It’s hard for me to think of a point in American history where an incoming President has faced a greater range of compounding crises with as little freedom of action as Joe Biden will have on January 20th of next year. There is COVID. There is economic calamity COVID created. There is the seemingly more distant but gravely important wrecked international system which portends a rising tide of foreign policy crises and disruptions in trade which has the potential to ramify out for decades into the future.
It is still just possible that Democrats will control the Senate, if they pick up both Senate seats in Georgia. But assuming Republicans hold on, basically no legislation of any significance will be possible and Mitch McConnell will have a stranglehold over staffing and presidential confirmations, not even to mention judges.
Alas, even the bare minimum enforcement of basic elements of democracy is too much for President Trump.
On Wednesday I noted how critical it is that Democrats go on offense to protect democracy in this country. This is not only a critical policy imperative. It is also good politics. The critical point, as I argued, is that Democrats need to go on offense now – pushing a broad array of reforms to secure civic democracy in this country – because Republicans will certainly use this election as another excuse to impose further restrictions. And here we have one of the first of what will certainly be many examples.
As the end of 2020 approaches, TPM is celebrating its 20th anniversary. And, in honor of that, we’re doing something a little different with the Golden Dukes this year: We’re going to crown the all-time Golden Duke, or at least the greatest of the last twenty years. Or rather, you’ll crown this winner.
President Trump has been laying the groundwork for years at this point.
Even if he had won the election, he’d probably continue floating it — letting a potential Michael Flynn pardon swing in the breeze while he waits for the right moment to let it drop. Now we’ve reached an hour so ripe with presidential turmoil that he might as well fling a distraction at his base.
President Trump’s decision to allow the full, formal transition process to move forward signals the end of any real attempt to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election. It’s been clear for a while that this effort would fail; now you can be sure of it. The real impact of the blizzard of lies and frivolous lawsuits about voter fraud, however, will be as the premise and predicate for a new round of voter suppression laws Republican legislatures and GOP-appointed judges will try to put into effect starting next year.
We’ve seen this pattern before, as predictable as day follows night.
We know that Joe Biden, President-Elect of the United States, has vast expectations for his presidency resting on his shoulders. That challenge grew only greater when it became clear Democrats would likely not control the Senate for the first two years of Biden’s presidency. But beyond specific legislation or executive actions there is something more basic we should focus on – something Democrats have often done poorly at, not least in the presidency of Barack Obama, in which Biden served as Vice President. It is never enough to govern well and trust that voters will reward good governance. It simply never works that way.
The news out of the GSA last night was obviously newsworthy — the strongest indication yet that President Trump is running out of options to keep his claims of a stolen election afloat.
Perhaps it’s easier to speak out against President Trump and the flailing, chaotic, dwindling days of his presidency when you’re no longer in an official position.
At TPM, we have certain terms we use over and over. Dignity wraiths. The brittle grip. A new one in recent months: Schrodinger’s DHS secretary. You can find a (very) partial list of these terms — Josh Marshallisms, largely — here.
For our 20th anniversary celebration next month, we’re putting together a master list. It’s quite an undertaking: Twenty years of proprietary terms. But we think it will serve as a useful guide to some of the key themes of the last two decades. Also, we think it will be funny.
However: 20 years is a long time, and we need the help of our dedicated readers to remember some of these terms.
So, if you remember one that we’re missing, shoot us an email.