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      •  Saturday Q&A
      •  Today's Senate Polls

Saturday Q&A

We're finally going to break down and answer the question we get more than any other. Read on, to see which it is (it's not the first question in the list).

Q: Why isn't everyone freaking out about the Continuing Resolution? One week to go before Donald Trump refuses to sign it for no good reason, followed by a government shutdown. What a wonderful gift to leave Joe Biden: further economic collapse and waste. Seems on par for 2020 to me. So why no coverage? P.G., Arlington VA

A: Because everyone in Washington plays this same stupid game of chicken when the budget comes up, and has done so for years. Consequently, one cannot begin to take it seriously until it becomes clear that nobody blinked, and the government really is going to shut down. That sometimes does happen, but usually it doesn't.

Q: I keep seeing references to the "safe harbor" date of December 8 but I'm not really sure how it works. Can you shed some light?

I'm particularly thinking of Pennsylvania. The Rep. Mike Kelly (R-PA) case is now before the Supreme Court and Justice Samuel Alito has asked for a response on December 9, a day after safe harbor. Does that mean that since Pennsylvania hasn't finished resolving its election disputes that safe harbor won't apply? Or will it still apply because a valid certification exists and hasn't been withdrawn/overturned?

And if it's the former, would that mean that a Republican in, say, Massachusetts could deny that state safe harbor by filing a claim last minute on December 8, even though the outcome in that state is clear?
M.R., Liverpool, UK

A: Prior to Dec. 8, the states can do whatever they feel they need to do in order to submit a proper slate of electors. Hearings in state court, recounts, whatever. If they fail to submit on or before that date, then their EVs don't get counted.

The deadline only speaks to state-level activity, and does not preclude federal action after that date. In fact, that is why there is a gap between the safe harbor date and the actual casting of the ballots, so that the feds have a week to fix anything they need to fix (like, say, if a state submits two slates of electors). And someone who waited until moments before the safe harbor deadline to try to throw a wrench into the works would be told "sorry, you waited until too late" by the state (and federal) courts.

Q: Is Donald Trump's refusal to replace Scott Atlas the reason the sky is falling on his COVID-19 plans? L.E., Putnam County, NY

A: That is a symptom of the problem and not the cause. Atlas is a political hack who had no business, as a neuroradiologist, taking a leading role in shaping COVID-19 policy (by contrast, Anthony Fauci and Deborah Birx are both immunologists). Anyhow, the reason that Atlas rose to prominence, and the reason he's not being replaced, is that Trump always saw this as a purely political problem that could be overcome with the right messaging. Atlas was not qualified to cope with a medical crisis, but he is willing to say whatever the President wants him to say, just like Harold Bornstein, Ronny Jackson, and other ethically compromised physicians who have been in the Trump orbit.

Trump was wrong in the approach he chose, obviously. However, by the time he'd committed to a strategy of denialism and false hope, it was too late to change course, especially for someone like him who is never, ever wrong. If he had a time machine, and was able to see back in January where this was headed, maybe he would have done things differently. On the other hand, maybe not. The President has no clue how to deal with something like this, and he's surrounded himself primarily with flacks who also have no clue. So, the head-in-the-sand routine may have been his only viable option.

Q: As you've stated, this election was a lot closer in many ways than in 2016. Hindsight is, of course, 20/20, but in your expert opinion, had there been no COVID-19, do you think the results of the election would have been vastly different from what they were? K.F., Framingham, MA

A: Not only do we not know the answer to that question, we're not even sure how an answer could be derived. There was so much unusual about this election that it seems impossible to isolate one factor from all the rest.

On one hand, Trump's management of the pandemic was clearly wanting, and clearly cost American lives. And yet, he was already hated by a huge percentage of the voting public, while another huge percentage has made clear they will forgive anything. Undoubtedly he lost some votes due to COVID-19, but were those enough to shift the election? He may also have gained some votes among folks who feared that the Democrats would become the "shut the nation down, economy be damned" party.

If you absolutely insisted that we hazard a guess, we would guess that COVID-19 probably did cost Trump the election because it led to heavy early/absentee balloting, which in turn led to very high Democratic turnout, which in turn left Joe Biden with just enough margin to carry the handful of very close states that decided the election. But again, that's just a guess.

