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Trump’s retirement forecast

“If the vaccine is effective, there is no reason for people who have received the vaccine to wear masks or avoid physical contact.  So maybe it does not work and they are just not telling you that.”

Tucker Carlson on Fox News April 13, 2021

And with this Tucker Carlson announced he is running for president.  Trump proved you need no experience nor governance talent to hold the highest office in this land.  But more importantly,Trump proved that a good angry story is far more important than the truth, especially when you have the Fox News amplifying the grievance behind the message.

Do i know for sure this is Carlson’s intention, certainly not.  I am speculating wildly.  But this speculation might be useful, if it encourages us to focus on how the raging culture wars are affecting us.  And even if he is not running for president, Carlson’s pronouncement says several other important things.  It says Fox News is committed to profits over public health.  It says that Fox News is not afraid of lawsuits like the two cases brought by voting machine companies for Fox’s promotion of the Big Lie. [ Each of these cases is suing for amounts which exceed Fox News 2020 annual income of $1.5 billion.]  It says we are entering a new realm in which press freedoms and first amendment rights are used to actively disinform people while the government appears unable to stop them.

“But is this really different from Fox harping on Hydroxychloroquine as a covid cure?” you might well ask.  I think so.  While Trump was in power, Fox could make great ratings by covering him and amplifying the points which made him successful.  Without Trump’s lead, Fox is making their own news, and more importantly enabling destructive white suppremisist tendencies of the population by fueling their endless set of grievances.  The Murdock network is choosing the build on the alt-facts model after the Trump champion is dethroned.  

Trump’s retirement does not mean we get to relax. 

Bye, Tuff Guy

I learned a lot of things from Coyote, one of the first things i learned from him was about death.  In 2001, a few years after i had moved to Twin Oaks, a long time member Kana died.  Coyote said an insightful thing about him.  “When someone like Kana dies, you have to become stronger – because they leave the kind of hole in you that you can only fill with yourself.” Today i find that i have to be stronger for Coyote is irreplaceable to me.

But were he consulted, he would choose a different story to be remembered by, one i heard him tell with relish a number of times.

In the summer of 1982, a handful of armed FBI agents arrived at a cabin door in Indiana.

“Are you John Steven Fawley?”

“Would it make any fucking difference if i said ‘No’, officer?” asked Coyote in a most respectful tone.

“Absolutely none, Mr. Fawley”

“Then please come in officers, mi casa su casa” Coyote offered with a wave of his arm in greeting.

Inside they found 1254 marijuana plants growing.

Coyote would admit his role in the crime of growing these plants, he would take full responsibility and tell the judge that he was changing careers and the money would have allowed him to transition from teaching to what would ultimately be taking care of special needs kids.  

In his contemporaneously delivered speech to the judge he would promise that “i am not a troublesome individual”  the judge believed him, Coyote did no time in jail.

Coyote’s birthday was the day after Christmas which is also Chairman Mao’s birthday.  And while he had myriad critiques of how the Chinese tried to implement communism, Coyote did have a deep respect for the vision of this revolutionary Chinese figure.  Perhaps 50 years ago, and perhaps under the influence, Coyote and friends called the Chinese embassy and wished Mao a happy birthday and commented on the coincidence.  The embassy staff person said “Chairman Mao and all the people of China wish Mr. Coyote a very happy birthday as well”.  

He wanted to be nimble in his thinking, he did not want to be stuck in habits over substance or ethics.  Coyote taught me everything i knew about baseball, about the shortstop being the soul of the team and what kinds of things to say in the club car of a train to sound like you know what you are talking about with respect to baseball.  Coyote was a big Yankees fan, had been for decades, had cheered them on as they won numerous world series.  We even donned nicknames for a hot minute, with him being Yankees owner Steinbrenner and me being the couch Joe Torre.  The idea was he was increasingly stepping away from managing the communes affairs and i was stepping in to replace him.

But then in the summer of 2004, Dick Cheney was invited to Yankee Stadium just before the Yankees beat the Boston Red Socks.  He was photographed with Joe Torre and sat in Steinbrenner’s box seats.  That was it, Coyote retired as a yankees fan, threw out the baseball hats and other memorabilia and never went back, he dropped baseball as well, and since then i stayed away from club cars conversations about baseball.

