The actual election



November 3 was just a warm-up; for policy wonks tomorrow is the election that decides the fate of our government (in policy terms).

I recent weeks, I’ve thought it best if tomorrow results in a split decision, although I actually root for the GOP to lose both races. Why do I think a split decision would be best? Reason magazine explains better than I could:

If Republicans emerge from this run-off election with a 51–49 majority, that would still allow Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R–Ky.) to act as a needed roadblock. . . .

A split decision Tuesday, pairing a single Republican victory with a single Republican loss, might do more to break the party’s Trump fever than a wipeout loss would. A slim Republican Senate majority would maximize the leverage of moderate Republicans like Sens. Susan Collins (R–Maine) and Mitt Romney (R–Utah)—who happen to be some of the senators least corrupted by Trumpism.

Being in the minority, on the other hand, would elevate a different set of Republican senators. Rather than feeling like they’ve narrowly survived a bout with Trumpism, the party might sink further into that morass under the weight of Trump’s grievances and (in his hardcore supporters’ eyes) political martyrdom.

It’s tempting to wish for Republicans to get swept on Tuesday. It’s what they probably deserve after the past two months, to say nothing of the past four years. But for reasons centered in politics and policy, I’ll spend Tuesday rooting—as usual—for both parties to lose.

Why do I root for the GOP to lose both races, even though it’s best if there is a split decision? Well, since when do all 10 former Defense secretaries need to state the obvious:

Ashton Carter, Dick Cheney, William Cohen, Mark Esper, Robert Gates, Chuck Hagel, James Mattis, Leon Panetta, William Perry and Donald Rumsfeld are the 10 living former U.S. secretaries of defense.

As former secretaries of defense, we hold a common view of the solemn obligations of the U.S. armed forces and the Defense Department. . . .

As senior Defense Department leaders have noted, “there’s no role for the U.S. military in determining the outcome of a U.S. election.” Efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory. Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic.

Not if Trump wins! He’s just pardoned a bunch of corrupt government officials and campaign operatives, not to mention war criminals and murderers from the military. Trump’s not going to prosecute any official that helps him seize power in a coup.

In all the noise about the recent Georgia phone call, let’s not overlook the fact that it was taped precisely because Lindsey Graham had previously pressured the Georgia Secretary of State to fix the election in Trump’s favor, and then lied about doing so. (By the way, is anyone surprised to learn that Lindsey Graham is a liar; I feel like I need to take a shower every time I see him speak.)

After 18 futile attempts to get through, Trump finally connected with the Georgia election officials. Having been burned by Graham, they decided to tape the call. Trump did not know the call was taped, and of course he immediately lied about the contents of the call. And of course his supporters won’t believe he lied, even though anyone can listen to the call. There is literally no piece of information that would convince Trumpistas that Trump is anything less than the second coming of God.

He also sounded like a complete moron, which I’ve been telling you guys for 5 years. Next time, please listen to me.

Meanwhile, Trump has started claiming the Covid-19 fatality figures are fake news, even as a 41-year old and healthy GOP member of Congress dies from Covid.

I said it would be a bad interregnum if Trump lost. If ignoring Covid-19 just as the UK variant is exploding, pardoning corrupt government officials and war criminals, and trying to subvert the Constitution in a coup attempt don’t qualify as a bad last two months in office, please explain to me what would.

I’m not even sure all this helps his own party. Do Trump’s recent actions help the GOP hold the Senate? Does Trump even want the GOP to hold the Senate? Or is Trump like some un-named central European dictator who doesn’t care if his own country is destroyed once it becomes clear that his hair-brained scheme for world domination didn’t work?

Update: On the other hand, given that so many people now vote by mail, this stuff may be too late to impact the Georgia race.

PS. I don’t know if the President can do anything about the vaccine roll out fiasco, but it would sort of be nice to see him at least try.

PPS. Think about a US president trying to call a GOP official 18 times before getting through. Eighteen! I’ve never tried to call anyone more than 5 times in my entire life. OK, maybe that girlfriend that dumped me. . . .