Democrats Win Georgia Runoff, Likely to Take Senate

Kamala Harris will be very, very busy the next two years.

Raphael Warnock has beaten Kelly Loeffler and will be the first Black Senator from Georgia. Upstart Jon Ossoff has a slim lead over incumbent David Perdue; given that the late votes almost always tend Democratic, I’m willing to do what the media won’t and say that there will be two new Democratic Senators, meaning a 50-50 chamber with Vice President Kamala Harris able to break ties two weeks from today.

Given that the Republicans were well ahead in the initial contest, with a runoff necessary only because spoiler candidates siphoned off a few votes, and Republicans historically outperforming their general election numbers in run-offs (especially in Georgia) it seems reasonable to conclude the President Trump’s wild antics in continuing the absurd claim that the November election was somehow stolen tipped the scales. Certainly, a lot of Republican elites think so.

With control of the Senate at stake in the state’s two races, the president chose to spend weeks peddling baseless claims that Georgia’s electoral system was rigged, fueling an online movement to boycott Tuesday’s election. He demonized the state’s Republican leaders and fractured the local GOP. He ignored calls from his allies to rally in the state sooner. His support for Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue mainly came in the form of the occasional tweet and two rallies, including one on Monday. He blasted Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell for not heeding his calls for boosted stimulus checks.

So when Democrat Raphael Warnock defeated Loeffler early on Wednesday — and with Democrat Jon Ossoff having a good chance of toppling Perdue — Republicans were quick to blame Trump.

“Trump is the cause of this, lock, stock and barrel,” said one Republican strategist. “But when you’re relying on someone to win you a Senate race that also lost statewide eight weeks prior, you’re not in a position of strength.”

The immediate recrimination is emblematic of the complicated GOP dynamics that have emerged after Trump’s loss in the November election. Fissures are forming as Republicans decide whether it’s useful to cling to Trump — even as he tries to subvert an election — or to distance themselves. And if the Georgia races are any indication, it appears Republicans are willing to turn on Trump if he can’t reliably turn out the vote for candidates in the months and years ahead.

When asked why Republicans didn’t prevail on Tuesday, a senior Senate Republican aide simply said: “Donald J. Trump.”

It serves them right.

Frankly, Perdue and Loeffler are particularly deserving of losing. Perdue misused his office to engage in insider stock trades, illegally lining his pockets while lying to his constituency about the severity of a virus that hit them disproportionately hard. Loeffler doubled down on the racism in her campaign against Warnock. And both cheered on Trump’s attempts to steal the election.

One would like to think that piling bitter defeat on bitter defeat will cause the Republican Party to repudiate Trump and Trumpism. Alas, they’re almost certainly going to double down, actually buying into the absurd notion that they’ve somehow been agrieved.

While my generic preference would have been for divided government to forestall some of the progressive fever dreams of ending the filibuster, packing the courts, adding Democratic states, and other measures I think would further divide the country, this outcome was necessary. Not only as a repudiation of Trump and his ilk but because Mitch McConnell and company have sadly demonstrated that they’re willing to put party over country time after time. We simply can’t afford that as far behind as we are in fighting this pandemic.

While I would prefer Joe Biden as Ronald Reagan and McConnell as Tip O’Neil, that’s sadly not the country we live in anymore. So my hope rests with Biden’s natural moderate tendencies and for Joe Manchin and maybe a couple of others to stand in the way of overreach. And maybe, just maybe, for a handful of moderate Republicans to start rebuilding a loyal opposition party.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.

Comments

  1. Kylopod says:

    Your title should read: “Radical Liberal Raphael Warnock Defeats Attila the Hun.”

    11
  2. An Interested Party says:

    Poor David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler…now they’ll have to depend on their former GOP colleagues in the Senate to get stock tips…

    22
  3. Scott says:

    Chuck Schumer as Majority Leader. He’s a decent buy and reasonably competent. But that doesn’t seem quite adequate at this point. Isn’t there a better choice? And who would it be?

    3
  4. Paine says:

    Perdue struck me as a typical empty suit senator so didn’t have strong feelings one way or another, but Working Class Barbie and her ridiculous trucker hat came across as particularly phony. Good riddance to both of them.

    It’s shaping up to be a pretty good week.

    Oh, almost forgot, radical liberal Raphael Warnock.

    4
  5. Kylopod says:

    In seriousness, I was really surprised. Despite my analysis a couple of weeks ago where I listed pros and cons, I was not optimistic in Democrats’ chances in either of these races. It’s for me the biggest pleasant surprise in politics since Doug Jones in 2017–which is odd given that that was an actual polling upset, whereas the polls showed Warnock and Ossoff as favorites. I just didn’t believe the polls. I knew the polls in Georgia for the Nov election had been relatively accurate, but I figured this accuracy went out the window for a runoff election where it would be very hard to come up with a reliable turnout model. Besides, I tend to believe that polling for red states typically underestimates Republicans (it’s an effect I’ve noticed for a while, and I’m not sure of the reason).

