Thursday, November 5th, 2020


Mutiny on the County

Bad news: Election Night in America just got renewed for another season. Yes, we knew it would take a while to tally all the votes during a pandemic. But it's still hard to suffer through all the counting. OK, it's harder for some than others. Sadly, the most undemocratic president in US history has followed his efforts to slow the mail with demands to "STOP THE COUNT." He even wants to stop the count in places where he's currently behind, which may sound counterintuitive, until you realize this is all about him counting on a counter-revolution against reality. Thankfully, this effort at American counterculture is being counteracted by state leaders who have launched their own countermeasures and are discounting the demands of the president, who before this is over may ban Count Chocula and order Rain Man to stop counting. Maybe he's less worried about ballot counts and more worried about criminal counts? For now, it looks like the incumbent is facing a challenge as steep as Count Rushmore, but it's not over until it's over, and that means every vote counts. Unless the president wants to accept this counter offer: We'll stop counting when we get to 46. The saddest and most unexplainable part of all this is how counterproductive it is that more than sixty million people could have voted for this counterfeit conman. For now, I'm going to listen to the Counting Crows while I'm counting sheep on the way to counting Zzzs. Wake me up when there's a new dawn. (If you're hoping for a new Don, don't count on it.)

+ Buzzfeed: Biden's Campaign Wants You All To Chill Out. Trump's Campaign Wants You All To Freak Out.

+ The latest on the race to the White House from NYT, WaPo, and CNN. I'm guessing we'll have a winner by Thursday night. But if your election lasts more than four days, call 911.


The Level Went Down to Georgia

The counting of ballots is almost complete in the Georgia nailbiter. But the election officials in that state better keep their fingers, toes, and calculators handy. It looks like there could be two Senate race runoffs in Georgia, keeping open the possibility of a 50/50 senate. "As of Thursday morning, with an estimated 95 percent of the votes counted, Mr. Perdue had just under 50 percent of the vote against Jon Ossoff, who had 47.7 percent. Under Georgia law, if Mr. Perdue falls below 50 percent, he will face Mr. Ossoff in a one-on-one election in January. There will already be one runoff Senate election in Georgia: Senator Kelly Loeffler, a Republican, will face the Rev. Dr. Raphael Warnock, a Democrat." (Expect a remarkable amount of money to enter the state and for things to get really weird. After all, Georgia shares a border with Florida...)

+ In the House, the GOP did much better than expected. One of keys, "the success of their efforts to recruit and elect a more diverse slate of candidates." In Ascendant Night for Congressional Republicans, Women Led the Way.


The Other Count

While we're all focused on vote counts, case counts have headed into unprecedented territory. "The United States reported 103,087 cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, the highest single-day total on record, according to the COVID Tracking Project at The Atlantic. It marks the first time that the country—or any country in the world, for that matter—has documented more than 100,000 new cases in one day. At the same time, states reported that more than 52,000 people are hospitalized with the coronavirus, the highest level since early August. The number of people hospitalized nationwide is increasing faster in November than it did in October, and—over the past 10 days—their ranks have risen by about 1,000 people a day." Robinson Meyer and Alexis Madgridal in The Atlantic: A Dreadful New Peak for the American Pandemic.

+ The situation is growing dire in Europe as well where England is on lockdown, France is setting new records, and Italy has hit its highest death toll since the dark days of April. And in "Denmark, the world's largest mink producer, said on Wednesday that it plans to cull more than 15 million of the animals, due to fears that a Covid-19 mutation moving from mink to humans could jeopardise future vaccines." Danish Covid-19 mink variant could spark new pandemic, scientists warn.


