Next weekend’s rally in Georgia is, or was, supposed to unite the party before the January 5 runoffs. Good luck with that after he inevitably spends 45 minutes at the mic ranting about how Kemp and his deputies are “enemies of the people” who rigged the election against him.
Here’s the clip: pic.twitter.com/TMt3jpOaS6
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) November 29, 2020
“Many Trump aides and many GA senate folks are uneasy he’s going to GA and see potential downside. Here’s why,” said Maggie Haberman of the clip above. I’m morbidly excited to see what sort of fringe crank ends up successfully primarying Kemp in 2022 after this. Stacey Abrams must be overjoyed at her good luck upon realizing that she won’t have an uphill battle against an incumbent governor two years from now after all. Probably she’ll be facing election-truther Doug Collins or some QAnon crank handpicked by Trump for his endorsement.
Trump’s specific grievance against Kemp is unclear but I think it’s supposed to be. There’s no thought-through theory of malfeasance here; it’s as simple as Trump having lost a state he was supposed to win and being a child about it by trying to blame others for his failure. Kemp failed him and secretary of state Brad Raffensperger failed him because they … didn’t rig the election in his favor when they realized the vote would be close, I guess? The nearest thing he has to a concrete allegation is ye olde Dominion software conspiracy, which ironically was debunked by Georgia’s own hand recount of paper ballots. (Trump has never explained how he was able to win battlegrounds like Iowa and Ohio comfortably even though they used Dominion software too.) Amazingly, he went out of his way in his interview this morning to remind Georgia Republicans that Dominion machines will also be used in the Senate runoff elections:
“Look at the election you have coming up [in Georgia] right now. You’re using the same garbage machinery, Dominion” — Trump demoralizes Republicans by suggesting their votes don’t matter because the upcoming Senate runoffs in Georgia are rigged pic.twitter.com/aYM6KcGaos
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) November 29, 2020
If you’re an election truther who’s convinced himself that the fix is in with Dominion, why would you turn out for another election in which Dominion machines will be used?
Also, where’s Trump getting the idea that Abrams has “collected” 850,000 votes from people? She’s been posting updates on her Twitter feed about how many Georgians have *requested* mail-in ballots for the runoff. (At last check it was 900,000.) There’s no evidence that she’s harvesting those ballots. We’ve reached a point in Trump’s deterioration where it’s become impossible to separate knowing lies from facts that he’s misconstrued to conspiracy garbage that he earnestly believes. He’s treating the wound to his ego inflicted by the election results by applying any scraps of information to it that might help him feel better. He may genuinely have no mechanism left to distinguish what’s true from what’s outlandishly false. E.g.:
Trump here suggests the FBI and the DOJ are involved in the giant conspiracy to steal the election from him.
Alrighty, then. https://t.co/3Cg80ptXQZ
— S.V. Dáte (@svdate) November 29, 2020
Kemp and secretary of state Brad Raffensperger will be the long-term casualties of this crankery. The nearer-term potential casualties are Loeffler and Perdue:
It doesn’t matter that both candidates are essentially lock-step with Trump, or that there is no evidence of links to electoral malfeasance. On Twitter and its less-restrictive alternative Parler, Trump’s more hardline followers have linked the duo to the president’s favorite — and untrue — voter-fraud theories. Hashtags like #CrookedPerdue and #CrookedKelly are flying around. The two lawmakers’ Parler accounts are brimming with posts accusing them of being secret “liberal DemoRats.”…
[Sidney] Powell, Trump’s erstwhile attorney, turned parts of the MAGA community against Loeffler when she started pushing an untrue allegation that Loeffler had somehow conspired with a voting technology company, Dominion Voting Systems, to suppress votes for Collins…
Lin Wood, a prominent Georgia attorney who filed his own suit to overturn the state’s results, has repeatedly called for Loeffler to drop out of the race, pressed Perdue to show more Trump loyalty and for them both to begin “investigations” into the election.
At risk of being scapegoated by a possibly unstoppable conspiracy theory, Loeffler has followed the Trumpian example: She’s tried to pass the buck to a bigger scapegoat.
Asked of @GovKemp & SoS role in election, @SenatorLoeffler says: “The buck stops with the Secretary of State. He is supposed to run a trusted, free, fair, transparent election. David Perdue and I have called for him to step down because Georgians have lost faith in our elections” pic.twitter.com/s5UU4s46AY
— Greg Bluestein (@bluestein) November 29, 2020
Georgians haven’t lost faith in the state’s elections because of Raffensperger, they’ve lost faith because the president keeps insisting without evidence that he was cheated and people like Loeffler keep enabling him for their own selfish reasons. The single biggest disgrace of this entire disgraceful post-election period, in fact, is how Raffensperger has been treated by Trump and his cronies in the GOP establishment. Two days ago, on Thanksgiving, the president referred to him as “an enemy of the people,” a term he usually applies to the media and one so cartoonishly demagogic it would have made Orwell blush. Raffensperger and his family have been getting death threats ever since Trump started singling him out for abuse, with his wife Tricia telling reporters that they’ve escalated from garden-variety “watch your back” stuff early on to lurid descriptions of sexual violence aimed at her more recently. Trump has no empathy for others and won’t dial back his criticism as a matter of simple decency to spare her and her husband from further harassment but establishment Republicans could speak up since they are, in theory, different. Aren’t they?
More troubling to Raffensperger were the many threats he and his wife, Tricia, have received over the past few weeks — and a break-in at another family member’s home. All of it has prompted him to accept a state security detail.
“If Republicans don’t start condemning this stuff, then I think they’re really complicit in it,” he said. “It’s time to stand up and be counted. Are you going to stand for righteousness? Are you going to stand for integrity? Or are you going to stand for the wild mob? You wanted to condemn the wild mob when it’s on the left side. What are you going to do when it’s on our side?”
They’re not going to do anything. For Washington Republicans, whether the mob is an asset or a liability depends entirely on votes. If conspiratorial demagoguery chases enough people out of the party that it begins to hurt the GOP’s Election Day bottom line, then they’ll start to worry about it and not a second sooner. Whatever that may mean for Raffensperger and his family.