’s where this whole potential offshoot of what happens next week will not just become a huge waste of time and money, but also highly dangerous. Not so much because Trump-supporters, or former Trump-supporters now moved on to someone else, will believe this, because they will anyway. But a lot of other Americans might not care that much.
This is something I’ve talked a lot about during this transition period. Because I am astounded at the number of people I am encountering these days who might not even be Trump supporters, but don’t see why it’s a big deal if he or Biden is President. They are people living charmed, sacrifice-free lives, and they might not really care to weigh in on Democracy vs. Dictatorship, except to probably go for whatever candidate will charge them less in taxes. Most of these people—at least those that I know—have for some reason spent part or all of this week or last in Tulum, or Cabo…
And because of this I think some media, and pundits—even some whom I typically respect a lot—are being extremely short-sighted right now. Especially when they tell us about how Trump’s destroying the Republican Party, or that it’s time we move on, or that they’ve already moved on themselves.
Because I think right now, and for an extended and indefinite period of time into the future, it’s absolutely vital to keep a conversation going about how Democracy is important, and why it needs to be valued and protected. Even if it means your preferred candidate doesn’t always win. And why every American needs to have a voice that can be heard, and a vote that counts.
Hope to see you in a brighter 2021!