Q: Do you have any ideas why House and Senate Democrats did so well in 2018 and they did poorly in 2020? Was it because in 2018, without Trump on the ticket, Democrats had the higher turnout but with Trump on the ticket, both sides had very high turnout? M.G., New Brunswick, NJ

A: The current theory is that we are in the middle of a shift, with low-engagement blue-collar voters headed to the GOP and high-engagement suburban voters headed to the Democrats. Consequently, it could be that midterms are now more favorable to the Democrats, while presidential years are more favorable to the Republicans. It will be a few cycles before we can really be sure if this is what's happening, though. Further, it may be that presidential years are favorable to the Republicans only if they have someone on the ticket who excites low-engagement voters.

Q: Leading up to the 2020 elections, there was much concern about election security. There was story after story about ourdated and non-secured voting machines, Russia more than likely having interfered in 2016 and more than likely back to interfere again in 2020, Iran and China getting in on the action, and so on. After the election though, the only people who still believe anything untoward happened in the election are Donald Trump and his supporters. To everyone else, the election was "the most secure in our nation's history."

Not to lend any legitimacy whatsoever to the Trump camp's wild and baseless conspiracy-mongering, but can you explain how it was that so many legitimate-seeming concerns before the election turned out to be for nothing afterward? Were the worriers wrong? Did the bad actors decide not to intervene after all? It can't all be "it's only fraud if my guy lost" bias, surely.
C.K., Albuquerque, NM

A: It is possible that bad guys did intervene, but that we won't find out about it for months (or longer). Maybe some academic data cruncher will discover anomalies in the election data. Or maybe the intelligence community knows things that Donald Trump won't allow them to say publicly, but Joe Biden will.

That said, there is reason to believe that maybe the bad guys can't do as much harm as feared. As we pointed out a couple of times before Election Day, the decentralized nature of the election system presents serious challenges to evil-doers. That is doubly true when people are voting early and/or absentee. And a question we've never heard a great answer to: If the Russians really do have the ability to cook the books, why would they invest so much time and energy in a silly Facebook propaganda campaign?

Also, in 2020 there was no surprise factor. Everyone knew Russia might try meddling. Even Facebook deleted thousands of bogus accounts. That made it much harder to pull off a good propaganda attack and the decentralized nature of the election process always makes it hard to affect actual votes.

Q: I read somewhere that Donald Trump was elected by 26% of the eligible voters. Is that true? How does that percentage stack up against voter turnout in 2016? What was that percentage? This year, I've read that voter turnout was 65%. How does that translate into a percentage of eligible voters electing Joe Biden? B.D., Columbus, OH

A: There are two ways to calculate this information, but the easier is to merely divide the number of votes a candidate received by the number of eligible voters. In 2016, there were 230,931,921 eligible voters, and Trump got 62,984,828 votes. 62,984,828/230,931,921 is 27.2%. In 2020, there were 239,247,182 eligible voters, and Biden got 81,255,933 votes (at last count), which means that the President-elect was chosen by 33.9% of eligible voters.

The other way of calculating these numbers is to use the turnout percentage, but there is a slight problem with doing it this way. In 2016, the official turnout was 55.7%. Donald Trump took 46.1% of that, and 0.461*55.7% equals 25.7%. You will notice that is a figure similar to the 27.2% the other method produced, but not an identical figure. That is where the slight problem comes in. You see, the turnout figures that are used for elections aren't actually correct. When it comes time for Congress to certify the results, they get a report from the FEC that advises them, among other things, what percentage of voting-age residents actually voted, and that percentage usually becomes the accepted "turnout" figure.

However, as the careful reader will notice, "voting-age residents" and "eligible voters" are not the same thing, as the former category also includes non-citizens and disenfranchised felons, among others. And so, if you take the number of voting-age Americans in 2016 (245,502,000) and divide that into the number of voters who cast ballots (136,669,276), you get 55.67%, which is the widely accepted "turnout" figure for that election. However, as we have already noted, only 230,931,921 voting-age Americans were actually eligible to vote that year. If you take that number and divide into the number of ballots cast, you get the actual turnout, which is 59.2%. Nobody uses that latter figure, however, even if it's more accurate.

