According to the Decision Desk, Biden has now taken the lead in Georgia, albeit a narrow one — just 917 votes. However, the state’s presidential race still hasn’t yet been projected by ABC News (or other outlets at this point), and probably won’t be for a while, given that the final margin is likely to be very close and there may be an automatic recount required by law due to the close margin. There are still over 10,000 votes to count, and Biden’s margin will grow.
This is certainly a big deal as the last time Georgia voted for a Democrat for president was Bill Clinton in 1992. We should hear news from Pennsylvania this morning that Joe Biden has taken the lead there, and Nevada should be called today as well, thus electing Biden as the next President.
Jon Ralston notes Joe Biden is up by 11,400 votes in Nevada. “Democrats are going to win these mail ballots coming in from Election Day and yesterday — 63K. And they should win them decisively. That leaves 60K provisionals, which have been evenly split.” The bottom line: “I see no path left for Trump here.”
Ben Smith: “So Fox has a very tricky decision to make: Call Nevada and the election, based on that early Arizona call, and escalate war with Trump; or wait for someone else to call based on PA and follow that. (It’s all an artifact of TV’s bizarrely oversized role here ofc.)“
Nate Cohn says there are still provisional ballots left to count in Philadelphia — votes cast by people who couldn’t initially be verified as eligible voters when they showed up to cast a ballot — that should provide more votes to Joe Biden.
“The provisional count might be especially large here this year, since voters who requested a mail ballot but decided to vote in person (and didn’t surrender their mail ballot in person) were also forced to vote provisionally, so as to make sure their votes weren’t double-counted. Only one county, York County, has reported these results: There were 10,000 of them, and Mr. Biden won them by nine points. The county voted for Mr. Trump by 25 points. If the pattern held elsewhere in the state, it would pad Mr. Biden’s statewide margin by nearly two percentage points — though there’s a lot of uncertainty in that extrapolation.”
President Trump claimed at a White House press briefing, without offering any evidence: “If you count the legal votes, I easily win. If you count the illegal votes, they can try to steal the election from us.” “It’s amazing how those mail-in ballots are so one-sided,” Trump says after spending months trashing mail-in ballots and thus getting his supporters to not want to use them.
Trump just tweeted “Stop the count!” — apparently not realizing that if vote counting stopped now then Joe Biden would be the next president.
Washington Post: “Though aides had tried to prepare Trump that mail-in ballots would likely favor Biden, he was ‘genuinely taken aback,’ in the words of one campaign adviser, as the votes rolled in for his opponent, the former vice president.”
“Instead of reflecting on whether his rhetoric throughout the campaign demonizing mail-in ballots could have helped cost him the election, the president has taken the results as a vindication on his views of the process.”
“The head of an international delegation monitoring the U.S. election says his team has no evidence to support President Donald Trump’s claims about alleged fraud involving mail-in absentee ballots,” the AP reports.
Karl Rove: “There are suspicious partisans across the spectrum who believe widespread election fraud is possible. Some hanky-panky always goes on, and there are already reports of poll watchers in Philadelphia not being allowed to do their jobs. But stealing hundreds of thousands of votes would require a conspiracy on the scale of a James Bond movie. That isn’t going to happen.”
This is good reporting: MSNBC reporter Jacob Soboroff pressed Trump campaign adviser Ric Grennell for evidence of his accusations of voter fraud in Nevada. Grenell walked away and would not even respond, only saying: “You’re here to take in information.”
Former Gov. Chris Christie (R) publicly rebuked President Trump on Thursday night for failing to produce evidence to support his unfounded claims that Democrats were stealing the election from him, Axios reports.
Said Christie: “We heard nothing today about any evidence. This kind of thing, all it does is inflame without informing. And we cannot permit inflammation without information.”
Former Trump adviser Steve Bannon discussed beheading Dr. Anthony Fauci and FBI Director Christopher Wray on his podcast. Said Bannon: “I’d put their heads on pikes, right, I’d put them at the two corners of the White House as a warning to federal bureaucrats.”
“President Trump’s top campaign strategist, Jason Miller, has been paid tens of thousands of dollars a month through a third-party campaign vendor rather than taking a salary from the campaign, obscuring the flow of money and apparently concealing how much he makes — an arrangement campaign finance experts say is illegal,” Salon reports.
“Miller, a 2016 senior adviser who joined the re-election campaign in early June, appears to have been paid as recently as July by Citizens of the American Republic, a nonprofit founded by Steve Bannon which is currently part of a federal fraud and money laundering investigation into the former Trump campaign chief, as a vehicle used to fabricate invoices in furtherance of that scheme.”
“A rapidly rising flood of coronavirus infections engulfed much of the United States on Thursday, setting records for new cases in 20 states, killing nearly 1,158 people and straining the health system’s capacity to keep up with the pandemic,” the Washington Post reports.
“On Thursday, 116,707 new cases were reported, the second straight record for a single day and a figure that dwarfed the total for any day in the previous worst two periods of the outbreak, in April and July.”
New York Times: “That mirage of victory was pierced when Fox News called Arizona for Joe Biden at 11:20 p.m., with just 73 percent of the state’s vote counted.”
“Mr. Trump and his advisers erupted at the news. If it was true that Arizona was lost, it would call into doubt on any claim of victory the president might be able to make.”
“What ensued for Mr. Trump was a night of angry calls to Republican governors and advice from campaign aides that he ignored, leading to a middle-of-the-night presidential briefing in which he made a reckless and unsubstantiated string of remarks about the democratic process.”
