Trump Has Wrecked The Georgia Republican Party, But Is It Enough To Hand 2 Senate Seats To The Dems?
Deborah Lipstadt, author of Anti-Semitism Here and Now and a professor of holocaust history at Atlanta's Emory University, penned an important piece yesterday for The Forward: For Those Who Want To Fight AntiSemitism, The Choice In Georgia Is Clear. The Forward caters primarily to Jewish readers, including Jewish Trumpists. Short version: she recognizes Kelly Loeffler's vicious attacks against Raphael Warnock for the bullshit they are while Loeffler allies herself with truly dangerous fascists.
Lipstadt was warning her readers that because of Loeffler's campaign of slander "Jews have found themselves in, or to express it more accurately, have been thrust into, the center of the runoff campaign between Republican Senator Kelly Loeffler and her Democratic challenger, Reverend Raphael Warnock." And after much research, she wrote that "Warnock has never uttered or supported a single antisemitic statement."
At the same time, she wrote that she finds it "intriguing if not maddening that many people seem unconcerned about the way in which Senator Loeffler has made common cause with people directly associated with QAnon, a right-wing conspiracy group that peddles-- overtly and covertly-- conspiracy theories and antisemitism. Loeffler has actively participated in an attempt to cast doubt on the democratic institutions of this country. Even after the Supreme Court and dozens of lower courts summarily rejected President Trump’s attempt to overturn the results of the election, Loeffler refused to acknowledge Biden’s win. And even after the Electoral College ratified the results, Loeffler refuses to accept them. This democracy denial, and it makes our choice clear. But Loeffler has also enthusiastically accepted the endorsement and active campaign support of Congresswoman-elect Marjory Taylor Greene, who is directly associated with QAnon and whose remarks have been condemned by some of her fellow Republicans as 'offensive,' 'bigoted,' and 'disgusting.'
And knows better than anyone what antisemitism is. "QAnon and other far right extremist groups often camouflage their antisemitism with code words: global, conspiracy, financier, Rothschild and Soros. They repeat traditional antisemitic tropes but replace 'Jew' with these code words. They speak of a 'white genocide conspiracy' theory. It contends that there is a plan afoot to destroy white Christian culture by flooding countries in Europe and North America with black and brown people. But, the theory contends, 'these people' are not talented enough to pull off this cultural genocide on their own. The true culprits are those financing and directing the genocide from behind the curtain: the Jews. This is at the heart of QAnon’s claims. And Loeffler has more than just refused to condemn them; she has sloughed off legitimate concerns, declaring confidently that 'no one in Georgia cares about this QAnon business.' Allow me to point out that the murderers in Pittsburgh, Poway, Halle, Charleston, El Paso and Charlottesville all subscribed to this theory. Sometimes they attacked Jews directly. Sometimes they attacked those whom they believe are being directed by Jews. Someone should tell Senator Loeffler that the guards outside our synagogues, community centers, and schools are there to protect us from precisely these people. Someone should tell her we care. Deeply."
There are two candidates in this race. Both are on an arc. One is moving from a direction I could not support to one I can wholly endorse. He is acknowledging his growth on this issue. The other is moving towards an alliance with people who hate me and my community and espouse ideas that are directly antithetical to our welfare, as well as the welfare of this democratic country in which Jews have blossomed.
People often ask me, “other than condemn, what can I do to fight antisemitism?” For those of us in Georgia, we have a chance to do more than just condemn. We can vote against it and those who enable it.
Polling in general has a black eye and Survey USA has never been very reliable but... theirs is the latest poll from Georgia and the pollster says that the "GOP cacophony" has helped Warnock and Ossoff pull ahead of Loeffler and Perdue-- and beyond the margin of error. Warnock leads Loeffler by 7 points and Ossoff leads Perdue by 5 points. The good news for Democrats:
Of those who are not voting in the US Senate runoffs, a disproportionate number are conservative. Of those who identify as "very conservative," 55% say they are not voting in the runoff elections because "the voting process is rigged." This compares to zero percent of liberals and very liberals. Another 7% of "very conservative" voters say they are "intentionally boycotting" the runoffs. This compares to zero percent of liberals and very liberals. So those are the headwinds that incumbent Republicans David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler face.
