A Journal of the Plague Year 2020–chapter 170

Sunday, November 15

There’s a dense mat of leaves on the ground. A pelting rain followed by wind whips the stuff around, sounding like heavy surf. No birds sing at dawn, and none come to the recently restocked feeder.

Such strange times. As I and many others have pointed out, time seems to have slowed to a near standstill. Yet we are almost desperate for it to pass—specifically into mid-December, when the presidential electors meet and we get to learn whether Trump and his enablers will try to pull something outrageous to detonate the public will.

These are the relevant dates: Up until December 11, states will be certifying their election results. On December 14, each state’s electors convene, cast their votes for the presidency, and send those votes on to Congress. They must arrive by December 23.  Congress is sworn in on January 3, and on January 6 the two houses convene jointly to hear the electoral votes counted and certify a winner.

So far, the most dire imaginings of violence at the polls or in the halls of congress have not come to pass. But given the extreme statements of several GOP and Trump administration figures–and the menace of Proud Boys and other bozos on the streets–many people are waiting for the other shoe to drop. 

In the courts, most challenges to votes have seemed little more than fantasies or wishful thinking on the part of the challengers. But beginning this past Friday, the Georgia ballots are receiving a second look in the form of a hand count. They must finish by Wednesday, two days before the state’s certification deadline. If Biden’s lead proves to be under half a percentage point, a third count—or a formal recount—can be requested.

Will Republican legislatures in key states ignore the vote and choose Trump loyalists to be electors? Apparently not. According to the Times, “leaders of the Republican majorities in legislatures in key states, including Pennsylvania, Michigan, Arizona and Georgia” say they see no role for themselves in picking electors.

But Emily and I at least, and many others I suspect, won’t relax until Biden raises his hand and Justice John Roberts swears him in. And that should take place on January 20, 2021. 

Dinner: black beans and rice and a lettuce and avocado salad.

Entertainment: Season 4 of Netflix’ The Crown, plus episodes of To the Manor Born on Britbox. There’s never enough of the aristocracy it seems.