A weekly window on the American political scene hosted by the Monitor's politics editors.

The Georgia conundrum and what it says about Trump

President Trump will campaign Saturday in Georgia with the state's two Republican senators ahead of their runoffs. But his appearance begs a question: If the system is rigged, as he claims, why vote at all?

Alyssa Pointer/Atlanta Journal-Constitution/AP
Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger, center, walks with members of his staff as they make their way to a press conference at the Georgia State Capitol building in Atlanta, Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020.

Dear reader:
 President Donald Trump is heading to Georgia on Saturday to campaign alongside the two Republican senators who face runoff elections on Jan. 5 – crucial races that will determine control of the Senate.
 But some Republicans are unhappy with President Trump. He still hasn’t publicly conceded the Nov. 3 presidential race, and is still tweeting unsubstantiated claims of “massive voter fraud” – or "FRAUD!," as he put it today. These claims risk discouraging Republican turnout in Georgia, GOP strategists say. After all, if the system is rigged, why bother to vote?
 Last Saturday Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, seeing a potential trainwreck, urged Georgia voters to turn out.
 In Georgia, leaders are also angry that Mr. Trump has not disavowed the threats of violence – including death threats – against election officials in the state.
 "Someone's going to get hurt, someone's going to get shot, someone's going to get killed," Gabriel Sterling, a voting system official in Georgia, said in an emotional news conference Tuesday. "It's not right."
 Mr. Trump, in fact, has exasperated many top (pro-Trump) Republicans in Georgia – including Gov. Brian Kemp and Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger. The latter is adamant that he ran a clean election and that the president lost the state, the first time Georgia voted for a Democrat since 1992.
 In addition, U.S. Attorney General William Barr told the Associated Press on Tuesday that he saw no widespread fraud in the election.
 And therein lies the conundrum Mr. Trump may face on Saturday. If he still hasn’t acknowledged by then that he lost the election, he can’t argue that sending both senators back to Washington is essential to keeping GOP control of that chamber.
 As things stand now, the next Senate has 50 Republicans and 48 Democrats. The Republicans need to win just one of the seats, and they’ll keep the majority. If the Democrats win both, that creates a 50-50 Senate – setting up Vice President-elect Kamala Harris as the tiebreaker.
 Both seats are up this cycle, because Sen. Kelly Loeffler is an appointee filling the seat of GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson, who retired early for health reasons; Sen. David Perdue’s seat is on its regular cycle. Neither incumbent won a majority on Nov. 3, sending each race into a runoff between the top two finishers.
 Making things worse for the Republicans, some activists on social media - including Parler, the new conservative, “freer speech” alternative to Twitter – are urging Georgia Republicans to boycott the election. Just as disastrously, some suggest writing in Mr. Trump. There’s no option for write-ins in a runoff, and writing “Trump” in the margins risks spoiling a ballot.
 Observers will also be watching Mr. Trump on Saturday for clues that he might run again in 2024 – as he has reportedly hinted privately. But that’s a topic for another day.
 Let us know what you’re thinking at csmpolitics@csmonitor.com.

You've read  of  free articles. Subscribe to continue.

Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.

QR Code to The Georgia conundrum and what it says about Trump
Read this article in
QR Code to Subscription page
Start your subscription today