Georgia needs some antacids | Fox News

on Nov10
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On the roster: Georgia needs some antacids – Trump presses Georgia to hand count every ballot – Biden team considers legal actions if Trump stalls – Senate GOP unveils $1.4T spending bill – Ho, ho, ho… heh, heh, heh

Americans might be contemplating the already raucous battle over two Senate seats in Georgia like Mr. Creosote thinking about a “wafer-thin mint.”

They know they’ve had their fill of politics, and just one more bite could make them burst. And yet…

Here’s how things stand: Both Republican Senate incumbents have been forced into Jan. 5 runoff elections with their Democratic challengers. Given the expected result in Alaska and the more likely outcome in North Carolina, the battle for control of the Senate would stand at 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats on D-Day in the Peach State.

If Republicans can win just one of the two races, they will maintain control of the upper chamber. But if Democrats can snag them both, they will bring the Senate to a tie and set up Vice President-Elect Kamala Harris as the deciding vote for control.

Now, don’t forget that even if Georgia throws the Senate into an apparent tie, there still might be horse trading to do. It would be far from unusual for members to switch parties in situations like these. Be on the lookout for independents, moderates and lawmakers representing states that are usually solidly in the other camp to explore their options if that’s where we end up.

The anxieties among Georgia Republicans are particularly acute since Joe Biden looks poised to be the first Democrat to win the state in nearly 30 years. Given Democrats’ capacity to turn Georgia into a swing state for the first time in a long time, the GOP is on high alert.

The best evidence of this so far is that the state’s Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler have denounced and demanded the resignation of the Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. His offense seems to be undermining President Trump’s effort to claim widespread voter fraud in the state. Both Perdue and Loeffler initially accepted the results of the election in their own races but seem to be boosting Trump’s stolen election narrative as part of an effort to suck up to the president’s die-hard supporters.

Complicating matters further is the fact that Trump has tasked Rep. Doug Collins as his point man in attacking Georgia’s results. Collins, as you will remember, just finished running in one of the ugliest, most wasteful primary elections of the year with his bid to unseat Loeffler. With Collins there, neither she nor Perdue have much flexibility in pivoting away from the now-concluded presidential election and pivoting toward the moderate voters they will need.

The best argument for both of the endangered incumbents is to say that it is important for Republicans to have a check on the Biden presidency. But if they are not allowed to admit there will be a Biden presidency it would tend to make things a little tricky.

We like Republicans’ chances to hold on to both of these seats. Georgia’s no blue state yet and it would be very hard to mobilize young, poor and other low-propensity voters for Senate contests. A huge-turnout presidential election? Sure. But runoff elections tend to be low-turnout affairs.

Until Georgia is resolved on the presidential level, though – or if Trump & Co. decide to pack it in and accept the results – Loeffler and Perdue are in a box. And as the battle over the presidential result rages on, it will help Democratic mobilization and turn off the high-propensity voters – which include lots of college-educated suburbanites.

“As to the Senate, it is impossible that any regulation of ‘time and manner,’ which is all that is proposed to be submitted to the national government in respect to that body, can affect the spirit which will direct the choice of its members.” – Alexander Hamilton, Federalist No. 60

The Atlantic: “The screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz is an odd sight on a glamorous Old Hollywood movie set. As played by Gary Oldman in David Fincher’s new biographical film, Mank, he’s a disheveled figure on the sidelines, an acclaimed New York wordsmith brought to serve as a cog in a giant Los Angeles machine. During a movie shoot, ‘Mank’ makes a wisecrack that gets him summoned to the tent of William Randolph Hearst, the famous newspaper magnate and movie producer (played by Charles Dance). To Hearst, Mankiewicz is little more than a court jester, an amusing addition to his collection of oddball pals. To Mankiewicz, Hearst represents something more serious and frightening. Today, Mankiewicz is most remembered as a co-writer of Citizen Kane … Fincher’s film has a grander scope. It interrogates the fragile dynamic between creator and mogul that’s essential to the Hollywood business of hammering art into commerce, whether in the 1930s or today.”