Jonathan Bernstein notes that Republicans have lost the popular vote once again but the party’s problem is deeper than that.
“Republican presidents — Donald Trump and George W. Bush — have now spent almost all of their last nine consecutive years below 50% approval. Add George H.W. Bush’s final year, and that makes 10 of the last 13 Republican presidential years, with the only significant exception coming in the period after the Sept. 11 attacks (we can’t know for sure, but it seems likely that George W. Bush was heading underwater by then).”
“In other words: Whether or not Republicans have a popularity problem, they certainly seem to have a governing problem, one that at this point could be symbolized by Trump’s utter inability to deal with the pandemic, or by the party’s years-long attempt to dismantle the Affordable Care Act without having any alternative to offer. It is, of course, perhaps just the luck of events that dealt Republican presidents five of the last five recessions. And the Iraq War. And the coronavirus. But my suggestion to the party, if it has lost the presidency, is to spend some time trying to figure out why its presidents seem to have such a tough time in office.”
Sen. David Perdue (R-GA) released a statement as it becomes more likely his reelection race will advance to a runoff: “If overtime is required when all of the votes have been counted, we’re ready, and we will win.”
Ed Kilgore: “Thanks to Georgia’s strange and unique majority-vote requirement for general election wins, Republican David Perdue will face Democrat Jon Ossoff in a January 5, 2021, runoff for the Senate seat, despite Purdue’s comfortable 100,000-plus vote lead. (Outstanding mail ballots will undoubtedly reduce that lead and put 50 percent far out of reach for Purdue.) Libertarian Shane Hazel’s 2.3 percent of the vote is the main reason neither of the major-party candidates will be able to put it away this week, this month, or indeed, this year.
A January runoff was already in the works for Georgia’s other Senate seat, where 20 candidates competed in a November 3 nonpartisan “jungle primary” special election to complete the term to which Republican Johnny Isakson (who resigned for health reasons last year) was elected in 2016. Since no one received the required majority, the top two finishers, Democrat Raphael Warnock (with 33 percent of the vote at present) and appointed Republican incumbent Kelly Loeffler (26 percent) will advance to the runoff.”
CNN: “If Trump wins reelection, Republicans expect jockeying over 2024 to take time to play out. But if Trump loses, the focus will quickly shift to a group of ambitious Republicans who are likely to be considered as potential White House hopefuls and will help chart the course for the post-Trump era of the Republican Party.”
President Trump and aides have had discussions about mounting a comeback run in 2024 should he lose reelection to Joe Biden, an adviser tells CNN.
Former White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney told the Irish Times that Donald Trump would “absolutely” run for president again in 2024 if he loses this election.
Said Mulvaney: “I would absolutely expect the president to stay involved in politics and would absolutely put him on the shortlist of people who are likely to run in 2024.”
President Trump’s sons are apparently upset that Republicans are not doing enough to help their father as the vote count proceeds.
Donald Trump Jr.: “The total lack of action from virtually all of the ‘2024 GOP hopefuls’ is pretty amazing. They have a perfect platform to show that they’re willing & able to fight but they will cower to the media mob instead. ”
Eric Trump: “Where is the GOP?! Our voters will never forget…“
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her top lieutenants had a stark warning for Democrats Thursday: swing too far left and they’re all but certain to blow their chances in the Georgia runoff that will determine which party controls the Senate,” Politico reports.
“Congressional Democrats are collectively pinning their hopes on a pair of Senate races in January in one of the most competitive states in the nation — an outcome that could determine whether Democrats hold all levers of power in Washington next year, despite a disappointing night on Tuesday. While Joe Biden is looking likely to win the presidency, Democrats were shut out of key Senate races, dashing their hopes of reclaiming control of the chamber, and lost ground in the House despite being expected to significantly expand their majority.”
“An angry dispute erupted among House Democrats on Thursday, with centrist members blasting their liberal colleagues during a private conference call for pushing far-left views that cost the party seats in Tuesday’s election that they had worked hard to win two years ago,” the Washington Post reports.
“The bitter exchange, which lasted more than three hours as members sniped back and forth over tactics and ideology, reflected the extent to which the 2020 campaign exposed simmering tensions in the party even as its presidential nominee, Joe Biden, stands on the brink of achieving their biggest goal of the year — ousting President Trump.”
Audio: “Rep. Abigail Spanberger (D-VA) criticized her party’s strategy during a Democratic caucus call.”
Defense Secretary Mark Esper has prepared a letter of resignation, NBC News reports.
“It’s not uncommon for Cabinet secretaries to prepare undated letters of resignation during a presidential transition, giving the commander in chief the chance to replace them for a second term. The president decides whether to accept the resignation letters, and the process usually occurs after the election results are clear.”
An Associated Press analysis reveals that in 376 counties with the highest number of new cases per capita, the overwhelming majority — 93% of those counties — went for Trump, a rate above other less severely hit areas.
Most were rural areas in Montana, the Dakotas, Nebraska, Kansas, Iowa and Wisconsin.
“The White House says it wants a ‘James Baker-like’ figure to lead its postelection battle to somehow find a way to win a second term. But the real James Baker says the White House should stop trying to stop the votes from being counted,” the New York Times reports.
Said Baker: “There are huge differences. For one thing, our whole argument was that the votes have been counted and they’ve been counted and they’ve been counted and it’s time to end the process. That’s not exactly the message that I heard on election night. And so I think it’s pretty hard to be against counting the votes.”
He added: “We never said don’t count the votes. That’s a very hard decision to defend in a democracy.”