Why is Trump going down there? Is this really about doing everything he can to maintain GOP control of the Senate? Why is he attacking Gov. Brian Kemp and state election supervisor Brian Raffensperger, themselves both Republicans? Why, finally, is his erstwhile lawyer Sidney Powell telling the president’s supporters to boycott the election, apparently on the grounds that the results will be rigged in favor of the two Democratic candidates anyway?
This is not about Loeffler and Perdue, who have been put in an impossible situation. It is about Trump, who is subjecting both the candidates and his supporters in Georgia to a loyalty test. Loeffler and Perdue have followed his lead in calling for Raffensperger to be removed from office and in tacitly agreeing that the election system in the state in which they are running is fraudulent. Trump’s support is still almost certainly their greatest asset in the contest, but it is contingent upon insisting that other state-wide GOP officials are fools or worse. It is hard not to see how they are not essentially conceding their own illegitimacy should they win.
The absurdity of all this has not been lost on current and former Republican officials, in Georgia and elsewhere. Sen. Roy Blunt of Missouri is begging Trump to stick to the script on Saturday and do everything in his power to get Republicans to the polls next month. Nothing the president has said in the last month has suggested that he is on the verge of acknowledging his defeat. It seems to me unlikely that he is about to do so in his first public rally since the election.