The Note: Georgia races loom as tests of Trumpism and Trump’s GOP

Trump's political ideology will get at least one more big series of tests.

The TAKE with Rick Klein

The president-elect wants to be heard as a president right now. The president, meanwhile, still sounds like a candidate -- a very distinct kind of candidate, now stuck in a race he already lost.

The two Senate runoff races in Georgia, plus a potential recount to determine the winner of the state's 16 electoral votes, are shaping up as messaging trials for Trumpism -- with implications for the Republican Party of 2021 and maybe 2024.

Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger called the allegations "laughable," while adding that it's "unlikely" that Trump can overcome his 11,000-plus vote deficit in Georgia. The Trump campaign has offered no evidence to suggest otherwise.

Even with former Vice President Joe Biden carrying the state, Sen. David Perdue and Sen. Kelly Loeffler are betting that Trumpism, complete with irresponsible allegations about voting integrity, will carry them through their run-offs.

Georgia will also draw a parade of possible presidential aspirants, with Sen. Marco Rubio coming Wednesday and former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and Sen. Rick Scott expected to campaign there soon.

As Tuesday's Supreme Court hearing on the Affordable Care Act will make clear, much of the Trump legacy is still be determined. But his reelection loss carries complicated implications for the party he has utterly remade.

Election latest: Joe Biden leads the popular vote total with 76,166,191 votes and is projected to have 279 electoral votes. President Donald Trump follows with 71,534,093 popular votes and is projected to have 214 electoral votes.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

Seventy days until inauguration, the events of this week could easily shape the beginning of the next administration. First, the promising news of a potential vaccine -- the manufacturing and distribution of which will take thoughtful guidance and a strategic public-private partnership to get right.

Second, on Tuesday the U.S. Supreme Court will hear arguments regarding the future and legitimacy of the Affordable Care Act that currently helps millions of Americans get access to health insurance.

Legal scholars of all stripes have questioned the merits of the case before the highest court this week.

Should a majority of justices side with the Trump administration and those select Republican governors working to strike down the decade-old law, the effects on the U.S. economy and health insurance market could be swift and severe.

Democrats had hoped to use a new the political capital afforded a new administration to expand upon the law, not rebuild. That said, Trump is poised instead to land a major victory and shocking blow across the aisle on his way out the door with this case.

The TIP with Quinn Scanlan

In both Georgia and Wisconsin, there are no automatic recounts, but the margins between Trump and Biden are slim enough for there to be a legal basis for a candidate to request one -- and the Trump campaign has said it will do so in both states.

In Georgia, the margin between two candidates must be less than 0.5% of total votes cast in the race, which is about 24,900 votes, based on the results that have been reported so far. Biden leads by about 12,300 votes. In Wisconsin, the "aggrieved" candidate's vote total must be within 1% of the winner's vote total. Trump trails Biden in this state by 20,539 votes -- or about 0.62% of all votes cast.

Recounts are not unfamiliar to the Badger State, but they haven't led to the sort of vote swing Trump needs to overtake Biden. In 2016, Green Party candidate Jill Stein requested a recount in Wisconsin and Trump's lead over Hillary Clinton only increased by 131 votes, a fact former Gov. Scott Walker, a Republican, noted, saying Trump faced a "high hurdle."

A statewide recount has never been conducted in Georgia, but officials say it's unlikely to change the outcome, even while acknowledging that there likely were at least some instances of "illegal voting."

"Was there illegal voting? I am sure there was. And my office is investigating all of it. Does it rise to the numbers or margin necessary to change the outcome to where President Trump is given Georgia's electoral votes? That is unlikely," Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger said in a statement Monday.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Tuesday morning's episode features ABC News Chief Medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton, who tells us what we need to know about the encouraging safety news about the Pfizer vaccine. ABC News Senior Editorial Producer John Santucci brings us the latest on President Donald Trump, who still refuses to concede the presidential election. And ABC News Chief Global Affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz explains why the firing of Defense Secretary Mark Esper was not entirely unexpected.

FiveThirtyEight Politics Podcast. Joe Biden is the president-elect, but our colleagues at ABC News have yet to project four states in the presidential contest, not to mention outstanding races in the House and Senate. In this installment of the FiveThirtyEight Politics podcast, the crew reviews who is leading in the outstanding races and how the two parties are reacting to the results. They also discuss what positive vaccine news could mean for Biden's first term.


  • Georgia Democratic Senate candidate Jon Ossoff joins ABC's "The View."
  • The Supreme Court hears oral arguments at 10 a.m. in the case where President Donald Trump and 18 Republican-led states ask the court to eliminate the Affordable Care Act in its entirety.
  • The Senate Committee on the Judiciary meets at 11 a.m. for a hearing on the "Oversight of the Crossfire Hurricane Investigation: Day 4." Former Deputy Director of the FBI Andrew McCabe is set to testify.
  • The Senate convenes at noon.
  • Vice President Mike Pence attends the Senate Republican Policy Lunch at 1 p.m. on Capitol Hill.
  • At 2 p.m., President-elect Joe Biden will deliver remarks in Wilmington, Delaware on the “Trump Administration’s lawsuit to overturn the Affordable Care Act and his plan to expand access to quality, affordable health care.” Biden will be joined by Vice President-elect Kamala Harris for the remarks. In the afternoon, they will hold briefings with transition advisors.
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    The Note is a daily ABC News feature that highlights the key political moments of the day ahead. Please check back tomorrow for the latest.

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