But it is another parable of Coyote’s life that taught me the most, a parable i failed to tell him, tho i am sure he would deny it.

Coyote was a smart, literate and articulate guy.  But as he grew older he seemed to drift towards being a curmudgeon, people annoyed him, the commune bureaucracy did not function as smoothly as he would have preferred.  Having been a high functioning person for his whole life, it bothered him when others seemed to show up with weak effort.  Those of us on his informal “care team” spoke about his growing resentments and if there were ways we should try to push him away from them, as he was needing increasing care from the community and all caregivers are volunteering.

And then over some weeks he seemed to chill out and become more grateful and less curmudgeonly.  Oh he still had complaints, but they were toned down and less personal.  He found his place in the collective which encouraged him to have a different voice.

Unlike most people, Coyote decided he would not become a curmudgeon and instead would be mostly grateful for his circumstance (“i’ve painted myself into a perfect corner” he used to say) and not let his furstrations poison his interaction with others who he was becoming increasingly dependant on.

Coyote was an avid reader and writes to his favorite authors.  He wrote to the poet and revolutionary Wendell Berry who sent him back the powerful poem HOW TO BE A POET (to remind myself).  Which includes the lovely lines:

There are no unsacred places;

there are only sacred places

And desecrated places.

Coyote’s funeral is this Saturday at 1:30. His final resting place will be sacred for us. It is possible for non-members to attend, but you need to follow the strict rules about social distancing and processioning. Hawina is coordinating outside guests coming to this event. You must contact her (at hawina@twinoaks.org) if you are not a current inside the Twin Oaks quarantine bubble and are interested in attending.

QAnon Remedy Research

What i really want for my birthday is an antidote to disinformation movements.

Angie and i have been exploring counter measures to QAnon.  It is intellectually some of the most interesting and challenging work that i have done.  There are different angles of approach: is it a cult or is it an addiction?  Are there clever counter games which can be designed?  Would inoculation and/or pre-bunking of emerging conspiracy theories be a useful tactic?  

Who is Q?

Your support will help us in our research and development including: paying for academic articles and books, fees to expert consultants, prizes to game designers, panel honorarium, and more.  There will be a public release of our initial findings and resources of our preliminary research phase, most likely in early April.

Any help you can provide would be greatly appreciated. If you have a Facebook account you can donate through this fundraising link. Alternatively, you can also donate with any credit card thru PayPal using the singularly unexciting button just below.



Beyond money, we are still looking especially for inventive game designers and experts in disinformation movements to help us decode and develop.

With apologies to MC Escher

You will be able to find our stuff at QRemedy.org

You can be a hero

You know the Hollywood formula, a group of charismatic and daring heroes take on a critical but impossible task, and backing them up is the somewhat geeky character who is controlling things remotely with their super hacker computer.  They open doors, removing critical barriers just at the last minute, enabling the heroes to bust in triumphant.  

Time to suit up, your nation needs you.

Today you can be that hero, not the one in the line of fire, but that computer savvy ally who rescues the heroes on the ground. You could be part of the Georgia runoff air team.  If you do social media, we need your help (especially tiktok), if you can do research, translations, messaging, graphics, or fundraising and you need minimal hand holding to be effective, our heroes have a place for you. 

The perilous path to elections

Right now voter turnout is running over 90% of the general election, which is very good.  The polls show this is going to be a very close election.  Biden won Georgia by only 12K votes and Republicans turned out more than Democrats for the general Senate election.    Which means everything anyone can contribute matters and might just make the difference and specifically you can be the feather that tilts the balance.  

And we have a second request; if you know who would most likely respond yes to this request that you please forward this on to them.

Here is some of what our heroes on the ground are doing and some of our early canvas work and street art installations. We have exciting translation projects, tamale give aways, lawn signs with lyft and uber free codes and much more. We have not even broken out the onesies yet.

This is where you can sign up to be part of Georgia air team. We can certainly use the help!

