Before I Get Distracted

I took an afternoon nap on Tuesday. It turned out to be the best decision I made thus far in 2021.  This article is about much more than my sleeping habits.  Let’s explore.

Tuesday was the final day of voting in Georgia’s two United States runoff elections. In order to watch the returns come in I stayed up way past my usual bedtime.  About 1am I became convinced that both Democratic candidates would win and went to sleep about a half hour later.  Not long after that the Associated Press called the Raphael Warnock-Kelly Loeffler race for Warnock.  As of this writing the Jon Ossoff-David Perdue race has yet to be called but barring shenanigans the only question that remains is the margin of Ossoff’s victory.

I commenced writing this article before 9am Wednesday and all numbers in it are of that time period. Warnock was running about 30,000 to 35,000 ahead of Ossoff once a significant vote was reported.  As of this writing it is 37,060.  Being the political nerd that I am I wondered why?  The difference in the total number of votes cast is less than 100.  That eliminates an under vote as the major factor which puts my mind at ease.  It is reasonable to explain the difference by Republican leaning, not Democratic leaning ballots.  It appears the main difference is a relative dislike of Loeffler versus Perdue by Republican leaning voters.

The closeness of the margins is evidence of the political polarization in America. If that comes as a surprise I have to wonder where you have been for the past decade or so.  The Republican candidates were both extremely flawed (and that is being kind).  The fact that these races were close does not speak well for America.  Couple that with the fact that Trump received over 70 million votes in November and you have to be concerned. If he is not the worst president of all time he is certainly among the leading candidates for that title.

These two wins will sometime soon give the Democrats control of the Senate. That will result in Chuck Schumer controlling the Senate agenda and Democrats chairing all the Senate committees.  If it happens soon enough it all but guarantees Joe Biden his first choices for positions requiring Senate confirmation.

The timetable for especially Ossoff’s seating is cloudy. I am certain the results will be challenged and that could take some time during which Mitch McConnell still controls the Senate.  In a similar (but much closer than I anticipate the final margin to be here) situation it took months for Al Franken to be seated after he narrowly defeated Norm Coleman in Minnesota.

Even in a clean process it will take a few days for Warnock’s results to be certified in the interim Loeffler occupies that seat. Warnock should be seated by January 20th.

Georgia is one of the states of the old Confederacy that still has the Jim Crow era laws requiring races be won by a certain percentage. I wonder if these outcomes will hasten those laws being put to rest.  Remember Perdue beat Ossoff by nearly 90,000 votes in November but failed to secure 50%.  The racially discriminatory law literally cost the Republican the Senate.

Today two rings of the circus will be on full display in Washington, DC – one in Congress and the other on the streets featuring a cameo by Trump. I wanted to get this written before they distracted me.

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