A Dem Sweep in Georgia Election Could Pave Way for Trillions in New Federal Spending
Plus: Trump tries to ban more Chinese apps, cops dispute Josh Hawley's vandalism claims, and more...
Republican losses in Georgia look clear. Tuesday's runoff elections in Georgia appear to have handed Democrats control of the Senate, with Democrat Raphael Warnock beating incumbent Republican Sen. Kelly Loeffler—though, taking a page from President Donald Trump's election loss playbook, she isn't conceding—and Democrat Jon Ossoff on his way to beating incumbent Republican Sen. David Perdue.
"Trailing much of the night, Ossoff surged ahead of Perdue by more than 8,500 votes after batches of votes from Democrat-heavy DeKalb County were released," notes USA Today this morning. "Most uncounted votes remain in Democratic strongholds in the metro Atlanta area."
Decision Desk has already called the race for Ossoff.
I'm too tired for long takes but on a scale from 0 to 10 on how bad this is for the GOP, it's maybe like a 9, not just because of the immediate implications, but also because it may imply that Trump is sort of a poison pill for how the party navigates its future.
— Nate Silver (@NateSilver538) January 6, 2021
A whole lot more than just who represents Georgia is at stake, of course. If Ossoff and Warnock are both victorious, which looks quite likely, it means a 50-50 split between Democrats and Republicans in the Senate, with Vice President Kamala Harris getting the deciding vote in a tie.
That means "trillions of dollars in spending and taxes might be determined" by the outcome of these races, as Benjy Sarlin of NBC News put it:
While Democratic priorities on issues like voting rights and immigration, as well as contentious proposals to expand the courts, would likely be off the table without GOP support, much of Biden's agenda could pass via the same budget reconciliation procedure Senate Republicans used under Trump, which only requires a bare majority.
At the top of the list: A much larger coronavirus relief package. Democrats, including the Georgia Senate candidates, have echoed the president's call for a round of $2,000 stimulus checks and want to fund state and local budgets. Biden's "Build Back Better" plan calls for $2 trillion in investments related to climate change and $775 billion to help fund child and elder care, among other items.
Police dispute Hawley's claims of vandalism. Sen. Josh Hawley (R–Mo.) claims that Antifa protesters vandalized his home and terrorized his family. Police say otherwise.
"Tonight while I was in Missouri, Antifa scumbags came to our place in DC and threatened my wife and newborn daughter, who can't travel," tweeted Hawley on Monday night. "They screamed threats, vandalized, and tried to pound open our door."
However, "a local police spokesman says they have no reports of property damage in Hawley's Virginia neighborhood," reports Bryan Lowry, a correspondent for the Kansas City Star. "The police spokesman told me this was such a minor event that they're not even putting out a press release," Lowry added.
"The protest of about 15 activists was organized by Shutdown DC," who "posted a more than 50-minute video of what it called a 'Vigil For Democracy,'" says the Kansas City Star:
While the demonstrators mostly stayed on the public street and sidewalk, at one point four people walked onto Hawley's property to place a pamphlet on his front door. The group said was a copy of the Constitution.
A local police officer said cops warned the group they were breaking the law by protesting outside a private home and writing in chalk on a public sidewalk, as well as violating a local noise ordinance, and the group left without any trouble.
The only reason this is a big deal is because it's part of Hawley's pattern of making things up that dates back to his time as Missouri's attorney general. Currently, he's one of the leading supporters of Trump's doomed and disreputable election fraud claims.
This take is consistent w/ my sense that Hawley is the next Ted Cruz rather than the next Trump: a very junior senator who persistently steps out of line and irritates his co-partisan Senate colleagues by putting them in difficult positions. https://t.co/NQXBpnQKqQ
— Christopher Federico (@ChrisPolPsych) January 5, 2021
Hawley is one of a dozen GOP senators saying they won't vote to certify the election results, which has provoked huge amounts of condemnation from even other generally Trump-supporting colleagues and people in the conservative media. On Monday night, he got called out by Bret Baier on Fox News:
"The states, by the Constitution, say they certify the election, they did certify it," Baier continued. "By the Constitution, Congress doesn't have the right to overturn the certification. At least as most experts read it."
As Hawley attempted to point to a statute to justify his plan, Baier jumped in to note that there appears to be no constitutional path for Congress to flip the results.
His ban on TikTok failing, Trump tries to block more Chinese apps. Still in court over his attempt to ban TikTok and WeChat—a ban that looks increasingly unlikely to actually be allowed to take effect—the president is issuing more unconstitutional orders against apps based in China. In a Tuesday executive order, Trump says Americans are prohibited from transactions with the apps Alipay, CamScanner, QQ Wallet, SHAREit, Tencent QQ, VMate, WeChat Pay, and WPS Office.
The Vice President has the power to reject fraudulently chosen electors.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 5, 2021
- Again and again and again:
Attorney Ben Crump and co-counsels release statement after no charges filed against officers in police shooting of Jacob Blake:
"We feel this decision failed not only Jacob and his family, but the community that protested and demanded justice." pic.twitter.com/uzVvSw1fcE
— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 5, 2021
- Hong Kong police are cracking down on pro-democracy activists using a new national security law. Police "arrested 53 opposition activists and former legislators Wednesday morning, accusing them of 'subverting state power,'" reports Reason's Liz Wolfe. "The arrested leaders had been involved in organizing or attending a democratic primary last July, ahead of the fall Legislative Council elections. […] The arrests are part of Beijing's attempt to crush dissent in Hong Kong, which had long been semi-autonomous under China's 'one country, two systems' policy."
- Julian Assange has once again been denied bail.
- "An ongoing tally by The Associated Press finds that more than 250 state lawmakers across the country have contracted COVID-19, and at least seven have died," the news agency reports, warning that statehouses could become "hothouses" for coronavirus infections.
- Outgoing Education Secretary Betsy DeVos pushed school choice and panned universal student loan forgiveness in a letter to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, writing that "across-the-board forgiveness of college debts is not only unfair to most Americans, it is also the most regressive of policy proposals—rewarding the wealthiest sector of our labor force at the expense of the poorest."
- "Arizona, California and Rhode Island are among the hardest-hit places in the world at this stage of the pandemic, with the highest rates of Covid-19 infections per capita," reports NBC News.