Help us in the air

And we are also always happy to take donations

Madness is not a Unifying Strategy

[A shorter version of this blog post first appeared on the Flip 2020 website]

The administration, which continues to assert that Mexico will pay for the border wall, may be finding the limitations of madness as a political strategy. 

Trump spoke to a good-sized crowd at a tiny airport in Georgia near the Florida border.  The purpose of the rally was to support the two Republican senators running to save their seats in the January 5th run-off election.  

Valdosta, GA airport with an estimated 10K person crowd

Trump spent much of his speech complaining about how the election had been stolen from him and how Gov Kemp had refused to overturn the election in Georgia for him. He played OANN tapes of detailed “vote stealing” activities in various states including Georgia.   He notably did not condemn the Republican operatives who were encouraging people not to vote in the runoff, calling them “his friends.”

Trump spoke for almost 2 hours.  He let the candidate speak for 2 minutes, while they were on the stage together, during which the crowd shouted “Fight for Trump” in the same cadence as their previous favorite “Lock her up.” The fans message is clear, take Georgia’s electoral votes for Trump, or suffer the consequences.

“You know, you’re angry because so many votes were stolen. It was taken away. And you say, ‘Well, we’re not going to do it.’ We can’t do that. We have to actually do just the opposite,” Trump said. 

The Oxford Dictionary defines Orwells term Doublethink as “the acceptance of or mental capacity to accept contrary opinions or beliefs at the same time, especially as a result of political indoctrination.”

If you attended this rally, you left with two messages.  The senators are not doing enough for Trump.  These senators deserve your vote.

Some Trump followers who believe these claims of massive voter fraud are advocating for boycotting the Georgia Senate runoffs.   Because this race is within just a couple of points – without Trump actively unifying his base, even a tiny boycott could sink the GOPs chances to hold either seat.

This is a photo of the Sidney Powell and Lin Wood “Stop the Steal” rally in Georgia where Republican participants were encouraged to boycott the upcoming runoff elections, unless they overturn the states electoral votes going to Biden.  Here the message from Trump’s friends is unequivocal “Don’t vote” and from the size of the crowd, if I were a GOP operative working in Georgia I would be worried.  And in case you have not seen the clips you should know this was an enthusiastic crowd.

This rally creates an impossible situation for Loeffler and Perdue.  If they demand the election results be overturned they spark a civil war inside the party where “conventional” Republicans like the Secretary of State Raphenperger and Gabriel Sterling (who famously demanded Trump to control the threats of his supporters) are disenfranchised.  Or they stop short of these demands and the enraged Trump supporters follow the advice of Wood and Powell and boycott the election because they have not earned their vote.  Either way, because of the razor tight margins the way incumbents are likely to lose.  Trump held this rally not to support these candidates, but to threaten them to do more for him or risk losing his full support.  For in the end this narcissist in chief cares only about his own king making capacity and not about who controls the Senate or anything else.

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The Flip Georgia project is the legitimate daughter of the Flip 2020 project which operated in Maine through the general election. Out of state activists, organizers and street performers are working with locals groups to register voters, canvass door to door and raise voter awareness of the critical runoff election on Jan 5th.

We still need financial assistance to do this timely work. Please support us as you can.

What is better than a Canvass?

Jerod and I are at the unassuming parking lot of a root canal dentistry service. There are half a dozen canvassers on a glorious Atlanta morning- every one of us has done some canvassing before. Nick, who works for the Jon Ossoff campaign and is our canvass lead, gives us our scripts.  Like any good canvass director he tells us to not feel bound by it and do what feels natural at the door. He stresses the dates for early voting and registration of new voters, but because the crew is experienced he doesn’t worry too much about our training.

Ideally the Flip Georgia Project (the new name for the Flip 2020 Project, now that our work in Maine is done) would do very little canvassing, not because we don’t think it’s effective — quite the contrary. We continue to believe that the reason so many polls were wrong in the general election, and that the Republicans were able to hold most of their vulnerable Senate seats, is the Democrats mostly did not canvass while the Republicans claim to have done a million doors per week.

