Georgia Senators Kelly Loeffler-- who has never run for any office-- and David Perdue are using a failed Trump electoral strategy-- catering exclusively to the base. That strategy helped deliver Georgia's 16 electoral votes to Biden this year. In 2016, Trump beat Hillary in the Peach State 2,089,104 (50.44%) to 1,877,963 (45.35%). This year, Trump's base strategy brought him significantly more votes, but a smaller share of the electorate-- and a loss. He lost to Biden 2,474,507 (49.51) to 2,461,837 (49.25). In other words, Trump's base appeal turned out 372,733 more voters for himself, but 546,544 voters who hadn't voted for Hillary but cast ballots for Biden.
One county flipped allegiance: Burke County voted for Hillary in 2016-- 4,730 (50.6%) to 4,401 (48.0%)-- but went for Trump this year-- 5,400 (50.5%) to 5,209 (48.8%). More impactful, there were 10 counties that moved significantly bluer. Democratic counties Henry, Rockdale, Douglas, Gwinnett and Cobb gave Biden much bigger numbers than they have Hillary and Republican counties Forsyth, Fayette, Columbia, Paulding and Cherokee gave Trump smaller shares of their votes this year than in 2016. The movement towards Biden in Cobb and Gwinnett, both in the Atlanta suburbs, and away from Trump in Paulding, also in the Atlanta suburbs, is why Biden won the state. Trump's base strategy failed badly in those suburban districts.
Reporting for the NY Times yesterday, Astead Herndon and Nick Corasaniti wrote that Perdue and Loeffler are spending tens of millions of dollars on an almost entirely negative advertising campaign, embracing a strategy of riling up the conservative base in hopes of generating enough turnout to win." Neither is trying to broaden their appeal at all. It's an ugly, ugly race-- just vicious attack after vicious attack. Loeffler, the richest and most elitist member of Congress, who flies around in a private plane she bought and then charged to the taxpayers-- and whose crooked husband owns the New York Stock Exchange-- has been accusing Warnock, a man who grew up poor, of being on the cocktail circuit.
Even though both the Democrats in the runoffs, Rev. Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, are running as moderate pragmatists in the Biden mold, Loeffler and Perdue "have tried to paint them as radicals fundamentally opposed to the country’s core principles, warning that Democratic sway over the Senate would usher in a wave of socialism. The two Republican senators have not aired a single positive advertisement between them, and neither have two outside groups supporting them, according to the ad tracking firm Advertising Analytics. The breathless ad campaigns and demonizing of liberals reflect the stakes for the Republican Party and its voters as they try to deny Democrats total control of the White House and Congress... [T]he $231 million poured into television ads so far in what will be a roughly two-month runoff campaign has surpassed the spending in the entire primary and general Senate elections combined."
Some find it off that there is "no run to the center," despite Biden's string showing in the formerly Republican vote-rich suburbs. Herndon and Corasaniti wrote that the two Republicans "are replicating" Trump’s strategy and messaging but without him on the ballot. Warnock and Ossoff are trying to be seen as part of Biden’s "message of unity and his electoral formula: a multiracial coalition powered by the state’s urban and suburban areas."
The lack of audience crossover is indicative of a shrinking amount of persuadable independents in an age of polarization, particularly in runoff elections that tend to attract the most highly engaged voters.
At campaign events and debates, as well as on airwaves with more than 27 different ads currently appearing, the candidates are racing furiously to motivate their own bases instead of catering to swing voters. Both parties have bet the house on turnout, not persuasion.
...Loeffler has run almost entirely negative ads against her opponent, Mr. Warnock, accusing him of being “anti-police” and a “radical.” The few ads she has aired that highlight her record begin with a warning: “Don’t believe the liberal lies.” Mr. Warnock has not run any purely negative ads, preferring less caustic contrast ads like ones comparing his record on health care with hers, and he has produced positive ads on his life story and platform.
...The campaign of Ms. Loeffler, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, is a stark example of the country’s shifting politics. Once thought of as a business-focused Republican, she has transformed herself into a culture warrior in the style of Mr. Trump.
As she faces off against Mr. Warnock, who is the pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta and is seeking to become the state’s first Black senator, her strategy has stood out for its tone on issues of race and policing.
Please consider contributing to Warnock and Ossoff by clicking on the Blue America Senate thermometer on the right. Herndon and Corasaniti noted that Trump's relentless attempts to push baseless claims about voting fraud and erode trust in the electoral system are looming over the runoffs. The Trumpist neo-fascists have targeted anyone who acknowledges Trump’s loss in Georgia, including Secretary of state Brad Raffensperger, a Trump supporter.
Maybe Loeffler and Perdue should read Amy Walter's Cook column from yesterday, All Base All the Time Fails to Deliver. She wrote that "running a base-only strategy was a losing one for the president. Yes, the battleground states were close. But, the bottom line was that Trump's approach turned off more voters than it attracted. And, even improving margins among Latinos in the border counties of Texas didn't make much of an improvement in Trump's overall showing in the state. In 2016, Trump won Texas with 52 percent. He carried the Lone Star state this year with 52.1 percent."