    I was also skeptical of the theory that Trumps’ stolen-election rhetoric would dampen Republican turnout. I figured that was just not the way hardcore Trumpists processed the situation. They were more like “Dems steal election! Must vote! MAGA Booga!” I guess I felt that you could always count on Rs turning out. That seemed to be the case in 2018 and 2020–what made those elections go (mostly) in Dems’ favor was that Dems also turned out, leading to record-breaking turnout overall.

    I just read an analysis showing that turnout was down in more Trump-friendly counties, which does lend credence to the above theory. If it’s true, it makes me tremendously happy, because it means that not only did Trump’s coup attempt fail on its own terms, it backfired on the party. I didn’t think it would happen, but apparently it did.

    16
  6. MarkedMan says:

    While my generic preference would have been for divided government to forestall some of the progressive fever dreams of ending the filibuster, packing the courts, adding Democratic states, and other measures I think would further divide the country,

    I know this is conventional wisdom in Republican circles, but it doesn’t hold up in the glare of reality. Schumer most certainly doesn’t have the votes to do any of these things with a fifty-fifty split, and wouldn’t even with. 53-47 split, or even higher. As Josh Marshall rightly pointed out, the most significant change will be what makes it to the floor. McConnell’s Republicans have done nothing but pass a budget (barely) and provide giveaways to their sponsors. Ta side from those there have been no positive significant positive initiatives brought to the floor, nor anything that any Republican donor would get upset about. He has “protected” his Senators from having to stand for anything. Perhaps even worse, he has ensured there is no oversight in either house of Congress and has added and supported language that gave unparalleled discretion to the administration. I know you want to believe that your former party still has some redeeming value, but they do not.

    26
  7. Kylopod says:

    Gabriel Debenedetti
    @gdebenedetti
    I’m not sure people have fully internalized that, if elected, Jon Ossoff would be the youngest Democratic senator since…Joe Biden.
    9:02 PM · Jan 5, 2021·Twitter Web App

    8
  8. drj says:

    @Kylopod:

    I just read an analysis showing that turnout was down in more Trump-friendly counties, which does lend credence to the above theory.

    Only relative to Democrat-friendly countries. Turnout was apparently very high for a run-off – even in Trump territory.

    It’s more about Democratic/anti-Trump enthusiam than Republican discouragement, it seems.

    3
  9. Teve says:

    @blakehounshell

    Republicans are warning that Trump has handed Democrats a cudgel to whack the Electoral College with, and they fear being locked out of the presidency forever

    https://www.politico.com/news/2021/01/06/gop-electoral-college-challenge-backfire-455204

    2
  10. Michael Reynolds says:

    For four years Lindsey Graham and Marco Rubio and Ted Cruz have been groveling bootlicks to the fuckwit fascist. And they were all looking forward to chairing committees from which perches they could lie to and curry the favor of, the fevered delusionals of the GOP. And now they’ve lost those chairmanships along with their honor.

    But the best is Mitch McConnell, a true bottom-dweller, a man devoid of integrity, honesty, common decency. Human garbage. And now minority leader thanks to the man whose colon he’s been tonguing since 2016.

    So very satisfying.

    35
  11. An Interested Party says:

    A lesson for Republicans to learn here (not that they will) is that it’s probably not a good idea to demonize a black candidate (particularly a man of the cloth) in a statewide election being held in a state with a sizeable black population…those ads darkening his skin and portraying him as some kind of evil communist worked, but not in the way that Republicans would have hoped…

    9
  12. Jax says:

    @Scott: I was thinking the same thing….Schumer is not the guy for this job at this time. I don’t know who would be, though.

    1
  13. Teve says:

    @ReverendWarnock

    Joy comes in the morning. Thank you, Georgia.

    (Psalms 30:5 if you libtard heathens don’t get the reference)

    7
  14. Kathy says:

    I have a bit more to say later, but right now I have to get this in:

    It serves them right.

    Hear, hear!

    5
  15. OzarkHillbilly says:

    While my generic preference would have been for divided government to forestall some of the progressive fever dreams of ending the filibuster, packing the courts, adding Democratic states, and other measures I think would further divide the country,

    Ah James, I love your blinders/short memory. As far as “packing the courts” that’s exactly what MM did over the past 8 years, first by blocking Obama, then by opening up an Autobahn from the federalist Society to to the courts. What you would call packing the courts, DEMs would call “balancing the courts”. When it comes to “further dividing the country”, I don’t see how anyone can divide the country any more thoroughly than trump did. And did again. And again and again and again and again…

    Lastly, getting rid of the filibuster might well be the only way to ensure an economic recovery, an end to the pandemic, a Voting Rights Act that actually protects voters as opposed to GOP politicians, sane immigration, real police reform, etc etc etc.

    Maybe you think these are all things that will divide the country even more. You know what? You might well be right. But if so, I say let’s have the fight right now and out in the open.

    41
  16. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jax: Elizabeth Warren? (a man can dream, can’t he?)

    7
  17. Michael Reynolds says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    Maybe you think these are all things that will divide the country even more. You know what? You might well be right. But if so, I say let’s have the fight right now and out in the open.

    Exactly.

    Gentlemen may cry, Peace, Peace — but there is no peace. The war is actually begun!
    — Patrick Henry

    14
  18. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    While my generic preference would have been for divided government to forestall some of the progressive fever dreams of ending the filibuster, packing the courts, adding Democratic states, and other measures I think would further divide the country, this outcome was necessary.

