The Electoral College Votes Today — Then What? Plus, a New Twist on Pandemic Relief Bill
Author: Greg Valliere
December 14, 2020
AN IMPORTANT DAY: Joe Biden’s election victory will be confirmed today as the Electoral College votes in states throughout the country. By late afternoon, it will be clear that Biden has officially won.
THIS BEING 2020, some strange twist could emerge, but we don’t anticipate “faithless electors” changing the conclusion that Biden won with far more than the 270 required; he now stands at 306. Seven electors “went rogue” in 2016, so could there be more today? Possibly, but they won’t affect the outcome.
DOES TRUMP HAVE ANY OPTIONS LEFT? Not really. There’s a largely ceremonial event on Jan. 6, when both houses will accept today’s results. At least one House member plans to challenge the vote but even if a senator also protests, this would simply lead to a process in which dissidents would get a chance to speak. Congress will not block a Biden win.
WHAT WILL TRUMP DO? Even though his legal team has been slapped down by dozens of judges — many of whom were appointed by him — he will continue to claim he won. On Saturday Trump said he won states like Michigan in a landslide; he lost there by 150,000 votes. Some timid Republican lawmakers will accept the inevitable after today’s vote; the Electoral College will give them cover.
WE DON’T ANTICIPATE A TRADITIONAL CONCESSION by Trump, who has managed to convince a majority of Republican voters that he won, while intimidating a majority of House members into supporting his futile Supreme Court challenge. The tweets will continue, and he may hint at a 2024 candidacy — but after today Trump could be seen as a very sore loser.
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STIMULUS UPDATE: Negotiators worked all weekend, and it appears that they’re getting close to a $748 billion deal that omits anything for liability protection or aid to
state and local governments, two controversial provisions that have eluded a compromise. This stripped-down bill has a good chance of passage by the end of this week.
WE HAVE LONG ARGUED that the most powerful force in Congress is the desire to get out of town ahead of the holidays. If that requires stripping some provisions from the pandemic relief bill, so be it. The $748 billion bill is likely to pass, and it will help people get through the winter.
WHETHER ANOTHER RELIEF BILL PASSES IN FEBRUARY largely depends on who controls the Senate after the Georgia primaries. Republicans are slight favorites to win at least one of the two seats, which could give Mitch McConnell control of the Senate — which means a second relief bill is far from certain.
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