But the reason we want to do little canvassing is we believe we can do things in Georgia that are more effective, as illustrated by the work we did later in the day.

The critical Atlanta suburbs

I already had the MiniVan app on my phone from canvassing in Maine. I dropped in the new codes and was off to nearby houses within half an hour of meeting Nick. The houses were large, the neighborhoods affluent, and most of the people I spoke with were well aware of the elections; several had already voted. Still, I had a couple of good conversations, dropped off the informative literature at houses where there was no response to my knocking, and was quick enough that I got Nick to give me a second territory and completed that as well.

Georgia canvass literature 

While my morning of canvassing was fairly bland, Jerod got some disturbing information at one door. A family who had just arrived home mentioned they thought he was Republican because they’d already talked to multiple Republican canvassers. This was rattling because the MiniVan system does not send you to every door — that would be a waste of your time — it sends you only to doors of people who either are registered Democrats or who might vote for your candidates (Independents, Green party folks, people who have made contributions to the campaign). What is disturbing is that the general election that triggered these critical Georgia runoffs was less than a month ago. It means the Republicans have large canvass crews and are already doubling back and hitting the same houses twice, while the Democrats are just getting started.

Which brings me to the latter part of the day, where I feel the Flip Georgia effort out-performed both conventional canvassing and the big Democratic groups operating in the state.

After canvassing, I went to meet up with Jacqueline and her tribe of artists. Most days Jacqueline works as a non-profit Director of Digital Strategist, but this was not most days. Jacqueline is working with local artists and activists on the VoteTree project in Atlanta, which fuses public art with non-partisan political content to raise awareness about these critical runoff elections. 

I have to admit I was skeptical when Jacqueline first proposed a “fabric bridge”: strips of red, white, and blue fabric hung from a long ribbon suspended a few feet above the ground along the side of the Beltline park, which circles Atlanta. I imagined it might be ignored, or that the police would force its removal. But Jacqueline was determined and I knew enough to stay out of her way. And she was completely right. Passersby loved the installation, our most minimal invitation got people, especially families, engaged and putting up ribbons. These flag like ribbons were popular with passers by who were happy to help build this patriotic art project encouraging and enabling people to vote.

Jacqueline and a local family helping craft the fabric fence

And as is sort of the Flip Georgia approach, while some people were doing the activity other people were working the crowd to get them to register or apply for an absentee ballot. Jacqueline’s team had created these handy business cards with QR codes on them that made it dead easy to get your ballot mailed to you. You can scan it on your phone, which takes you to the Secretary of State’s website, and there you can immediately register and/or request a mail-in ballot.

QR codes are fast.

On the other side of the busy Beltline park, Allison took pictures of people with her sign that had election information on it. She would simply ask people who were walking down the Beltline if they would be willing to hold her sign so she could take their picture and post it on social media. Almost everyone said yes (who can resist a selfie that shows off your civic duty?). Right after she took their picture she would ask, “May I take a picture with your phone so you can put it up on social media?” Almost everyone said yes!

Allison is the queen of signs

By comparison one of the prominent Georgia political groups was tabling at the Beltline just a couple hundred meters from us. Their instructions were to not be intrusive. If someone had a question or wanted information they were of course there to help. But they were not to “bark” at passersby to attempt to get them to engage. We were “barking softly” if you will — you could get your picture taken, you could tie on a ribbon with your kids if you wanted to… and take one of our business cards.

I asked the folks at this table how many people had spoken with the major group’s paid tablers in the course of their three-hour shift. The number was three. I checked with Jacqueline how many people had used the QR coded cards we had given out — there were over fifty during that same afternoon. We had talked with and engaged dozens of people and given out many cards.

It seems to be the right time for barking.

Jon Ossoff with a barker

You can support Flip Georgia by contributing to via GoFundMe or by sending a PayPal contribution to FlipGeorgia2020@gmail.com.

How Trump might win and why the polls are wrong

The polls look good for the Biden/Harris ticket right now. The president’s poor handling of the pandemic, the resulting economic collapse and his poor performance of the first debate have resulted in a number of declines in key battleground states such as Florida, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Biden has been very consistent in his widening lead over the Commander in Chief and has more support than Clinton ever had.

