The president goes down to Georgia on Saturday for a rally ostensibly in support of Loeffler and Perdue. But Trump, being Trump, is already making the crucial runoffs all about Trump. He has been strafing Georgia’s governor, Brian Kemp, and its secretary of state, Brad Raffensperger, for not throwing out November’s presidential election results and declaring him the winner over Joe Biden. He has been complaining so much and so angrily that the state’s Republican manager of voting system implementation, Gabriel Sterling, issued an extraordinary, impassioned public plea for Trump to stop inciting death threats against his staffers. Trump will no doubt use most of his appearance in Georgia to repeat his lies about the state, and the entire election, being stolen from him.
None of which will discourage Loeffler and Perdue from hugging the president as tightly as possible. Like Trump, they are both wealthy businesspeople with dubious ethical records, making millions in stock trades this year that appear conveniently timed to receiving inside information about the looming pandemic. (They have both denied all wrongdoing.) Their campaigns have borrowed straight from Trump’s playbook, attempting to demonize Warnock and Ossoff as radical socialists who will defund the police and employing the same racist dog whistles about Black and brown Democrats stealing elections. It’s all a rather desperate bid to turn out MAGA die-hards—some of whom have been heckling the senators for not doing enough to back up Trump’s claims of fraud, while Trump-friendly lawyers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood have been telling Georgia Republicans to withhold their votes from Loeffler and Perdue until they’ve been earned. “I think Democrats are holding on to the enthusiasm we had in November, while the Republicans are having their own little civil war,” a veteran Georgia operative says. “Plus the cult leader isn’t on the ballot this time.”
That the intra-Republican feuding is good for Warnock and Ossoff has quickly become the conventional media and Democratic wisdom. Lauren Groh-Wargo, the organizing genius who has worked with Stacey Abrams for the past eight years, isn’t buying it completely. “Republicans fighting with each other—I’m all for that,” she says. “But most real humans aren’t on Twitter following this stuff. We’re going to see historic turnout for a runoff, and the Republicans find a way to get their folks ginned up. But they’re sort of caught in this propaganda disinformation loop—the Republicans have amplified this whole farcical notion of widespread voter fraud at the same time their two Senate candidates are trying to appeal to the Trump base and telling them their votes matter.”Can Georgia Democrats Take Advantage of the GOP Civil War? | Vanity Fair
So what are Republicans going to do? Vote, or refuse to vote? Install fascism via martial law and mandating Trump, or allowing democracy plus voting?