[ in-ter-reg-nuhm ] Literally, “between reigns.” In American politics it means the time between the election and inauguration of a new president. Last month we didn’t know what would be happening by publication time. This month we are absolutely sure of the near future. Some of it is glum and some is downright dangerous.
During this holiday season – even in households less politically attuned – the mood is muted due to Covid effects on family gatherings and typical holiday events. Cases, hospitalizations, intensive care days, and deaths are soaring. Healthcare resources are being stretched dangerously thin. Mostly in states that ignored public health warnings and followed the trump administration example. But they are all Americans and we truly hope for their rapid recoveries and a brighter New Year.
We know trump will be spreading curmudgeonly cheer to many of his supporters. Delaying the usual administration access for a smooth transfer of power. Bestowing gayly wrapped pardons from crimes as gifts for grifters. Hiring temporary political cronies into career Civil Service positions. Elevating conservatives to lifetime judgeships.
A great fan of fossil fuels, trump will put coal in some stockings, too. Firing high-level officials who failed the fealty test, e.g., Defense Secretary Mark Esper, possibly FBI Director Christopher Wray, or CIA Director Gina Haspell.
The only gifts the rest of us want are 1) to hear him choke out the words, “I c-c-concede,” and 2) not to mess up anything beyond repair for Joe and Kamala.
The “Barr” for impartial fairness in government has been set low these past 4 years with self-dealing, innuendo, outright lies, and Alice in Wonderlandish “up-is-down” and “off with his head!” It is easy to lose sight of other good news from the election, but there is some.
Fifty states – and the many counties within them – each ran independent elections with particular results funneled into national vote counts. While potentially complicated and fraught, it was a remarkably smooth process and a fine example of American democracy with no credible examples of vote fraud or irregularities. Yes, there were long lines of steadfast voters in some precincts. Yes, there were sporadic attempts at voter intimidation. Yes, there were fears that postal services would not deliver the anticipated deluge of mailed ballots on time. But these outlier events were more click-bait than commonplace.
A couple of very important elections still need to be conducted: the twin runoff elections for Georgia Senate seats, both of which ended without a candidate receiving a majority of votes. The outcomes of those runoffs will determine control of the Senate and whether it plays an obstructionist or collaborative role with the House and Executive Branch. We support Jon Ossoff and Rafael Warnock. There are easy ways to help those campaigns right here in Santa Barbara. Start at www.indivisiblesb.org.
Final Fun Fact: The United States is the third most populous country in the world. Number 1 China and number 2 India use other methods to choose their national leaders. As a result, more people voted directly for Joe Biden than ever voted for a single candidate in any election in world history. Think about it.