Call this David Perdue’s Heroes Act. No, this isn’t a reference to Nancy Pelosi’s bloated state-government-bailout-disguised-as-relief bill. Remember “Save the cheerleader, save the world”? Think of Georgia as the cheerleader in this case, although Perdue had better hope the payoff is better than it was with the superhero series.
In his new ad launched this morning, Perdue looks right into the camera and tells Georgia voters that they can save America by saving their two Senate seats from Chuck Schumer’s clutches (via NRO):
“Chuck Schumer, Nancy Pelosi, and Jon Ossoff want total control. They win Georgia, they’ll have it.”
The Republican senator and former businessman goes on to highlight a list of radical policy goals that a Democratic Senate likely would champion. “Police defunded. Taxes sky-high. Our proud military gutted,” Perdue says. “Your private health insurance taken away. Small businesses out of business. The Supreme Court packed. Is any of that really what you want?”
“We’re the only ones left who can stop them,” the ad concludes. “We win Georgia, we save America.”
It’s a good argument, but one has to wonder why Perdue chose to make it in this kind of ad. The folksy, direct approach is normally reserved for positive campaigning — talking about the candidate’s own values, achievements, and policy goals. Usually, these kind of attacks are done with a harder tone and through the third person, nearly exclusively. The tone doesn’t really match the message.
Besides, it’s missing the Bernie Sanders connection. Ossoff practically handed Team Perdue the ball for an easy lay-up on Sunday with his embrace of Sanders, especially on health care. That would have strengthened the “private insurance taken away” argument. How tough would it have been to add Sanders to the graphic, anyway?
At least they still have time to work Sanders into the mix. They have plenty of cash and boots on the ground, too. Now all they have to do is convince Georgia Republicans that they can save Georgia and save America. Boycott organizers have been showing up to campaign events to disparage the campaigns:
It’s tough to gauge how much of an issue this is for Republicans. Are these just a small group of voters showing up at campaign rallies, feeling disenfranchised because Joe Biden won the state and Trump lost reelection? Or are they indicative of a more widespread sentiment of disgust with the Republican Party after Trump’s loss?
The latter is certainly worse than the former for Republicans, but both are bad. Whichever side wins these two runoff races will have turned out its base in higher numbers. November’s results revealed there are voters who supported Republicans in the Senate races and Biden for president who aren’t as amenable to Trump’s baseless conspiracy theories. But to win, Republicans are also going to need Trump voters.
At some point, Perdue and Kelly Loeffler will have to counter Trump’s stolen-election rhetoric forcefully to convince their supporters that their votes will count — and did count, too. Save the cheerleader ain’t gonna cut it.
Update: A non-partisan political observer whose instincts I trust says this is more effective than I think. Perdue gets to endorse both negotiations with moderates and a hard line against extremists while coming across as the most reasonable person in the room. I’m happy to be convinced …