5 min read

Wake Up To Politics - January 4, 2021

Good morning! It’s Monday, January 4, 2021. Thanks for waking up to politics. Have questions, comments, or tips? Email me.

Editor’s Note

Welcome to the first edition of Wake Up To Politics of 2021. It’s going to be a busy week — and year — in politics, and I appreciate you trusting me to help guide you through it.

This year will mark the 10th anniversary of this newsletter, and in the New Year’s spirit, here are some of my resolutions for what I hope to bring you in the year ahead:

  • More on-the-ground reporting. I’ll be headed back to Washington, D.C., soon and hope to offer insights you can’t get elsewhere and more reporting like these pieces from the White House, Capitol, and post-election protests.
  • More of your questions answered. I love all of the questions I receive from subscribers about politics every day, and I’m hoping to start featuring some of them in the newsletter, so everyone can see the answers. If you have a question you want answered, send me a note!
  • More contributions from other young journalists. I’ve been proud to feature Anna Salvatore’s summaries of Supreme Court oral arguments in “Daybook” each morning, and tomorrow, Niles Francis will be contributing a piece on the Georgia runoffs. I’m hoping to share pieces from other young voices in 2021; pitch me if you have ideas!
  • And then, of course, what I’ve always hoped to offer: a reliable rundown of the day’s news so you can understand what’s going on in our complex world.

But to make all of that possible, I need your help.

Thank you so much for your support and for continuing to read Wake Up To Politics. I am so amazed at how much this project has grown in the past 10 years and can’t wait for the 10 years to come. I hope all of you have a happy and healthy start to your 2021! — Gabe

Transfer of Power

With about two weeks left in his term, President Donald Trump and his allies are accelerating their unprecedented efforts to overturn the results of the 2020 election. Here are the latest developments:

Trump urged Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes for him to win the state in an extraordinary phone call on Saturday. “All I want to do is this. I just want to find 11,780 votes, which is one more than we have,” the president said. “Because we won the state.”

  • “Well, Mr. President,” Raffensperger, a Republican, responded as Trump continued to insist he had won Georgia, “the challenge that you have is, the data you have is wrong.”
  • The entire transcript and audio of the one-hour call were published by the Washington Post on Sunday.
  • In the hours after the Post reported about the conversation, several Democratic lawmakers called for a criminal investigation or even impeachment proceedings to be launched in response. Legal experts told the New York Times that the president may have broken state or federal laws prohibiting election fraud.

A majority of Republican lawmakers are expected to oppose finalizing President-elect Joe Biden’s Electoral College victory at a joint session of Congress on Wednesday. The session has historically proceeded with little fanfare, but the Republicans will attempt to throw out the electoral votes of some states where Trump has baselessly alleged Biden’s victories were fraudulent.

  • According to CNN, more than 140 House Republicans are expected to join the effort. Sen. Josh Hawley (R-MO) was the first senator to announce his support; Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) is leading a group of 11 senators who will object to the electoral votes as well.
  • In order to succeed, the gambit would require support from majorities of both chambers of Congress, which it is very unlikely to receive.

The efforts to block Biden’s victory are causing a bitter split within the Republican Party in Trump’s final days in office. While House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) and a majority of his members are siding with Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has urged his members to oppose the move. “This is will be the most consequential I have ever cast,” McConnell told Senate Republicans, according to Axios.

  • Some top Trump allies announced plans on Sunday to oppose his last-ditch effort, including Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) and members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus.
  • Other former Republican officeholders have offered condemnations as well. “It is difficult to conceive of a more anti-democratic and anti-conservative act,” former House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) said in a statement. All ten living former Defense Secretaries — including former Vice President Dick Cheney and Trump’s two former Pentagon chiefs — penned an op-ed declaring that “the time for questioning the results has passed.”
  • The split within the party comes ahead of the high-stakes runoffs in Georgia on Tuesday, which will decide control of the Senate for the next two years.

Numbers to Know

1 day until the Georgia Senate runoffs.

  • 6 days until Inauguration Day 2021.
  • 673 days until Election Day 2022.
  • 1,401 days until Election Day 2024.

85.2 million coronavirus cases in the world. (Johns Hopkins University)

  • 20.6 million coronavirus cases in the United States.
  • 351,590 coronavirus deaths in the United States.

12.3 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered in the world. (Bloomberg)

  • 4.3 million coronavirus vaccine doses administered in the United States.


All times Eastern.

President Donald Trump will hold a rally with Sens. Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) and David Perdue (R-GA) in Dalton, Georgia, at 7 p.m.

  • According to the Washington Post, Trump is also expected to award the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), one of his top congressional allies, today.

Vice President Mike Pence will deliver remarks at a “Georgia Faith Community Call to Action” in Milner, Georgia, at 12:05 p.m.

President-elect Joe Biden will hold a campaign event for Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock in Atlanta, Georgia, at 4:15 p.m.

Vice President-elect Kamala Harris will receive the President’s Daily Brief and meet with transition advisers.

The Senate will not meet today.  

The House will meet at 10 a.m. and vote to adopt H.R. 5, the chamber’s rules package for the 117th Congress.

  • The new rules package includes some changes from previous Congresses, including the weakening of the “motion to recommit,” a key procedural tool used by the minority party, and exceptions for COVID-19 and climate change bills to “PAYGO,” a longstanding rule that requires tax cuts and spending increases be offset by tax increases or spending cuts.

The Supreme Court is on recess.

Thanks for reading! If you aren’t already subscribed to Wake Up To Politics, you can sign up and learn more here.

You can also support my work by sending a donation, buying WUTP merchandise, or listening to my podcast.