Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Trump Republicans in Georgia May Hand Senate Control to Democrats

In a previous column, I documented how defections from Never Trump Republicans provided the winning margin for, now, President-Elect Joe Biden in Arizona, Wisconsin and Georgia, three states Biden won by a total of 43,475 (a revised figure) votes.  If those states had flipped, it would have been a 269-269 tie in the Electoral College and the House would have handed Trump a second term

Democrat Joe Biden is the 46th President of the United States and his win, without question, was made possible by Republicans who refused to sign on to another four years of Donald Trump.

Next up on January 5th is a run-off election involving the fate of two sitting Georgia Republican Senators.  This time it might be another group of Republicans - Trump Republicans - whose efforts, or lack thereof - give control of the Senate to the Democrats.

A movement is afoot to punish Georgia Senator David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler for their sin of not being sufficiently supportive of Trump's attempts to overturn the election result in Georgia.  Salon today reports: 

A super PAC linked to longtime Trump adviser Roger Stone is calling for Republicans to write-in the president's name in the upcoming Senate runoff elections in Georgia as retaliation after his re-election bid failed in the once red state.

The Committee for American Sovereignty, a group tied to Stone which raised millions pushing disinformation during the 2016 election, launched a new website urging Republican voters to "crush" the "plot to destroy America" by "writing in Trump for the Georgia Senate runoffs."

With enough write-ins in the Georgia senate race, we can tilt the balance in Georgia in Trump's favor!" the site says. "If we can do this, we have a real chance at getting these RINO senators to act on the illegitimate and corrupt election presided over by a Democrat party that is invested in the Communist takeover of Our Great Nation."

The website was first covered by The Daily Beast. Trump supporters on Parler, the far-right version of Twitter, have also pushed a similar plan to boycott the pivotal runoffs or write in Trump's name.

The irony is that few Senators have been more loyal Trump supporters than Perdue and Loeffler.  The two Senators issued a joint statement calling for Georgia Secretary of State, Brad Raffensperger, also a Republican and Trump supporter, to resign for unproven irregularities in the running of the election. Governor Brian Kemp has also been attacked by Trump supporters.  Unlike Kemp, Raffensperger has chosen to fight back, using social media and an op-ed published in USA Today.  In his editorial, Raffensperger complains that, despite his running an honest election and his previous support for the GOP and President Trump, he is being thrown under the bus because Trump lost the state and Perdue and Loeffler couldn't get to the 50% threshold to avoid the January 5th run-off.

It would be a mistake to just assume that the Trump supporters pushing for Georgia Republicans to write in Trump's name for the Senate, or to stay home in protest, are part of a fringe group, too small to make a difference.  After all, only 3% of Republicans think Biden won the election according to a CNBC poll.  The myth of Trump having the election stolen from him is gospel in GOP ranks and it would not be surprising if those voters were motivated to punish someone for that supposed theft, including Republicans. 

Although there are a lot more Trump Republicans than Never Trump Republicans, it was the latter who put Biden in the White House. Assuming a decent Democratic turnout in the Peach State, it would not take that many protesting Trump Republicans to ensure Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock defeat Perdue and Loeffler, handing control of the Senate to the Democrats.

Add to that GOP headache, is the fact that Republican organizations like the Lincoln Project will be working to motivate Georgia Never Trump Republicans to vote against Perdue and Loeffler.  For four years, President Trump fawned over dictators and undermined our allies, all the while trashing the Constitution and American democratic values.  As United States Senators, Perdue and Loeffler chose to enable Trump's worst behavior rather than stand up and do what is best for their state and this country.  I agree with the Lincoln Project that Trumper enablers, like Perdue and Loeffler, need to be defeated.

OOP's short takes:

  • Everyone is assuming the Georgia run-off election will decide control of the Senate.  But if Democrats win the two Georgia Senate races, Mitch McConnell might have another card up his sleeve.  Keep an eye on West Virginia Democratic Senator Joe Manchin.  West Virginia is the most Republican, or at least the most Trumpian, state in the country.  Trump won West Virginia by 39% in 2020, which was actually down from 41% in 2016.  Running as a Democrat, Manchin dodged a bullet to get re-elected in 2018.  If Manchin wants to continue to be elected statewide in West Virginia, he probably will have to switch parties.  Jim Justice, the Democrat West Virginia Governor, switched parties 2017.  This year, running as a Republican, he won re-election by 34%. 
  • News is that former former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn is in line to get a pardon from President Trump. Actually it would be shocking if he did not get one.  Flynn admitted that he lied, twice, to federal investigators.  That is a a federal crime, but in the Trump administration lying is not a felony, but a badge of honor.  That is as long as the lie is for the benefit of Donald J. Trump.
  • Although I have not studied the issue extensively, I do not agree with this analysis that a President cannot pardon himself.  The argument is based entirely on the legal concept that one cannot be a judge in his or her own case.  The rest of the CNN article seems focused on the wisdom of such a pardon...that a pardon is an admission of guilt.  (Which I don't think I agree with either.)  The fact is the Founders undoubtedly had the chance to consider a presidential self-pardon when they wrote the Constitution and they did not include any language in the Constitution prohibiting such a pardon.  I think that's the end of the analysis.
  • Terrific article by Tim Alberta in Politico on "The Inside Story of Michigan's Fake Voter Fraud Scandal."  The article details how one Republican member of the Michigan State Board of Canvassers, Aaron Van Langevelde, refused to bend to political pressure and not certify Biden's 154,000 vote victory in the state.  Now some powerful Republicans are trying blackball Van Langevelde, an attorney who has worked with several Republican politicians and for conservative causes, from ever working in Michigan GOP politics again.  Warning:  Although the Alberta piece is fascinating, it is quite lengthy.

1 comment:

leon dixon said... Though not referring to Paul by name the concept that Paul has been drugged by polls seems accurate and his four years of spouting garbage and misinformation remains intact and without apology to sentient beings.