Q: Michael Flynn has called on Donald Trump to suspend the Constitution, declare martial law and have the military run a new election.

What provisions and/or precedents are there—legally, historically, whatever—for the president to suspend the Constitution? Is this possible?
D.R., Omaha, NE

A: Let us start by pointing out that Flynn, in addition to being reprehensible, is a Grade-A moron.

What "martial law" means is that civilian authorities are supplanted by military ones—military officers govern, military tribunals hear court cases, etc. It has been most often used in foreign locales occupied by the U.S. Army (note that the former states of the Confederacy were deemed as such after the Civil War, and so were subjected to martial law). It has occasionally been used in domestic locales, though the last time the federal government imposed martial law on American citizens was in Hawaii during World War II. There hasn't been a lot of exploration of martial law (which, by the way, is not mentioned in the Constitution) by the courts, but a president who tried to pull the stunt that Flynn is suggesting would run into two massive legal obstacles. The first is the Supreme Court ruling in Youngstown Sheet and Tube Co. v. Sawyer (1952), which said that the right to exercise these sorts of powers lies with Congress and not the president. The second is that Congress—long before SCOTUS said this was their prerogative—passed the Posse Comitatus Act, which imposes very strict limits on the federal government's power to use the armed forces to enforce domestic policy.

So, there is no legal basis for Flynn's proposal, which is really just a fancy way of calling for Trump to stage a coup. And that leads us to another problem. In those cases where a president has gotten away with imposing martial law domestically, it's because everyone played along, usually because the martial law was confined to a limited space, and the nation was in the midst of one war or another. But if Trump tried to impose martial law on the whole country, and in peacetime no less, there would be mass rebellions, and there most certainly would not be a "new" election whose results would be broadly accepted. And so, we're back where we started: Flynn is a reprehensible, Grade-A moron.

Q: I am confused, because I thought one of the rules of PACs was that they could not coordinate with the campaigns. If so, how can Donald Trump be chairman of his own PAC and also be expected to not coordinate with his campaign? M.B., Melrose, MA

A: To start, we all know Trump is thinking about running. And in a day, or a week, or a month, he may announce that he's definitely going to run. But until he files paperwork with the FEC, and officially becomes a candidate for the 2024 presidential race, then legally he is not a candidate and can do whatever he wants, PAC-wise.

Also, Trump's PAC is the Save America PAC. So even after he becomes an official candidate (if he does), he might plausibly be able to retain leadership of the PAC if its focus is entirely on "saving America" and not on promoting his presidential bid.

These kinds of obviously exploitable gray areas are why so many people hate Citizens United.

Q: If Donald Trump winds up in prison, would he still have round-the-clock Secret Service protection? R.P., Redmond, WA

A: This is the question we get at least 2-3 times a week, that we alluded to in the introduction above. And the reason we haven't answered is because there is no real answer. No ex-president has ever gone to prison before, and so there's no way to know for sure what will happen when one does.

With that said, we will take an educated guess. Lifetime USSS protection is extended by an act of Congress (the Former Presidents Act) and so can only be rescinded by an act of Congress. If Trump were to be sent to the hoosegow, we doubt Congress would lift his protection, for two reasons. The first of these is that doing so would look punitive and petty to many voters, and the bad PR wouldn't be worth it.

The second is that lifetime protection is not extended for the ex-president's benefit, but for the nation's benefit, as it would put the U.S. in a bad position if a former president was kidnapped and held for ransom, or was murdered by a separatist faction, or whatever. In prison, some of those same risks would exist, like if a group of prisoners tried to capture and hold Trump in exchange for their freedom, or some sort of extremist murdered him in cold blood. So, it would be best for the country that he be properly protected.

Q: Even if convicted of something and sent to the big house, Donald Trump could run for and potentially win the 2024 election and be President...from prison? Assuming he wasn't granted some sort of reprieve or home release, could it even be possible in any way to run the government from a cell? B.H., Lutton, UK

A: We are dealing with a very, very unlikely scenario here but yes, it is possible that he could run and win from prison. If he did, then it's hard to imagine he would not be freed, or placed on house (White House?) arrest, or something like that. With that said, if Trump was elected, and if Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D-NY) stuck to his guns and refused to free him, then we would say that the Donald would be unable to exercise the powers of the presidency, and that by the terms of the 25th Amendment, the VP would become acting president.

