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Politics Don't be fooled: Trump's conspiracy theories won't discourage Georgia Republicans

20:45  01 december  2020
20:45  01 december  2020 Source:   salon.com

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Donald Trump has announced that he will campaign to support Republican candidates for election to two senate seats of Georgia - a contest that is crucial for Republicans to maintain their control over the upper house. Those run-off elections are due to be held on 5 January.

Trump has since continued to push the conspiracy theory in recent months during his presidency, according to advisors who spoke with The New York Times. One sitting US senator echoed these reports. "[ Trump ] has had a hard time letting go of his claim that Mr

a group of people that are talking to each other: Kelly Loeffler; David Perdue © Provided by Salon Kelly Loeffler; David Perdue

U.S. Sen David Perdue (R-GA) and Sen Kelly Loeffler (R-GA) speaks at a campaign event to supporters at a restaurant on November 13, 2020 in Cumming, Georgia. Megan Varner/Getty Images

Republican Party muckety-mucks in Georgia are worried about the upcoming Senate runoff elections in January. No, not about the threat of massive Democratic turnout, which is certainly possible. They're worried that their own voters will sink the chances of both Republican incumbents, Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue.

The problem some Republicans perceive is that Donald Trump and the various conspiracy theorists he has empowered keep declaring that the Nov. 3 election was "rigged" and that Democrats — especially in cities with large Black populations — are somehow manipulating vote totals.

Trump tells Georgia not to boycott the runoffs or GOP will lose Senate

  Trump tells Georgia not to boycott the runoffs or GOP will lose Senate The president tweeted his support of the two Republican candidates Friday morning calling them 'GREAT people' and saying he will visit the state this week ahead of January's runoffs.The president tweeted his support of the two Republican candidates Friday morning calling them 'GREAT people' and saying he will make a trip to the state this weekend, after his election fraud claims have led some of his own supporters to consider abstaining from voting in January.

Donald Trump ' s top lawyers disavowed Sidney Powell just three days after she joined them at a presser to help outline the president's election-fraud allegations, and hours after she lobbed fraud allegations at Georgia 's governor.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, who are both Republicans , rebuffed President Donald Trump ' s calls to overturn Former CIA director 'concerned' over Trump ' s claims. Republican : People have called me 'traitor' for calling election fair. Avlon: Trump ' s refusal

That's completely false, of course. But the claim is being pumped throughout right-wing media, from Trump's Twitter account to Fox News to email lists to all the sleazy sub-Fox knockoffs like Newsmax and OAN to viral Facebook posts. Polling shows that it's working, with 63% of Republican voters claiming they don't believe the election was "free and fair."

So worry has started to spread among the party elite in Georgia: How can they get GOP voters to turn out, if those voters keep hearing that Democrats are going to steal the election?

Earlier this month, Sophia Tesfaye explained the concerns in Salon, arguing that "Trump's attacks on America's electoral system [could] depress GOP turnout," because "the president GOP voters adore has said that America's elections are rigged."

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Continuing to speak about Georgia on Fox News, Mr Trump undermined his own party’ s get-out-the-vote strategy for the Senate runoffs in January You're using the same garbage machinery, Dominion,” he said referring to his unfounded conspiracy theory regarding Dominion Voting Systems, that the

Already, some Georgia Republicans , from local party leaders down to rank-and-file activists © Provided by The Daily Beast Georgia ’ s Republican Governor Brian Kemp has come under fire from President Trump as the White House peddles baseless conspiracies theories about a stolen election.

I'm much more skeptical. I suspect Republican voters understand full well that Trump and his allies are lying about voter fraud, and they're playing along because they believe doing so is politically advantageous. On Jan. 5, their actions will tell the truth: They'll turn out to vote in Georgia in huge numbers, because they don't really believe the elections are rigged.

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In Democratic circles, it's long been a concern that conspiracy theories about elections can discourage voter turnout. Voting is a chore under the best of circumstances, and long lines and other voter suppression tactics — largely aimed at the Democratic base — can make it a miserable experience. People aren't going to do it if they're convinced that voting doesn't matter. As such, Democratic politicians and organizers tend to push back hard against conspiracy theories, and even try to avoid talking about long lines at polls or similar impediments, fearing it might scare voters away from even trying.

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  9 questions about the Georgia Senate runoffs you were too embarrassed to ask The Georgia races will decide which party controls the Senate.There are not one but two runoff Senate elections in Georgia early next year. They have similar dynamics, with Democratic challengers going up against Republican incumbents. One race features a matchup between Sen. David Perdue (R) and Democrat Jon Ossoff, and the other involves Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R) and Democrat Rev. Raphael Warnock.

On Friday, Trump will meet with Republican state lawmakers from Michigan at the White House, though it' s unclear his overtures will be successful. Under the long-shot theory , Republican -led legislatures could appoint pro- Trump slates of presidential electors, even if Biden carried the popular

President Trump ’ s first interview since the Nov. 3 election was full of rants, raves and refusal to accept reality. Recent weeks have seen a string of humiliating legal defeats for team Trump , with a Pennsylvania judge tossing out a Republican attempt to discount mail-in votes on Saturday night.

The difference, however, is that Democratic voters aren't steeped in bad faith the way Republicans are. But like their elected leaders, are fluent in speciousness. They understand that Trump's conspiracy theories aren't sincere expressions of belief, but shibboleths uttered to score political points and to justify future election cheating. Republican voters understand perfectly that Trump's lies are part of a con game — and they imagine they're in on the con.

