Yesterday, a whole gaggle of NY Times reporters summed up the denouement that Señor Trumpanzee is currently enduring/thriving on: he didn't rise to the occasion. (Neither did his political party-- and there may be a price to pay.) "Throughout late summer and fall, in the heat of a re-election campaign that he would go on to lose, and in the face of mounting evidence of a surge in infections and deaths far worse than in the spring, Mr. Trump’s management of the crisis-- unsteady, unscientific and colored by politics all year-- was in effect reduced to a single question: What would it mean for him? The result, according to interviews with more than two dozen current and former administration officials and others in contact with the White House, was a lose-lose situation. Trump not only ended up soundly defeated by Biden, but missed his chance to show that he could rise to the moment in the final chapter of his presidency and meet the defining challenge of his tenure. Efforts by his aides to persuade him to promote mask wearing, among the simplest and most effective ways to curb the spread of the disease, were derailed by his conviction that his political base would rebel against anything that would smack of limiting their personal freedom. Even his own campaign’s polling data to the contrary could not sway him... Trump’s unwillingness to put aside his political self-centeredness as Americans died by the thousands each day or to embrace the steps necessary to deal with the crisis remain confounding even to some administration officials. 'Making masks a culture war issue was the dumbest thing imaginable,' one former senior adviser said.
In an open letter to his Nebraskans yesterday, Senator Ben Sasse (R) called his colleagues' efforts to help Trump overturn the election a dangerous ploy. "All the clever arguments and rhetorical gymnastics in the world won’t change the fact that this January 6th effort is designed to disenfranchise millions of Americans simply because they voted for someone in a different party. We ought to be better than that." His Republican colleague from Missouri-- loose canon Josh Hawley-- thumbed his nose at McConnell and the rest of the Senate GOP leadership-- including Missouri's senior senator-- to announce that he will bring the House's whiney attempt to overturn the election to the Senate floor. Hawley is attempting to portray himself as a successor to Trump.
Yesterday, CNN reported that "Hawley's announcement that he will object to the certification of the election results from at least one state on January 6 turns what was going to be a ceremonial process into an actual headache for Republican rank-and-file. The vote next week isn't about one day, it's about the impact it will have on members for years to come. Trump keeps score and he's not going to go quietly into the background. Trump's baked into the Republican brand now and any senator who crosses him next week is keenly aware that there could eventually be a price to pay for that." Pity.
Susan Collins, who will probably never face the voters again and doesn't need to fear Trump said "I do not think that he will prevail in his quest. And I question why he is doing it when the courts have unanimously thrown out the suits that the President's team have filed for lack of credible evidence."
CNN noted that there are "21 Republican Senate seats to defend in 2022. There are 13 Democratic ones. It's going to be a heavy lift next cycle already for Republicans and no one is looking to recreate the intra-party primary fights that plagued the party between 2010 and 2014 and ultimately ended in Republicans losing races they thought they had locked down." Members who could lose their seats because of being forced to vote one way or the other-- something McConnell has tried to stave off-- include Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Chuck Grassley (R-IA) if he runs again, Marco Rubio (R-FL), if the Florida Democratic Party finds a candidate to run, Kelly Loeffler (R-GA), if she wins on Tuesday, Todd Young (R-IN), Jerry Moran (R-KS), Rand Paul (R-KY), John Kennedy (R-LA), Roy Blunt (R-MO), Rob Portman (R-OH) and Ron Johnson (R-WI). Senators likely to join Hawley in turning the Senate into a citrcus on the 6th include Rand Paul, Kelly Loeffler and Alabamy freshman Tommy Tuberville, who hasn't been sworn in yet and is already widely considered the dumbest person ever elected to the U.S. Senate, and two, like Hawley, who are looking to insinuate themselves into tech affections of the Trump base-- Ted Cruz and Tom Cotton.
Hawley was asked on Wednesday if he was worried about what his colleagues would think of his maneuver, and if it would make him less popular: "More than I already am?" he quipped back.