President Donald Trump’s lies about the elections stolen from him have an unintended consequence: there are now members of his grassroots campaigning to prevent Republicans from voting for two important Senate seats in Georgia’s runoff election.
Democrats can take control of the US Senate if both Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff defeat Republican incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue in the upcoming runoff elections. But Trump has violated his party’s cause by attacking two Republican officials – Governor Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, a Republican Trump who has been humiliated as “RINO” or just as a Republican – for her alleged involvement in a far-fetched scheme to hold the state presidential election for Joe Biden. (In reality, both Raffensperger and Kemp are Trump supporters.)
The Georgian Foreign Minister, a so-called Republican (RINO), does not allow the people who check the ballot papers to see the signatures for fraud. Why? Without this, the whole process is very unfair and almost meaningless. Everyone knows we won the state. Where is @BrianKempGA?
– Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 14, 2020
A faction in Trump’s grassroots faction – including a PAC with ties to Roger Stone – has understood Trump’s conspiracy and attacks on Kemp and Raffensperger as a call to suspend the runoff elections. These rumors were so significant that Donald Trump Jr. felt compelled on Monday to weigh up with a tweet dismissing the talk of withholding votes from Perdue and Loeffler as “nonsensical” and adding, “We need ALL of our people, who come out to vote for Kelly & David. “
I see a lot of conversation from people supposed to be on our side telling the GOP voters not to go out and vote for @KLoeffler and @PerdueSenate.
This is nonsense.
Ignore these people.
We need ALL of our people who come out to vote for Kelly & David. # MAGA #GASEN
– Donald Trump Jr. (@DonaldJTrumpJr) November 23, 2020
The irony, however, is that the Trump fans Don Jr. cautioned are simply leaning towards his father, who continues to advance unsubstantiated conspiracy theories about election theft, even after half-heartedly endorsing the General Services Administration move on Monday night officially begin the transition to Biden.
Trump fans refuse to believe that Trump actually lost
On the right-wing social media platform Parler, the investigative reporter Marcus Baram has documented how posters say things like: “Don’t vote! Don’t be part of the corruption ”and“ With the Dominion voting machines, our votes are not counted anyway. The only way to demonstrate the corruption is to boycott the elections or write in Donald Trump instead. “
Of course, the idea that fraud involving Dominion Voting Systems, an electronic voting system used across the country, somehow rigged the election for Joe Biden is an evidence-free MAGA fever dream. But it has been tirelessly pushed forward by Trump and is at the center of the demands he continued to make Tuesday to rerun the elections.
The idea that Trump fans should boycott the Georgia runoff election as a punishment for establishment Republicans has resonated beyond Parler. For example, at a stop the steal rally held in Georgia over the weekend, a speaker was cheered when he attacked Raffensperger and Kemp as “traitors” and said, “Any Republican who allows this is complicit and we will be you take care of ! … We will do everything we can to completely destroy the Republican Party. “(Trump tweeted his support for the rally.)
And it’s not just Randos who are publicly calling on Trump fans to run for the runoff election. On Tuesday, Lachlan Markay and Will Sommer wrote for the Daily Beast about how “Conservative activists and a super-PAC with ties to the infamous GOP dirty trickster Roger Stone are calling on Trump supporters to punish Republicans by holding Georgia’s crucial runoff elections in the Senate suspend or write in trumps name instead. ”
An attorney who worked for the Trump campaign in Georgia, L. Lin Wood, tweeted Saturday that Purdue and Loeffler are no longer doing anything to advance the investigation of Trump’s (unfounded) fraud allegations: “I will NOT be in GA- Vote for the runoff. ”
Let’s tell the truth about @SenLoeffler & @sendavidperdue.
Why are they doing little or nothing to support GA citizens’ efforts to crack down on illegal elections and the need for @BrianKempGA to order a special session of the legislature?
If not resolved, I will NOT vote in the GA runoff election.
– Lin Wood (@LLinWood) November 21, 2020
It should be noted that some of these efforts are remarkably half-hearted. The Stone-affiliated PAC, for example, encourages Trump fans to write in Trump’s name, even though the Georgia runoff doesn’t allow enrollments. But when you consider how close the Warnock-Loeffler and Perdue-Ossoff races are likely to be, the demoralization of even a fraction of Republican voters could swing the winning races for Democrats.
Now that he’s actually on his way out of the White House, it’s unclear how much Trump cares about keeping Republicans in control of the Senate. It is also not clear that he ponders the implications of the conspiracy theories he advanced, considering that he was only advocating Loeffler and Purdue last week.
But Don Jr.’s tweet for ignoring calls from other MAGA supporters to vote highlights one of the great challenges the Republican Party faces if it emerges from Trump’s defeat. Is it possible to please Trump fans who refuse to believe their leader has been defeated while at the same time existing in a world where elections still have ramifications? The early returns seem to suggest it will be tough.
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