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24 Nov, 2020 17:36

Trump supporters to Georgia Republicans: Back the president or get ‘destroyed’ in January Senate runoffs

Trump supporters to Georgia Republicans: Back the president or get ‘destroyed’ in January Senate runoffs

When Georgia’s Republican governor signed off on Joe Biden’s win in the state, President Trump’s most loyal supporters took the move as a stab in the back. They have vowed to punish the GOP for its apparent betrayal, at any cost.

After a recount that failed to overturn Joe Biden’s 12,000-vote lead over Donald Trump, Georgia Governor Brian Kemp signed the paperwork on Friday that awarded the state’s 16 electoral votes to Biden. Kemp stated that he was following the law by doing so, and said that his decision “paves the way for the Trump campaign to pursue other legal options and a separate recount if they choose.”

Though a second recount begins on Tuesday, some of Trump’s most loyal supporters have already severed their ties with the Republican Party, citing a consent decree signed by Kemp and Georgia Democrats that allowed elections officials to count some absentee ballots with mismatched signatures, and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger’s insistence that post-election signature matching is impossible.

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Furthermore, these Trump loyalists blame Kemp and the Republican-controlled State Congress in Georgia for turning a blind eye to alleged voter fraud. Estranged Trump lawyer Sidney Powell even accused the GOP on Saturday of taking bribes from Dominion, a foreign-owned voting machine firm whose hardware was used in Georgia. In addition, Trump’s supporters claim that recount monitors missed scores of counting errors, that Biden’s votes in Atlanta had the statistical hallmarks of fraud, and that thousands of votes for Trump were lost after election day.

This litany of accusations – from the credible to the far-fetched – presents a problem for the Republican Party, which is now counting on the nearly 2.5 million Trump voters in Georgia to turn out in January to support Senators Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in two hotly contested Senate runoff elections. Both are polling neck-and-neck against their Democratic rivals and, should both lose, control of the Senate would be split 50-50, with likely Vice President Kamala Harris casting the tie-breaking vote and handing both houses of Congress to the Democrats for the first time since 2011.

The Committee For American Sovereignty, a pro-Trump super PAC active in 2016, published a website this week asking Georgians to “hack the runoff” and write in Trump’s name on ballots in January, to send a message to the GOP and “crush the liberal/socialist plot to destroy America.” 

Doing so would send a message, but would also invalidate these ballots, as Georgia’s runoff ballots do not allow space for write-in candidates. Yet for some Trump supporters, handing control of the Senate over to Democrats is preferable to rewarding a party that apparently turned its back on them.

Yet some of Trump’s most visible allies on social media have proposed doing just that. “It’s time to set aside childish fantasies,” pundit Mike Cernovich wrote on Twitter. “Georgia is the game now.” Even Trump’s son, Donald Jr., pleaded with his followers to “IGNORE” anyone threatening to withhold their votes, adding “We need ALL of our people coming out to vote for Kelly & David.”

Whoever holds power in Georgia, and Washington, in January, the Republican party is at a crossroads. Its media spokespeople are already penning thinkpieces pondering the future of “Trumpism” without Trump himself, touting the party’s future as a “multiethnic, multiracial, working-class coalition,” or even pining for a return to a GOP that kowtows to Democrats on everything except deregulation and tax cuts.

Except to a majority of Trump’s 74 million voters, there is no Trumpism without Trump. Only three percent of these voters think that Joe Biden won fair and square, according to a new CNBC poll, while more than half say that, should Trump’s legal challenges fail and Biden be inaugurated in January, they’ll jump behind the president if he ran again in 2024. 

53 percent of Republicans told Politico that they’d back Trump again, compared to only 12 percent favoring Vice President Mike Pence and eight percent supporting Donald Trump Jr. in a hypothetical 2024 primary. Establishment Republicans Nikki Haley and Sens. Tom Cotton, Ted Cruz and Mitt Romney all got less than five percent support.

Another poll published by The Hill on Monday found support for Trump even stronger. Three quarters of Republicans backed a 2024 Trump bid for the White House, while 47 percent of all voters wanted him to run again.

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