    Ignoring the Republican fever dreams therein…
    I too prefer a divided Government. But that assume a working partner in Government. Republicans have gone so far off the rails that governing with them is an impossibility right now.
    I am a tad frightened of Democratic fumbling. They need to make simple clear moves that Americans can clearly understand are aimed at helping them. And they should bring some of the saner Republicans along with them.
    Biden is right…this nation has to heal. That begins in two weeks.

    12
  19. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    Trump’s phone call to the GA SoS exposed the Sedition Caucus for the co-conspirators and rank political hacks that they are. Last nights results in GA simply beclowned them.
    I cannot imagine getting up in front of a joint session of Congress, and contesting Biden’s presidency, with a straight face. Especially Hawley, who got caught lying about his house being vandalized.
    Trump adds to his 6 bankruptcies….he has now also lost the House, the White House, and the Senate.
    Election fraud, indeed.

    11
  20. Joe says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Consider Loeffler: appointed to her senate seat, failed at outright election, and proposing to disenfranchise the people of her state who just rejected her. A true princess of democracy.

    9
  21. Kathy says:

    @Jax:

    Stupid question: Does the Senate majority leader have to be a sitting Senator’

    There was discussion in 2018 that the Speaker of the House need not be a serving Representative. If the same applies to the Senate, then I put forward the same person some wanted for Speaker: Stacey Abrams.

    On other things, is there any Republican Senator who could be turned from the Dark Side? That would give the Democrats a 51-49 majority, which would deny any GOP power in chairing committees and such.

    Failing that, a 50-50 split traditionally has meant sharing power in committees. But that’s a mere norm, not the law. and we know what has happened to norms recently.

    4
  22. Jay L Gischer says:

    I believe that the Senate rules stipulate that you need 51 votes to change the Senate rules. Therefore, ending the filibuster isn’t going to happen.

    Which, in turn, means a lot of the other stuff isn’t going to happen. Which is, in most cases, unfortunate.

    Chuck Schumer isn’t going anywhere. But to indulge the fantasy: I prefer that Elizabeth Warren be able to speak her mind freely. This would not be the case if she were Majority Leader, where she would face a responsibility for speaking for the caucus as a whole.

    5
  23. mattbernius says:

    @Kylopod:

    In seriousness, I was really surprised.

    Me too. I am very happy to be wrong on this one — though, I’m still not bullish on the Dem’s chances in 2022–especially if they can’t pass key legislation (including reissuing the voting rights act).

    I do feel vindicated (again) about stressing the importance of the Black vote and colation for Democrats. Its another reminder that while maintaining the Midwest is important, ensuring that Black Democrats feel like they are an active and important part of the party is critical. This also gets back to the choice of Kamala Harris as VP (and a potential future Presidential candidate).

    4
  24. Jax says:

    @Kathy: I was just looking that up, myself, and it appears there’s no constitutional requirement, per se, that Majority Leader be a sitting Senator, that’s just “how it’s always been”. The role appears to have happened somewhat organically in the early part of the 1900’s, as a way to keep the parties cohesive and on track, so the Majority and Minority leaders have always been “those most eloquent in persuasion”. I would assume that over the years, there’s been an unspoken “seniority” requirement, but again…nothing about it in the actual Constitution.

    I am no constitutional expert, however, that’s just what it looks like to me after a quick Google search. 😉

    Stacey Abrams appears to be pretty damn good at persuading people, looks like the job would be a natural fit for her!

    1
  25. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy:

    Stupid question: Does the Senate majority leader have to be a sitting Senator

    I’m not looking that up right now. I do know the House Speaker in theory doesn’t have to be a member of the House. Jared Golden just voted for Tammy Duckworth, a Senator. But to my knowledge there’s never been a non-House member as Speaker in history. I suspect something similar is true of Senate leaders–so any such talk is fantasy football.

    I do think, though, that Stacy Abrams would be a poor choice for Congressional leader at this point. While she does have some experience as legislative leader, it’s typically is given to people rising up through the ranks. It’s also a thankless role–they’re almost universally unpopular–and she seems too much of a rising rock star for me to wish that on her.

    6
  26. mattbernius says:

    Also, I for one am really happy that Rush Limbaugh lived to see this day and what is most likely coming in the next few weeks and months.

    11
  27. Kathy says:

    @Jax:
    @Kylopod:

    That impasse got in faster than I anticipated.

    For the record, I don’t expect an outsider to be made leader in either chamber in the foreseeable future. It’s justa fun notion to speculate with.

    As for Abrams, she has shown a talent for producing turnout, which has given the Democratic Party a 16 EV cushion and control (of sorts) of the Senate. Perhaps she should be approached for taking over the DNC. If we’re entering, or have entered, an era of turnout elections, then that’s what the party needs most right now.

    And I still think every effort must be made to get one GOP Senator to defect, even if just to declare themselves independent, so long as they don’t caucus with the Party of Trump(TM).