Q: Is the FCC powerless to prevent Trump and Fox people and others from consistently lying on TV and other media? Doesn't this violate decency standards? Isn't this worse than pornography? D.K., Iowa City, IA

A: First of all, this nation made a choice long ago—presumably influenced by religious types—that certain types of offensive content were problematic (sex, nudity, etc.) and other types (murder, lies, etc.) were not. With that now very longstanding precedent, it's inconceivable that the FCC could go after someone for lying on the basis that lies are indecent. It is doubly inconceivable that they could go after Fox News, Newsmax, OAN, etc., because those are cable channels, and the FCC's authority is mostly limited to over-the-air broadcast channels that make use of public airwaves.

Q: I now realize that I have been discounting and ignoring what is going on in the other side's echo chamber and missing important things. I struggle to even give the tribe a name because "Republican", "right wing", "Trumpian" and "conservative" all seem to be missing something. I know people from the tribe that are educated and intelligent but I don't get how they got to where they are intellectually. I want to find a site that summarizes the news as viewed from that "reality" without the needless repetition of the original sources and the judgmental condescension of the opposition channels. Ideally, I'd like an anthropologist's approach, where the culture is explained but not judged on a moral basis, but that may be asking too much. Can you give me any recommendations for a time-efficient window into that culture? R.T., Arlington, TX

A: We are not exactly sure what sort of site you mean. If you're asking for a "Cliff's Notes" site that tracks what's going on in conservative media, in the same way that the SPLC tracks hate groups or the Hollywood Reporter tracks what's going on in the entertainment industry, then you might want to take a look at Right Wing Watch. But note that they do not claim to be politically neutral; the site is run by People For the American Way, which is a progressive activist group. That said, they are very transparent about who they are and what they are doing.

If what you are looking for is a reasonable right-wing site that speaks to (and for) movement conservatives, without all kinds of propaganda and mudslinging and conspiratorial thinking, then you should probably read The Bulwark. Once Trump has exited stage right, you might look at National Review. It has veered somewhat from its movement conservative roots of late (it was founded by William F. Buckley Jr. when Trump was 9 years old), but it will probably revert to its heritage when Trump is no longer a distraction.

Q: "Defund the Police!" Within about two milliseconds of reading this new slogan for the first time, I was aghast at the realization that it wouldn't help Democrats in the least, and that it would be used effectively to hurt them. Fortunately, the damage wasn't fatal.

But I am left to wonder, who coined this slogan? Was it someone from the Progressive wing of the Party, who really wanted to stick it to the Centrists? If so, whoever it was should be banned from slogan-making for life! Or perhaps it was still more evil. This is the type of dirty trick for which Republicans, in their more mellow moods, are known. If a GOP member coined this phrase and managed to pass it off as a Democratic idea, frankly, they deserve a big promotion.

Anyway, who was it and why did they do it?
B.L., Hudson, NY

A: Like many (perhaps most) catchphrases and slogans, this one has no single source, though we can say that it's not a right-wing dirty trick. The notion that excessive policing makes racial disparities worse has been bandied about by Black intellectuals for over a century, dating back to the works of W.E.B. DuBois and Marcus Garvey. The word "defund" came into use in the 1960s and 1970s. And the idea and phrase achieved wide circulation in 2017, thanks to Alex Vitale's The End of Policing.

Q: You did not address the Barack Obama/Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) tiff over "Defund the Police" this week in your coverage, even though this fits into your continuing coverage of what ails the Democratic party. It seems like there is a major debate brewing deep within the halls of the political left in this country over whether to focus on "making people feel uncomfortable about the present" (team AOC) versus "making people feel comfortable about the future" (team Obama). Aside from any discussion about how to make the Democratic party more competitive, do you think there should be a broader, self-critical discussion among the left about what activism works and what activism does not? S.O.F., New York, NY

A: We will start by noting that while Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez' rise to prominence has been very rapid and very impressive, she has collected a total of 205,499 votes in her career, and in a very blue district. Barack Obama, by contrast, has collected just shy of 140 million votes in his career. So, he may just know a bit more about political strategy than she.

