Tuesday Reads: Election Day in Georgia; Domestic Terror and the U.S. Power GridPosted: December 6, 2022
Good Day Sky Dancers!!
Today is the big day. Georgia voters who haven’t already voted will head to the polls, and later tonight we’ll learn whether they have reelected Senator Raphael Warnock or Trump’s candidate–Herschel Walker. If Warnock wins, Democrats will have a true majority in the Senate. Whoever wins will be the first Black Senator from Georgia. I hope it will be Warnock.
The New York Times: On the eve of Georgia’s Senate runoff, Raphael Warnock, a Democrat, warned his supporters about being overconfident. Herschel Walker urged Republicans to flood the polls on Tuesday.
ATLANTA — In the final day before Georgia’s Senate runoff, Senator Raphael Warnock pleaded with supporters to tune out pundits predicting his victory and instead vote “like it’s an emergency” in a bitterly contested race that is closing out the midterm election cycle.
His Republican challenger, Herschel Walker, the former football star recruited into the race by former President Donald J. Trump, made a circuit of north Georgia counties he won easily a month ago, urging Republicans who have avoided early voting to hit the polls Tuesday. “Got to get out the vote,” he said.
The two men are vying in an election with major symbolic as well as practical ramifications. A Warnock victory would deliver Democrats a 51st vote in the Senate, where the party has for the past two years relied on Vice President Kamala Harris to break 50-50 ties. If Mr. Walker wins, Republicans would maintain joint control of Senate committees and two centrist Democratic senators, Joe Manchin III of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona, would maintain effective veto power over all legislation in the chamber.
But the broader political stakes are just as significant. Democrats believe a victory would deliver proof they have transformed Georgia into an indisputable battleground, heralding a new era of Sun Belt politics and reshaping their strategies for winning the White House. A Walker victory, after his deeply troubled campaign and the G.O.P.’s clean sweep in statewide races this year, would reassert Republican dominance in the state.
A Walker victory would also be an embarrassment. This man is not only completely unqualified for the job; he also has a history of violence against women and children and very likely suffers from CTE as a result of his pro-football career. He lies constantly and can’t form a logical sentence.
More than $380 million has been spent on the race, the most of any election this year, according to OpenSecrets, a group that tracks money in politics. The runoff was prompted when neither candidate received 50 percent of the vote in last month’s general election.
The number of early votes cast has topped 1.89 million, about half the turnout on Nov. 8. Both campaigns believe that group skews heavily Democratic. Republicans involved and allied with Mr. Walker acknowledged that tilt left the candidate needing to win about 60 percent of the in-person vote Tuesday to catch up. He won 56 percent of the Election Day vote in November, according to data from the Georgia secretary of state’s office.
The early vote favors Warnock; Walker will only win if Republicans can get out the vote at unprecedented levels.
In some ways, Mr. Walker was running a final-day get-out-the-vote campaign ripped from a generation past, when the vast majority of votes were still cast in person on Election Day. Mr. Warnock — who also won a runoff election two years ago — had adjusted to modern voting patterns and Georgia’s voting rules, which allowed for a week of early voting.
At Mr. Warnock’s recent events, it was difficult for him to find supporters who are waiting until Tuesday to vote. When asked who had voted early, nearly every hand went up at stops at colleges and Black churches the last two days.
It’s raining in Georgia today, so that might be a problem for Walker. We’ll find out tonight.
I’m going to spend the rest of this post on the attack on a power substation in North Carolina and the significance of such attacks for the future.
Over the weekend, there was a frightening attack on a North Carolina substation that knocked out power for about 45,000 people in Moore County.
With no suspects or motive announced, the FBI is joining the investigation into power outages in a North Carolina county believed to have been caused by “intentional” and “targeted” attacks on substations that left around 40,000 customers in the dark Saturday night, prompting a curfew and emergency declaration.
The mass outage in Moore County turned into a criminal investigation when responding utility crews found signs of potential vandalism of equipment at different sites — including two substations that had been damaged by gunfire, according to the Moore County Sheriff’s Office.
“The person, or persons, who did this knew exactly what they were doing,” Moore County Sheriff Ronnie Fields said during a Sunday news conference. “We don’t have a clue why Moore County.”
The sheriff would not say whether the criminal activity was domestic terrorism but noted “no group has stepped up to acknowledge or accept they’re the ones who (did) it.”
North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper called the incidents a “criminal attack.” The Democrat said the state will make sure critical services have support.
Cooper told CNN’s “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer” it is important to find the perpetrators but also to think about preventative measures.
“We need to look forward, to look at how we can harden our electrical grid and make sure that our power sources are protected,” he said, adding the grid “can’t be this vulnerable that someone with knowledge of how to disable the electrical system could come in and actually do that in a very short amount of time.”
As of Monday afternoon, about 38,000 homes and businesses remain without power, according to Duke Energy spokesperson Jeff Brooks. He said it could take until Thursday to restore power to everyone affected.
Attacks on the United States’ power grid have been the subject of extremist chatter for some time, notably ticking up in 2020, the same year a 14-page how-to on low tech attacks, including assaulting power grids with guns, circulated amongst extremist communication channels.
A Department of Homeland Security bulletin reported by CNN just days before a weekend attack on a North Carolina substation indicated there was a heightened threat posed by domestic violent extremists in the US against targets including critical infrastructure.
The electric grid has been described as an “attractive target” for domestic violent extremists in US, CNN reported earlier this year, citing an intelligence report.
In 2020, intelligence analysts saw major uptick in online chatter focused on attacking the power grid.
Notably in 2020, a 14-page document released in a Telegram channel favored by accelerationists groups seeking to speed the overthrow of the US government featured a white supremacist instruction guide to low-tech attacks meant to bring chaos, including how to attack a power grid with guns.
The document has been cited by DHS officials and was obtained by CNN.
“The powergrid would be crippled for a very large area. Armor piercing rounds shot into the transformers would destroy them,” the colorful how-to describes.
The writer goes on to frame how massive blackouts would aid in the toppling of society which is a key accelerationist goal.
“But with the power off, when the lights don’t come back on… all hell will break lose, making conditions desirable for our race to once again take back what is ours,” the document reads.
More scary stuff at the link. Here’s a video of Miller discussing the situation.
Rachel Maddow had a long segment on the threat the the U.S. power grid last night. If you didn’t see it, you can watch the video at MSNBC.
You might also want to check out this October article at The Nation.
What are your thought on all this? What other stories are you following?