Wednesday, November 25, 2020


I still haven't read Tim Alberta's long Politico article about President Trump's failed effort to change the electoral outcome in Michigan, but I was glancing at it and I spotted this passage about Lee Chatfield, the Republican speaker of the Michigan House of Representatives, and Mike Shirkey, the Republican majority leader of the Michigan Senate, who accepted an invitation to a White House meeting last week:
Ultimately, the GOP lawmakers felt they were obligated to go. This was the president calling on them—and besides, they joked, it might be a long time before a Republican occupied the Oval Office again.
Really? Is that what these two Republicans believe?

As it turns out, these guys weren't particularly hardcore -- they didn't seem inclined to finagle a win for Trump, and their state has now certified Joe Biden as the winner. But they've apparently fallen for the party line, which is that Democrats are evil supervillains who, if granted even a tiny bit of power, will change Washington and America so utterly that the Republican Party will be left bleeding on the floor, never to recover. This is in spite of the fact that Democrats need to run the table in the Georgia Senate runoffs in order to fully control Congress -- and even then, moderate senators like Joe Manchin will put limits on change. And this is also in spite of the Republicans' 6-3 majority on the Supreme Court.

But I guess these guys were told that Democrats will immediately get into office and give statehood to D.C. and Puerto Rico, even though there's no guarantee that Puerto Rico would send two Democrats to the Senate, and even though a hypothetical addition of four new Democratic senators wouldn't flip the current Senate, which is 53-47 Republican and would become 53-51 Republican. It would flip the incoming Senate, or at least create a 52-52 tie if Republicans win two seats in Georgia, but a look at the current Senate makes clear that adding four new Democrats wouldn't create a permanent Democratic Senate majority.

It might make the Electoral College a bit friendlier to Democrats -- although D.C. already has three electoral votes -- but the close margins for Joe Biden in multiple states, in an election he won by (in all likelihood) 7 million popular votes, make clear that the Electoral College still favors Republicans.

And many of us have a sense of foreboding about the election results this year. Democrats failed to win back the Senate on Election Day. They lost seats in the House. They didn't flip any state legislatures.

And in 2024, Joe Biden will be an octogenarian -- or he won't run and his vice president will be his heir apparent in a country that's still riddled with racism and, especially in presidential elections, sexism. Or there'll be a primary battle between establishment figures and progressives. (Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez will be old enough to run for president in 2024.) Everything could be just fine for Democrats in 2024. Victory is hardly inevitable, however.

But I say this only because I'm a Democrat. If I were a Republican, I guess I'd assume that the Democratic juggernaut is now all but unstoppable.

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