You would think the fact that Kemp and his family are being threatened relentlessly would cheer him up enough to make him take the trip.
Let’s face it. At best, Trump doesn’t care whether Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue win. He won’t be blamed if they lose; Kemp and Brad Raffensperger will. In fact, seeing Loeffler and Perdue lose would be useful to the president. He could cite it as evidence that, with him out of office, Republican voters are sufficiently demoralized that the party can’t win elections anymore. (That’ll be proved wrong in 2022 but it’s a good talking point for now.) And of course he’ll insist that Loeffler and Perdue losing “proves” that Biden cheated to win on November 3. It just can’t be that Democrats could win three statewide races in Georgia, of all places, in the span of two months. If Republicans lose the runoffs, that’ll be treated as the smoking gun that the state’s electoral process is hopelessly corrupt.
Whereas if Loeffler and Perdue win, only two conclusions are possible. Either Kemp and Raffensperger somehow secured the voting system between November 3 and January 5, making further cheating impossible, and concealed it from everyone. Or … Trump lost fair and square on Election Day. It wasn’t cheating. It was a simple matter of right-leaning suburban voters strongly disliking him personally but having no real problem with Loeffler or Perdue.
Anyway, per the Times, he’s not showing up tomorrow. Maybe he’ll show up later this month. Or maybe not.
Talk of counterprogramming Mr. Biden’s inauguration with a splashy event or an announcement of his own is currently on hold.
Mr. Trump had been tentatively planning to go to Georgia on Saturday, according to a senior Republican official, to support the two Republicans in Senate runoff races there. But he is still angry at the state’s Republican governor and secretary of state for accepting the election result, and simply doesn’t want to make the trip. There is some discussion about him going after the Christmas holiday, but it’s not clear he will be in a more magnanimous mood by then…
One person close to Mr. Trump said that he has sounded less certain about declaring he’s running in 2024 than he had just two weeks ago. That uncertainty is causing anxiety for a number of advisers and aides to the president, some of whom might join other campaigns but are stuck in limbo until Mr. Trump makes up his mind. Announcing for president would trigger tighter rules on Mr. Trump’s political spending and added financial disclosures, including of Mr. Trump’s personal finances, that simply operating a PAC would not.
That’s from a story about the phenomenal sums of money Trump has raised from MAGA fans for his new leadership PAC since Election Day. He’s spamming supporters with texts and emails asking for donations to the “Georgia Election Fund,” but none of that money goes to Loeffler or Perdue. A quarter of it goes to the RNC, which can spend it on the Georgia races. The other three-quarters goes to Trump’s PAC, which can spend it on … virtually anything. Travel. Staff. Legal bills for prosecutions yet to come. A 2024 campaign. “A leadership PAC is a slush fund,” said one expert to the Times.
Probably won’t see much of that dough spent on Georgia, for the simple reason that he doesn’t care what happens there. Why should he? What’s in it for him?
Democrats are hoping that his obvious disinterest in the outcome and seething contempt for Kemp and Raffensperger will drive down GOP turnout just enough to hand them a Senate majority:
“I think Trump wants Loeffler and Perdue to lose so he can blame Kemp. It’s the craziest thing I’ve seen,” said James Carville, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “If he keeps it up, it’s good for us.”…
“Trump is helping our case,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of the voting rights group Black Voters Matter. “If he had just taken the loss and just gone into a corner and just been quiet, then people would still just be celebrating the general election.
“But because he’s still out there actively trying to steal the election — trying to steal Black votes or discount Black votes — it has basically allowed it to still be a referendum on Trump. Because he hasn’t shut up.”
Some Democratic groups are putting up billboards aimed at discouraging GOP turnout by playing off of sentiments Trump or allies like Lin Wood have voiced. “Perdue and Loeffler didn’t deliver for Trump. Don’t deliver for them,” reads one, referring to the failure of the two on November 3 to get to 50 percent and help Trump across the finish line against Biden. Another billboard simply reproduces one of Trump’s own tweets: “Why vote for Republicans if what you get is Ducey and Kemp?” Why indeed?
This new poll result caught my eye this afternoon as a sign of how demoralization about the election is shaping Republican opinion. That’s a *big* shift in just a week after the Texas lawsuit:
Republican approval of how the Supreme Court is handling its job dropped 33-points in the last week.
Approve – 39%
Disapprove – 41%
— YouGov America (@YouGovAmerica) December 18, 2020
One might reasonably conclude that there’s similar demoralization happening among MAGA fans in Georgia about voting on January 5. But one would be wrong, it seems:
In the Georgia Runoff ABEV data, so far there are some reasons for Rs to be cautiously optimistic:
– R ballot return rates higher than Ds by 2.8% (trailed in General by 2.2%)
– R deficit lower than in General by 2.3%
– Under 35 voters make up smaller share
– 65+ larger share
— Mark Stephenson (@markjstephenson) December 18, 2020
“One theory is that GOP infighting would depress turnout because people boycott the election,” wrote Zaid Jilani in response to that tweet. “The second theory is that GOP infighting would keep GOP voters engaged while a lot of Dem voters have checked out.” The data lately suggests that the second theory is winning out, which means maybe the party doesn’t need Trump to come back to Georgia after all. Maybe, in fact, it’s better that he doesn’t and lets sleeping dogs lie. Democrats got what they wanted when Biden won; they’re putting Trump in their rearview mirrors and tuning out of the runoffs, possibly due to election fatigue. Having Trump blow into town and piss them off with a new round of “Biden cheated” rhetoric might wake them up.
In lieu of an exit question, read Georgia native Erick Erickson’s seven reasons why it appears Republicans are headed for victory on January 5. I think he’s right, especially given how hard-hitting the attacks on Warnock have been.