    2
  28. James Joyner says:

    @MarkedMan: @OzarkHillbilly: @Daryl and his brother Darryl: You seem to be repeating my argument as a rebuttal to my argument. My “generic preference” is, as I note in the same paragraph, obviated by the fact we don’t live in the world that conditioned that preference. If Mitch McConnell were a Tip O’Neil analog—a fierce partisan who nonetheless displayed an ability to negotiate to govern—it would balance out potential excesses that I dislike. But that’s not who he is or the coalition that he leads.

    I’ve devoted whole threads to the court-packing argument and don’t see a need to rehash it here other than that the vocabulary has long since been settled.

    9
  29. Matt says:

    @Jax: I would prefer Stacy Abrams to go after the governorship again. Without Kemps bullshit she’d have more than a fair chance at winning next time. For now she’s doing amazing pushing georgia blue and I’d hate to lose that.

    5
  30. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Jay L Gischer:I believe that the Senate rules stipulate that you need 51 votes to change the Senate rules. Therefore, ending the filibuster isn’t going to happen.

    50 plus Kamala? She is president of the Senate.

    ETA: I still doubt it will happen, Manchin has said, “No way.”

    2
  31. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:
    I wasn’t rebutting your argument…I was concurring and adding my $00.02.
    Well…except for the Republican fever dreams. I mean, seriously…you forgot defunding the police and socialism.

    4
  32. Christopher Osborne says:

    The scary thing about the 2020 election is that if Trump had been even 5% better on the pandemic, we could be looking at a Republican trifecta. It was too close.

    8
  33. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:

    @James Joyner:
    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:
    I will say that it has occurred to me that adding DC and Puerto Rico as states would provide significant economic stimulus simply by replacing every single flag in the nation.
    /snark

    2
  34. MarkedMan says:

    @James Joyner: Fair enough

    1
  35. gVOR08 says:

    @Jax:

    I would assume that over the years, there’s been an unspoken “seniority” requirement

    More of an unspoken fundraising requirement. Moscow Mitch has the Senate Leadership PAC that spends something like 500 million on Senate races, almost entirely on attack ads against Dems. They dumped a ton of money on GA. I haven’t looked at Schumer, but I expect it’s a similar situation.

    1
  36. Kylopod says:

    @OzarkHillbilly: Manchin has come out against ending the filibuster. But I don’t think it’s a certainty he’ll maintain that opposition if the R’s try to block everything 2009-style.

    On the other hand, there’s a potential risk of him becoming the Jim Jeffords of 2021. In 2001, R’s began Bush’s presidency with a 50-50 Senate with Cheney as tie-breaker, then Jeffords left the GOP, suddenly handing control to the Dems. I don’t believe Manchin would do the equivalent, but I bet he’ll allow that threat implicitly to hover over Dem leadership.

    1
  37. Jen says:

    @Christopher Osborne: Yep. I said this last night to my husband: if Trump had spent the time and effort on actually DOING the job as he has trying to hold on to it, he would likely have actually been reelected.

    Which is terrifying.

    We’re fortunate that he’s such a lazy and incompetent fool.

    5
  38. Teve says:

    @charlotteclymer

    When Stacey Abrams declined to run for the Senate and focus on voting reform and mobilization, there was a LOT of skepticism in response. But she had a vision, she knew what her state needed in this moment, and she followed through on it. Thank goodness. A leader of leaders.

    7
  39. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @James Joyner: Oh, I’m sorry James, how ever coulsd I have misinterpreted your desire to “forestall some of the progressive fever dreams” as being anything other than more both sides BS. Really James, time and time again you just don’t hear yourself speak. You seem to think you are being nuanced but I hear it couched in terms Rush Limbaugh would be comfortable with.

    I find it especially interesting that you push back against Marked Man with the same words you do me when he explicitly states the feared fever dreams aren’t happening anyway.

    11
  40. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Kylopod: Agreed.

  41. Nightcrawler says:

    Up until fairly recently, I preferred a divided government as well. Problem is, the GOP does not negotiate. We don’t end up with compromises; we end up with extreme right-wing policies, and those policies have literally killed ~350,000 people and counting.

    We’ve swung so far to the right that the pendulum needs to swing back to the left for a while. I don’t give a rat’s ass if the country is “divided.” I want the deaths to stop, and I want the economy back on track. We need progressive policies to accomplish these things, not right-wing “pull yerself up by the bootstraps” and “muh 99% survival rate.”

    The ironic thing is that I’m sitting here saying this as I’m making more money than I ever have in my life. I’m not rich, but I’m in the top 10% of wage earners. According to the GOP, I “should” be a right-winger. Instead, I remain — and it pains me to even type a word with -ist in it — a realist. I don’t support ideologies. I support policies that make sense under the circumstances.

    Fiscal conservatism is all well and good when we’re not in the literal apocalypse. Since we are in the apocalypse, progressive policies are what make sense. I’d rather err on the side of spending too much on social programs right now, because I want to be able to keep making money.

    20
  42. Sleeping Dog says:

    Packing the supremes, eliminating the filibuster etc etc, is not going to happen. Manchin has already announce he’ll oppose both efforts. Add to that, both Kelly and Warnock will need to face the voters again in 2022 as the election cycle for both those seats has come around. Both are going to need to pick their battles on hot button issues. While the filibuster will remain, it is possible that it could be modified to make more difficult to use or easier to overcome.

