Friday, August 14, 2020

Last Call For Mitch Quits On A Deal

The Senate left Washington, D.C., on Thursday until September — the latest sign that a deal on a fifth coronavirus relief package is, at least, weeks away.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) had kept the chamber in session this week, which was technically the first in its August recess, as a last-ditch attempt to create space for the administration and congressional Democrats to get an agreement.

But with talks stalemated, senators argue there is little reason for them to keep holding daily, roughly 1 1/2-hour sessions. The House already left town and isn't expected to return until Sept. 14.

“We will have our regular pro forma meetings through the end of the state work period. If the Speaker of the House and the minority leader of the Senate decide to finally let another package move forward … it would take bipartisan consent to meet for legislative business sooner than scheduled,” McConnell said as he wrapped up the Senate until next month.

McConnell added that he hoped the Senate would be able to “act sometime soon.”

Senators will get at least 24 hours notice to return if congressional Democrats, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and White House chief of staff Mark Meadows are able to break the impasse and votes are scheduled. Otherwise, the Senate will formally reconvene on Sept. 8.

The House passed the HEROES Act three months ago.  The Senate GOP has blocked everything since then. This is one hundred percent the GOP's fault. They can't even pass a bill with their own majority caucus.  Nancy Pelosi is running the show and Senate Republicans, facing angry voters, will crack.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that the high-stakes talks between the White House and Democrats on coronavirus relief will resume only when Republicans come to the table with at least $2 trillion.

"When they're ready to do that, we'll sit down," Pelosi told reporters in the Capitol.

The comments foreshadow a rocky road ahead as the parties haggle over a fifth round of emergency relief designed to address the health needs and economic devastation caused by the pandemic, which has hit the United States harder than any other country.

Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) had huddled with the White House negotiators — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and chief of staff Mark Meadows — for a full two weeks when the talks broke down last Friday.

Quite aside from specific policy prescriptions, the sides have not yet agreed to the overall size of the next aid package.

Pelosi and House Democrats had passed a $3.4 trillion relief bill in May, while Senate Republicans responded late last month with a $1.1 trillion counterproposal.

The Democrats last week had offered to meet in the middle — somewhere in the $2 trillion range — but the Republicans refused the offer, ending the talks indefinitely.

Things are going to change rapidly for the GOP when the polls start showing them losing by double digits, would be my guess. 

Lowering The Barr, Con't

Attorney General Bill Barr is making it very clear that results of the show trial investigations into the Obama administration and the Biden campaign will absolutely be released during the election to help Donald Trump, coming as Trump's direct orders.

Attorney General Bill Barr said he could reveal at least some findings of a federal prosecutor’s examination of the origins of the Russia investigation before the November general election.

Speaking at a roundtable in Cheyenne, Wyo., on Thursday, Barr said that U.S. Attorney John Durham, who Barr appointed to review the origins of the Russia probe, “is moving along purposefully, and we certainly are aware of the calendar,” the Wall Street Journal reported.

“We’ll develop this case to the extent we can before the election, and we’ll use our prudent judgment to decide what’s appropriate before the election and what should wait until after the election,” Barr said.

Thursday evening Barr said on Fox News that there will be "a development" in the investigation on Friday. 
Durham’s investigation follows Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s report that found “significant inaccuracies and omissions” in the FBI’s application to a court to obtain permission to monitor Trump campaign adviser Carter Page.

But the report also determined the FBI’s decision to investigate the campaign was not motivated by political bias, as President Trump has suggested. The president voiced his impatience with the speed of the investigation on Thursday.

There's no rhetoric here from Barr about the Justice Department's long-standing guidelines to not interfere with an election cycle, only about how much of the interference will be happening before and after November. Barr is not only making it clear that an obviously political snow job is coming, but that a selected group of the Justice Department will be in place to openly attack Biden, Harris, and the Democrats through the transition period after the election.

In other words, it's Barr actually executing what Trump accused the Obama administration of doing four years ago. And should Trump win, the investigations will almost certainly become indictments. If you thought Trump and Barr were unfettered now, wait until they've stolen the election and are locking up dissidents in a second term.

