…Down to the Wire
(a product of Morningside Communications (edited by David S. Kerr))
* The Electoral College officially casts its votes
* 50 + 1 Legal Challenges to the Election – all flops
* A word on the Texas Lawsuit
* Why did the GOP gain so many new seats in the House?
* President Joe Biden’s immense list of challenges
* And a special word about U.S. relations with China by our London correspondent Ross Duncan (unusually insightful)
Fortunately, on Monday, the result will be in. The Electoral College, the only body that can actually elect a President (remember your Civics Class) is officially casting its votes and Joe Biden will have a 306 to 232 majority. It only takes 270 votes to win. There are no more avenues for the Trump folks to use to derail the process. With no slate of electors in contention in any state, with all legal avenues exhausted, its done. As for the GOP Congressmen who want to rail against the outcome on the floor when it comes time to accept the Electoral College’s vote, they can talk themselves to death. Because, ladies and gentlemen, it’s over.
50 + 1 Lawsuits challenging election procedures – all flops: So, a quick look at the legal scorecard when it comes to the Trump campaigns effort to derail Joe Biden’s win. There have been 50 lawsuits filed in Federal and State courts challenging results in various states. They were all dismissed. Sometimes harshly. Often by conservative jurists, many of whom, at the Federal level, were appointed by President Trump. Ouch.
The Crowning Jewell of the Hokey Lawsuits: But, it’s the 51st lawsuit which is crowning Jewell in this mockery of jurisprudence. It was brought by Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton (some say he’s fishing for a pardon from President Trump since he is under FBI investigation and faces possible indictment), in which Texas sued five other states for their supposed fraud and errant voting practices. I read the brief. I am no lawyer, but to call it sloppy work is an understatement.
It went straight to the Supreme Court, suits between states usually do, no middle ground, and in about the time it takes to cook a Christmas Turkey this very conservative court, with three Trump appointees, unanimously rejected it. A couple of Justices thought Texas had standing, but none thought there was any merit to the complaint.
Most of the lawsuits were filed against Republican officials: Yes, that’s right the Trump folks sued states dominated by Republicans, and with the state electoral apparatus run by Republicans. This is where the logic breaks down. Were these GOP officials, who strongly supported the President in the election, but also stood by their state’s results when the counting was done, a part of yet another warped conspiracy theory? Why not, the fringe folks can take these things to some strange places.
Now, what about the House of Representatives: The House of Representatives will be seated on 2 January and the GOP will be a lot stronger. The Democrats lost 9 seats. Gee, weren’t they supposed to pick up seats? Alas, the Democratic “majority” is now one of the slimmest any party has ever had in more than 100 years. So, what happened. One theory is that GOP House candidates, not really able to sell Donald Trump, pivoted slightly and did a pretty good job of casting down ballot Democratic incumbents and challengers as being too tied to Nancy Pelosi, fringy liberal policies, and the “squad.” This cause some ticket splitting. Another explanation is that Republicans, voting against Trump, still wanted to vote for a Republican for something, and made sure they did so in the down ballot races. Some more ticket splitting. Finally, the GOP mobilized a large voter turnout, the largest ever for a Republican Presidential candidate (though not enough to win) and that was the surge that provided the extra umph several GOP House challengers needed to win.
President Joe Biden’s Challenges: Few Presidents have faced as many problems as Joe Biden is going to have to deal with on January 20, 2021. Let’s just consider the short list: there is COVID (the largest national health crisis we’ve faced since the Pandemic of 1914-18); a massive economic downturn with high unemployment and not too much light showing at the end of the tunnel to indicate a quick recovery; race relations (which are poor to say the least); what to do about policing; climate change; and a massive budget deficit. However, if that wasn’t enough, there is international relations. Russia, sensing weakness, is sabre rattling, breaking into our core government computing systems (see today’s news) and oh yes, acting belligerent with its aging, but still agile, bombers and fighters probing our NATO and Alaska defenses. Put simply in foreign policy speak, “they are not good actors on the international stage.” Then, there is China. They are the world’s largest economy, they have money to burn, they are trying to reshape the entire world’s trade routes, they want to be a major player militarily, and they are definitely intent on overtaking our position in the western Pacific.
So, to look at that latter challenge, I have asked our London Correspondent, Ross Duncan to consider the issue –
Our future relations with China
(One of President-Elect Biden’s first foreign policy challenges)
If you are not seriously concerned about China, then you are not paying attention. We are in the midst of Cold War II, and we must act as such. The delusion that has permeated the West about the intentions and motivations of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) has strengthened it immeasurably at the expense of our strength and cohesion.
The CCP perceives the United States, and the values that she stands for, to be the biggest challenge to its prospective hegemony. It is right. The United States remains the indispensable bulwark against Chinese authoritarianism. I want to see evidence that the new administration fully understands the grave threat that China poses, and acts with the appropriate combination of determination and flexibility.
China is an ancient civilisation with a population of nearly 1.4 billion people. It has an extraordinary history of dominance, competence and power, interposed with periods of internal chaos, foreign invasions and structural weakness. It demands respect, and we should give it. The residual condescension towards China that remains in much of the West must be eradicated with immediate effect.
Yet this does not mean that the United States should roll over, stripped of its majesty and power. Instead, as with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, it must recognise that whilst co-existence with China is inevitable, subservience to it is not. Indeed, the United States does not face a crude binary choice between belligerence and servility.
American power must be fused with both a recognition of China’s greatness and its intense need to be recognised as such. The Land of the Free must be prepared to use whatever force is required to protect the interests of itself and its allies, whilst acknowledging that rabid hostility is untenable.
The Cold War provides many lessons. Let’s learn them.