With a great deal on the line, Georgia will hold two U.S. Senate runoff elections tomorrow. Both parties expect the contests to be close, and Republican leaders would love to have a unified message as balloting ends
As an NBC News report explained over the weekend, Donald Trump appears to be complicating matters for his party.
Outgoing President Donald Trump is throwing one rhetorical grenade after another into the high-stakes Georgia Senate runoffs in the final days before the Tuesday election. And it's not clear whether they'll help or hurt his party.
One of the first signs of trouble came two weeks ago. Hoping to counter Democratic messaging, Republican Sens. Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue launched ads touting the bipartisan economic relief compromise -- right before Trump denounced the agreement as a "disgrace."
But that was just the start. In the days that followed, Trump demanded that Perdue and Loeffler change their positions on $2,000 direct-aid checks, which ended up failing anyway at the hands of Senate Republican leaders. It led Politico to note, "President Donald Trump won't get his coveted $2,000 stimulus checks — and he's blaming the very Senate Republican leaders he's trying to protect in the closing days of Georgia's runoffs."
Late last week, Trump falsely insisted that Georgia's system of elections, including the two Senate races, was "illegal and invalid." The New York Times noted that the presidential message "could complicate his efforts to convince his supporters to turn out for Republican candidates in the two runoff races that will determine which party controls the Senate."
A day earlier, Trump argued that the Republican officials leading Georgia's state government are "virtually controlled" by Democrats, and Gov. Brian Kemp (R) has been absent from the campaign trail because the president has been so ferocious in attacking him.
All of this, of course, predated yesterday's recorded revelations about Trump threatening Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R) as part of a scheme to overturn the president's election defeat in the state.
Maybe it won't matter. Maybe, after four years of mind-numbing drama, local voters will tune out Trump's hysterics, and the effects on the elections will be negligible. Maybe voters in Georgia will vote how they intend to vote without regard for presidential scandals, feuds, and lies. Maybe the GOP's rabid base will actually turn out in larger numbers because of Trump's antics.
But if Democrats eke out victories this week -- a big if, to be sure -- don't be surprised if some in the party quietly blame the president who threw Republican plans in the shredder in the race's final days.