The guy who got the most votes in an election pisses and moans about how it isn’t enough.
And that’s exactly what is going on in Georgia right now. Look, forget about Kelly Loeffler for a moment. She’s a throwaway, she was never elected. Brian Kemp chose her when senior Senator Jonny Isakson had to retire for medical reasons. And nobody knows the smell of a wounded animal better than a political cougar, which is why Loeffler had 20 opponents in her jungle primary, and was lucky to survive at all.
David Perdue is in a completely different position. Perdue is a sitting Senator, duly elected, and he has no one to blame for his current position but himself. Well, Trump helped. Late on election night, as Joe Biden continued to inch up on Trump in the count as more of Fulton county came in, I was even more fascinated by Perdue. Because there was a third party candidate, he had to top 50% ibn order to win outright. He started at a high of 50.4%, then I watched as it slithered to 50.3%, and then 50.2%. And like watching a jump shot rolling around and around the rim, it was thrilling to see it climb back up and drop off the side, with Perdue at 49.7%.
Both Loeffler and Perdue are in trouble, but Perdue even more so. For both of them, November 3rd was as good as it’s ever going to get. For a simple, provable reason. When Trump is on the ticket, he drives up turnout on both sides. But when Trump is not on the ballot, GOP turnout flatlines, and Democratic turnout increases.
In 2016, Trump lost the popular vote to Clinton by almost 3 million, but pulled out enough voters to not only keep the House and Senate, but squeak through the electoral college. In 2018, when despite Trump’s best efforts to make the election about him, he was not on the ballot, Democrats nationally doubled their winning margin to 6 million votes, and flipped the House. In 2020, Trump actually garnered 5 million more votes than he did in 2016, and yet lost to Biden by an even larger margin.
In the upcoming special election, Loeffler and Perdue are getting hit with a double whammy. On January 5th, Trump will not be on the ballot, but he will still be the President. And Georgia Democrats are going to want to give him a double barrel bird salute as a going away present. Count on it.
Perdue actually has an excess of riches when it comes to electoral problems. First of all, the word has come down from the national party, Perdue and Loeffler are being expected to run as basically Siamese twins, in order to nationalize the election, and rally GOP voters to the polls as seeing them as the last bulwark against a socialist Biden administration. But Loeffler is already carrying some heavy baggage.
In general, people tend to like their basketball. African Americans especially love their round ball, since almost anyone can play. All you need is a pair of sneakers, a ball, and a hoop. African American icons like Michael Jordan, Magic Johnson, and LeBron James are living proof that anybody can make it to the top if they just try hard enough. Kelly Loeffler is the co-owner of the WNBAS franchise, the Atlanta Dream. And she is in open warfare with the members of her team over their social activism. Her basic stance is eerily similar to Laura Ingraham’s, Shut up and dribble! This will not endear her to black voters in Georgia, and being married to her at the hip means that Perdue gets to share the blame.
But Perdie has also stepped on his own crank, and more than once. After getting his clock cleaned so thoroughly in a debate that even Swiss watchmakers threw up their hands in despair, he refused to debate again, and is refusing to debate now. This has led to the natural Democratic campaign slogan that Perdue is a chicken! Personally, I love it. Perdue was also caught on camera at a rally, mocking Senator Kamala Harris’s name, calling her Kamalamalamala whatever. I guarantee you that that clip will be in attack ads, if not from the Democrats, then certainly from The Lincoln Project, who are already setting up shop in Georgia. And Perdue’s campaign also made a clumsy attempt to photoshop to enlarge Jon Ossoff’s nose, a clear slap at his Jewish heritage. And other than the Jews, if there is another race that is more instinctively sensitive to cartoonish racial slurs than African Americans, I have yet to meet one, and for good cause.
But the wild card is, and always will be, Trump himself. Do they call him down to Georgia to rally the troops, and if they do, does he show? And if he shows up, does he end up rallying more Democratic opposition than GOP support, especially when everybody in the GOP knows he’ll be gone within a month?
And you have to factor this in as well. Trump may have already sown the seeds of Loeffler’s and Perdue’s destruction, and if so, then they both took an active part in in ensuring their own defeat. Trump got Loeffler and Perdue to sign off on public statements calling for the resignation of the Georgia Secretary of State, a Republican, for missing massive voter fraud. A rare GOP profile in courage, the SOS refused to buckle to the pressure, ran the manual recount, and certified the state ballot for Biden. But Trump, Loeffler, and Perdue have all come out publicly and called the results of the Georgia election a total con job, one which the GOP Secretary of State refused to rectify with his authority.
Right now, the Georgia Democrats are riding on a sugar high like a 5 year old with a bag of Oreos. Millions of African Americans, Asian Americans, and Latino Americans took a blind leap of faith. They stood in line to vote early, they requested, filled out, and returned their mail in ballots with the faith that maybe their voices could actually be heard for once. And their prayers were answered. Their votes did matter, and the Georgia Secretary of State certified for the world to see that their voices mattered. They’re loaded for bear, and they’re ready to finish the job.
But what about the GOP? Whether or not Trump shoes up, how do Trump, Loeffler, or Perdue whip up enthusiasm in the base to show up on January the 5th, and vote to save the conservative way, when they already showed up en masse on November 3rd, voted their little hearts out, and the whole goddamned thing was a con job, the election was stolen from them! And the same Secretary of State is still going to be on the job on January 5th, why should they expect a different outcome this time?
Look, for a sitting incumbent to be caught up in a run off election any time is extremely bad juju. After all, they have the name recognition, the record, the pork shoveled home, unlimited deep pocket donors, and an established campaign structure. The Democrats are not resting on their laurels. Stacey Abrams group is already out on the ground, registering voters who will be 18 by January 5th, and they’re beating the bushes to get every voter out to vote, preferably by early ballots. And what does the GOP base have? A President, and two sitting Senators screaming to the heavens that the entire Georgia electoral process is just one huge con job. Why bother to show up at all? Don’t touch that dial.
Follow me on Twitter at @RealMurfster35