    3
  43. Kylopod says:

    @Jen:

    Yep. I said this last night to my husband: if Trump had spent the time and effort on actually DOING the job as he has trying to hold on to it, he would likely have actually been reelected.

    A few weeks ago, in good broken-clock mode, Brad Parscale said Trump would have been reelected if he’d shown more empathy. I think that’s probably correct–but it’s also depressing. I remember back at the 2000 Democratic Convention, one of the speakers (I believe it was Tom Harkin) responded to Bush’s “compassionate conservative” mantra by saying compassion isn’t worth much without commitment. In the past Republicans have gotten away with a lot just by pretending to care. Or if you like, maybe they did care. It didn’t matter. The theatrics of coming off as giving a damn were enough, even if it wasn’t accompanied by, you know, actually lifting a finger to help anyone. A Republican president who effed up the pandemic response as badly as Trump did, but acted like a feeling human being at least part of the time, would probably have been reelected.

    5
  44. Nightcrawler says:

    @OzarkHillbilly:

    What you would call packing the courts, DEMs would call “balancing the courts”.

    That’s what I think, too. Since we’ve all decided the courts are partisan, seems to me they should be balanced. I want a divided court.

    4
  45. Nightcrawler says:

    @Matt:

    I agree. Georgia needs Stacey more than the feds do right now.

    3
  46. Neil Hudelson says:

    Re: Manchin and ending the fillibuster. While Manchin has come out against ending the fillibuster outright, has he been adamantly against reforming the fillibuster? I could see him be persuaded to support ending silent fillibusters, but keeping the original form.

    1
  47. Jim Brown 32 says:

    Well, well…2021 is already giving this Nation a break. I for one have always wondered what faces a gopher tortoise made when getting it good and hard. Im glad Ill finally find out.

    6
  48. Michael Cain says:

    @Jay L Gischer:

    I believe that the Senate rules stipulate that you need 51 votes to change the Senate rules. Therefore, ending the filibuster isn’t going to happen.

    The written rules state that changing the written rules requires a super-majority. However, in addition to the written rules there are thousands of precedents — exceptions to the written rules. The written rules still say it takes 60 votes for cloture. Then there’s the budget reconciliation law, which outranks the rule. And precedents for filibusters for different sorts of appointments. Precedents are not written down in public documents — they are the domain of the Parliamentarian. By the end of the month, after both Georgia Senators have been seated, 51 votes is enough to establish a precedent that, eg, legislation pertaining to election laws can’t be filibustered.

    If I recall the process, someone would move for cloture on (to stay with the example) a bill affecting elections. The vote on cloture fails. Some member raises a point of order, asserting that cloture doesn’t apply to election bills. The presiding officer confers with the Parliamentarian, and rules that cloture does apply. That decision is challenged from a floor and a simple majority votes that the presiding officer and Parliamentarian are wrong. Add another precedent to the list: bills affecting election laws can’t be filibustered.

    It is possible that Manchin (and Sinema, and Hickenlooper, and some others who have said they don’t support eliminating the filibuster) can be convinced to eliminate it for certain narrow classes of bills.

    3
  49. Scott F. says:

    @Michael Reynolds:
    Speaking of committee chairmanships…

    Lindsey Graham
    @LindseyGrahamSC
    Want to know what’s at stake this election? If we lose the Senate, socialist Bernie Sanders will become Budget Committee Chairman. If we hold the Senate, and I am re-elected, I will be Budget Committee Chairman.

    Very satisfying indeed!

    7
  50. Scott F. says:

    @mattbernius: The Georgia result is going to have a considerable impact on the ‘potential’ for VP Harris. Sinking into the background as is typical for VPs won’t be an issue when she’s casting tie-breaking votes. I can think of only one other scenario that would give Kamala Harris more prominence in her new role – should Biden name her to prosecute the Trump administration corruption commission.

    2
  51. Teve says:

    @Nightcrawler: if the GOP only nominates Federalist judges, I want the Dems only nominating ACLU judges.

    8
  52. Fortunato says:

    @Scott:
    Re “better choice” than Chuck Schumer.

    I’d posit:
    1) Amy Klobuchar
    2) Michael Bennet

    1
  53. Teve says:

    @williamlegate

    Trump supporters on Parler are saying the GA elections were conducted in violation of “Biblical rules” & thus must be rendered invalid & handed to the incumbent party

    2
  54. inhumans99 says:

    @Christopher Osborne:

    Folks keep saying that and I get it, but unless we are talking horseshoes or grenades close don’t count. It is looking like both D candidates will meet the threshold to avoid triggering a recount so the GOP’s goose in GA is cooked.

    Also, now Biden can take the lessons Trump taught him on how to push his agenda through Congress with all of the “norm” breaking Trump did in his time as President and the GOP has no one but themselves to blame for mostly sidelining themselves from being in the mix to get things done over the next 2 years.

    It is no longer something that will just cause people to roll their eyes when you say that the only folks Trump is able to turn out are the Proud Boys and Q’Anon folks, folks who get themselves into fights with the police in D.C. or are straight up crazy (the Q folks). That is not going to put the Senate back into McConnells’ hands in 2022. Trump is damaged goods, and it is long past overdue but some folks who are Republicans are starting to see it with their own eyes as they digest the news coming out of GA today.

