Congratulations! If you’re reading this message, it means you’ve successfully escaped the never-ending nightmare of November 3rd. Your reward is at least another two months of nonsense.
Despite the incumbent’s best efforts, the Presidential election is over. Winning Pennsylvania nudged Joe Biden over the 270-electoral-vote threshold; the outstanding counts in Arizona, Georgia, North Carolina and Alaska serve only to determine the margin of victory, which looks to end up far beyond the reach of even the most dogged recount. That leaves us at the starting line of a truly self-descriptive lame-duck session, caused by both the GOP leadership’s refusal to admit defeat and by the brewing sh*tstorm in Georgia.
Let’s start with the latter. See, despite claiming the Presidency and retaining the House, the 2020 election was far from an outright success for the Democrats. Initial projections that they would claim the Senate fell through after unexpectedly strong showings from vulnerable incumbents Susan Collins (Maine) and Joni Ernst (Iowa), plus a late-breaking scandal that sank North Carolina challenger Cal Cunningham. Wins from Colorado’s John Hickenlooper and Arizona’s Mark Kelly offset the loss of Alabama’s Doug Jones to give the Democrats a net gain in Senate seats, but even an improbable comeback from Alaska’s Al Gross would leave them behind the Republicans at 51/49 with the inclusion of the body’s pair of Dem-leaning independents. The Dems were looking at a 52/48 deficit that left Mitch McConnell in charge and badly hamstrung any major legislation from the new administration
Enter Jon Ossoff and Reverend Raphael Warnock.
In an impressive effort, bolstered by former gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, Ossoff and Warnock forced runoffs against incumbents David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, both of whom had faced investigations for insider trading earlier this year. Both elections will take place on January 5th, and since the Vice President casts the tiebreaking vote in Senate, a double Democratic win would leave the party in control of a 50/50 Senate.
Now the former. The Trump administration is effectively throwing things at the wall and seeing what sticks, all while the President and major players like Ted Cruz and Lindsey Graham push baseless claims of voter fraud and other election malfeasance. Said administration has filed lawsuit after lawsuit in swing states seeking to invalidate large swathes of votes, with a particular emphasis on the mail-in ballots that pushed Biden over the top. We’ve also seen the General Services Administration (GSA) refuse to certify Biden’s win and the White House push federal agencies to “proceed” with Trump’s February budget, impeding the Biden administration’s attempts at transition.
It’s worth noting that states like Wisconsin and Pennsylvania took longer to count their votes because their GOP-led state legislatures forbade them from counting early votes ahead of time.
The moral of this story? Enjoy Thanksgiving and Christmas, because January’s going to be more of the 2020 we all know and loathe.