The Republican Party is having a tough time with what you might call “message unity” right now, vis-à-vis Georgia.
Donald Trump claims that he would have won the state’s presidential electors if imaginary fraudulent votes for Joe Biden would have been thrown out, and holds the official position that he will still win it, somehow, possibly through the intervention of Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. Kemp and Raffensperger, despite being right-wing Republicans who supported Trump’s candidacy, have chosen not to attach themselves to the pro-coup faction in a presidential legitimacy crisis and argue (correctly) that they have no legal right whatsoever to interfere in the vote certification process.* And Republican Senate incumbents Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, who are both competing in Jan. 5 runoffs against Democratic challengers, are arguing simultaneously that Trump won the election and that they need to be sent back to Congress in order to maintain GOP power under a Biden administration.
And there’s still more! While Trump’s campaign has officially disavowed far-right conspiracy theory lawyer Sidney Powell, she has continued pursuing legal nuisance efforts to overturn election results in Georgia and other states with the help of another wingnut MAGA attorney named Lin Wood. At 12:19 a.m. Tuesday, Wood tweeted that Trump is going to put Kemp and Raffensperger in jail:*
Later in the morning, Trump’s account retweeted Wood’s post. Sorry, Brian Kemp, it looks you’re going to jail for not committing sedition.
Anyway, there’s some hope on the Democratic side that Trump’s insistence that Georgia elections are rigged will depress Republican turnout in the runoff, but this take, on that, seems like the correct one:
The evidence of the past three cycles (2016, 2018, 2020) does suggest that the more Trump is involved in an election, the more Republicans are excited about voting in it, and there hasn’t been any polling that shows Republicans being less likely to vote this time around than Democrats. What’s the harm in a little incoherent messaging, when you’re devoted to an incoherent messenger?
Correction, Dec. 15, 2020: This post originally misspelled Brad Raffensperger’s last name.