Certainly, since Tesfaye's article was published, GOP fears have been rising that Trumpian conspiracy theories could cause Perdue and Loeffler to lose to Democratic challengers Jon Ossoff and the Rev. Raphael Warnock (respectively) in next month's special election.

On Thursday, the Washington Post ran a piece fo delicious schadenfreude bait, reporting that Perdue and Loeffler are facing a "conundrum" by "asking Trump supporters to put their faith in the same voting system their president claims was manipulated to engineer his defeat."

"Would you bother voting in an election you thought was hopelessly corrupt?" Matt Shuham and Kate Riga at Talking Points Memo write in their coverage of this conundrum, pointing out that the situation is even more dire for Republicans when "even the elected Republican leadership of your state" is being accused of being in on the conspiracy to steal the election for Democrats. That's a reference to Trump's attacks on Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, both Republicans and (at least until now) allies of the president.

Trump roils Georgia GOP as party waits to see if presidential visit helps — or hurts — in crucial Senate runoffs

  Trump roils Georgia GOP as party waits to see if presidential visit helps — or hurts — in crucial Senate runoffs The president’s baseless claims of fraud in the November elections have sparked a Republican civil war in the state, where voters will return to the polls on Jan. 5 in a pair of races that will determine control of the U.S. Senate. That war showed no signs of abating this week, with competing GOP factions growing increasingly angry and distrustful of one another.

Some prominent Trump supporters, in fact, are actively discouraging voting in the election. "I choose not to vote in another fraudulent election with rigged voting machines & fake mail ballots," Lin Wood, a right-wing attorney who represents Kenosha shooter Kyle Rittenhouse and has filed lawsuits alleging fraud in the presidential election, tweeted on Sunday.

Another PAC, this one linked to Trump's nefarious ally Roger Stone, has been encouraging voters to write in Trump's name instead of voting for either GOP senatorial candidate. (It's hard to say what the point of that would be, other than a theatrical protest: Trump is not a Georgia resident, and write-in votes don't even count in a two-person runoff election.)

"Georgia Republicans are now actively pleading with Trump," Greg Sargent of the Washington Post writes, hoping that he can "explain to voters that the voting was actually legitimate in their own state."

Want more Amanda Marcotte on politics? Subscribe to her newsletter Standing Room Only.

Fears are running high that Donald Trump Jr., seemingly undercutting his father's "rigged" narrative, tweeted last week that it was "NONSENSE" to say Georgia votes don't count and that Peach State voters must "IGNORE those people" who are spouting conspiracy theories — such as, um, his dad? — and come out to vote on Jan. 5.

Trump, Pence to campaign in Georgia as Senate runoff turnout concerns grow among GOP

  Trump, Pence to campaign in Georgia as Senate runoff turnout concerns grow among GOP Mike Pence and President Donald Trump's rallies for Georgia's senators will be against a backdrop of growing concerns about GOP turnout in the Senate runoff election. "So many Republicans live and die by what Trump says, and so if he says that the system's not to be trusted, the machines aren't registering the votes properly, then that'll increase the number of people who will believe it. And the logical next step is, OK, so why bother to go vote?" said Charles Bullock, a political science professor at the University of Georgia and an expert in Southern politics.

But the fact that Don Jr. doesn't even seem to register that he's contradicting his father's outrageous lies is exactly why I don't believe that all these bewildering claims will actually depress Republican turnout. Don Jr. clearly understands and expects his audience to understand that Trump is lying about the 2020 election, and that they should go ahead and vote without any worry that Trump actually means what he says or that the elections are actually rigged.

This conclusion is borne out by polling evidence. For instance, while the majority of Republican voters will insist to pollsters that they believe the election wasn't fair, when asked about whether their own vote was counted, a strong majority — 72% — say yes.

This discrepancy suggests that Republican voters know they're "supposed" to say the election was rigged in Joe Biden's favor, because saying so pleases their overlord benefits their medium-term political agenda. But ultimately, they don't really believe it.

Then there's the biggest poll of them all: Election Day. Despite the fact that Trump has been claiming for years that the election would be "rigged", his voters were not dissuaded from turning out. On the contrary, Trump got 74 million votes, 11 million more than in 2016 and second only to Biden's 80 million as the largest vote total in American history. That isn't the behavior of people who actually think their votes will be magically disappeared by the "deep state." That's the behavior of people who know perfectly that their votes count — indeed, in the American political system writ large, their votes count disproportionately — and who only say otherwise as a nod and a wink to Trump's con.

Trust me, I enjoy reading about Republican panic, and the possibility that their anti-democratic conspiracy theories could blow up in the party's face and cost it control of the Senate. I cackled through coverage of Perdue and Loeffler's teams sweating bullets at the thought that infighting will sink their election chances. But I don't buy a word of it. Democrats are going to have to fight tooth and nail to win those Georgia's runoff races, because Republican voters will turn out in droves. At the end of the day, the typical GOP voter knows all this talk of rigged elections is smoke and mirrors, and will behave accordingly.

The Trailer: How votes shifted in the six political states of Georgia .
In this edition: The new political geography of Georgia, why $1,200 checks are getting dangled to voters in the Senate runoffs, and why today's electoral college deadline won't stop the lucrative effort to undermine the vote. Any statutory deadline can be a fundraising deadline if you really want it to be. This is The Trailer. ATLANTA — Georgia's presidential election is over. Again. On Monday, the state once again certified Joe Biden's victory in the state, the first for any Democratic presidential candidate in 28 years, and by the slimmest margin in its history.

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