Art by Jessica Frampton

Buckle up for an historically ugly week in US politics.


On Tuesday, votes will be tallied in two runoff elections in the fiercely contested state of Georgia. At stake: majority control of the US Senate as Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock try to unseat Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler.

The final margins in these two contests will almost certainly be thin, and the losing side is overwhelmingly likely to contest the outcome's legitimacy. In other words, control of the Senate will now join the presidential election as the subject of accusations, conspiracy theories, lawsuits, and partisan bitterness.

Speaking of the presidential race, a leaked audiotape emerged on Sunday in which President Trump pressured Georgia's secretary of state, a Republican, to "find the votes" needed to overturn President-elect Biden's victory there. The full transcript of that call speaks for itself.

On Wednesday, the post-election circus makes its way onto the floor of the House and Senate. There is now a full-blown insurrection underway within the Republican Party. At least one dozen Republican senators have said they will defy Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to contest the presidential outcome as Congress certifies the final electoral vote count. There has been no spectacle like this in the US Capitol since the contested US presidential election of 1876.

Finally, throughout the week, lots of people with guns — mainly members of right-wing militias — will walk the streets of Washington, DC at Trump's invitation to back his charges of fraud and to call for Biden's victory to be overturned by Congress or the courts. The risk of deadly violence is real.

There is no reason to doubt that Joe Biden's election will be certified and that he will become the 46th US president on January 20. But outgoing President Donald J. Trump, with enthusiastic support from some who hope to inherit his political base, is working hard to plant landmines along the path from here to there.
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