Kelly Loeffler, one of two incumbent Republican U.S. senators facing tough challengers in runoff races, campaigns in Norcross, Georgia, on Dec. 31. | Getty
If the GOP loses in Georgia, Democrats will control both the U.S. House and Senate. Mitch McConnell — the only Republican counterweight to Trump — will be out as majority leader. Is President Donald J. Trump trying to sabotage his own party in the Georgia runoff elections?
On Monday night, Trump will swoop into an airport in Dalton, Georgia, to headline an election eve rally to boost the Republican U.S. Senate candidates in Tuesday’s runoffs.
On Dec. 5, the last time Trump hit the hustings for Georgia Sens. David Perdue and Kelly Loeffler, he spent more time railing about nonexistent election fraud than pumping the candidates.
“I don’t like doing it for other people,” Trump cracked during a 100-minute speech. “I said David and Kelly called and said will you do a rally? I said not really. I don’t do it for other people.”
He was joking, supposedly.
But there is one truism that will forever prevail. For Trump, it is always about Trump.
Chicago’s own Rahm Emanuel noted that in a recent TV appearance.
“I think there’s a deep part of Donald Trump that wants to see these two Republican senators go down as a way to show that without me on the ticket, you guys can’t win, you’re not worth diddly,” the former mayor opined on Dec. 20 on ABC’s “This Week.”
Actually, not so deep. Take, for example, Trump’s stunning rejection of the long-awaited, $900 million COVID-19 stimulus bill, throwing his party into deep turmoil. He relented and signed the bill a few days later, but the damage was done.
Democrats took to Trump’s call for $2,000 federal payments for most Americans like fleas to a dog. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi promptly introduced legislation to up the stimulus ante.
Fiscally conservative Republicans were horrified, but many were afraid to show it. The Georgia Senate candidates eagerly endorsed the $2,000 payments. They desperately need Trump to turn out the good old boys and girls on Tuesday. And opposing bigger payouts to pandemic-weary voters is a non-starter.
That all put Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell into a bind, exactly where Trump wants him.
McConnell had to spend the rest of the holiday season tamping down the chaos, as the $2,000 payments gained support from other ambitious and opportunistic colleagues.
Meanwhile, Trump railed on about a made-up stolen election.
His fake Twitter diatribes about election fraud are discouraging Georgia Republicans and could depress turnout. They will wonder, “Why bother if those dastardly Dems are going to steal another election anyway?”
Trump is also busily pressuring allies to object to the certification of some of the Electoral College results that determined Joe Biden won the Nov. 3 presidential election. Congress is expected to sign off on the Electoral College vote on Jan. 6.
If there are objections, Republican lawmakers may be forced to vote on the validity of the election results. The choice: Support Trump and his baseless claims, or defy him and alienate his uber-loyal base.
The president doesn’t want a Republican win in Georgia.
If the GOP loses the Georgia runoff, Democrats will control both the House and Senate. McConnell will be out as majority leader. McConnell is the party’s only potent counterweight to Trump.
Trump will hold even more sway with congressional Republicans, along with the millions of Republican voters who believe that only Trump can Make America Great Again.
Now, that’s deep.
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