Good Monday Morning, Fellow Seekers.
Hi everyone. It’s Capital-Star Editor John L. Micek. I’m back from vacation. And before we get started, let me extend a hearty thank-you to Capital-Star Associate Editor Cassie Miller, who more than capably kept this newsletter rolling during a very busy news week last week.
Today, as prescribed by the U.S. Constitution, the Electoral College will meet in state capitols across the country, including Harrisburg, to count up the electoral votes won by Democrat Joe Biden and Republican Donald Trump on Election Day.
And despite every effort to the contrary by Trump and his loyal stooges in Harrisburg and Washington D.C., this exercise will end with Biden, who won the popular vote in Pennsylvania, taking all 20 of the Keystone State’e electoral votes.
That will put Biden, and running-mate Kamala Harris, on track to having their electoral victory reaffirmed by Congress on Jan. 6, and then see them sworn into office on Jan. 20.
There have been times, during the five weeks since Election Day, where it sometimes seemed like this day would never come — thanks to a blizzard of poorly conceived litigation; a deluge of outright falsehoods, and the extraordinary compliance and complicity of GOP lawmakers who assisted in that effort.
So it’s worth remembering the names of the Pennsylvania lawmakers who did their darnedest to try to ensure that we did not reach this day.
We’ll start with the GOP members of the state’s Congressional delegation who threw in with a groundless lawsuit filed by Texas’ attorney general seeking to invalidate the election results in four battleground states, including Pennsylvania.
U.S. Rep. Dan Meuser, R-9th District
U.S. Rep. Scott Perry, R-10th District
U.S. Rep. Fred Keller, R-12th District
U.S. Rep. John Joyce, R-13th District
U.S. Rep. Guy Reschenthaler, R-14th District
U.S. Rep. Glenn ‘GT’ Thompson, R-15th District
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District
In Harrisburg, two lawmakers have been in the vanguard of trying to topple election results, leading the push for the Republican-controlled Legislature to appoint its own slate of Trump-friendly electors (something that’s impossible under current law): State Sen. Doug Mastriano, R-Franklin, and Rep. Russ Diamond, R-Lebanon.
As recently as last week, Mastriano was vowing on his official Facebook page that he “[would] not rest until Pennsylvanians feel their voices were heard” in the election. On Saturday, in an instance of closing the barn door long after the horses had left, Diamond actually began circulating a co-sponsorship memo asking his colleagues to support just such a move.
We’ll also include Diamond’s name on a ridiculous Commonwealth Court lawsuit filed by Rep. Daryl Metcalfe, R-Butler, that sought to force Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf and Secretary of State Kathy Boockvar to withdraw their certification of the election results. Also signing onto the litigation was House Judiciary Committee Chairman Rob Kauffman, R-Franklin; along with Reps. Dawn Keefer, R-York; Thomas Sankey, R-Clearfield; Kathy Rapp, R-Warren; Stephanie Borowicz, R-Clinton, and Frank Ryan, R-Lebanon.
Last, but certainly not least, we’ll include Pennsylvania House Speaker Bryan Cutler, R-Lancaster, and Majority Leader Kerry Benninghoff, R-Centre, who were the lead signatories on a letter calling on Congress to oppose the state’s slate of electors next month. Dozens of other Republicans also signed the letter, the Capital-Star’s Stephen Caruso reported.
Cutler made nationwide headlines last week when it was revealed that he’d taken calls from President Donald Trump, who was looking for help in his effort to set aside the results. Cutler told Trump his hands were tied by law. Nonetheless, he and Benninghoff turned around just 24 hours later, and signed that letter.
As the last five weeks have shown, democracy can be a fragile thing if we don’t cherish and guard it.
So while you celebrate its endurance today, also remember that the elected representatives listed above put loyalty to their party and a legitimately defeated president ahead of the laws and constitution they swore to uphold.
In this week’s edition of the Numbers Racket, Cassie Miller delves into some survey data examining how parents are balancing sending their kids to school against exposing them to the pandemic.
In this morning’s edition of Helping the Helpers, the Fayette County Community Action Agency is continuing to deliver help through the holidays.
In Pittsburgh, activists are casting a critical eye at the Peduto administration for putting police funding ahead of the needs of underserved communities, our partners at Pittsburgh City Paper report.
On our Commentary Page this morning, our friends at The Conversation not only explain how the Electoral College works, they also provide some essential reads. You’ll also find Cassie Miller’s excellent explainer video embedded in the same piece.
En la Estrella-Capital: El programa de banda ancha FCC trae SpaceX y otras compañías de telecomunicaciones a Pa. Y con la vacuna en el horizonte, Gov. Tom Wolf impone nuevas medidas de mitigación de COVID.
The state Department of Corrections has told a corrections officer to return to work early even though he was suffering from COVID-19, Spotlight PA reports (via the Inquirer).
U.S. Rep. Mike Kelly, R-16th District, says he’s not ready to shake hands with President-elect Joe Biden, the Post-Gazette reports.
Some Pennsylvania restaurants are defying the Wolf administration’s indoor dining ban, PennLive reports.
The number of Pennsylvania road deaths kept climbing, even as millions of people stayed home, the Morning Call reports.
Five seats on Luzerne County Council will be on the ballot next year, and at least two new council members will be seated in 2022, the Citizens-Voice reports.
Here’s your #Harrisburg Instagram of the Day:
View this post on Instagram
Bars in Delaware County served fans during Sunday’s Eagles game despite the state’s indoor dining ban, WHYY-FM reports.
GoErie profiles the city’s first Black female police officer.
Stateline.org explains how a looming deadline could prompt some states to misspend their remaining CARES Act funds.
President Donald Trump rejected an early vaccination at the White House, Politico reports.
Even with the Electoral College meeting today, some Republicans spent Sunday urging President Donald Trump not to give up on his ‘fizzled’ lawsuits, Talking Points Memo reports.
What Goes On.
11:30 a.m.: Health Secretary Dr. Rachel Levine holds an online news briefing for the latest on the pandemic.
12 p.m, Forum Building: The Electoral College meets to certify Joe Biden’s win in Pennsylvania.
You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept.
Belated best wishes go out this morning to Carl DeFebo of the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission who celebrated on Sunday, and to Tara Curtis Mead, of House Democrats Communications, who celebrated on Saturday. Updated best wishes go out this morning to Allegheny County Judge Bruce Beemer, and to fellow Northwestern Wildcat, Alison Burdo, of Ceisler Media and Issue Advocacy, in Philadelphia, both of whom celebrate today. Congratulations all around.
Taylor Swift broke the internet last week with the release of her new ‘evermore’ LP. Here’s the first track ‘Willow.’ We have a feeling we’re going to spend a long time mulling this record.
Monday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link.
For a club that most thought had a one-way ticket back to the Championship, Fulham are proving remarkably resilient. The Cottagers dueled Liverpool to a 1-1 draw on Sunday, keeping themselves alive in the top flight for another day.
And now you’re up to date.