    I think that less people will clutch at their pearls than one might think if an ex-President actually ends up going to prison and life would quickly snap back to normal as folks go oh…so that happened and just move on with their lives.

    Trump wanted to burn down the GOPs house as he left the White House, well…I would say Mission Accomplished. He did something that no other Republican President has done in recent memory, flipped a solidly Red State over to being a Blue State. That is a hard feat to accomplish but I have to give Trump his due, he had the skill set to change a states political affiliation and used those skills to full effect. Bravo, my good sir, bravo.

    5
  55. wr says:

    @Kathy: “On other things, is there any Republican Senator who could be turned from the Dark Side? That would give the Democrats a 51-49 majority, which would deny any GOP power in chairing committees and such.”

    I like to imagine Lisa Murkowski standing up at today’s shitfest and saying “I’ve been a Republican all my life, but I can’t be a member of a party willing to destroy this country in order to hold on to power. As of today I am an independent, and I’ll be canvassing with the Democrats.” And if I’m really feeling giddy, I follow this up with Mitt joining her.

    But that would be assuming these were actual human beings, and not just hacks.

    4
  56. Neil Hudelson says:

    @wr:

    A little bit more likely in Murkowski’s case since she has run and won as an independent, after she was primaried a few election cycles back.

    2
  57. Teve says:

    @thedailyshow

    Kelly Loeffler is so loyal to Trump she also lost an election in Georgia

    7
  58. Kylopod says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    A little bit more likely in Murkowski’s case since she has run and won as an independent, after she was primaried a few election cycles back.

    She did run and win as an indie–or more accurately, a write-in candidate. It wasn’t the same as with Lieberman in 2006. She still self-identified as an R. But more importantly, she was still part of the R caucus–just as Lieberman, Jeffords, Angus King, and Bernie Sanders are/were part of the D caucus, even if they technically have an I after their name.

    In any case, Murkowski isn’t in the Jeffords category. She’s only a “moderate” relative to how far to the right the Repubs are today, and she represents a ruby-red state. Jeffords was not only an actual moderate, he was literally the last Republican Senator in a state that was already becoming one of the bluest states in the country (the fact that he was succeeded by Bernie Sanders, who was himself the at-large House rep since the early ’90s, says it all). I’m just not sure there’s much place for Murk in the Dem Party; even on her best days she’s well to the right of the likes of Manchin.

    3
  59. Andy says:

    While my generic preference would have been for divided government to forestall some of the progressive fever dreams of ending the filibuster, packing the courts, adding Democratic states, and other measures I think would further divide the country, this outcome was necessary.

    The margins are so thin in both chambers that I think it will still be de facto gridlock. Democrats had a difficult time getting Obamacare passed when they had much more substantial majorities and it seems likely the GoP will still have the legislative filibuster. Plus most legislators are much more interested in signaling, fundraising, and reelection than actual legislative results – they want to chase the car but don’t want to catch it.

    The exception might be Covid legislation, particularly the $2,000 individual payments. McConnell won’t be able to block that with poison pills and it seems that a sufficient number of GoP Senators might support it to prevent a filibuster.

    3
  60. Michael Cain says:

    @wr:

    I like to imagine Lisa Murkowski standing up at today’s shitfest and saying “I’ve been a Republican all my life, but I can’t be a member of a party willing to destroy this country in order to hold on to power. As of today I am an independent, and I’ll be canvassing with the Democrats.”

    It’s a pleasant thought, isn’t it? Now, what are the Democrats going to offer her? Backbench Democrat isn’t going to cut it, she’s currently the chair of the energy and natural resources committee. To offer to let her continue in that role, they have to deny it to Joe Manchin. Manchin would probably be right if he said, “Heck, I can win in WV running as an incumbent Republican.”

    2
  61. charon says:

    @wr:

    Lisa Murkowski

    A) Has a history of being elected as a write in candidate after losing a Republican primary (as the incumbent (R).

    B) Appears to be pretty popular with Alaska’s large number of Native Americans. (So – relevant committee chairmanships could be attractive).

  62. Sleeping Dog says:

    @wr:

    There really aren’t any R senators to convert to Dems or become independents and caucus with Dems, as they are from generally pretty red states. It is possible and maybe likely that the R caucus may have fractured in such a way that Moscow Mitch can’t maintain control and that a differing subset of R senators can be persuaded to support differing bills to get them past.

  63. Kathy says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    You could get varying GOP gangs of one or two deciding legislation.

    I wonder how a clean DACA bill would fare in the latest Senate.

  64. Nightcrawler says:

    @Teve:

    Fine with me. The GOP’s choices were really far right, so we need some far leftists to balance it out.

  65. Teve says:

    @Nightcrawler: the ACLU—of which I’m a member—is solidly liberal. Far Left would be if the judges were vetted by the Black Panthers or Tankies or something 😉

    3
  66. An Interested Party says:

    Plus most legislators are much more interested in signaling, fundraising, and reelection than actual legislative results – they want to chase the car but don’t want to catch it.

