12. Down to the Wire…(Election 2020 may be over, but the drama continues)

“Down to the Wire…

A product of Morningside Communications (Edited by David S. Kerr) 

In this issue:  Georgia on my mind – What could make the two Senate seats go Democrat in the runoff?? – Will President Trump attend Joe Biden’s inauguration – “Depart and be done with you!!” – When it comes to the President’s lawsuits why don’t GOP or Trump lawyers ever seem to worry about Rule 11 sanctions?

“Georgia on my mind”:    Biden won Georgia by the slimmest of margins but both Senate races – there were two, one to fill the unexpired term of former Senator Johnny Isakson and another being fought in the regular cycle – are headed for a runoff scheduled for January 5, 2021. And this leaves control of the Senate up in the air.  In Georgia if no candidate gets over 50% in the election, the top two candidates have to face each other in a runoff.  This isn’t true for some states, but in Georgia its normal practice.  Southern states love runoffs.  The race for the unexpired term pitted appointed Senator Kelly Loeffler against a field of 17.  Or, was it 18?  It was kind of a “jungle primary” sort of thing where everybody just piles in.  Getting 50% of the vote seemed unlikely.  The leader of the pack on election night was Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock, with Loeffler about seven points behind.  But, that said, no one was anywhere close to 50%.  So Loeffler in this still conservative state is in a pretty good position.  As for the Republican incumbent seeking reelection, David Perdue, he was in a three-person race with his principle opponent being Democrat David Ossoff.  Perdue beat Ossoff by about 80,000 votes, but Libertarian candidate Shane Hazel drained enough of the vote away (mostly from Purdue) to deny either candidate the needed 50%.  In a January 5 rematch both Republicans look strong.  

But, wait, there is some late breaking news… 

What could change a likely GOP win in Georgia to a Democratic win???  This is easy.  Donald Trump could change the likely outcome of the runoff.  Mostly because he can’t keep his mouth shut.  Though his supporters in the Peachtree state are numerous, a not insignificant number of voters, those who voted GOP in the first round of Senate elections are annoyed, even angered, by Trump’s attacks on Georgia’s Governor and the Secretary of State.  The President considers both men complicit in voter fraud.  Given that both men are highly regarded in Georgia and also tireless Trump supporters it’s a charge that’s not going over well.  (Quite a few Republican members of the U.S. Senate, hoping for those two seats to maintain control, have been heard saying they would like POTUS to stay out of Georgia.  In their minds he’s about as welcome as Sherman was in 1865.) 

Will Trump be at the inauguration?  No outgoing President has ever failed to turn up to his successor’s inauguration. Indeed, there is an elaborate protocol where the two, the incoming and outgoing President, ride to the inauguration together, but Trump’s camp has sent signals that he isn’t going to attend his successor’s swearing In. 

“Depart, I say, and let us have done with you”:  That’s what a famous member of Parliament, Leo Amery told British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain during a raucous House of Commons debate on the progress of World War II. Chamberlain resigned the next day.  Even 80 years later its apt advice for President Trump. Sometimes you just have to say “it’s over.” Unfortunately, President Trump, in spite of overwhelming results to the contrary, thinks he still won the election and he doesn’t want to go.  Even though Joe Biden has nearly a 7.9 Million majority of the popular vote and a handy majority of the Electoral College (identical to Trump’s 2016 Electoral vote margin), the transition, usually a fairly smooth affair in America, has been, until recently, bizarrely up in the air.  That’s because under the 1963 transition legislation, for a President-Elect to get access to government personnel, briefings, resources, and office space, the Director of the General Services Administration (GSA) has to “ascertain” the winner.  Common sense and the data said Biden was the winner.  However, the GSA Director is also a political appointee and held off “ascertaining” the winner.  President Trump wasn’t conceding, he said the election was rigged (still does) and was busy pursuing a manic legal strategy to challenge Biden’s win in several states.  So, Joe Biden, was left to find outside experts and raise money for his own transition.  Fortunately, the GSA Director finally gave-in and “ascertained” (talk about a fuzzy word) that Joe Biden was the winner.  It’s time to call it a day Mr. President.

Hokey lawsuits and has everyone forgotten about Rule 11 sanctions? The number of hokey lawsuits filed in the past month is daunting.  If someone said they heard from a friend of a friend that there was funny business in the counting the campaign filed a lawsuit.  That’s called “hearsay” by the way.  Several law firms declined to have anything to do with this sort of thing.  But, hey, it’s always possible to find a lawyer someplace, you know the guy with his office behind the filling station, who is unafraid of Rule 11 sanctions.  Rule 11 sanctions are a penalty lawyers can face for knowingly filing frivolous or harassing lawsuits.  Fortunately, with judges citing a near total lack of evidence, all of the lawsuits have been dismissed.  There is talk of taking a couple to the Supreme Court.  But, that’s not likely. 

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