Flag on the play? – Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM with your tips, comments or questions.

We’ve brought “From the Bleachers” to video on demand thanks to Fox Nation. Each Wednesday and Friday, Producer Brianna McClelland will put Politics Editor Chris Stirewalt to the test with your questions on everything about politics, government and American history – plus whatever else is on your mind. Sign up for the Fox Nation streaming service here and send your best questions to HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM.

Fox News: “Republican Georgia Rep. Doug Collins is calling on his state to conduct a manual recount of the 2020 election, as President Trump and President-elect Joe Biden were roughly 0.2% apart as counting continued Tuesday morning. …Collins is hoping a thorough audit will bring any irregularities to light. He listed three specific requests that he would like to see Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger fulfill during the recount process. ‘First, there must be a full comparison of absentee ballots cast and in-person and provisional ballots cast throughout the state,’ Collins said in a statement released by the Trump campaign. ‘Second, there must be a check for felons and other ineligible persons who may have cast a ballot. Third, and most importantly, the Secretary of State should announce a full hand-count of every ballot cast in each and every county due to widespread allegations of voter irregularities, issues with voting machines, and poll watcher access.’ Collins said that if Raffensperger does not willingly agree to these demands, the campaign will file a court petition seeking an order from a judge.”

Trump narrows Biden’s lead in Arizona, but still not enough – Arizona Republic: “President Donald Trump on Monday inched closer to President-elect Joe Biden in the race to secure Arizona’s 11 electoral votes, but Trump fell far off the pace needed in Maricopa County to complete a comeback. Trump took 49.2% of 6,495 votes that were posted in Maricopa County at 7 p.m. on Monday, with Biden taking 47%. That was far short of what Trump needed. To overtake Biden, he needs more than 60% of all the remaining ballots statewide. Overall, Biden’s lead in Arizona shrunk to 14,746 as of 8:30 p.m. Monday from 16,952 on Sunday afternoon, as Trump also picked up votes from Mohave, Cochise and La Paz counties. The Arizona Republic estimates there are about 63,000 votes still left to count statewide, based on a survey of county election officials and state data. … Now, though, most early ballots have been counted. More than half the ballots that remain are provisional ballots, which are given to voters who can’t verify their ID at the polls, those who received a mail-in ballot but decided to vote in person or those that voted in the wrong polling place if their county did not use voting centers.”

Top election fraud prosecutor quits over Barr’s push – NYT: “Attorney General William P. Barr, wading into President Trump’s unfounded accusations of widespread election irregularities, told federal prosecutors on Monday that they were allowed to investigate ‘specific allegations’ of voter fraud before the results of the presidential race are certified. Mr. Barr’s authorization prompted the Justice Department official who oversees investigations of voter fraud, Richard Pilger, to step down from the post within hours, according to an email Mr. Pilger sent to colleagues that was obtained by The New York Times. Mr. Barr said he had authorized ‘specific instances’ of investigative steps in some cases. He made clear in a carefully worded memo that prosecutors had the authority to investigate, but he warned that ‘specious, speculative, fanciful or far-fetched claims should not be a basis for initiating federal inquiries.’ Mr. Barr’s directive ignored the Justice Department’s longstanding policies intended to keep law enforcement from affecting the outcome of an election.”

Trump gets GOP backing in ongoing fights – AP: “The Trump administration threw the presidential transition into tumult, with President Donald Trump blocking government officials from cooperating with President-elect Joe Biden’s team and Attorney General William Barr authorizing the Justice Department to probe unsubstantiated allegations of voter fraud. Some Republicans, including Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, rallied behind Trump’s efforts to fight the election results. Few in the GOP acknowledged Biden’s victory or condemned Trump’s other concerning move on Monday: his firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper. … Trump is not expected to formally concede but is likely to grudgingly vacate the White House at the end of his term, according to several people around him. Also being discussed: the possibility of more campaign-style rallies as he tries to keep his supporters fired up despite his defeat. It was possible they would feature his family and top supporters but not the president himself.”