We will also note that the fellows who wrote the Constitution were leery of big changes, and so they created a government that made big changes very difficult to accomplish. Since that time, Americans have assimilated that sentiment wholeheartedly. It took 50 years for activists to end child labor, 75 years for them to get women the vote nationwide, 100 years for them to legalize labor unions, and 150 years for them to bring an end to slavery.

The Progressives, whose mantle AOC claims, were well aware of this, and so framed their reforms in very pragmatic terms that made them acceptable to (many) rank-and-file voters. They achieved a great deal, and so this would seem to be a model for any and all Democrats who hope to see their policies implemented. Heck, the Progressives even took on the police, but they presented it as "reform the police" or "clean up the police" or "get rid of corrupt cops," as opposed to "defund the police."

Anyhow, our point is: It's hard enough to get anything done under the U.S. system of government, so why would you make it even harder by stepping on potential allies' toes and angering them/scaring them off? However, some activists equate "make your messaging more accessible" with being a sell-out.

Q: Many articles have been written (by you and others) talking about how Joe Biden needs the Democrats to win both Senate seats in GA to be able to get anything passed through the Senate. While a 50-50 tie (with Harris the tiebreaking vote) would allow for confirmation of appointees and judges, it still wouldn't help with legislation unless the filibuster is eliminated (which seems unlikely in such an evenly divided Senate). What do you think Biden could really accomplish (other than confirmations) with a 50-50 Senate that he couldn't if the Senate was 52-48 or 51-49 with Republican control? J.S., Hightstown, NJ

A: A 50-50 Senate would give the Democrats control of some (or maybe all) committees and, most importantly, would give the Majority Leader's gavel to Chuck Schumer (D-NY). As we have all learned in the last decade or so, the Majority Leader has enormous power, in that they control the agenda for the Senate. With McConnell in charge, pretty much everything passed by the House goes right into his desk drawer. With Schumer in charge, however, legislation can actually be brought to the floor. And once it's brought to the floor, the Democrats just might whip 10 GOP votes. Or, at very least, they can put the Republicans in the position of casting some politically damaging votes (e.g. "Can you believe that Sen. Rubio helped block the Puppies, Kittens, Unicorns, and Fight Opioid Abuse Act of 2021? I can't.")

Getting rid of the filibuster with a 50-50 Senate probably won't happen because Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) doesn't want to abolish it. Nevertheless, the Democrats could insist on no more symbolic filibusters. If you want to filibuster, go ahead and stand in the well of the Senate reading the Bible, Hamlet, or the Alabama phone book. But you have to stand (sitting is not allowed) and no food, drink, or bathroom breaks are allowed. How many Republican senators want to be recorded reading the Alabama phone book for 24 hours for the cause of blocking a COVID-19 relief bill that would help people who have lost their jobs due to the pandemic? Probably not so many.

Q: You've written about how Kamala Harris will be president of the Senate and that she could play hardball with Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), basically forcing him to bring up legislation and nominations. My question is: Why didn't Joe Biden do this in 2016 when Antonin Scalia died in order to bring Merrick Garland's nomination up for a vote? There were probably enough Republicans who would play ball to vote on the nomination. K.R., Boston, MA

A: Because there was little hope of Republican defections, and also because the Democrats thought the Supreme Court issue would help Hillary Clinton win the election, so they didn't particularly want it to be resolved.

Q: Since President-elect Biden stole your thunder when it comes to this particular cabinet projection, what would have been your job description for the Secretary of Homeland Security? S.W., Orland Park, IL

A: The Secretary of Homeland Security is, in effect, the domestic version of the Secretary of Defense. They are responsible for overseeing nearly all the things that keep citizens "safe," including Customs, INS, FEMA, the Coast Guard, the Secret Service, and the nation's electric and communications infrastructure. It is a franken-agency, thrown together rather hastily after the 9/11 attacks. Because of the breadth of their responsibilities, the Secretary is perhaps more dependent on a team of expert deputies and undersecretaries than any other Cabinet officer.

