Georgia's Runoff Ends. Doomed Electoral College Certification Fight Begins.
This is trey in cleveland. Ohio and i got an email over the holidays that i listened to forty thousand three hundred seventy four minutes of content on the npr one app. This puts me in the top two percent of the npr politics podcast listeners. This specific podcast was recorded at two twelve pm. On january. fifth twenty twenty. One things may have changed by the time you hear it but i will probably still be listening to. Npr enjoyed the show. I swear we did not pay him to say that. Everyone winner gold medal. I know all right. Hey there it is the npr politics podcast. I'm danielle kurt slaven. I cover politics. I'm cloudy solicit congress. It is the last day of voting in georgia with two runoff elections for senate seats. One between democrat. Jon ossoff end. Republican david perdue the other between democrat raphael. Warnock and republican. Kelly leffler these as we've been saying on this podcast are enormously important races. They will determine the balance of power in the senate chamber which means huge implications for how much of his agenda president elect. Joe biden might be able to enact and so joining us we have. Npr sarah mccamman. She is a georgia expert. She used to work for our member station in georgia. Hello sarah -at's right. I did and hello happy new year. Yes you too. It's great to talk to you again. so let's get right down to business both the president and the president-elect have been campaigning in the state recently what are the closing arguments here on both sides in both of these races so the big theme is what you were. Just talking about danielle. Just how high the stakes are here. How much significance. These two runoffs have not for georgia but for the whole country in atlanta biden. Yesterday said the power is literally in your hands. One st can chart the court not just for the next four years but for a generation president trump has also stressed during his rally. Here in dalton where i'm recording from. Today he was he was engulfed and last night he stressed the importance of republicans. Getting out the vote in huge numbers and reelecting those republican senators but he also spent a lot of time weaving in and out of talking about the senate runoff while also talking about his own grievances with republican elections officials. Here and the republican governor. Who have affirmed biden's win in georgia. Something he still does not accept and he continues to tout. These conspiracy theories debunked conspiracy theories about voter fraud. You know it's interesting that we have seen washington. Dc very focused on this race. It's really impacted the the politics here. For example some would argue that this recent wave of coronavirus relief aid was passed in part to boost these candidates that they both want to argue on both sides of the aisle that they help bring that through and is bringing it to voters in georgia. Meanwhile in terms of these national implications we're also seeing potential twenty twenty four candidates down there in the field trying to reach out to voters perhaps at the beginnings of their own aspirations of trying to run for president in two thousand twenty four well and one measure that kind of blew my mind although maybe it's not that shocking. When you think about it. Is that these. Two races are now the number one and number two most expensive senate races ever according to the center for responsive politics and on top of that just seems like everything about these races is huge. Turnout has already broken georgia's record for senate runoff turnouts. I mean sarah. What does that look like on. The ground isn't just being bombarded with ads. Phone calls that sort of thing constantly. Yeah that's my sense. I mean just driving down the highway. You see billboards everywhere. You see signs all over the place and of course as we've mentioned a lots of outside money. Hundreds of millions of dollars in ads have been spent on these races in from georgia and across the country. Lots of outside people so to speak Both grassroots organizers and volunteers and paid. Staffers you know the democrats have a huge ground game here. Republicans also have a lot of people canvassing at least in the past few days. Since i've been here both sides do realize just how significant these runoffs are and they're making their last big push. What issues seem to be at the center of the race here. What issues are the parties bringing up or maybe more pointedly. To what degree is this a race about the issues or is it just about nationalized politics is it all about trump biden. Senate control that sort of thing. I'd say it's much more the ladder. Just a little side note. There is a third run off election in georgia today. for public service commissioner and in that race people are talking about things like utility costs in georgia but in general in the two big races. Everyone's paying the most attention to the senate runoffs. It really is primarily about national politics and not just senate control but big issues facing the country like the coronavirus pandemic. i've heard a couple of voters. Democratic voters mentioned. That is a big concern over the weekend. In warner robins georgia. I met danielle goings. She works in healthcare. She's fifty five. She was added rally for warnock. And she said she's really motivated to elect these two democrats. Because we gotta stop mitch. We had to stop match because mitch mcconnell has already showed his hand on what he would do. He doesn't care about americans not in A high he doesn't care about you and she was referring of course to the coronavirus relief. Package that cloudy was just mentioning and expressing the feeling that it really fell. Short of what americans really need. Especially those who've lost jobs to get through this crisis. And sarah what are you hearing from. Republicans we've been hearing so much come out of the state including president trump who called into the state recently raising. These claims that the elections in georgia have been rigged. What have you been hearing from. Other republicans in the state you know. Cloudy of the people that come to these events to rallies and you know get out the vote. events and canvassing are motivated engaged republican. So i want to caveat this with that But the people. I'm meeting are at minimum. They don't trust the system and Many of them are very very angry. I talked to bruce carter. He's sixty six lives outside atlanta and he'd come to dalton last night to this trump rally. He said it's his seventh trump rally. And he's still refuses to accept the election results. I asked him why he won't believe republican elections officials in georgia who affirmed biden's victory and he raised some baseless conspiracy theories wallet scout bands. Darnold tell but right. We have any anything to back that up. Greg do dude possibly because it's true best resident in my lifetime. He's been the best president of my lifetime and probably the best president. United states never had so. I'm assuming that. Joe biden is inaugurated