Georgia governor: State law requires me to formalize the certification of Biden's victory

Nothing better captures the miserable state of this party than the feeling of surprise one has upon watching this guy do what the law says instead of what Trump want him to do.

It feels downright transgressive. “You’re choosing … law over Trump? Don’t you know what that means for your career?”

The primary voters of Georgia won’t stand for such disgraceful behavior.

The secretary of state’s office issued a press release hours ago announcing that the results of the election had been certified. Then came news that the release had been issued prematurely, and that Gov. Brian Kemp would speak at 5 p.m. Political junkies on social media felt anxious: Was Kemp about to intervene at the last second to delay the certification somehow, the first step towards voiding the results in Georgia?

He was not. Within the last hour or so a second press release was issued affirming that yes, the results had been certified. Kemp’s announcement was simply to say that he’ll follow the law and formalize that certification tomorrow.

Kudos to him and secretary of state Brad Raffensperger for showing immense integrity by, uh, [checks notes] not carrying out a coup on Trump’s behalf on the barest unproved assertion of voter fraud.

It takes real guts as a Republican in 2020 to fulfill the most basic requirements of the office the public has entrusted to you when the president demands otherwise.

I’m only half-joking too. As I write this, the senate majority leader and house speaker of the Michigan state legislature are meeting with Trump, presumably talking over whether they’re willing to try to execute a coup in their own home state on his behalf. Kemp and Raffensperger made that a little harder for them through their example today. For standing up for democracy while an authoritarian browbeats them over Twitter from afar, both are probably unelectable to any office ever again. Which is just as well: Decent people are grossly unfit to serve the American public in 2020.

Raffensperger wouldn’t have taken a meeting with Trump to let the president lobby him about voiding the election. The two goons from Michigan aren’t made of stuff as stern.

You can watch the full four minutes of Kemp’s speech here. (I didn’t embed it because the audio is poor.) He does what he can to massage Trump’s ego in his remarks, making one good point and one not so good one in so doing. The good point is that it’s an egregious embarrassment that the state found thousands of uncounted ballots during its hand recount. Yes, those ballots came from Republican counties, making it unlikely that they were deliberately hidden to hurt Trump. And yes, the gains Trump made from those ballots didn’t affect the final margin materially. But at a moment when the president and his aides are kitchen-sinking an attempt to make Americans doubt the validity of elections, any failure involving uncounted ballots is a bad error. Kemp’s right that it can’t be repeated in the Senate runoffs.

His not-so-good point is when he demands some sort of audit of the signatures on absentee ballot applications to see if they match the signatures on absentee ballot envelopes. Erick Erickson spoke to Raffensperger about that a few days ago. I don’t know what Kemp has in mind beyond what Georgia’s already done:

Note point five. Even if you could prove that the signature on a ballot envelope didn’t match the signature on the application — which Raffensperger claims they already checked for, per point 4 — there’s no way to invalidate a ballot because of that. Ballots were separated from their envelopes weeks ago and have no identifying marks in order to preserve the secrecy of each voter’s vote. So what does Kemp want? Then again, we don’t need to overthink it. He’s mentioning the signature thing not because he fears there’s anything to it but because it’s been a hobbyhorse for Trump when complaining about Georgia. He’s humoring the president on a day when the state is letting him down bigly, nothing more.

Exit quotation from Rich Lowry: “Hell of a couple of years for Brian Kemp, accused by both left-wing and right-wing icons of stealing Georgia elections.”