Q: On Wednesday, you wrote, "Further, the President-elect is using a trick he learned from Barack Obama, and elevating jobs that are currently non-cabinet to cabinet status." Could you please go into further detail on what that entails? I.K., Queens, NY

A: What it literally means is that the person will be invited to, and can participate in, Cabinet meetings. That said, the distinction is as much PR as it is pragmatic, a way of saying "this job, and the person occupying it, are very important to this administration."

The main legal distinction between a cabinet official and a cabinet-level official is that the latter do not lead executive departments, and are not in the line of succession.

Q: On Wednesday, you wrote: "[Donald] Trump will leave office having done less of substance, foreign policy-wise, than any president since World War II." That raises the question: Who was the least effective one-term President and who was the most effective one-term President? J.B., Bend, OR

A: The latter portion of that is much easier to answer. James K. Polk is the textbook example of a successful one-term president. He made a bunch of commitments, like that he would acquire California and he would settle the border dispute in Oregon with those always troublesome Canadians, and said he would do it all in one term. And guess what? He did it. Checked all of the items on his list, and then checked out after one term (unfortunately for him, he was also the shortest-lived ex-president, dying of cholera just three months after leaving office).

The least effective one-termer is harder to answer. Some of them did nothing because nothing is what was expected of them; they were captaining the ship of state at a time when that ship was on cruise control. Rutherford B. Hayes or Benjamin Harrison would be in this category. Some of them did more than nothing, but "more than nothing" was far less than the nation needed in a time of crisis. Herbert Hoover and Donald Trump would be in this category.

The one-term president who would seem to best combine both forms of ineffectiveness is James Buchanan. He faced the greatest crisis the nation had ever known and he basically spent four years sitting on his hands. So, that's our pick.

Q: Is there any likelihood that, in historical rankings of presidents, Donald Trump will ever be in a higher position than 43rd? He and Buchanan seem likely to be trapped in an eternal struggle for last place; but can an argument be made that he wasn't as bad as Andrew Johnson or Dubya (or other historically low-ranked presidents)? J.H., Studio City, CA

A: Donald Trump is not particularly suited, by temperament or skill set, to be the President of the United States. But that is not unique; there are a number of presidents who were not suited to the job (A. Johnson, Harding, Buchanan, J.Q. Adams, Grant, etc.). Trump failed to do much to make the nation better, and did much to make it worse, both through action and inaction. But that is not unique, either; there are a number of presidents who blew it big-time (Hoover, Bush 43, second-term Cleveland, Buchanan again, J. Adams, etc.). Where Trump is unique is his willingness to trample on the norms of American government, including his failure to respect and build on the work done by his predecessors. It is unlikely that he will be forgiven by future historians, and will climb out of the basement.

Q: When was a presidential pardon most recently granted to a member of a Democratic administration and to whom for what federal crime? Also, how many presidential pardons have been granted to members of Republican administrations? S.K, Chappaqua, NY

A: The first, last, and only time that a member of a Democratic administration was pardoned came during the Clinton presidency, when he pardoned HUD Secretary Henry Cisneros, who was convicted of lying to the FBI about hush payments to his mistress. Cisneros' mistress, not Clinton's.

The Republican part of that question is harder to answer, because it depends on who qualifies as a member of an administration. Do unpaid advisors like Roger Stone count? Or is it only people drawing a federal paycheck? We're going to assume the latter, and give this list:

  • Gerald Ford (1): Richard Nixon

  • Ronald Reagan (2): Mark Felt, Edward S. Miller

  • George H. W. Bush (6): Elliott Abrams, Duane Clarridge, Clair George, Alan Fiers, Robert McFarlane, Caspar Weinberger

  • George W. Bush (0.5): Lewis "Scooter" Libby commutation

  • Donald Trump (1.5): Lewis "Scooter" Libby pardon, Michael Flynn

As you can see, pardoning members of a presidential administration wasn't really a thing until Dick Nixon made it one. Also, that 1.5 figure for Trump will obviously be increasing very soon.

