Happy Saturday! This newsletter is coming to you on a cool, crisp fall day in Ohio. The heat has broken, it’s sweatshirt weather, and my only real disappointment is that today’s slate of college football games is pretty boring: Ohio State vs. Akron, Georgia vs. Vanderbilt, and Alabama vs., I think, the Little Sisters of the Poor. [Editor: Ahem, Wisconsin vs. Notre Dame?]
But wait … it’s fall? How did that happen already? If I recall correctly, 2021 was supposed to be better than 2020. We were supposed to get back to normal. Maybe we could relax a bit, things would slow down. Instead, 2021 has been playing a long game of “hold my beer” with its predecessor. And this week was no different.
Perhaps the starkest reminder of 2020 this week comes from Arizona. The monthslong faux audit of Maricopa County’s 2.1 million ballots is finally over, and the report put out by Cyber Ninjas not only confirmed Joe Biden’s victory but gave him an extra 261 votes. It wasn’t a real audit and no one should take it seriously, but even this partisan effort didn’t produce the results the losers wanted. Don’t get your hopes up that this will be the last word on the 2020 election. Donald Trump sent Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger a letter last week asking him to decertify the state’s election results. In Texas—a state that Trump won—the secretary of state’s office (there is no actual secretary of state right now) announced an audit of four counties’ ballots: Dallas, Harris, Tarrant, and Collin. Okay.
Congress, y0u might have noticed, is still pretty dysfunctional. The wrinkle, though, is that it’s largely attributable to Democratic infighting. The $550 billion infrastructure bill and the $3.5 trillion “Build Back Better” reconciliation bill have the moderates and progressives at odds. Progressives are threatening to tank the former bill if moderates won’t vote for the latter, and vice versa. But there won’t be money for any of these wish lists if Congress doesn’t raise the debt ceiling. Read about the debt ceiling battle in Uphill and check out Thursday’s Morning Dispatch (🔒) for a great breakdown of the fight over the spending bills.