Continental Divide

"Once upon a time, a popular-vote victory as decisive as Biden's projected win would likely have swept his party to broad congressional gains. Democrats' only modest advances in the Senate and modest retreat in the House testify to the durability of the divisions between a Democratic coalition rooted in the places immersed in the changes forging 21st-century America and a Republican coalition that dominates the places most apart from, and skeptical of, those changes. In America's domestic cold war, this election was more like Antietam, a brutally bloody stalemate that wounded both sides, than a Gettysburg or Vicksburg, which pointed to a decisive victory for one side over the other. The election did more to underscore the impermeability of the nation's divisions than to offer a path toward the reconciliation and unity that Biden has promised." The Atlantic's excellent Ron Brownstein: A Cold War Between Red and Blue America. (If Biden hits 270, his first move should be to reach out to rural America. Same for the rest of us. Hold the enablers accountable. Then hold each other. One country.)

+ And a must-read from George Packer: "Tens of millions of Americans love MAGA more than they love democracy. After four years of lawbreaking and norm-busting, there can be no illusions about President Donald Trump. His first term culminated in an open effort to sabotage the legitimacy of the election and prevent Americans from voting. His rallies in the final week of the campaign were red-drenched festivals of mass hate, autocratic self-absorption, and boredom, without a glimmer of a better future on offer—and they might have put Trump over the top in Florida and elsewhere ... But the composition of Trump's followers, with a large minority of Latino voters and a nontrivial number of Black voters, makes their motivations more various and complicated than the single, somehow reassuring cause that progressives settled on after 2016: racism. There turn out to be many different reasons different kinds of people want to fling themselves at the feet of a con man. The votes show that progressives' habit of seeing Americans as molecules dissolved in vast and undifferentiated ethnic and racial solutions without individual agency is both analytically misleading and politically self-defeating, doing actual harm to the cause of equality."

+ If you live in a rural area, please share get your friends/neighbors to sign up for NextDraft. If you know people or have relatives in deeply red communities, please do the same. We need to stop defining each other and start talking to each other. Here's a link to share NextDraft.


Barr Lowered

"The Justice Department told federal prosecutors in an email early on Wednesday that the law allowed them to send armed federal officers to ballot-counting locations around the country to investigate potential voter fraud, according to three people who described the message." WaPo: Armed Agents Are Allowed in Ballot-Counting Venues, Justice Dept. Tells Prosecutors.

+ ICE Attempts to Deport Multiple Witnesses in Gynecologic Surgery Scandal.


Ma Said Knock You Out

Reuters: How billionaire Jack Ma fell to earth and took Ant's mega IPO with him. "While Ma might not have realised the impact his words would have, people close to him had been baffled to learn in advance about the tone of the speech he planned to deliver, according to two sources close to Ma. They suggested the 56-year-old soften his remarks as some of China's most senior financial regulators were due to attend, but he refused to budge, believing he should be able to say what he wanted, the sources said. "Jack is Jack. He just wanted to speak his mind.'"


The Wrath of Prawn

"Complicating their potential release is a Libyan demand for a prisoner swap: the Sicilians in exchange for four Libyans convicted by the Italian courts of human trafficking and murder." BBC: For the past two months, 18 fishermen from Sicily detained at sea by the Libyan Coast Guard have been held in a jail close to the city of Benghazi. They were fishing for red prawns in Mediterranean waters (prawns, one assumes they intended to murder and then traffic, but still...)


Downplay the Virus But Raise the Rent

"Many of the Westminster tenants facing eviction live on low or middle incomes in modest apartments in the Baltimore area, according to tenants. Some of them told The Washington Post they fell behind on rent after losing jobs or wages due to the pandemic. Those facing eviction proceedings once courts begin hearing cases again include a nurse who struggled financially during the pandemic, health-care administrators and a single mother who is currently unemployed." WaPo: Management company owned by Jared Kushner files to evict hundreds of families as moratoriums expire. (At least Jared is about to get evicted from the White House...)


Electoral Collage

A very cool twitter story about why Nebraska splits its electoral votes (aside from the fact that it makes sense, is more democratic, and the electoral college is insane).


Bottom of the News

"The expeditions will be the first in 15 years to take guests to the famous wreck." Weekly Dives to the Titanic Will Begin in May. (Give them credit for timing...)

+ WaPo: Package with 1979 postmark delivered to Md. suburb: ‘It only took the post office 41 years.' COUNT EVERY VOTE!