in a couple of weeks. What do you think that means for the country arberg will be a war locking low baby. We fought for his country many times. And ain't gonna stop now. Would you actually commit violence against fellow citizens yourself and at that point he just walked off and if one person said this i might dismiss it as a fringe but in just a few days of reporting here in georgia three different people two republicans and one democrat have independently expressed to me that they either are concerned about violence or even willing to engage in it. And i think this is also reflective of the broader skepticism. I mentioned among republicans The lack of faith in the election system that's been seated and promoted by president trump. all right. Well we're going to leave it there for now. Sarah thank you so much for your reporting and it's always a delight to talk to you. Thank you so much. Good to talk to you all to all right. We're gonna take a break now when we come back. We're going to talk about the process of certifying. The electoral college results. This message comes from. Npr sponsor hint fruit infused water with no calories or sweeteners. Hint water comes over twenty. Five flavors the watermelon. Water actually taste like watermelon. The blackberry water tastes like blackberries. Hint is water with a touch of true fruit flavor. You can get hint water at stores or you can have it delivered directly to your door. When you buy two cases you'll get a third case. Free and free shipping visit drink hint dot com and use promo code. Npr at checkout life. Kid is rethinking new year's resolutions. All this january. We're thinking about both really big and really small changes if you're wanting to change up your life and start fresh. We've got you covered if you're looking to just make your home. A little nicer. We got you there to listen to the life. Kip podcast from npr. And we're back. Not only with cloudy gra sally's but also with the one. The only ron elving ron hello. Hey good to be with you guys. Happy new year guys tomorrow. Congress is set to certify the electoral college results. I've got to say. I've been in the news for years now. I don't recall this much attention ever being put on this before but it's been a time since standard affairs stopped. Being standard norms are out the window. So let's talk about the process tomorrow. First things first claudia. What is the schedule of events. How does this go down. This all kicks off at one pm. Wins day in the house chamber. So we'll see senate members head over to that chamber to commence vice president. Mike pence will take over as presiding officer and basically they'll go state by state over their certificate of electoral results and trump in his republican allies have targeted several states. Remember say they'll object so a house member will need a partner in a senate member for an objection to be heard in are focused on six states. Arizona georgia michigan nevada pennsylvania and wisconsin. And so once an objection has a house and senate member objecting jointly on that state. The members will depart to their respective chambers. Though here those objections debate for up to two hours it could be less but all in all. It's a very long day. That will stretch perhaps late into wednesday and into thursday. And it's really hard to say how long this could go on. But we're all going to wait and see absolutely. It has been as little as twenty three minutes but We did have a hiccup in two thousand five. There was an objection from a house. Member and one senator. They did go to their chambers and have a debate. Comeback very lopsided votes to disallow those objections and allow the electors from ohio to vote. So that didn't amount to much. But that was a little bit of a hiccup. They tried in two thousand round the state of florida. You may remember all that Incredible dispute over florida back in two thousand. And when that got to this point and they were approving the electors there was some talk about objecting to florida but there was no senator who was willing to join the house members so it didn't come to anything at that point and really all of this stuff is pretty much nineteenth century it. All of it comes from a a law back in eighteen eighty seven and we don't have to go into where that came from but it was trying to solve a big mess that basically came out of the end of the civil war and not that as claudia said. This could be a very long process so we will be putting our podcast out later than usual tomorrow because the process could go on for a while But getting back to you claudia. Tell us more about these senators house members these people who might object who are they and what does it tell us about what's going on. These are very close. Allies to president trump. We expect more than a hundred house. Republicans to sign off on these objections and now more than a dozen senate republicans have said. They're planning to object as well meaning. They're planning to join these house members in their objections of these various states result. We are noting that some of these folks are candidates or or pope to be candidates for the twenty twenty four elections. This could be a moment for them to make their mark on this stage. Now this is going to be a much bigger stage than usual and they're kind of fighting it out on who is going to be the biggest trump ally and we see members such as josh hawley of missouri This was the first senate republican. Who said he would sign onto this and then saw the dominos fall after that. And that includes. Ted cruz of texas is another twenty twenty four hopeful and so we may see a lot of that come wednesday in terms of these folks who have these presidential aspirations. This is not going to change the results of the election. But on the other hand this is a group of lawmakers attempting to subvert the results of a fair election. I mean give us some perspective. Here how big of a deal is this. How worrisome is this you. This is dangerous territory. It's dangerous idea but it's not going to go anywhere and we can't emphasize this too strongly. The president has been urging mike pence to exercise some power. The president imagine that he has to cast out the reports from some of the states. There are no competing slates of electors. There are only the agreed upon electors all of its been certified by the governors of all fifty states in both parties. It's been up to courts all over the country and trump judges as well as other judges have basically kicked it away. So this is just an attempt relate to endear a number of republican senators to the strongest supporters of president trump and show their loyalty to the president in the final days of his time in office. All right well let's leave it there for now reminder that we'll be back like tomorrow after watching all of this closely to wrap up the biggest moments from the certification process until then daniel slaven. I cover politics. I'm claudio getting solicit cover congress. And i'm ron elving editor correspondent and thank you for listening to npr politics podcast.