Updated: 6 days ago
Attempts by Republicans like Sen. Lindsey Graham (SC) to rig the election that resulted in Donald Trump's landslide loss could be a harbinger of what's ahead for President Biden unless Democrats beat the odds and assume control of the Senate by winning two special elections in Georgia.
So, in a very real sense, the future of the country, indeed, is at stake.
Graham, now Senate Judiciary Committee chairman, is set to take over the chairmanship of the Senate Budget Committee if Republicans manage to win the two Senate runoff elections in Georgia.
If Republicans manage to win at least one of those two seats, they will maintain their control and Sen. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) will retain his ability to manage the agenda and obstruct legislative initiatives of the Biden administration. That's the same tactic he used against Obama, whose presidency he was determined to see fail. And, Graham would be there to team with McConnell to sabotage the Biden presidency.
However, should Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff and Rev. Raphael Warnock both succeed, the Senate will be split 50-50, with the deciding vote going to Vice President Kamala Harris. That would put Biden in the driver's seat by the narrowest of margins.
Graham, meanwhile, is doing everything he can to keep Trump in power -- even acts that some critics, including the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), say are illegal,
According to Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensberger, a Republican, Graham called him to suggest he should toss out ballots in Georgia, where a recount is underway following Biden's victory there.
"He asked if the ballots could be matched back to the voters," Raffensperger told CNN's Wolf Blitzer on "The Situation Room" Monday evening. "And then he, I got the sense it implied that then you could throw those out for any, if you look at the counties with the highest frequent error of signatures. So that's the impression that I got."
Raffensberger later added, "It was just an implication of, 'Look hard and see how many ballots you could throw out.'"
Earlier Monday, Raffensperger told The Washington Post that Graham had questioned Georgia's signature-matching law in a conversation on Friday, and suggested that biased poll workers could have counted ballots with inconsistent signatures. He said Graham wanted to know if Raffensbrger could toss all mail-in ballots from counties with higher rates of unmatched signatures.
Said Noah Bookbinder, CREW's executive director, “For the chairman of the Senate committee charged with oversight of our legal system to have reportedly suggested that an election official toss out large numbers of legal ballots from American voters is appalling. Not only is it wrong for Senator Graham to apparently contemplate illegal behavior, but his suggestion undermines the integrity of our elections and the faith of the American people in our democracy. Under the guise of rooting out election fraud, it looks like Graham is suggesting committing it. That is unacceptable, and Senator Graham should step down from his chairmanship immediately.”
"That's ridiculous," Graham snapped when asked about Raffensberger's comments.
"What I'm trying to find out was how do you verify signatures on mail-in ballots in these states that are the center of attention? So like when you mail in a ballot, you got to have some way to verify that the signature on the envelope actually matches the person who requested the ballot," Graham said. "It seems to me that Georgia has some protections that maybe other states don't have, where you go into the portal to get your ballot. But I thought it was a good conversation. I'm surprised to hear him verify it that way."
Today, asked by a reporter why a senator from South Carolina is meddling in Georgia's election, Graham responded "Because the future of the country is at stake."
Yes, indeed it is.
In his new memoir, "A Promised Land', former President Barack Obama said that Graham "crosses everyone to save his own skin," an observation that is particularly adroit considering Graham's previous bitter opposition to Trump and his current role as the defeated president's bestie.
That about face, from Trump detractor to Trump supporter-in-chief, apparently served Graham well in his recent reelection campaign in South Carolina, where Trump scored 55.1 percent of the vote against Biden. Graham received 54.5 percent against his Democratic opponent, Jamie Harrison.
Who will Graham turn against next? Perhaps it will be Donald Trump, who no longer will have the power of the presidency to wield against those who cross him. Graham clearly is ambitious, and it would not be surprising if he's strategizing for a presidential run again in 2024.
Meanwhile, Joe Biden's presidency, and the future of our country, currently confronted with a deadly out-of-control pandemic that's killed nearly a quarter of a million of us, is most certainly at stake.