538’s forecast of Oct 13

But this forecast could be wrong for two reasons. The first is various voter suppression and integrity damaging techniques being deployed by the White House. The second is because of a completely legal thing the Republican campaign is doing that will almost certainly have a significant impact on the results, which hardly anyone is talking about and the mainstream media is all but ignoring.  And if my logic is correct, this legal tactic is invisible to the polls.

Go to the Flip 2020 Blog for the full story

An Action Everyday

This blog post originally appeared on the Flip 2020 website

We have been in Maine for just three days and we have done a different type of action each day.  The plan has always been to do at least one action a day, plus social media, networking to local groups, and fundraising to make the whole project work.   And after months of planning, it was very satisfying for this plan to actually be working.

After getting negative results on our covid tests, the starting Flip 2020 team moved from Vermont to Maine on Friday, Sept 18, 2020.   We had found out about a Black Lives Matter march and rally in Ellsworth, which is a town of just 8,000 people.  We did not expect much of a crowd in this small town in a state which is 95% white.  We were wrong.

Over 100 people showed up to an action which was principally organized by two talented high school seniors. This spirited march and engaging rally shows that racial justice is not something to just talk about in Maine; people are taking it quite seriously, which is great news in our efforts to flip the Senate away from the Republicans.  

The nature of the Flip 2020 project is that we are always looking for how we can add our content to events that other people have organized.  In this case we simply asked the young organizers if Tew could speak to the crowd, to which they quickly agreed with the following results:

I had never seen Tew speak in public before, and I was nervous as he jumped up the small hill to address the almost all white crowd.  Within seconds my emotions shifted.  He was personable, he was raw and authentic, he talked briefly but forcefully about his experience being a black man in Donald Trump’s America.  But he did not let the crowd down. He ended up beat about the hope that these types of actions gave him for really the first time in his life and called on the assembled group to realize that this was the very beginning of the tide turning in this troubled country.

After the action we went to dinner with the organizers.  We learned that weekly rallies, (and starting this week marches), have been happening in this small town since the execution by police of George Floyd on Memorial Day.  We heard stories of their harassment by pro-Trump hecklers and of their plans to do more, despite the opposition.

Saturday is the big Farmers Market day in Maine and on Sept 19 we worked tabling with the Lisa Savage campaign in Cumberland, Maine (in the Portland area).  This was where we learned first hand about how friendly and reasonable Maine is.  Typically, when you hang out in the parking lot of a farmers market doing political work you spend the day hearing different excuses as to why people can’t possibly talk with you.  Cumberland was not this way at all.  Generally, people were happy to take our small fliers.

Lisa for Maine Leaflet

A surprising number of people stopped and engaged with us, often for long conversations.  We had several conversations in which we felt like we really landed and people said they were changing their voting strategy because of our conversation.  Maine has a slightly complex, but extremely fair ranked-choice voting system, which is the subject of an upcoming blog post.  In essence, ranked choice voting prevents the type of third party spoiler situation which so often plagues independent party runs for office.

We got to work with Kelly, who is the field director for the Savage campaign.  If you are ever going to run for office, you need someone very much like Kelly.   Campaigns have a tremendous number of moving parts, including a slew of hard-working volunteers with a wide variety of skills, preferences, and availability staff need to take into account.  Kelly’s spreadsheets have spreadsheets and her upbeat personality and quick wit make her the perfect person to model how to approach people at a Farmers Market.  Kelly plans to move to Washington after the November election and continue to work for Senator Savage.

Charles changing minds in Cumberland, Maine

On the way back from the Ellsworth rally on Friday we learned of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing.  It was a body blow to all of us in the car, who had just come off a very hopeful action.  Everyone understood that the already high stakes of this election had just gone up again.

This informed our actions on Sunday morning.  When our team met we discussed how we were going to show up at the vigil planned for downtown Portland that night.  Facebook said 400 people had RSVPed to this event, which would make it one of the largest crowds we were likely to see in our time here.  

