Election update: Monday, Nov 9, midmorning.
Finally got a decent full night of sleep last night. Still had vote-counting and electoral math sneak into dreams, but physically it does feel like a new day. How about you?
I’ve got a list of topics I’ll cover yet this week.
This morning, I’ve got two things on my mind:
1. Does Trump need to concede? and
2. Is Biden’s electoral win really secure from shenanigans?
GEORGIA SENATE: A future update will focus entirely on the two Jan 5 Senate runoff elections in Georgia that will decide control of the US Senate.
Quick thoughts for now:
1. Even the most partisan GOP Senators are using the phrase “If we win in GA…” because they know we can win both seats. Watch the conventional wisdom slowly slide toward a 50–50 shot in the next weeks.
2. I’m working on the best texting / calling / writing efforts for help from home.
3. Road trip? Yes for me. Think about it for yourself, too — safely of course. More soon on that front.
4. Donate to both campaigns through one click here: https://secure.actblue.com/donate/2020gasenaterunoff
FIRST: DOES TRUMP NEED TO CONCEDE?
No. And yes.
In the 6 Phases article I referenced earlier, we are now in Phase Two: Securing legal ratification and public consensus of the ballot-box victory for President-Elect Biden. Read it again here:
The legal ratification process is advancing forward, discussed below. Donald Trump does not need to concede the election in order for Joe Biden to officially be elected President and be sworn into office at 12pm on January 20.
The conession of a loser is a political norm, and Donald Trump has done all he can do to destroy every convention that does not serve his own self-interest. It’s hard to see Trump conceding at all. No dougbt that his middle initial “J” does not mean “Grace.” (yes, I did just make that terrible joke; forgive me, please)
BUT… TRANSITION… Congress enacted the Presidential Transition Act of 1963 to promote an orderly transfer of executive power. It’s important to note the original date of the Act — the very height of the Cold War, when American democracy was battling authoritarian dictatorships. The peaceful transfer of power is the most critical hallmark of a functional western democracy.
The Transition Act requires careful reading. It merely “authorizes” — not “requires” — the head of the General Services Administration (GSA) to provide funding and resources for the President-Elect and VP-Elect; the current GSA Administrator is Emily Murphy.
Further, the Transition Act empowers the GSA head, Murphy, with the sole power to “ascertain” the President-Elect who are “the apparent successful candidates for the office of President and Vice-President” following the election.
The legal obligation of the GSA head is implicit rather than explicity. But the pressure will grow — and has already begun. Cong. Gerald Connelly (D-VA) may likely hold hearings this week, if needed, on Ms. Murphy’s obstruction of the transition process. In a Washington Post, a “senior administration official” said that no Trump appointee is going to declare Biden the President-elect without any nod from the President himself.
As the Presidential Transition Act states, “Any disruption occasioned by the transfer of the executive power could produce results detrimental to the safety and well-being of the United States and its people.”
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Refer to Biden as the President-Elect.
Call your US Senator and Congressional Representative and ask them to call on GSA chief Emily Murphy to implement the Presidential Transition Act and recognize Biden as the President-elect.
Given the language of the Transition Act, it’s pretty clear that the Republic elected officials face the starkest choice yet: Trump’s unsupported conspiracy theories, or the national security of the United States of America.
SECOND: BIDEN’S SECURE ELECTORAL WIN: Here’s where we stand on the electoral math today, and why we I believe we can breathe easy.
The Biden-Harris team have secured safe electoral victories in states with 280 electoral votes. I’ll paste the map in comments, below, so you can see the math for yourself.
I am pretty close to adding Georgia’s 16 votes to the “safe” electoral vote column as well, with Biden’s lead up to 10,622 votes there.
Arizona is moving toward a very close finish, with the final batch of Trump-friendly last-minute drop-off ballots yet to be counted. Biden’s lead is 16,895. Trump would need to win 60% of the 81k ballots outstanding; he’s been only getting about 53% to date. I now expect a small Biden win that will be subject to a recount.
As I detailed earlier, each local election official will complete their counts this week, if they have not done so already. Local election boards will certify those results starting later this week, and then states will certify full results soon after, the week before Thanksgiving. Recounts will begin, if authorized or required — likely just Georgia and Wisconsin, if the Trump team chooses to pursue them. In addressing any remaining legal issues, states face the Constitutional deadline of December 13, so their electors can cast their Presidential votes on Dec. 14. The new Congress will then certify their acceptance of electors’ votes on Jan. 6.
As to recounts, Wisconsin’s 20,539 (0.6%+) vote margin is very, very unlikely to change in a recount.
Georgia’s margin will likely grow a bit as the last overseas and military ballots are processed. A recount there is very unlikely to affect Biden’s victory here as well. The politics of a recount will be heated, thought, with the parallel runoff elections at the same time.
Arizona? We have to wait for a final count there.
Nevada? As expected, Biden’s final vote margin is going to be well outside the recount margin — currently at 2.5%.
Now, let’s turn to Pennsyvlania, where Biden’s margin is at 45,657 and still growing, well outside recount territory as well.
But Pennsylvania continues to be a dreamland for Trump-world’s bullshit conspiracy theories. Courts have denied every substantive legal claim that would affect the count in any way (and the word “substantive” is itself up for debate here). All the Four Seasons Lanscape crews in the word cannot mow a clear path for Trump in the Keystone state.
But… what of the game theory situation that suggests GOP legislators could send a separate slate of electors to D.C. to vote for Trump instead of Biden? Sure, these Republicans could go back on their multiple statements and commitments to follow state law and the Due Process and Equal Protection clauses of the Constitution. But, Biden’s team would likely prevail in Court, given Pennsylvania law as it stood on Election Day and stands today still.
JEREMY CONFIDENCE LEVEL IN PA? Everest-level, still. Definitely not dishwasher-level.
Further, what would be the point, Pennsylvania? 2020 is not 2000, with a few hundreds votes in one state determining the winner of the Presidency.
This year, with Georgia safely secured by the Biden team, and only Arizona to be determined, any Constitutional question invoked by Pennsylvania would not affect the fate of the Presidency. Biden-Harris would still hold 276 electoral votes.
For this reason, you can all breathe easy. Joe Biden is the Preisdent-elect of the United States, and Kamala Harris is the Vice President-Elect. No question.
And for this reason, it is unacceptable that GSA Administrator Emily Murphy foments uncertainty to appease the President’s tin-foil-hat ego rather than do her job.
NEXT ON MY TO-DO LIST: Call the dishwasher repair pro. A huge blow to my ego. (Not really. Ok, sort of. Maybe. Yeah, probably.)
How are YOU doing?