Via RCP, it’s so enjoyable watching mainline MAGA types lecture the hardcore populists who want to boycott the Georgia runoffs when it’s the latter who are behaving consistently with the beliefs the two groups share, that massive vote-rigging cost Trump the election. Of course you shouldn’t vote if you think Georgia’s electoral system is corrupt. It’s pointless! The outcome of the Senate races will be determined by the same nefarious cabal of villains who tilted Georgia blue this year — Dominion, the ghost of Hugo Chavez, possibly Antifa.
A boycott would be a highly effective way to demand reform, too. If you want to show the Republican establishment that you mean business about cleaning up “fraud” in Georgia’s electoral system, hit them where they live. Deny them power by refusing to turn out for the runoffs and they’ll do anything you want to win you back.
To believe that Biden cheated or may have cheated in Georgia but that it’s also of the utmost importance to turn out for Loeffler and Perdue, one of two things must be true. Either your mind is in a state where you can no longer tell truth from lies and thus feel no pressure towards logical consistency (e.g. Trump) or you’re so blindly loyal to the president and to the party that you’re willing to push their messages even when their messages conflict. Trump says you can’t trust Georgia’s electoral system but the GOP says it’s important to hold the Senate, so make sure to vote in Georgia’s next corrupt election!
The reason to vote in GA isn’t because the election was fair or that you can trust the GOP to fight for you. It’s because we KNOW that Dems would destroy the country & dismantle it. Blowing up the filibuster, court packing, statehood for DC & Puerto Rico, Green New Deal…
— Lisa Boothe (@LisaMarieBoothe) December 4, 2020
“Some of those comments are made by Democrats” pic.twitter.com/CL8KBmjEtk
— Acyn Torabi (@Acyn) December 4, 2020
Kemp is right that Democrats are encouraging Lin Wood’s and Sidney Powell’s “don’t vote” message. They’re even putting up billboards accusing Perdue or Loeffler of not having “delivered” for Trump, a meaningless accusation but one that should resonate with the sort of righty who believes that every Republican in Georgia is to blame for Trump’s loss there except for Trump himself. In fact, there’s an odd but potentially potent alliance of different factions who don’t want populist righties to turn out in Georgia, for different reasons. There are the Wood/Powell true believers who think the system is rigged; there are the mischievous Democrats looking to benefit from their demoralization; and there are anti-Trump independents and Republicans who think that the GOP needs a painful lesson on what happens if they indulge the conspiracy theorists in their ranks too much.
I thought Newsmax would be part of the true-believer contingent, so imagine my surprise this morning to see this clip of host Grant Stinchfield criticizing Wood for his voter suppression efforts. Newsmax has been growing by catering to a more radically populist audience, so why is Stinchfield giving the mainline MAGA take here? There’s plenty of “to be sure, I love Lin Wood” nonsense to soften the blow but he’s ultimately right in sync with all of the party apparatchiks and Fox News guests who think the election might have been rigged — but want people to vote anyway. Watch, then read on.
There are two layers of dishonesty. One is the dishonesty I’ve already described of arguing simultaneously that Georgia’s system is corrupt but that Republicans should continue to participate in it. But there’s also the dishonesty of believing that the very soul of this sacred country is on the line if … we get a 50/50 Senate where Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema are the deciding votes. Trump won Manchin’s state by 39 points. Manchin has already ruled out ending the filibuster and packing the Court, contra Boothe’s worst fears above. Basically, he’s Susan Collins. The only place where he might help out liberals is on nominations and even then he’ll need to be careful not to piss off his overwhelmingly Republican state. If the country is destined to be governed by Democrats for a few years, it’s almost impossible to imagine a less threatening arrangement than having Sleepy Joe Biden as president and a 50/50 Senate with Joe Manchin in control.
Admittedly, looking at it that way wouldn’t be good for GOP turnout. If you want to win, you have to convince your voters that the very soul of this sacred country is on the line. But it just isn’t true right now. It’s a good slogan, not reality.
In keeping with the weird “don’t vote in Georgia” alliance forming between hardcore Trumpers and Never Trumpers, there’s been a push among NTers lately to hold Georgia’s election officials accountable. Not for the “fraud” they perpetrated on Election Day, as there was no fraud. Rather, for their willingness to continue to support Trump and the party even after they’ve been declared public enemies by MAGA Nation. Jonathan Last wrote yesterday about the sad case of Gabriel Sterling, the voting systems manager in Brad Raffensperger’s office who called out Trump, Loeffler, and Perdue a few days ago for not discouraging the harassment he and other Georgia officials have been receiving. Sterling’s criticism came with a caveat, though, Last noted. He’s still a proud Republican and even intends to vote for Loeffler and Perdue on January 5.
So: Gabriel Sterling thinks that Republicans—and specifically the two Republicans running for the Senate in Georgia are saying things which are untrue and conducting themselves in a way that is “un-American” and makes them “complicit” in an attack against “the backbone of our democracy.” He says that their words and actions are “going to get somebody killed.”
And he also says: “I will vote for those two senators.”
[I]f a guy like Sterling says that Republicans are being literally “un-American” and are attacking the very “backbone of our democracy” AND that he’s still voting for them? Well, he is saying that he will always vote for Republicans, no matter what.
At which point there is no reason for anyone to pay attention to anything he says. Because it’s nothing more than theatrics.
Loeffler and Perdue went so far as to call for the resignation of Sterling’s boss less than a week after the election, for no reason better than that they need Trump’s support to win and knew that condoning his demagoguery of Raffensperger would keep him on their side. They put their political interests over respect for Georgia’s elections and the well-being of Raffensperger’s family, who have been threatened for weeks by lunatics. And Sterling’s still voting for them.
One can’t even pity Raffensperger very much because he’s also said more than once since the election that he’s a Republican and that he wished Trump had won the election. His wife is being threatened with sexual assault by various degenerates who blame him for Trump’s loss and he still wishes Trump had won. Have none of these guys once reflected on the fact that a leader and a movement that would treat them the way they’ve been treated since November 3 maybe … shouldn’t govern the country? That they’re a bad influence on America’s civic culture? Raffensperger wrote an op-ed a few weeks ago complaining about Trump describing him as an “enemy of the people” but the president has used that term to describe all sorts of political adversaries since 2016. As Amanda Carpenter says, why didn’t Trump’s use of that term disqualify him from earning Raffensperger’s vote before Raffensperger himself became the target of it?
Do any of these people care about anyone other than themselves?
The point, per Last, is that both sides of this have a “party uber alles” approach. Stinchfield and the rest of the mainline MAGAists are willing to undermine everything they’ve said about voter fraud in service to getting two Republicans elected. Sterling and Raffensperger are willing to undermine everything they’ve said about party leaders behaving irresponsibly to the same end. They deserve each other.