And a third.

And a fourth.

Again, the only way to stop them is to drown them in Democratic (and democratic!) votes, in margins too big to manipulate, in every state.

The Bluenami Tsunami Meets The Blue Shift

As I said yesterday, we're likely in for ore of Election Month than we are Election Day in November. It may take weks to count all the mail ballots, and the big Democratic voter shift to voting by mail is going to be the future of elections in the 21st century as The Atlantic's David Graham explains.

As polling places closed on November 6, 2018, the expected “blue wave” looked more like a ripple. Not only had some of the highest-profile Democratic candidates lost, but the party’s gains in the House and the Senate looked smaller than anticipated.

The wave, it turned out, simply hadn’t crested yet. Over the ensuing weeks, as more ballots were counted, Democrats kept winning races—eventually netting 41 House seats. In Arizona, the Republican Martha McSally conceded the Senate race to the Democrat Kyrsten Sinema, who picked up more than 70,000 votes in post–Election Day counting. Democrats narrowed deficits in races in Florida and Georgia too. Republicans were stunned.

“California just defies logic to me,” then-Speaker Paul Ryan said in late November. “We were only down 26 seats the night of the election and three weeks later, we lost basically every contested California race.”

This sort of late-breaking Democratic vote is the new, though still underappreciated, normal in national elections. Americans have become accustomed to knowing who won our elections promptly, but there are many legitimate votes that are not counted immediately every election year. For reasons that are not totally understood by election observers, these votes tend to be heavily Democratic, leading results to tilt toward Democrats as more of them are counted, in what has become known as the “blue shift.” In most cases, the blue shift is relatively inconsequential, changing final vote counts but not results. But in others, as in 2018, it can materially change the outcome.

Although it is slowly dawning on the press and the electorate that Election Day will be more like Election Week or Election Month this year, thanks to coronavirus-related complications, the blue shift remains obscure. But the effect could be much larger and far more consequential in 2020, as Democrats embrace voting by mail more enthusiastically than Republicans. If the public isn’t prepared to wait patiently for the final results, and if politicians cynically exploit the shifting tallies to cast doubt on the integrity of the vote, the results could be catastrophic.

Imagine that as November 3, 2020, ticks away, President Donald Trump holds a small lead in one or more key states such as Pennsylvania—perhaps 10,000 or 20,000 votes—and seems to have enough states in his column to eke out an Electoral College win. Trump declares victory, taunts Joe Biden, and prepares for a second term. But the reported results on Election Night omit tens of thousands of votes, including provisional ballots and uncounted mail-in votes. Over the coming days, as those votes are counted, Trump’s lead dwindles and eventually disappears. By the end of the week or early the next, Biden emerges as the clear victor in Pennsylvania—and with that win, captures the race for the presidency.

If that’s how things unfold, Trump is unlikely to take defeat snatched from the jaws of victory graciously. He has already spent months attempting to delegitimize the election system. So imagine that he instead cries fraud and insists he’s the target of a criminal Democratic coup. What if he encourages his supporters to take to the streets, where there are violent clashes between partisans? He might even urge the Republican-led Pennsylvania General Assembly to submit a slate of Trump-backing electors, citing the Election Day returns, even if the full tally clearly shows Keystone State voters chose Biden.

The hypothetical of a blue shift reversing the early projected winner is the “nightmare scenario,” according to the election-law expert Rick Hasen. Either Trump or Biden could win by a sufficient margin to make the result clear on Election Night; it’s also possible that multiple states might see a decisive post–November 3 blue shift, creating even more chaos.

“You don’t need to worry about Russia,” Edward Foley, a law professor at Ohio State, told me. “Simply anxiety over a blue shift and willingness to litigate about it and fight about it could cause a raging contestation over a presidential election.

In other words, November 2020 could make November 2000 look like a walk in the park, and there's no reason for me to believe the outcome if the voting goes to the Supreme Court that it would be any different than 2000.

We have to win in numbers too big to ignore.


Related Posts with Thumbnails