Here is a summary of the top 5 political issues making headlines this week.
1. 2024 GOP Hopefuls Line Up to Take Trump’s Mantle
Nearly two months have passed since Joe Biden was declared the winner of the 2020 Presidential Election. However, politicians and supporters of President Trump have wagged a thus far losing battle to challenge the result of the election in the courts. Despite losing court case after court case, Republican politicians are hoping to stage a “last stand” when Congress counts and certifies the electoral votes tomorrow.
Several Republican House members and thirteen Senators plan to object to the results of the election tomorrow and claim that the election was stolen from President Trump.
This move, which is incredibly controversial yet not entirely unprecedented, is less of a genuine attempt to usurp the result of a presidential election and more of partisan jockeying for the 2024 Republican presidential primary.
With the majority of congressional Republicans and all congressional Democrats planning to certify the electoral votes Trump supporting objectors simply do not have the numbers to overturn an election. They will yell from their rostrums and decry the state of American democracy but the real goal of the objecting politicians is to position themselves as the natural successor to Donald Trump in 2024.
It can not be understated the power that Donald Trump holds on the base of the Republican party. Time and again, he has proven that his base voters will believe whatever he says, including unsubstantiated claims of election fraud. No matter if Trump runs again next cycle, the “MAGA-land” voters are watching closely and noting which politicians are actively supporting Trump’s claims of fraud.
Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO) and Ted Cruz (R-TX) were not only early advocates of objecting to the election results, they are also likely Republican presidential candidates should Donald Trump not run again in 2024. The fact that so many Republicans are planning on attacking the sanctity of an American election proves not only their political determination but also how strong a hold the “MAGA” voters have over the Republican party.
a. Republican infighting on election intensifies – The Hill
2. Ignoring Past Lessons, House Democrats Double Down on Woke Culture
In the 2020 general elections, Democrats were shocked and disappointed to find that they again underperformed their own expectations at the ballot box. Despite winning back the White House (albeit in a closer fashion than expected) Democrats had hyped themselves up before the election, projecting a sweep in the Senate races and growing their majority in the House. However, Democrats underperformed in the Senate (with two Senate seats to be decided) and actually lost seats in the House of Representatives.
The general consensus of why Democrats underperformed is that while Americans favored steady Joe Biden over brash Donald Trump, most voters couldn’t stomach the “woke culture” being pushed on them by Democratic party. While Democrats used to focus on “bread and butter” issues which hoped to address the economic concerns of most Americans, the party has morphed into a cultural police force admonishing anyone who speaks in a politically correct manner.
Completely severed from reality the Democratic run House of Representatives, in one of its first actions of the year, passed new rules to ban any “gendered language.” Terms like ‘mother’, ‘father’, and ‘sister’ are now banned in America’s lower chamber in an effort to “honor all gender identities by changing pronouns and familial relationships in the House rules to be gender neutral.”
While the push for gender neutrality and the use of pronouns is popular in American cities, the majority of Americans abhor the new politically correct language and wish for when Democrats stood for broad economic equality rather than liberal enclave niche issues. The actions taken by liberal House leaders on Monday is emblematic of how out of touch the Democratic party has become in the eyes of the American voter and they don’t appear to want to come back to reality.
b. No more ‘he’ or ‘she’. House approves gender-neutral terms in its official language – The Sacramento Bee
3. Biden’s Team Not Counting on Senate Wins in Georgia
The final fight for control of the United States Senate will take place in Georgia Tuesday night as Democrats try to take down two incumbent Republicans. Democrats Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff hope to defeat Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, respectively, and secure a razor sharp majority for Democrats in the Senate. Adding two new members to the Democrats ranks in the Senate would be crucial for the incoming Biden administration which is looking to pass landmark legislation once in office. Depending on who is victorious will determine how ambitious and progressive Biden’s legislative agenda will be.
However, privately Team Biden is not optimistic of Warnock and Ossoff’s chances.