CBS News: “The Biden-Harris transition team is considering pursuing legal action if the head of the federal agency overseeing the mechanics of a transfer of power doesn’t move in the coming days to free up funding and access to agencies. ‘We believe that the time has come for the GSA administrator to promptly ascertain Joe Biden and Kamala Harris as president-elect and vice president-elect,’ an unidentified Biden-Harris transition official said Monday night on a telephone briefing with reporters. When asked if the transition team would possibly consider legal action to hasten the mechanics of the transition, the official replied: ‘There are a number of options on the table, legal action is certainly a possibility, but there are other options as well that we’re considering.’ … The General Services Administration (GSA) is responsible for overseeing a presidential transition, including access to Washington office space for the victorious candidate as well as easy access to all federal agencies…”

Cindy McCain joins Biden transition team advisory board – Fox News: “Cindy McCain, the widow of Republican Sen. John McCain, is joining the board of Joe Biden’s presidential transition team, according to a report on Monday. As a member of the advisory board, McCain will offer her input while the Democrat’s team turns his campaign promises into policies that can be enacted once he takes office, The Wall Street Journal reported. The GOPer — whose late husband served as Arizona senator and party stalwart for more than 30 years before dying of cancer in 2018 — is expected to advise the team on issues affecting women and children, the report said. She is the second Republican to sign on to formally counsel the president-elect’s team, joining former Obama administration Veterans Affairs Secretary Bob McDonald on the board.”

AP: “Republicans controlling the Senate unveiled a government-wide, $1.4 trillion spending bill on Tuesday, a mostly bipartisan measure that faces uncertain odds during this period of post-election tumult in Washington. The GOP-drafted measure contains funding for President Donald Trump’s border wall and other provisions opposed by Democrats, but top leaders in both parties want to try to mount a drive to enact the unfinished spending bills — which, along with a separate COVID-19 relief effort and annual defense policy bill, represent the bulk of Capitol Hill’s unfinished business for the year. Success depends on getting the signature of Trump, however, whose unpredictability and toxic relationships with Democrats threaten to doom the effort. The recent history of lame-duck sessions conducted as the White House is turning over has been that unfinished spending bills get kicked into the next year, with existing funding simply left on auto-pilot.”

McConnell, Schumer to remain Senate leaders despite majority still not determined – Roll Call: “Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell of Kentucky and Democratic Sen. Charles E. Schumer of New York were reelected Tuesday to lead their parties in the Senate during the next Congress. The leadership elections, which occurred behind closed doors Tuesday morning, were held even though it’s still unclear which party will hold the Senate majority. Races called in last week’s election have the chamber currently deadlocked at 48-48, and control could depend on a double runoff in Georgia for seats occupied by GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue. Republican Sens. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are leading in the two other uncalled races. McConnell, who is the only Republican member who doesn’t face conference-imposed term limits, is already the longest-serving Senate Republican leader as he enters his sixth term. The vote to reelect the Kentucky Republican as leader was unanimous.”

Sen. Joe Manchin: If Democrats win Senate, I won’t support ‘crazy stuff’ like court packing – Fox News: “Senator Joe Manchin III, D-W.Va., said that if Democrats are able to win control of the Senate, he will not back his party’s calls to pack the Supreme Court, eliminate the filibuster rule nor any other ‘crazy stuff’ they may intend to put forward under a Biden presidency. Manchin told ‘Special Report’ on Monday that he is a proud Democrat and that it must be understood that not every elected member of the party supports the progressive wing’s policy priorities — though appeared to acknowledge they have been given some weight during the election cycle. He noted that if Republicans Sens. Dan Sullivan of Alaska and Thom Tillis of North Carolina are able to fend off Democratic challengers in two races not yet called by Fox News, the control of the chamber may come down to dueling runoff elections in Georgia.”

