The Devil went down to Georgia.
He was lookin' for a
soul poll to steal.
He was in a bind 'cause he was way behind,
and he was willin’ to make a deal...
On Saturday evening, Donald Trump is slated to rev up the crowd at a rally that’s ostensibly about the January runoff elections for the Senate. But what Trump is going to say when he takes the stage at 7-ish, is pretty easy to predict: The election was stolen, he won Georgia, and both the Republican governor that he helped to seat and the Republican secretary of state are idiots under the thumb of the Democratic Party. And possibly Hugo Chavez. Then maybe, at some point, he’ll get around to talking about the two Republican Senate candidates and explain how the voting system is completely broken, but Georgia Republicans should get out there anyway. Go team.
As a warm up act for this event, Trump got on the phone with Gov. Brian Kemp, the man he most recently called a “moron” and a “nut job,” and presented him with a nice simple compromise for getting back on the right side of Trump’s Twitter feed: Throw out the state’s election, disenfranchise all 4.9 million Georgians who cast a vote, and get the state legislature to just name Trump the winner.
Considering that a group involving Michael Flynn called this week for the entire election to be thrown out nationwide, the Constitution to be set aside, and for a whole new election to be held with the friendly rifles of the military making sure there were no shenanigans, Trump’s “pitch your state for me” request seems almost … no, sorry. That’s anything but reasonable.
The founding documents of the nation don’t provide space for a national do-over by the losing team, and they don’t include the option of treating the election results like episode of a reality show you’d rather skip. At this point, Georgia has certified its election results, done a hand recount, certified those results, done a machine recount at Trump’s request, and certified those results. The only thing that has happened in the process is that Joe Biden’s winning margin got slightly larger.
Actually, that’s not the only thing. What’s also happened over the last month, as Trump has sent in both his crack team of dye-dripping attorneys and leveled his howitzer at Kemp, is that the Georgia governor’s popularity has decreased by 18 points. Not 18 points overall. 18 points with members of his own party. Having demonstrated that he can still effective gut Republicans at any time, The Washington Post reports that Trump then decided this was an ideal time to get on the phone and lean on Kemp.
Trump wants Kemp to call the Georgia legislature into a very special session. At that session, the legislators would vote to throw out the election, and simply appoint electors who promised to vote for Trump. While he was at it, Trump also asked Kemp to go through all the mail in ballots again and hold the signature matches up to a new, undefined standard. Though if the votes are all to be pitched in any case, it’s hard to see how that matters. According to a source, Kemp “declined the entreaty from Trump.”
There are at least three amazing things about this moment:
1) The pure openness and audacity of Trump’s move to crush democracy under his slick-soled, lifts-installed, ramp-walking shoes. Compared to Trump, every offer the Godfather made was a masterwork of subtlety. It might also be worth mentioning that Kemp has no power to do what Trump is requesting.
2) It’s genuinely kind of amazing that no Republican governor or state legislature has pitched in on Trump’s scheme. Considering the degree to which almost every Republican in Washington is afraid to look Trump in the eye, it’s surprising that he hasn’t found a Paul Gosar or Mo Brooks out there among the gubernatorial ranks. Trump is being backed off by Brian Kemp, for god’s sake, while U. S. senators refuse to acknowledge simple math.
3) Let how much damage Trump has managed to do in such a short period to the Republican Party. He’s managed to convince Republican voters that their own state government can’t be trusted. He’s managed to piss off half the infrastructure necessary to support the runoff election. And he’s managed to put his easily confused supporters into a highly confused state. If you’re looking for a preview of what Trump’s “rightful king in exile tour” is going to look like over the next four years, this is it. It’s going to be utterly destructive to anyone in his party who tries to be even as reasonable as Brian Kemp … and it’s hard to imagine a lower bar.
Of course, since Trump is going to spend the next four years attacking any Republican who lifts a finger to do anything the least bit positive, and every Republican in Washington has already demonstrated that they’re terrified to cross Trump, that’s an even better reason why it’s critical to take the Senate seats in Georgia, and put Mitch McConnell on the sidelines.
The Georgia runoff is Jan. 5. Click here to request an absentee ballot. Early in-person voting starts Dec. 14. And REGISTER TO VOTE here by Dec. 7.