16 months of Storms Part 14

Jonathan Larson famously told us that a year is 525,600 minutes. Lynette’s and my 2017 had just 496,800 minutes, give or take. I’m not sure how many entries it will take to tell the story of those minutes (plus 10,800 more), but here we go.

Lynette had a “maintenance chemo” infusion on December 29, 2016. We always had an office visit with Dr. Hightower a week later, so that would have been January 5, 2017. I don’t recall the specific details of the clinical picture Dr. Hightower drew, but Lynette said “So, our goal is to keep me here as long as possible.” I perceived that our living situation, with Luke, Lynette, and me living in Gulfport, while Sarah was in school in Jackson, three hours away and Lynette’s sisters living in Duck Hill and Iuka, 5 and 7 hours away, would not be viable for all of 2017. I communicated to my Pastor/Parish Relations Committee at Mississippi City and to my District Superintendent that I would be asking to move closer to Jackson, beginning in late June 2017.

Sarah and the Gospel Choir would be singing as part of Millsaps’ Martin Luther King Day observance on January 16. That was the first conversation I had with Connie Connie Mitchell Shelton, the East Jackson District Superintendent, about my next appointment. Our connection to Connie would become one of the great blessings of 2017.

Lynette had completed taking as much Herceptin as she could. Her next medications would be two oral chemotherapy drugs. It’s somewhat amazing to me that I can’t recall the names of either drug now, as I was the one who was responsible for her dosing schedule. I DO know that diarrhea was a known side effect of the medicine. We dealt with that, and had to cut back on the dosage. It’s possible that Lynette would chide me for disclosing that particular detail. All I can say to that is that everyone who has walked this path has dealt with uncomfortable stuff. We were not exempt.

The investigation into the Jan. 6 insurrection — the riot that delayed the certification of President Biden’s victory — has always required looking both backward and forward. Backward, at whom to hold accountable. Forward, at what it means for elections in November and in 2024.

Whichever way one looks, one important relationship to keep in mind is the one between the unprecedented violent interruption of the peaceful handover of political power and the months-long campaign President Trump waged to discredit the 2020 election, and his defeat.

Which gets us to Republican election denialism since the riot. As The Daily 202 wrote nearly one year after the insurrection, false claims of voter fraud have fueled frequently successful GOP efforts at the state level to take control of the country’s electoral processes.

Whitewashing Jan. 6, putting either-we-won-or-it’s-fraudulent officials in positions to decide the outcome of elections (or even trying to give a state legislature a veto over the outcome) and Trump championing candidates who deny 2020 are all reasons to worry about the midterms.

Will they or won’t they concede?

My colleagues Amy Gardner, Hannah Knowles, Colby Itkowitz and Annie Linskey documented this weekend how a majority of Republicans they surveyed in important battleground races are refusing to say they will accept the November election outcome.

“In a survey by The Washington Post of 19 of the most closely watched statewide races in the country, the contrast between Republican and Democratic candidates was stark. While seven GOP nominees committed to accepting the outcomes in their contests, 12 either refused to commit or declined to respond. On the Democratic side,17 said they would accept the outcome and two did not respond to The Post’s survey,” they reported.

Strategists of both parties still see Republicans retaking the House. But the Supreme Court’s decision to overrule the Roe v. Wade precedent that protected access to abortion, and Republicans’ subsequent efforts to implement bans in various states, have reduced their expected margin of victory, and left control of the Senate to something akin to the political equivalent of a coin flip.

And, my colleagues reported, “[m]ore than half of all Republican nominees for federal and statewide office with powers over election administration have embraced unproven claims that fraud tainted Biden’s win, according to a Washington Post tally.”

It’s entirely possible that, in two months, multiple losing candidates could refuse to accept their defeats — notably some seeking governorships or Senate seats from Arizona, Florida, Kansas, Michigan, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Texas.

“All but two — incumbent senators Ron Johnson of Wisconsin and Marco Rubio of Florida — have publicly embraced Trump’s false claims about 2020, according to a Post analysis.”

(My colleagues noted that Georgia Democratic gubernatorial nominee Stacey Abrams cited voter suppression in 2018 when she refused to concede defeatto Republican opponent Brian Kemp. “But unlike Trump, Abrams never sought to overturn the certified result or fomented an insurrection.”)

State by state

What would happen if these candidates lost on Nov. 8 but contested their defeats would depend on the state. In 2000, George W. Bush and Al Gore went to court to settle the question of who won Florida. The Supreme Court ultimately handed Bush the presidency.

After 2020, Trump acolytes battled it out in the court of public opinion, where they seem to have won over vast swaths of the Republican Party, and in actual court, where their lawsuits were di

About jaltman81

United Methodist Clergy
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