The latest in the saga includes reports from South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham who appears to be attempting to manipulate election fraud and ongoing rounds of barbs between Trump and Georgian Foreign Secretary Brad Raffensperger.
Trump tweeted Wednesday morning calling the Georgia recount – which he insisted on – a “joke.” Trump again alleged unfounded widespread fraud, pointing out signature mismatches as the real problem. “”The governor has to open the unconstitutional approval decree and call the legislature! “He added to drag Governor Brian Kemp and the entire State Party into his ongoing war of words with Raffensperger.
But the pressure campaign by Trump and his allies is not exactly new to Raffensperger. Earlier this year, the Trump campaign sought Raffensperger’s approval for Trump’s re-election and asked him as Co-chair of the honor campaign in the state, according to new coverage from ProPublica. Raffensperger eventually turned down the offer and refused to publicly support Trump. He considered it a conflict of interest as he would oversee the election.
Raffensperger’s early reluctance to bow to Trump’s wishes ensured that he would become the target of Trump’s wrath after losing a state that the campaign clearly viewed as a “layup shot”. And since Trump’s defeat became clear, Raffensperger – who also appears to be unique as the last known Republican elected with a moral compass – has continued to vigorously deny Trump’s fraud claims despite death threats. “Truth is important, integrity is important,” he wrote on his official Facebook page on Sunday in a series of posts in which he corrected disinformation and defended the work of election officials and volunteers.
On Tuesday, Raffensperger also attributed Trump’s apparent loss in the state to his own failure as a candidate, explaining that 24,000 Republicans who voted in the postal primary did not vote at all in the general election due to Trump’s ongoing attack on the postal vote. “H.We would have won with ten thousand votes, “said Raffensperger, since Joe Biden is currently winning the state with around 14,000 votes.” He has actually repressed and depressed his own electoral base, “he added.
But perhaps most importantly, the GOP Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue re-election offers have been almost entirely subsumed by the ongoing internecine war. At the beginning of the battle, both senators bowed to Trump’s wishes, deciphered the outcome in Georgia and called for Raffensperger’s resignation. It was sheer cowardice, fueled by political expediency – her integrity was clearly a small price to pay to get Trump’s voters to the January election to save their seats.
But now they’re stuck in a worst-case scenario: the guy they sold their souls to didn’t show any interest in their races when he was sucking up all the oxygen on his little crusade to avoid being declared a loser . Along the way, Trump is sowing distrust in a system that both Loeffler and Perdue are currently calling on GOP voters to re-invest their time and energy in.
The two GOP senators were also forced to focus on Trump’s Wackadoodle efforts as a critical electoral block in their formula for success – the suburban voters – was increasingly plagued by Trump’s antics. These suburban voters turned their backs on Trump in particular in the elections. Perdue, for example, outperformed Trump in the Atlanta suburbs, while his Democratic rival Jon Ossoff easily outperformed Joe Biden.
“”In Fulton County, Atlanta and the five neighboring cities, Biden received a total of around 50,000 more votes than the Democratic Senate candidate, Jon Ossoff, “he writes David Catanese for the Tribune News Service. The inequality meant Biden took a win in Georgia, while Ossoff lost a few percentage points to Perdue – a lead that both Senate candidates nonetheless shrank from the 50% threshold required to finally win the race.
Both Perdue and Loeffler are now trying to thread the needle, Trumpy enough to arouse his delusional grassroots voters, and urge suburban voters to believe in their balanced sanity as they participate in an absolute goat rodeo.
The Senate Republicans had another choice. They could have started curbing Trump’s influence in the party by refusing to support his absurd claims of widespread electoral fraud, especially in a state almost entirely controlled by their own party. Instead, they have charged Trump by giving in to him for about a million times since winning the Republican nomination in 2016. In doing so, Republicans have also anointed Trump GOP Kingmaker for the foreseeable future – giving him the juice to pick Republicans are Trumpy enough to deserve his approval and at the same time complicate Republicans’ chances in the general election. Perfect.