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President-Elect Joseph R. Biden Jr.: They Dare Not Speak His Name

If both Republican incumbents, Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, lose, the Senate would be 50-50, and Democrats would win the majority — an assumption premised on Senator Kamala Harris becoming the vice president and presiding over the Senate and being tasked with breaking tied votes.

Several have weighed in on Mr. Biden’s cabinet nominees. Senator John Cornyn, Republican of Texas, deemed the president-elect’s choice to lead the Office of Management and Budget, Neera Tanden, “radioactive.” Mr. Cornyn also lamented that Mr. Biden’s team had not sought “consultation” from Republicans before making the choice (which would of course not be necessary if Mr. Biden had lost and was just spitballing).

Senator Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, hopped on Twitter on Wednesday to suggest a few good candidates to be the next secretary of agriculture “if Biden becomes pres.” Vice President Mike Pence even made the trip to Capitol Hill to swear in the newly elected Democratic senator from Arizona, Mark Kelly, while Mr. Pence’s boss continued to rail against the results in that state (which were formally certified Monday).

When asked after Mr. Kelly’s swearing-in whether this meant he accepted the election results, Mr. Pence did not respond to reporters.

Things get trickier when Republicans are asked directly whether they accept the results of the election, as reporters have been pressing them to do pretty much daily since Nov. 3. In normal times (how long before we retire that qualifier?), this question would yield some variation on the same obvious and broadly accepted response: “Yes.”

Alas, these are not normal times.

“This has not been a conventional presidency,” Senator John Thune, Republican of South Dakota, summarized for reporters when he was asked why he and other Republicans have not raised concerns about the president’s repeated and false claims that the election was “rigged” or “stolen.”

Since Mr. Trump was sworn in, Republicans have repeatedly sought verbal refuge in the “unconventional” nature of this presidency. This has been something of a blanket response to questions about his latest incendiary conduct. From Day 1, these statements have involved a willingness to indulge “alternative facts,” as Kellyanne Conway, the White House counselor, said in defense of the untrue assertion by Sean Spicer, then the press secretary, that Mr. Trump had drawn “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration — period.”

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