...Worse, for the Republicans, in part because of a pandemic and in part because their mixed messaging tells them not to trust the United States Postal Service, among those voters who have already returned a runoff ballot (all interviews for this poll were conducted after early runoff voting had begun), Ossoff leads Perdue by 27 points, Warnock leads Loeffler by 25 points. Both Republicans must come from behind just to catch up.
More than 1.6 million Georgians have already voted, a record for early voting in a runoff election. I'm not sure how Jan 5th in person voting will be but Georgia is experiencing a big COVID surge right now. Yesterday the state reported another 9,079 confirmed new cases, 4th worst in the country, bringing the total beyond 600,000. There are now 56,560 cases per million Georgians. Over a quarter million of those cases are active. More than 10,000 Georgians have died. This is the Thanksgiving surge. Election day will be experiencing a Christmas surge.
On Monday, NPR ran a piece about the Republican civil war breaking out in Georgia. Trump's rhetoric is leaving Georgia Republican confused and torn. He's called Gov. Brian Kemp a "clown" and a "fool" and has dubbed the lieutenant governor and secretary of state, both conservative Republicans, RINOs.
There are some state lawmakers in Georgia who have supported the president's call for a special session to overturn the election, including Republican state Sen. Brandon Beach, who is among a handful of lawmakers recruiting signatures for a petition to call the special session independently of the governor.
"And I can tell you if we do not fix this, and that's why I'm so adamant about this, I'm so fearful that... we're going to wake up Jan. 6, and we're not going to like what happened because it's not going to be a fair election," Beach said about the campaign on the John Fredericks Show, a national pro-Trump radio program.
The case Beach and his colleagues are making for a special session relies on debunked theories about the election, including allegations that absentee ballot signatures were not matched properly and that absentee ballot drop boxes were insecure. Georgia's Republican election officials have repeatedly said there's been no evidence of widespread voter fraud.
Rampant misinformation about the election and the pressure from the president has put Georgia Republicans in a difficult situation, even though the petition for a special session has not succeeded.
...Some of the election misinformation has been targeted at Kemp and his family.
"Quite honestly, it has gotten ridiculous," the governor said. "From death threats to [claims of] bribes from China, [to] the social media posts that my children are getting."
"I mean, this needs to stop. People need to deal with facts, and we'll give them to them," he said.
Trump and his allies are drumming up a primary against Kemp for 2022. The Daily Beast reported that "it is a foregone conclusion that Trump will help stand up a primary challenger to Kemp when the Republican is up for re-election in 2022. 'It’s a fait accompli,' said one veteran Trump political adviser." Trump boasts that he destroyed Alabama Republican Jeff Sessions' career and that he will do the same thing to Kemp.
Sam Brody reported that "The outgoing president’s continued obsession with getting revenge on Kemp has trickled down throughout his universe of devoted followers and allies. In a column outlining his vision of the future of the Trump movement last week, campaign advisor Steve Cortes explicitly called for knocking out Kemp in the 2022 cycle... Trumpworld’s efforts to exact revenge on Kemp have annoyed various Republican officials and operatives who fear that the president is zapping needed enthusiasm for the GOP candidates currently in Senate runoffs in Georgia... Within Georgia’s conservative base, Trump’s relentless repetitions of conspiracies about the election have cemented a belief that it was fundamentally corrupt, and that Georgia’s statewide elected officials-- all Republicans-- were complicit in that corruption. Many voters on the right have taken their cues. At so-called 'stop the steal' rallies that have taken place around the state, attendees have held up signs that say 'Primary Kemp!'"