Thursday, November 5, 2020

Winkin', Blinken, and Nod

Majority Leader Palpatine here. Via TigerDroppings.

So it's clearly at least 290 electoral votes for Biden-Harris where I'm sitting, plausibly 306—with the Republicans filing one stupid lawsuit after another and dueling videos in which they're mobbing election centers in Detroit chanting "Stop the count!" and in Phoenix "Count those votes!" because they can't make any effort at all toward coherence any more. The cable outlets, and the dueling Nates Cohn and Silver, struggle to create some suspense on matters that just aren't suspenseful.

Might as well go visit Axios and learn what "people familiar with the matter" and "a source close to Mitch McConnell" have to say on the subject of what happens starting Monday or so over the next four years, which begins with McConnell asserting his intentions of dictating Biden's cabinet choices:

Republicans' likely hold on the Senate is forcing Joe Biden's transition team to consider limiting its prospective Cabinet nominees to those who Mitch McConnell can live with, according to people familiar with the matter.

Naturally since it's Axios the focus is on where that leaves the celebrities, in particular Democratic senators who ran for president this year (gossip writers have been pushing Warren for treasury secretary and Sanders for labor, in the apparent desire that for the first time in US history anybody would know the names of the treasury and labor secretaries), even though Biden already made it clear he wasn't interested in nominating any Democratic senators, with good reason—it's a really good idea to have some Democratic senators who know what they're doing in the Senate.

That and "radically progressive" nominees who are "controversial with conservatives"—read African American women like Susan Rice (ideal pick for State, among other possibilities), and Stacey Abrams. Instead McConnell is said to be asking for 

more centrist options, like Lael Brainard for Treasury or Tony Blinken for State, sources tell Axios.

Blinken, who I initially thought was a typo, was a deputy secretary of state in Obama's last last two years, and Brainard is an Obama-nominated member of the Federal Reserve Board of Governors.

McConnell has already signaled his intention that the Senate should starting doing at least some stuff, preferably before Biden's inauguration, yesterday:

“We need another rescue package. The Senate goes back into session next Monday. Hopefully the partisan passions that prevented us from doing another rescue package will subside with the election. And I think we need to do it and I think we need to do it before the end of the year,” McConnell said.

“It’s a possibility we will do more for state and local governments,” McConnell said.

and in "killing the virus" rather than waiting for it to go away, suggesting that as far as he is concerned Trump is already no longer president. It seems possible to me that he thinks he's basically president himself for the next four years, naming the cabinet and dictating the economic emergency response, or maybe acting emperor as the emperor retires to Florida or Muscat or Baku or wherever he's headed.

With a little bit of luck, McConnell's aim and that of the Supreme Court will be principally to obliterate the memory of Donald Trump and carry on with years 9 and 10 of the Obama administration, preserving both the 2017 tax cut and the Affordable Care Act such as it is, which will mean allowing at least some of the recovery measures we need, against Covid and against the devastation of the country. We'll be building back, not necessarily better, but readying the land for the next Republican ascendancy. Maybe some of the congressboys will be permitted to investigate Hillary Clinton some more, but there won't be a Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the extremely wealthy will continue their project of absorbing all the things in the universe into their holdings, and the local police will go on believing that they, or at least the white officers, are the real rulers with divine authority over the elected ones—they were out last night in Greenwich Village kettling peaceful protesters while some idiot set little trash fires, see Gothamist:

I was never worried about a proper old-school coup d'état, if only because Americans have no institutional knowledge of how to do it, and they do have the institutional knowledge to do many other terrible things; and Rudy and Junior and all these clowns trying to steal the election as if they were in a gross-out comedy from 20 years ago make it clear I was right,

But what we're getting from this election looks to me at the moment worse, a successful self-purge on the part of the Republican Party which really will allow them to keep going as if they had never made this colossal, grotesque mistake. What am I missing here?

A thought from Steve: I'm missing the Republican voters who won't let Trump go:

You have to remember that in his sphere, Donald Trump is incredibly popular. He's beloved. He appears to be the most beloved Republican president of my lifetime, and yes, that includes Ronald Reagan.

For quite a while, I've been saying that Trump will retain his hold on GOP voters. I agree with the premise of this piece by Jeremy Peters and Maggie Haberman:

... if he is forced to vacate the White House on Jan. 20, Mr. Trump is likely to prove more resilient than expected and almost surely will remain a powerful and disruptive force in American life. He received at least 68 million votes, or five million more than he did in 2016, and commanded about 48 percent of the popular vote, meaning he retained the support of nearly half of the public despite four years of scandal, setbacks, impeachment and the brutal coronavirus outbreak that has killed more than 233,000 Americans.

That gives him a power base to play a role that other defeated one-term presidents like Jimmy Carter and George Bush have not played.... in private lately he has broached the idea of running again in 2024, although he would be 78 by then. Even if his own days as a candidate are over, his 88-million-strong Twitter following gives him a bullhorn to be an influential voice on the right, potentially making him a kingmaker among rising Republicans.

I've said that I believe he'll hold a MAGA rally on the day of Biden's inauguration to announce his 2024 candidacy. If it happens, it will be very well attended. You'll start seeing MY PRESIDENT IS DONALD TRUMP bumper stickers early in 2021.

You know that rally is going to happen, anyhow.

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