House Dem campaign chair won’t pursue post after unexpected losses – AP: “The chairwoman of House Democrats’ campaign arm said Monday that she won’t seek the post again for the next Congress, days after her party’s unexpected loss of seats in last week’s election triggered recriminations among Democrats. Illinois Rep. Cheri Bustos’ decision to not seek a new term atop the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee comes with party members upset and divided over why that happened. Their candidates widely outraised their Republican rivals in many races and Bustos’ committee spent aggressively in GOP-held districts around the country in hopes of making their majority even larger. Both parties and nonpartisan political analysts expected Democrats to pad the size of this year’s majority by perhaps 15 seats. While they are on track to retain House control, seven Democratic incumbents were defeated and they’d ousted no Republican representatives, leaving it all but certain they will have a narrower hold on the chamber.”

Pergram: Democrats are struggling to extinguish the ‘Trump effect’ once and for all – Fox News

“No one died because of hating Trump. And I won’t die from not liking Biden.” – Tucker Sheets, the owner of Cowboy Welding of Hyannis, Neb., talking to the NYT about how Democrats did “nothing but crying and whining and trying to get rid of him for four years” after Trump won, but how he will refuse to do the same.

“I really like how you voice your opinion on the Arizona state election results which as you say ‘it is what it is’ of course isn’t that the same as it was in 2016 when President Trump won and NO Democrat supported his election, it was what it was.  Why weren’t you as interested then in pointing out that Democrats should accept the outcome of the election and not spend three plus years of Russia, Russia, Russia. Three plus years of listening to the self-righteous Adam Schiff telling us every chance he has that he had positive proof of President Trump’s collusion with Russia.” – William Hockett, Twain Harte, Calif.

[Ed. note: I think maybe you don’t really like it, Mr. Hockett…  I don’t remember all the times I talked about Democrats’ refusal to accept the results of the 2016 election, and I’m not inclined to spelunking through back editions and old shows to try to defend myself from your accusation. But I can tell you this: I pointed it out plenty of times and as being part of the same continuum that Trump is now accelerating by refusing to accept the results. What was different then was that the Democrats accepted the results and then undermined the presidency. Trump is doing it in reverse, which does rather tend to stand out. One thing I would encourage you to do, however, is to use this moment to forgive your tormentors. That doesn’t mean you should forget what happened, but that you would release yourself from the bonds of these resentments and channel your energies into productive things. Revenge is an unworthy aspiration. And here’s some more food for thought: We’re no different than all the rest in the sense that we would like to be your ever-lovin’, numero uno place for political news and analysis. Unlike some others, we encourage folks to take in the widest swath of mostly credible news that is convenient/tolerable. That doesn’t mean, however, that we don’t want to be first in your inbox, first in your hearts. But can I just say: Cool it with the politics for a minute. There are some big political/governmental stories of lasting consequence to be covered: The Georgia Senate runoff, the composition of the Biden administration, the fights for power among and between Democrats and Republicans in Congress and the fate of ObamaCare at the Supreme Court to name a handful. But the big election is over. It’s time to deflate the bouncy house, throw out all the punch-mottled Solo cups, pay the guy running the backyard petting zoo and get on with what’s next.]