    This is absolutely true of Republicans, who love to get elected but don’t do much government work once they are elected (no wonder Trump is the leader of their party)…meanwhile, perhaps Democrats are like that some times, but they actually do prefer to legislate, as the example of Obamacare makes clear…

    Fine with me. The GOP’s choices were really far right, so we need some far leftists to balance it out.

    Isn’t it funny how what McConnell has done with the judiciary over the past few years is SOP but what the Democrats want to do is just so horribly radical…

    5
  67. KM says:

    @Jay L Gischer:
    The Dems have 51 votes – 50 Senators plus the tie-breaker vote of the VP. Unless there is specific verbiage that means the VP vote does *not* count as a regular vote towards the magic 51 total, the Dems have what they need should they have to go nuclear.

    So I guess the billion dollar question is: is there any legal restrictions on the VP’s tie-breaker vote that discounts it from being treated as a vote towards a majority / plurality/ whatever? Is the VP’s tiebreaker restricted in any way Constitutionally or are they just “norms” that we’ve spent 4 years learning can be broken?

    1
  68. @Andy:
    A filibuster against Covid relief would be the excuse Democrats need to kill the filibuster and do it with the support of the country, if Manchin played along – which he might if he wants to help his idiot constituents.

    1
  69. dazedandconfused says:

    James,
    I’m afraid a D majority had to happen or Mitch would have gone back to abusing the filibuster in the same way he did under Obama. His party’s fanatics have become used to doing that, they would insist Mitch continue to do so.

    A time-out for the Rs is IMO necessary if the senate is to be restored to what it once was. Ideally Biden and Harris will try to restore the old ways of the Senate by not utterly shutting the minority down. If Mitch also wants that he will have to put a muzzle on some of his crazier dogs. Can’t imagine that happening as the majority, a majority shaped by Don Trump.

    1
  70. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Teve:

    As an ACLU staffer, I appreciate your (correct) nuance.

    Every time a conservative accuses us of being leftists, I have to ask “then why are leftists constantly upset with us?”

    Shortly after the 2016 election, as we watched our membership ranks inflate like Trump’s waistline, we held a nationwide online meeting for all these new members. The very first statement from the very first speaker (the awesome Lee Rowland IIRC) was to explain how in the very near future all of you are going to be very upset when you find out what we actually stand for.

    A couple of weeks later we were representing both ANTIFA and Charlottesville organizers whose permits were denied by panicking city officials.

    Lost a lot of members that day

    5
  71. Andy says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Maybe, but I’m skeptical that Democrats could get the 100% unanimity he would need to make that change.

    And even with the filibuster gone, they’d still need defections or 100% Democratic support to pass stuff. Not easy in today’s environment. That makes nuking the filibuster now not very useful – or at least not as useful as one would like. Especially if you’re a progressive. If the Democrats are going to pull that trigger, I would think they’d want to do so at a time where they can really make it count. The entire reason for this kind of norm-ratcheting is to gain the initially expedient tactical advantage.

    For all the hatred of McConnell, this is something he understands. Trump harassed him about getting rid of the legislative filibuster when the GoP also controlled the House and Senate but McConnell refused. At that time the GoP House and Senate majority was larger than what the Democrats will have now. He didn’t think it was worth it then. Whatever one may think of his politics, McConnell is a savvy guy who plays the long-game well.

    In that vein, Democrats should consider what happened after they nuked the filibuster for judicial nominees. The result didn’t turn out well for them over the long term since the GoP was able to benefit much more from it. The Democrats have not been able to build anything approaching a durable majority in the Senate and that hasn’t changed. Removing institutional roadblocks that benefit the minority doesn’t seem very smart if your party is likely to spend a lot of time in the minority.

    2
  72. Teve says:

    @Neil Hudelson: I was in my early 20s and grew up in a household full of Rush Limbaugh and Ronald Reagan etc and had heard people trash the communist scum ACLU a thousand times. One day I thought, why is this activist group so awful? So I went to the ACLU website and read about maybe a dozen cases, and thought Well Shit. I’ve been lied to. I agree with these guys 80% of the time. And I immediately joined.

    4
  73. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Kathy:

    DACA, I believe it would pass. I also think you could get immigration reform through. The issue when Bush tried was that House Rs didn’t have a majority of the caucus in favor, so the leadership wouldn’t bring it to the floor in adherence to the Hastert rule and the senate didn’t take it up. Some type of immigration reform would pass the House and the senate and likely with bi-partisan support. If there was a push for reform, the business community would put enormous pressure on Rs to support it.

    1
  74. Kylopod says:

    @Teve: Who can forget Dukakis getting accused of being a “card-carrying member of the ACLU”?

  75. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    At times the ACLU frustrates me, but on reflection I have to admit they took the consistent position.

    1
  76. DrDaveT says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    At times the ACLU frustrates me, but on reflection I have to admit they took the consistent position.

    It’s sometimes hard these days to remember what actual principles look like.

    2
  77. Neil Hudelson says:

    @Sleeping Dog:

    We have a quip here, “if you support everything we do, you don’t know us well enough.”

    Our legal director in Indiana is Jewish. He doesn’t *like* representing the KKK’s free speech rights, something we do about once a decade. But we have to be consistent in defending the Constitution.

