The next few days may mark a monumental moment in America history, and maybe even alter the way our government functions. Today, as I write this, Georgia goes to the polls to select two U.S. Senators. The polls close at 7 p.m. EST, which is 4 p.m. here. Normally, or at least in the past, you could expect to know the winners tonight, but in the new politics you can expect there will be demands for recounts and all sorts of charges of fraud and lawsuits will follow and we may not know the winners for days or even weeks. Despite all the furor, the only real major impact I see on the senatorial races is in the judicial appointments and, of course, in filling any supreme court openings. In our world of today, with congress divided as it is, any piece of significant legislation requires a bipartisan buy-in or it can’t happen. That, of course, doesn’t even slow down the fundraising, which goes on full blast, and every day I get scare pitches for dollars. I’ve heard from fundraisers I know that the more extreme the pitch, the more flagrant the language, the more money flows into the coffers. The reality is that the senate Republicans are far from monolithic and the battles will be fought between the traditional Republicans and the radicalized Republicans primarily for 2022 and 2024 seats. The Democrats are going to be doing battle between the Democratic left and the more centrist Democrats. It’s altogether possible that there might be a bipartisan centrist coalition forming. We’ll have to wait and see. Trump is, of course, the wild card. Will his influence slowly slip away, or has he changed American politics forever? Time will tell. But, with a rational person sitting in the White House, things are possible.
Once all sworn in, will the senate change the filibuster rule that requires 60 votes to end debate and get to a vote? I’m guessing not. Remember, a lot of senators like the filibuster because it gives individual senators more independence. In straight “majority rules” cases, the leadership generally calls the shots and usually the others have to go along.
Probably more important than the senate races is what happens the next few days in the presidential contest. Whether they affirm that Biden is the new president on Wednesday or Thursday or whether it gets dragged out, the results will be the same and Biden is the next president. But it has also shattered a lot of our preconceived notions and made many of us wonder whether the America we believed in was something of a myth when it comes to the orderly transition of power. That only works if decent people are in power who have some ethics and real standards as opposed to someone like Trump and his apparatchiks. What’s changed it all is the internet. Today, you can reach vast numbers of like-minded people directly, float all sorts of conspiracies no matter how absurd and raise gobs of money from radicalized followers. You can also create all sorts of violence if so inclined and it’s hard for the public to know the truth because new charges come every day and you’re always behind. This isn’t just national, it’s also local and, sadly, Trumpism has come to Malibu, also.
Every day, people send me stuff from social media. Most of it originates with our new council member Bruce Lee Silverstein. He is constantly on the attack. He believes—no, actually, he knows—there are conspiracies going on. He is yet to attend his first council meeting and yet he’s already totally certain about pretty much everything. Whatever happens, there is someone behind it, in his mind and those of his true believers, and it’s almost always that master Machiavellian city manager Reva Feldman. It’s also all being hidden, and only Bruce and his minions can bring it out. They have inundated City Hall with information requests, sometimes two, three, four a day. In a short period of time they have practically brought the city to a standstill. It would take an entire staff to respond to their demands. There is also an enemies list developing. It includes Karen Farrer, Mikke Pierson and newly elected Paul Grisanti (who actually has the temerity to be a real estate broker, gasp!) with the usual “fake news” types like myself, Hans Laetz and I’m sure many others to be added. It’s a list I’m proud to be on because, in the 29 years or so I have published this newspaper I’ve never seen anything like this and, frankly, it’s a bit scary. If The Malibu Times runs the city’s legals, it’s not because we were the low bidder in an open public process—no, it’s because there must be some chicanery or corruption involved. Their cry is that there is no one but them that can be trusted. That there can be no reasonable differences of opinion, only the truth as told to us by Bruce Silverstein and his henchmen (and, not to be sexist, also his henchwomen). They all sound very much like the Trump followers, although generally they are from the other side of the political spectrum, and they also seem to have about the same respect for facts.
We became a city in 1991 and I have followed endless city councils whose membership changed every two years and I have never seen anything like this, so hang on folks. This is an old E-ticket ride coming.