But vigils are tricky in terms of doing political work.  You need to be very careful to not run over the spirit of what is happening.  You don’t want the event organizers or the participants feeling like you are disrespecting what they came there for.  We went through lots of different ideas:  should we create an event after the vigil, do a piece of street theater, order a bunch of pizzas and try to strike a conversation with participants as they left?  In the end we decided all of this was too intrusive and went with a more subtle approach.

We would hand out a postcard, something commemorative of the great justice’s passing.  We ultimately decided we would do an original piece of artwork depicting RBG on one side and a description of our group and Ranked Choice Voting on the other. We did not have that much time and we had a bunch of things to do, so we split up our task.  Spencer would do the original artwork, I would write the text for the back of the postcard.  Tew and Charles would scout the city of Portland, for where we could be in Monument Square to be effective but not intrusive.  We needed a banner that we could use not just at this event but at others as well. Tew and Charles considered a dozen options before converging on the one we chose.

Charles seizes control of the means of production

Cars went out, keyboards hummed and pens made quick work of what turned out to be a pretty impressive piece of original artwork, especially given that there was only 30 minutes to do it and basically no room for mistakes.  The Staples staff was surprised when Charles took over their offices to complete our banner, but as is our way, we were gone before anyone kicked up a fuss.

Spencer’s quick rendition of RBG

We made it to the rally and read the mood of the crowd.  Several speakers talked about how RBG would want us to follow her lead and fight tirelessly for democracy in the face of rising authoritarianism.  We started offering folks the small postcards. Some people were clearly bothered by anything being given out at a vigil, but because the artwork was respectful, compelling and timely, the vast majority of people we silently approached were happy to take this piece of memorabilia and Tew quipped we would be up on refrigerators throughout the Portland area.  In 40 minutes over 300 postcards had moved to the hands of happy recipients, including all of the event’s speakers.

Tew and Spencer on the long ride home

In the car home, we did our regular micro evaluation.  What worked, what didn’t and what we would do differently next time.  What worked was this group which barely knew each other, pulled together as a team, had folks with strengths doing what they were good at and we easily rejected dozens of bad ideas with no one’s ego being hurt for suggesting something we did not agree on.  What did not work, was that my text on the back of the postcard was a bit long and thus the font to get it printed was smaller than we would have liked.  What we would do differently next time would be to get to the event earlier and build more of a connection with the organizers.

But what was clear, was that after actions everyday for our first three days, we were on a serious roll. Tonight we’re off to prepare for another BLM action in Bucksport, another small settlement which is showing up in a big way for racial justice.  If you are looking for a ray of hope in these troubled times, it might just be in these surprisingly active tiny towns in the North of Maine.  

Why Maine?

This post originally appeared on the http://www.flip2020.org campaign website. It describes the logic of sending vagabond canvassers to Maine to retire Susan Collins from the Senate and flip the majority control to Democratic. It also discusses how you can help if you find this thinking compelling.

Flip 2020

I’ve spent the past few months (the past few years, really) watching in horror at what’s happening in US politics.  While the media typically blames Trump for his terrible policies, the complicity of the US Senate is often missed. Trump is an expert at drawing media attention, but often these stories don’t matter much.  It is often the quieter and more politically savvy Republican controlled Senate doing serious damage (e.g. failing to make a deal on extending pandemic unemployment funding, confirming unqualified judges, designing and passing the terrible tax cut package, and blocking impeachment).   And for those who might have forgotten, the Republican controlled Senate was road blocking almost all significant legislation during much of the Obama administration well before Trump. 

The Flip 2020 project’s mission is to flip the US Senate to a Democratic majority and break the do-nothing Republican congressional gridlock. Flipping the Senate will be a…

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All Eyes on Georgia

Usually in tight presidential elections, the focus is on Florida.  More polls are taken there, more rallies are held there, more money is spent on advertisements there.  Rich with electoral votes and a highly split electorate, Florida can make or break the top race.  But Florida is shifting from purple to blue.  This is in part because the 2018 referendum added a Florida state constitutional amendment that restored voting rights to ex-felons.  This added 1.5 million people to the voter rolls, most of them Democratic.  [I was fortunate to be with a collection of communitarians in Tampa in 2018 working on this referendum.]

