For Trump, the Georgia Senate Runoff Is All About Him
Ahead of today’s pair of crucial Senate runoff elections in Georgia, President Donald Trump ostensibly campaigned for the two Republican candidates, but instead used his time to air more grievances about the last election. Trump is convinced that he won Georgia in November’s presidential election, even though the official numbers say he lost by nearly 12,000 votes and despite the fact that Trump’s lawyers have been unable to find evidence of widespread voter fraud in the state. A day after The Washington Post published an audio recording of a phone call where Trump cajoled the state’s Republican secretary of state to “find” enough votes to flip the results, the president continued to push his discredited conspiracy theories at a Monday rally to reelect incumbent Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, the two GOP candidates who are on the ballot Tuesday.
“That was a rigged election. But we are still fighting it,” Trump told a crowd in Dalton, Georgia. He promised to return to the state next year to campaign against Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp, another Republican whom Trump blames for his loss in November.
Trump’s refusal to accept the results of the presidential election has left Republicans in a bind. If Democrats win the two runoff elections on Tuesday, they will have a slim Senate majority (with incoming Vice President Kamala Harris as the tiebreaking vote). The latest polls show Democratic candidates Jon Ossoff, a former journalist and political activist, and Raphael Warnock, a pastor, with slim leads in their respective races. That means turnout will likely decide the outcome, and if Trump has proven anything since his entry into politics in 2015, it’s that he’s a turnout machine for the Republican base.
But the president’s behavior—and the fact that both Perdue and Loeffler have refused to reject a wild plot by some Republican senators to challenge the certification of the presidential election’s results—may have alienated enough mainstream Republicans to tip Tuesday’s races toward the Democrats. Alternatively, Trump’s repeated (and false) attacks on the legitimacy of elections in Georgia may encourage his supporters to stay home.
That inconsistency has been on full
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