Donald Trump’s apparent loss in Georgia has many of his supporters in the state crying “fraud!” and threatening to boycott the runoff elections for the Senate in January. Obviously, this is making Republicans all across the country very nervous about the result, especially since both races are looking to be close contests.
But the president, still insisting the election was stolen, is nevertheless urging his supporters to turn out for Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue on January 5 and allow Republicans to hang on to the Senate.
With Democrats poised to take the White House and hold on to their House majority, the Senate has become the last bastion for Republicans to keep a check on the power of the lower chamber and the executive branch.
But the GOP’s hold on the Senate depends on winning at least one of Georgia’s two runoffs. Republican Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face competitive challenges from Democrats Jon Ossoff and Raphael Warnock, respectively. Georgia election rules called for runoff races when no candidate exceeded 50% of voter share in either race during the Nov. 3 general election.
Trump, himself, never called for a boycott but used calls for a boycott to illustrate the unpopularity of Governor Brian Kemp. Yesterday, he not only urged the GOP in Georgia to vote, but he also said he would make campaign appearances with the candidates to boost their campaigns. The president will travel to Georgia on December 5 to make a joint campaign appearance with Perdue and Loeffler.
Pollster Frank Luntz is worried about the fallout from Trump’s fraud claims.
“If he continues to disillusion voters … by saying that the elections were rigged and that your vote doesn’t matter, this could have severe consequences for the administration in trying to keep those two seats Republican,” Luntz said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” on Monday.
“I would argue that what Donald Trump says, and does, over the next six weeks is going to determine the outcome of the Georgia Senate race and well may determine the outcome of our country overall,” Luntz said.
Well, Trump claimed during the entire presidential campaign that mail-in voting was a fraud and it didn’t seem to depress turnout for either side.
But Luntz is correct about this being Trump’s election to lose. He will never “concede” the race — at least, the way the media wants him to. This will leave him free to stoke the fires of conspiracy and fraud, riling up his supporters and keeping them engaged.
Trump realizes his legacy is at stake with these elections. A GOP Senate would be able to block much of the Biden agenda and prevent a rollback on issues like immigration.
So there’s a lot riding on these contests for both the party and Trump. Expect the White House to use a full court press in trying to hold those seats.