But 2020 is not a usual year, as you have no doubt noticed.  This year all eyes are going to be on Georgia, because it is quite likely to surprise most of the nation with an expensive senate race and may delay knowledge of which party controls the Senate until  2021.

georgia peanuts.jpg

They are going nuts in Georgia

If you are tracking the election closely, you know two of Biden’s top VP choices are from Georgia (more than any other state except California), Stacey Abrams and Keisha Bottoms.  If there were fairness in the world, it would go to Abrams, who was literally robbed of the Governorship of this state by Brian Kemp. Kemp as the Georgia secretary of state  purged the election roles of 670K voters, in 2017 mostly POC  and then won the election by 50K votes and became governor.  Abrams did not concede her “loss” and went on to start Fair Fight 2020 which works to stop voter suppression, just like this.

bottoms and abrams

Georgia Powerhouses could be Vice President- Abrams and Bottoms

But sadly, apparently the Biden campaign has not been returning Abrams calls.

If you are a deep election geek (as i am becoming these days) you know that there are actually two Senate seats available in Georgia in this upcoming election. One seat is up for a regularly-scheduled election, while the other is up for special election due to a resignation.  Thus the term of the Senator who fills this special election seat will only be 2 years long, but it might just determine which party controls the US Senate.

But what you likely have not heard is that the special Georgia election is really a “top two primary” which unless one of the candidates acquires over 50% of the votes (which is quite unlikely given the crowded field)  it will spark a 2 candidate runoff election in  January of 2021 which might hold control of the US Senate in the balance.

surreal clocks without hands

A trip to the political future

Let me tell you a story, based on probabilities and guessing.

It is the day after the election, Nov 4th 2020 and most of the election results are in.  Biden has won both the popular vote and the electoral college by a comforting 65 points beyond the 270 needed.  It is unclear whether Trump will respect the win and at this point he has not yet conceded.  Susan Collins of Maine, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Joni Ernst were all able to hold onto their incumbencies for the Republicans, by tight margins.  Political novice Tommy Tuberville forced out Democratic incumbent Democrat Doug Jones in Alabama to raise the bar for flipping the Senate to 4 seats.

The Democrats did well in Colorado and North Carolina wrestling seats from incumbents.  And former Montana Governor Steve Bullock took the Republican seat from Steve Daines.  Georgia repeated its primary fiasco  and incumbent David Purdue eeked out a 1% victory over Democrat Ossoff, in an election mired in too few polling stations and the deeply suspicious purging of the voting roles of over 100K voters, mostly in the Atlanta metro region and thus disproportionately POC voters.

georgia covid voting.jpg

Savannah primaries 2020

And as it looks today (Nov 4th) the Democrats have picked up 3 Republican seat in the Senate, bringing the final tally to 49 Democratic Senators and 50 Republicans.  The 100th seat and the determination of which party controls the Senate is on the shoulders of the Georgia special election, which is actually a top two primary also known as a Nonpartican blanket Primary.  In this free for all fight, with candidates going after members of their own party as well as the opposing one, Rev Raphael Warnock lost to incumbent Republican Kelly Loeffler by 2 points, despite Loefflers insider trading scandal.

But Loeffler’s narrow lead does not matter.  What matters is that Loeffler and Warnock were the top two vote getters and thus will runoff against each other on January 5th 2021, which is two days after the new Senate is scheduled to be sworn in.

Warnock and Loeffler Georgia Special Election.jpg

Challenger Rev Warnock versus unelected incumbent Loeffler

In this likely fantasy, the result of this critical tie breaking race will not be known for 2 months. after the general election  These two candidates, who most people have never heard (incumbent Loeffler was appointed just 5 months ago to finish the incomplete term of Johnny Isakson), will become the center of attention in a race which determines if Mitch McConnell can maintain legislative gridlock for two more years.

gridlock wall break

I am happy to be working on the Flip 2020 Campaign which is organizing covid compliant canvasses, that might even go to Georgia.  If you want to get involved, leave a comment below or email the Flip 2020 project.