    To my knowledge, the only policy we’ve changed in the Trump era is that we more closely scrutinize representing advocacy groups whose official policy is to bring guns to protests (as was the case in Charlottesville). And even that policy change was (and still is being) hotly debated internally.

    2
  78. Kylopod says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Our legal director in Indiana is Jewish. He doesn’t *like* representing the KKK’s free speech rights, something we do about once a decade. But we have to be consistent in defending the Constitution.

    The ACLU has a history of deliberately sending out Jewish lawyers to defend the free-speech rights of Nazis. They like the spectacle of it. It’s a way of getting the point across. I’m pretty sure the guys in the Skokie case in the ’70s had Jewish attorneys.

    4
  79. Teve says:
  80. Gustopher says:

    @Andy:

    Removing institutional roadblocks that benefit the minority doesn’t seem very smart if your party is likely to spend a lot of time in the minority.

    The filibuster provides an excuse for both sides to get nothing done. I have no doubt that in the medium term, getting rid of the filibuster would allow some horrible legislation to get passed when the Republicans hold the House and Senate. I also have no doubt that there would be hell to pay come election time after the Republicans privatize the interstate highway system or whatever.

    Don’t want crazy policies? Don’t vote for people with crazy beliefs with the expectation that they won’t get anything done. Too many people think politics is just a game, and too many Republican backers are fine with a QAnon freak if that freak will vote for capital gains taxes because they won’t have consequences.

    Elections should have consequences. And voters should have to live with those consequences, and maybe adjust their voting patterns.

    3
  81. Gustopher says:

    @Neil Hudelson:

    Lost a lot of members that day

    My cat used to be a member, but after Citizens United, I let her membership lapse. I’m now of the opinion that if nazis want rights, they should fight for them themselves, as there are lots of good people who would make fine test cases.

    I still get mail for my (now long deceased) from the ACLU in brightly colored envelopes that say “Final Notice: Your membership has lapsed” and think “if only it really was the final notice…” If they weren’t constantly supporting nazis, I would probably give them a call and tell them to stop wasting money contacting my dead cat.

  82. Kylopod says:
  83. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl: Alas, it doesn’t work that way in real life (though not many things do anyway). While I was in grad school (1990-92), I substitute taught in Roslyn, WA at Walter Strom MS on my off days. One day, the building principal and I were talking and he mentioned that budgets were perpetually tight–a feature of Washington schooling at the time because local levies provided most of the funding. To emphasize the problem, he took me into the auditorium and showed me the 48 star flag that had never been replaced because there was always something more important to spend the money on than replacing a flag that still had a lot of use left.

    I realize that you were being facetious, BTW, your comment simply triggered a memory.

  84. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Kylopod: Indeed. The challenge for the Democrats will be to maintain policy that will allow them to circle all of their wagons adequately to get to Harris’ tie-breaking vote. Expect more than what you’d get from “4 more years” but less than you’d like–a lot less, I suspect.

  85. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @KM: Constitutionally, the VP is not a voting member of the Senate. That vote never comes into play at all until there is a 50/50 split. Democrats will need 100% unity OR 1+ crossover votes on every issue in order to trigger the tie-breaking vote.

    Additionally, it may be that there are issues which Harris would not be willing to support, but I assume those things will be discussed beforehand. For example, how likely is Harris to be willing to “pack” the Supremes considering that she might want to run in a Center Right country on her record as VP in 4 years?

  86. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Teve: Back while my mom was still alive, she contributed to the American Center for Law and Justice–which she considered a Christian RW evangelical version of the ACLU, therefore a worthy cause. It happened that she was advocating for them in a conversation one day, and I noted that that particular year, related to cases in Washington State at least, the ACLJ had only won cases in which they had been joined by the ACLU.

    My mom was very startled that the ACLU and the ACLJ would fight on the same side–especially for the rights of Christians. Never quite got over that,—- but it didn’t change her mind about the ACLU doing the work of Satan in the world. (Nor did I expect it would.)

    1
  87. Kylopod says:

    @Just nutha ignint cracker: The ACLU has also supported Mormon Fundamentalists who want anti-bigamy laws struck down.

  88. dazedandconfused says:

    @Kylopod:

    Without a doubt the creme de la creme ACLU story is Skokie, where they sent a Jew to win the right for their Nazis to march…and he got it for them.

    https://www.aclu.org/issues/free-speech/rights-protesters/skokie-case-how-i-came-represent-free-speech-rights-nazis

  89. Jay L Gischer says:

    @KM: Breaking a tie is not the same thing as having a vote.
    When Kamala breaks a tie, the vote does not become 51-50, the vote is still 50-50 (tie broken by VP).
    I’m not super up on this, but people such as Josh Marshall say that abolishing the filibuster is not possible with a 50-50 Senate. So that’s when I wondered if the rules stipulated that you needed at least 51. Maybe you need more, and there are a few Dems who don’t want to end the filibuster, so I’m pretty sure it ain’t happening.

  90. de stijl says:

    @Teve:
    @Neil Hudelson:

    Proud ACLU donor, myself.

    The reason I decided to donate was actually predicated on the infamous Skokie thing.

    It impressed me that an organization actually followed their principle. We do not like these people nor do we condone what they say, but under the law they are being treated unjustly.

    That impressed my teenage mind tremendously.

    1