Previewing the Roller Coaster That Is This Week

Get ready for the highs and lows.

Good evening and Happy New Year! There are just 16 days left until Inauguration Day. I’m sure every day will be uneventful -- JKLOL the next two weeks and change are going to be insane, full of breaking news, and rife with antics from Trump and his enablers. Just this week alone is going to be a roller coaster. Let’s dive in!

The Topline 

I hope that you had some much-needed rest and relaxation over the holiday break. We're going to need some stamina (and a lot of coffee) to get through the next few days with our sanity intact. For today’s newsletter, I’m going to preview what the rest of this week looks like.

Tomorrow: All eyes are on Georgia where a runoff election for two Senate seats will determine control of the U.S. Senate. There hasn’t been that much polling in the race, and our collective trust in polls is kind of low right now, but both parties are still treating this as a close race. Both President Trump and President-elect Biden are campaigning in Georgia today, and Vice President-elect Harris was there yesterday. Early vote numbers are worth keeping an eye on, and as TargetSmart CEO Tom Bonier reminds us on Twitter: “as we head into Election Day v2 in Georgia - Biden didn't take the lead in the reported vote count until more than 48 hours after polls closed. It's going to take time to count the votes, and these races will be close.”

Should Democrats prevail, expect Trump and his enablers to add it to their list of grievances and make false claims of fraud and rigging. As Trump did on the campaign trail in 2016 and 2020, he continues to claim, without evidence, that the system is rigged and massive voter fraud is taking place across the US. Trump’s GOTV message to voters seems to be that there’s no way they can win in a rigged election but vote anyway because reasons! Tomorrow we’ll see if that message pays off for the Republican candidates.

We should also mention the now infamous call. At this point, I don’t need to recap it for you, but the fallout has been interesting. Potentially the call could have an effect on the runoff, though with so much early vote banked I’m not realistically sure how much it can. It also seems likely that a certain outgoing president might be charged with crimes in Georgia once he’s no longer in office.

Wednesday: Congress will meet to certify the results of the Electoral College, and Trump plans to put on a show. Currently, 12 Republican Senators and 140 Republican Representatives in the House plan to oppose certification. Their effort will fail but inevitably gain them the notoriety and fundraising dollars they seek. As for Trump’s approval, as we’ve seen with everyone else in Trump’s orbit, he has no loyalty to anyone but himself. So it’s not a particularly valuable thing, but these objectors don’t seem to realize that.

Outside the halls of Congress, a large #stopthesteal protest from Trump’s base of supporters is planned. Expect this event to have a bigger crowd than the previous protests because President Trump has been calling on his supporters to come out since December 19. And based on my monitoring of MAGA online communities (Facebook, Parler, TheDonald.win, Telegram, etc.) over the holidays, I think there’s a lot more potential for violence as well. Nothing seems particularly well organized but based on online activity, many of those in attendance are spoiling for a fight. DC Mayor Bowser and the DC police claim to be prepared but their track record from previous DC #stopthesteal events is not great. I’m concerned about what might transpire during and after these events. 

Thursday and Friday: Come Thursday and Friday Joe Biden will still be the president-elect. I assume we’ll get a nominee for Attorney General once the results in Georgia are known. 

Trump will continue with his delusion but it’s hard to see what levers he has left to pull. We can assume he’ll attempt to get the U.S. military to overturn the election next, and indeed all 10 former defense secretaries penned an op-ed in the Washington Post to warn that “efforts to involve the U.S. armed forces in resolving election disputes would take us into dangerous, unlawful and unconstitutional territory. Civilian and military officials who direct or carry out such measures would be accountable, including potentially facing criminal penalties, for the grave consequences of their actions on our republic.” Personally, I can’t see a scenario where this works. Mostly because each attempt Trump makes is more desperate than the last.

One thing is clear: the road to Inauguration Day will be paved with stunt after stunt from Donald Trump. It’s obnoxious and exhausting, but keep in mind that no matter what Trump does, Joe Biden will still be president in 16 days. And if nothing else Trump’s final temper tantrums have given America a to-do list for reforms we need to make in our democratic system ASAP.

Driving the Conversation 

After taking the oath of office, Mr. Biden will conduct a traditional review of military troops meant to highlight the peaceful transfer of power, the Presidential Inaugural Committee said in a statement. The committee also said Mr. Biden would receive an official escort, with representatives from every branch of the military, for one city block before arriving at the White House.

Google’s work on Project Maven, an effort to use AI to improve targeted drone strikes, sparked protests among employees who saw the work as unethical. In 2018, the company decided not to renew its contract with the Pentagon. The company also ended its forced arbitration policy after 20,000 workers staged a walkout to protest former executive Andy Rubin getting a $90 million exit package after he was credibly accused of sexual harassment.

Now that the union effort is public, organizers will likely launch a series of campaigns to rally votes from Google workers. Prior to the announcement, about 230 Google employees and contractors had signed cards in support of the union.

Senate Majority Leader Moscow Mitch McConnell could have done one critical thing on November 7, when Joe Biden was declared the victor in the presidential election. He could have congratulated Biden and his running mate Kamala Harris and sent the message to Donald Trump: it's over. He could have done the same at any number of moments since, after every single one of the dozens of court decisions against Trump. McConnell didn't do that. He waited until December 15 to acknowledge the truth, giving Trump weeks and weeks to establish a narrative of election irregularities and giving craven Republicans in the Senate all the room they needed to try to help Trump pull off a coup.

Biden will be in Atlanta to headline a drive-in rally in support of Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock.

The president-elect's visit comes a day after Vice President-elect Kamala Harris came to Savannah for a rally.

Republican politicians and super PACs have been spreading disinformation in Facebook ads targeting Georgia voters in the critical final days of the Senate runoff campaign. 

An ad from the Republican Party in late December falsely suggested that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) is plotting to help Vice President-elect Kamala D. Harris remove President-elect Joe Biden from office, twisting her remarks on another topic entirely. 

Another ad from last month sponsored by the Senate Leadership Fund claims Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff is “threatening to defund the police,” even though Ossoff has repeatedly said he does not support such actions. 

Biden Hires and Appointments 

No announcements since our last newsletter.

Your Moment of Cute

Congratulations on reading all the way to the end. Like I said, this week is gonna be nuts. Today’s moment of cute is longer than usual, but if you enjoy squirrels and/or physics you’ll love this video of a former NASA engineer creating an obstacle course for squirrels in his backyard. 

Take care. We’ll talk again on Wednesday.

American Interregnum is a pop-up newsletter covering the Presidential transition period from November 3rd, 2020 to January 21st, 2021. It is written and edited by Justin Hendrix, Greg Greene, and Melissa Ryan. Got questions or comments? We love your feedback. Reply directly to this email. We read all responses and respond to most.