ve been privileged to know a lot of smart people in my time, including a few MacArthur Genius grant winners. (They’re always huddling together and doing something with their secret decoder rings.)
But Bill Pilon might well be the smartest person I’ve ever known.
Born in Martin Army Hospital at Ft. Benning, Bill is a lifelong Georgian. Formerly a senior marketing research analyst for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, he is currently in that role for a media conglomerate that shall go unnamed, and as such has his finger on the pulse of the state’s politics, demographics, and zeitgeist in a way that not many folks can match. He’s like Steve Kornacki, if Steve Kornacki had a huge wad of Red Man leaf tobacco in his cheek.
That is of special note at the moment, as all eyes are on the Peach State for the next 22 days for a pair of twin runoffs that will determine control of the United States Senate for — at a minimum — the first two years of the Biden administration. Are the stakes high? You bet your sweet bippy. (Early in-person voting in that runoff opens today, Monday December 14.)
I lived in Georgia myself for about a third of my first 22 years, off and on, all told. We lived on the Alabama side, at and around Ft. Benning and Columbus, and on the East Coast, in Hinesville (pop. 32,872), near Ft. Stewart, where Bill and I went to high school. My parents continued to live in Columbus for another five years after my father retired. So what’s happening down there right now is especially close to the bone for us.
Of course, even beyond Georgia, there is a lot going on in American politics right now, including — sitting down? — a lawsuit from the Texas Attorney General joined by 17 red states and the White House asking the Supreme Court simply to throw out the whole vote and give Trump a second term. More than half of the Republican representatives in the House (126 out of 196) signed a letter endorsing that suit. I say again: MORE. THAN. HALF.
So much for the idea that they were just humoring Don while the clock ran out. When the wonks at the Transition Integrity Project ran their tabletop scenarios last year wargaming a contested election, even they did not foresee something so blatant and outrageous as the GOP calling outright for the election to be awarded to Trump on…