According to reports, while the Biden transition team is optimistic, they are skeptical that they can pick up the needed two seats. Georgia, which has been Republican for decades, famously flipped for Biden in November’s election for the first time for a Democrat since 1992. But despite recent gains, political insiders in Georgia are saying that for Democrats to pick up two Senate seats it would take “nothing short of a miracle.”
To their credit, Biden and his surrogates have continued to campaign hard for Warnock and Ossoff, appearing at multiple (socially distanced) campaign events in recent weeks. Polling shows the race to be in dead heat. However, if the Biden team is privately expressing doubts about whether or not they can pick up the seats it is likely due to what their team is seeing in support on the ground in Georgia.
Regardless, it is safe to say that the Biden transition team will be glued to their television sets as returns come in.
b. Georgia counting ballots in crucial Senate runoff elections – Atlanta Journal Constitution
4. MAGA-World Flocks to Washington in Last Ditch Support of Trump
For weeks, the most ardent Trump supporters have shunned the media’s declaration that Joe Biden won the presidential election and marched in the streets in protests. They have taken their claims of election fraud and overall Democrat corruption to the airwaves, social media and state capitol buildings. Now, in one final effort to change the outcome of November’s election MAGA supporters are descending on Washington D.C. on Wednesday by the thousands.
In general, it is a futile plan by the MAGA (Make America Great Again) crowd as it is almost certain that congress will certify the electoral votes from the election on January 6th. However, that doesn’t negate the fact that outgoing President Trump still garners ironclad support from a large contingent of Republican voters.
Expecting violence and riots, D.C. police and local businesses have boarded up shop windows and set up barriers. Some law enforcement officers are concerned about individuals bringing firearms to the rally.
While it is unclear how many Trump supporters will arrive in D.C. Wednesday by all modes of transportation, it can be expected that at least tens of thousands of supporters will crowd the streets in a protest similar to November’s Million MAGA March.
The MAGA supporters hopes are pinned on the belief that Vice President Mike Pence will reject the electors sent to Congress and thus become a “legendary” figure in the MAGA community. While that is nearly impossible (it isn’t clear that Pence would even have the constitutional authority to do so) it hasn’t stopped tens of thousands of individuals to post about their travel plans on social media.
While many pundits are hoping for a quiet procedural vote by Congress on Wednesday to certify the votes, it is clear that Washington D.C. will be much louder and hectic than usual tomorrow.
a. MAGA marchers plot final D.C. stand on Jan. 6 – Politico
5. U.S. National Debt Soars to Levels Not Seen Since the Second World War
The recent COVID-19 stimulus packages have jump-started a policy debate in the United States over the national debt. The overall debt of the United States has crept up steadily for several decades. However, the economic collapse caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and the subsequent relief packages has bled America’s coffers with red ink.
In the Department of Treasury’s final report for 2020 they noted that federal debt now is estimated to be greater than 100% of Gross Domestic Product. In short the United States of America, the world’s supposed wealthiest nation, owes more than it is worth. What is also noteworthy about America’s debt is that the United States has not been this indebted since the apex of World War Two.
Republicans and Democrats have long debated the impacts that the national debt will inflict on the country in the future. Republicans tend to be more fiscally restrained in their rhetoric but tend to outlay massive deficits when they pass large tax cuts. Democrats on the other hand don’t even pretend to care about the deficit; often advocating that the U.S. can spend infinitely more.
What is undebatable is that the Treasury Department’s report renewed concern about the debt and the fear that it could lead to a debt crisis and or currency collapse. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic several countries around the world have recently defaulted on their debt payments and their currency suffered as a result.
Imagine going to the market tomorrow and seeing a loaf of bread costing you ten times as much as it did today? That is the future some economists are fearing.
With the national debt projected to increase it will become more and more clear if deficits really do matter, or if America can spend infinitely as some on Capitol Hill believe.
b. As Some Deficit Hawks Turn Dove, the New Politics of Debt Are on Display – The Washington Post