For yet another week, we’re continuing the theme of “more election news than you can shake a stick at,” and not all results are even in as I type this. Given the Georgia runoff election, we definitely won’t be done with election news for another several weeks–but there is nonetheless a lot to report. I’ll continue to keep folks posted.
Standard standing reminders still apply: I guess after six years I’m conceding that I’m a journalist, but I summarize news within my areas of expertise. NNR summaries often contain some detailed analysis that’s outside my expertise–I’m a lawyer, not an election!–but all offroad adventures are marked with an asterisk. And, of course, for the things that are within my lane, I’m offering context that shouldn’t be considered legal advice. Okay, I think that’s about it for the disclaimers. Onward to the news!
Cleanup in Aisle 45:
On the Election Rejection front, we have less than I feared but still more than I want to report. Here’s what has happened:
- Election Rejection: Trump Stuff. Just because there’s a national election that ostensibly doesn’t involve him, that’s no reason for Trump to stop being in the news! This week, the story is that he’s suing the House Jan 6 panel to so that he can avoid the subpoena they sent him. He also keeps hinting that he’s going to run in 2024, even in unrelated places like his memo asking to keep the special master in place for the Mar-A-Lago matter. Meanwhile, especially given the dismal Republican performance in the midterm elections this week, GOP officials are trying to shut him up about his own plans to run, and many appear to be openly trying to pry the party out of his dayglo orange hands.
- Original Flavor Election Rejection. We didn’t get as much original flavor election rejection as I had feared, but that doesn’t mean we didn’t get any. In Maricopa County, AZ, people gathered to protest “fake results” because a printing malfunction slowed down the counting process. That same day AZ senate candidate Blake Masters announced that he wouldn’t concede, despite his opponent Mark Kelly’s victory, until every single vote was counted. Meanwhile, in the state’s gubernatorial election, local javelina and MAGA candidate Kari Lake has outright signaled she won’t concede several times–most famously, back in mid-October before there were even any ballots cast. That race appears to have just been called for her opponent Katie Hobbs as I type this, so I guess we’ll see what happens next from here.
The melange above makes the Biden Rebuilding front look quiet, but there’s still news on that front as well. Here’s what I have for you:
- Loan Cancelation Canceled. A federal district court in Texas found Biden’s loan cancellation plan unlawful this week, marking the second legal challenge to the program and the first conclusion on the merits. Despite the tortured logic of the court opinion, the Biden administration has stopped accepting applications under the program. Just today, the 8th Circuit also upheld the injunction from the first legal challenge, which was an earlier case in St. Louis. These are frustrating challenges to an innovative program, particularly because one of the Texas plaintiffs was a recipient of a $48K forgiven PPP loan before suing to prohibit loan forgiveness.
Your New Normal:
- Your Normally Scheduled Election. There’s a lot still in flux from the 2022 midterms, but I do have some concrete things to report–and much of the news is pretty promising. By Saturday, it became apparent that the Democrats managed to hold onto 50 Senate seats, winning Nevada and Arizona and flipping a Pennsylvania seat that has been red for forty years. (My pet theory is that Elon Musk won the Senate for us when he told everybody to vote Republican.) This means Dems will maintain control of the Senate while we wait for results on Georgia’s seat, which is proceeding to a runoff election for the second time in a row. Meanwhile, there are still seventeen House seats unresolved as I type this, and either party could gain control based on the number of seats already won. It’s currently expected that the GOP will take a razor-thin majority when the final votes are tallied, but given the chaotic week we just had, who knows what will happen next.
- Contagion Corner. There was a lot of news this week about COVID, flu, and RSV–namely, that infections of any of them are bad (who knew), especially in children. There was also a story about a ship in Australia arriving in Sydney with over 800 passengers infected with COVID. But on the more positive pediatric side, a local long-term study published this week shows that universal masking in schools is effective for reducing COVID transmission. The NNR continues to recommend both vaccination and masking indoors.
- Climate Change Crises.* There was a fair amount of news this week about climate change. President Biden issued some statements about America’s failure to meet the 2015 Paris climate agreement and the steps that may be taken in order to curb our emissions from here. Meanwhile, a massive draft assessment was issued this week by the United States Global Change Research Program, finding (among other things) that the continental US is warming at a higher rate than the global average. This has a lot of implications for the country, most of which are pretty dire if we don’t engage in transformative change.
- Recent Ballot Resilience. There were a lot of trends during the midterm elections that are really promising. Young voters turned out in massive numbers, largely rejecting the fascist and anti-democratic candidates up and down the ballot and voting in our first Gen Z representative. This Gen Z civic engagement in turn meant a so-called “red wave” just never materialized in most places. Voters also overwhelmingly supported reproductive health, with four different states either gaining or preserving protections by referendum. Meanwhile, two different states elected openly lesbian governors for the first time ever. Finally, four states passed referenda that prohibited forced prison labor under their state constitutions for the first time. We’ll want to think about how these trends reflect a stymied will in places with widespread suppression, particularly as we move into the Georgia runoff.
So that’s all I have for this week, and I think we can agree that it’s more than enough. For making it through, you deserve this felinterior designer and a more functional government. I’ll be back next week with more restructured and improved news, and I hope you will be back as well–but in the meantime, feel free to ping the National News Roundup ask box, which is there for your constructive comments. Send me questions! Send me feedback! Send me more hours in the day!