“I am sure your email is blowing up these days but your recent thoughts provoked some thoughts on my side sufficient to lead me to write to you. Two issues in [Monday’s] Halftime Report that are find connected. From my reading, you suggested that Richard Nixon accepted the 1960 results to preserve his political career, that Hillary conceded and then spent the next four years not conceding (in my opinion to maintain a political career and/or an income stream), that Trump is continuing a pattern of gotcha going back to how Obama treated Bush, etc. etc. You have also stated that there will always be fraud in elections. I submit two thoughts: a politician is always going to first and foremost focus on their own self-interest (call me Captain Obvious)!  … As to the fraud issue, the extremely talented and insightful Dana Perino suggested in her own words an unpopular position during Fox’s Saturday coverage that she expects to see mobile voting in our lifetime. We file our taxes, do our banking and undertake massive commerce all electronically all securely with negligible fraud and failure and a clear audit trail. Why can’t we just move the voting over the next few years to electronic with established time frames, rules and regulations, a clear electronic audit trail and just be done with all of this? … What say you?” –  David J. Smat, Chicago

[Ed. note: So, who is interested in altering your tax returns? And who but thieves would interfere with your online banking and commerce? There are far different considerations here. With voting, simple is good. My strong and strengthening belief is that America needs a two-day election holiday in November of every fourth year. We need to make it a celebration of our democratic franchise and go vote with our neighbors on paper ballots. And as for political ambition, let’s grant first that part of the motivation for Nixon was selfless and patriotic. But yes, much of it was probably self-interested –and that’s because voters would have punished him for acting how he probably felt. He had to be gracious in order to keep his future alive.]

“I listen regularly to the podcast and read the Halftime Report quite often. I appreciate your attempts to be fair minded. With that in mind, could you please give an autopsy on how the swing state polling was so dreadfully wrong among nearly every polling outfit, including Fox News? Why they were (nearly?) always wrong in favor of the Democrats? And what you will do to correct polling errors that you can correct next time around? Polling is a dreadful business, but there are obviously serious problems with the metrics.” – Ken Timboe, Salt Lake City

[Ed. note: It’s still too soon for that. We don’t have the final results and I haven’t yet had time to go through the back pages. We can say that some polls were better than others and we can also see that obvious ticket-splitting that scrambled many projections for how down-ballot races would go. But I promise we will spend some time on the subject before too long.]

“As a registered Democrat, I always read your Halftime Report with respect and mixed agreement/disagreement.  I also read your book, Every Man a King: A Short, Colorful History of American Populists, with fascination at the quick Cheshire cat-like demise of the populists you wrote about in the book when their reign ended. Unlike many current political commentaries, I think Trump will be a Cheshire cat like all the rest.  Or will Twitter and the possible ‘Trump TV’ make him Godzilla (or Barney)?” – Dick Hurewitz-Herbert, Burlington, Vt.

[Ed. note: That depends on so many variables in the months to come, but the answers will be defined by how Republicans fight out their coming civil war. Both parties are poised for some brutal score settling before next spring. It will be like watching surgeries done without anesthesia.]

Share your color commentary: Email us at HALFTIMEREPORT@FOXNEWS.COM and please make sure to include your name and hometown.

WJAR: “When Kevin Martin went to pick up dinner along Route 1 near Allen Avenue [in North Attleborough, Mass.] on Saturday night, he heard a loud bang from underneath his car. ‘Ended up with four flat tires and had to leave the car there,’ he said. Martin blames multiple potholes [for] a repair bill that added up to more than $600. … So, Martin said he took matters into his own hands and decided to spruce up the streets with some holiday spirit. On Monday, he filled the potholes using soil and small Christmas trees that he bought at Home Depot. ‘I waited until fresh early morning and did it on my way to work today,’ he said. … Martin said he previously tried to call the town and state about the pothole problems but had no luck. … NBC 10 checked: the trees were removed from the potholes Martin had filled and repairs had been made by Monday afternoon.”

“The American people are simply not prepared to undertake worldwide nation building. We are prepared, albeit reluctantly, to risk blood and treasure in places with strategic significance, like Afghanistan and Iraq. But we are in no mood to do so in places without strategic significance — and where the job could better be done by others.” – Charles Krauthammer (1950-2018) writing in Time magazine on Aug. 24, 2003.

Chris Stirewalt is the politics editor for Fox News. Brianna McClelland contributed to this report. Want FOX News Halftime Report in your inbox every day? Sign up here.

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