Q: It is interesting to note that one of the contributors to this blog occasionally comes out with an assortment of scary "scenarios," followed a few days or weeks by the other contributor to this blog detailing how they could never (or are very unlikely to) occur. Is there a Yin Yang thing going on here? Which one of you is Darth Vader and which is Luke Skywalker? Is the Votemaster Zenger's father? L.V.A., Idaho Falls, ID

A: Well, though our views on most subjects are similar, we don't agree on everything. It's rare that we hold completely opposed opinions on a subject, but we do sometimes differ on degree. For example, one of us may think there's a 20% chance of Candidate X winning, and the other might think there's a 65% chance. Or one might think there's a serious possibility of SCOTUS involvement in the election, and the other might think it's only a narrow possibility. Anyhow, we think it's good for people to sometimes see different sides of an issue, a dynamic that academia, and thus our professional lives, is founded upon.

Note that we do not ever write things we don't believe just to play devil's advocate. But if one of us writes something and the other finds that piece to be a bit off the mark, the second person might make a point of authoring a piece that offers a different view.

Today's Senate Polls

The Democrats are up, but their leads are 1-2 points with 5%-6% undecided. That could be trouble for the two Democratic candidates, if the undecideds break heavily for the Republicans again. (Z)

State Democrat D % Republican R % Start End Pollster
Georgia Jon Ossoff 48% David Perdue* 47% Nov 19 Nov 24 RMG Research
Georgia-special Raphael Warnock 48% Kelly Loeffler* 46% Nov 19 Nov 24 RMG Research

* Denotes incumbent

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---The Votemaster and Zenger
Dec04 Four Out of Five Presidents Believe in Setting an Example on COVID-19
Dec04 Pardon Power Is no Panacea
Dec04 Graham Could Be in Hot Water
Dec04 Georgia Republicans Brace for Trump's Arrival
Dec04 And Now We Know
Dec04 Projecting the Cabinet Is a Real Crapshoot
Dec04 The Biden Cabinet: Secretary of Housing and Urban Development
Dec04 Today's Senate Polls
Dec03 Biden Wins Georgia--Again
Dec03 Biden Is Focusing on Mid- and Lower-Level Appointees
Dec03 What Is Trump Up To?
Dec03 Trump 2024
Dec03 The Case of the Unredacted Apostrophe
Dec03 The Michigander vs. the Michigoose
Dec03 Earmarks Are Back
Dec03 Democrats Are Spending Millions to Hammer Perdue and Loeffler on Insider Trading
Dec03 Democrats Are Fighting over Feinstein's Replacement
Dec02 Pardon Me?
Dec02 Don Trixote Continues to Tilt at Electoral Windmills
Dec02 Trump Inches Closer to Making it Official
Dec02 Trump About to Suffer One Last Foreign Policy Loss on His Way Out the Door
Dec02 What Ails the Democrats, Part 647
Dec02 Biden Pressured to Make Cabinet More Diverse
Dec02 The Biden Cabinet: Secretary of Health and Human Services
Dec01 Certifiable Loser
Dec01 Cold Turkey
Dec01 940,000 Absentee Ballots Have Been Requested for Georgia Runoff So Far
Dec01 Can the Democrats Win Back the Cuban Vote?
Dec01 Voters Apparently Like What They Are Seeing from Biden
Dec01 Five Things That Saved Democracy
Dec01 The Biden Cabinet: Secretary of Labor
Nov30 Appeals Court Slaps Down Trump
Nov30 Biden's Lead in Wisconsin Grows by 87 Votes
Nov30 Biden Breaks a Record
Nov30 Biden's Top Five Challenges
Nov30 Supreme Court to Hear Census Case Today
Nov30 House Results Are Nearly Complete Now
Nov30 Republicans Came Back to Life in California
Nov30 Why Did the Democrats Do So Badly in House Races?
Nov30 The Senate Will Be Plunged into Uncertainty for Weeks Next Year
Nov30 Is Democracy Safe Now?
Nov30 Can the Democrats Win Again in 2024?
Nov30 Build That Wall!
Nov29 Sunday Mailbag
Nov28 Saturday Q&A
Nov27 Trump Says He'll Leave if He Loses the Electoral College
Nov27 How Long to Go from the White House to the Big House?
Nov27 Trump Complicates Things in Georgia
Nov27 Trump Foreign Policy More a Wrong Turn Than a Real Change in Direction
Nov27 The Last Gasp of Anti-Trans Politics?