Trump faces another judgment in Georgia

Patrick Swanson / December 04,2022



While the ex-president won the Peach State six years ago en route to the White House, it’s been a disastrous playing field for him ever since, rejecting his first re-election bid and rematch contenders at mid-term. His former aides and allies, meanwhile, are summoned before a special grand jury in the state investigating his efforts to overthrow of President Joe Biden win there in 2020.


On Tuesday, Trump’s Georgia futility could continue unless former Georgia running back Herschel Walker, a Heisman Trophy winner, can drag the MAGA banner over the line.


The Georgia Senate second round represents Trump’s latest opportunity to recast a painful midterm season in which his candidates who refuse the elections failed in swing states, casting a shadow over his fledgling 2024 presidential bid. A victory for Walker would be a rare victory for one of Trump’s recruits and potentially energize his lackluster campaign, while helping the Senate Minority Leader , Mitch McConnell, to limit Democratic power in Washington.


But a Walker loss would add to GOP frustration at Trump’s political interference, after his obsession with false claims of voter fraud was widely blamed for costing the Senate party control during a pair ballots in Georgia in 2021.


The former president’s record in Georgia is so poor that he was not wanted in the state as Walker tried to oust Democratic Sen. Raphael Warnock in recent weeks. Most infuriatingly for Trump, his hand-picked nominee has spent his time closing in on newly re-elected Republican Gov. Brian Kemp, who far surpassed Walker’s vote total in November. Kemp defeated a Trump-backed primary challenger earlier this year, defying the former president’s bid to avenge his refusal to overturn Biden’s narrow victory in the state in 2020.


While persona non grata in the Senate runoff, Trump called a tele-rally in Georgia on Monday night — only when it was likely he couldn’t do any harm given that nearly 2 million Georgians voted early.


“A vote for Raphael Warnock is a vote to give Chuck Schumer and the lopsided far-left Democrats full control of the US Senate. We can’t let that happen,” Trump said during the brief appearance.


But if Walker loses on Tuesday, Trump’s poor record in many midterm elections that matter in 2022 will be complete and there will be strong reason that after embracing weak candidates in Georgia, Pennsylvania and Arizona, he cost the Republican Party again. Senate control.


Walker, for example, denied several reports that he under pressure or encouraged women to have abortions despite having said before during the election campaign that he supported a ban on the procedure without exception. CNN’s KFile raised further doubts about Walker’s residency when he revealed he was receiving a principal residence-only tax break this year on his Dallas, Texas-area home. KFile also reported that Walker described himself as living in Texas during a speech during the 2022 campaign. And Walker’s bizarre comments — like a recent speech about whether it was better to be a werewolf or a vampire — have raised questions about his fitness to occupy a position.


Georgia Lieutenant Governor Geoff Duncan, another GOP politician from the state who stood up to Trump, described Walker last week to CNN’s Erin Burnett as “probably the worst Republican candidate in the history of politics. “.


But Trump really needs Walker through on Tuesday.


The ex-president’s recent lack of success — alongside his increasingly extreme rhetoric and associations, including with anti-Semites — is one reason some Republicans and major donors say Now is the time to turn to a new presidential prospect: perhaps Florida’s newly reelected Governor Ron DeSantis. . So Trump really needs a win for Walker to reset impressions of his stuttered presidential candidacy following a low-power deployment.


But a loss would be further proof for any Republicans willing to listen that the ex-president’s approach and reputation are toxic among swing-state and national electorates who will decide the presidency in 2024. And that would suggest the The way forward for the party could be ignited by genuine conservatives like Kemp who keep their distance from Trump.


It’s far too early to strike Trump out in 2024, given his magnetic grip on the Republican base and his strong influence on the incoming Republican House majority. But if the ex-president’s political career is on a downward spiral, it’s safe to say it started in Georgia.


Georgia’s Senate runoff caps two extraordinary years in which the state emerged, somewhat unexpectedly, as the nation’s most competitive battleground.


If he wins, Warnock would welcome a full six-year term, following his fourth run – two general elections and two ballots in two years – and he would give Democrats an expanded 51-49 majority in the Senate.


If Walker wins, however, the Republican will restore the perilous 50-50 balance in the chamber that for the past two years has only tipped in favor of the Democrats because of Vice President Kamala Harris’ decisive votes. .


Georgia’s political ascendancy embodies the multiple forces that define American politics. He is part of a racially diverse nation that blurs the presidential map. He witnessed a duel between a Republican legislature accused of suppressing the franchise and voters who repeatedly show up in large numbers to ensure their voices are heard.


The state is in agony racial history is a constant backdrop, especially in the fight between Warnock, a senior pastor of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Ebenezer Baptist Church, and Walker, a hero to many in the state after his glittering college football career.


Georgia has also become the epicenter of rare Republican resistance to Trump’s attempt to overthrow American democracy.


During a call on Jan. 2, 2021, Trump asked Georgian Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger to “find” enough votes to overturn Biden’s victory. A transcript of the call shows Raffensperger repeatedly pushing back against Trump’s wild fraud plots. “Numbers are numbers, numbers don’t lie,” Raffensperger later told the House Select Committee investigating the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol.


In December 2020, the then President also had called Kemp to pressure him to convince state lawmakers to overturn Biden’s victory in the state. But the governor said he had no authority to do so, sources told CNN.


In revenge, Trump endorsed the main challengers against both men. He said his pick for secretary of state, Georgia Rep. Jody Hice, “would end the fraud,” unlike the incumbent. The ex-president’s endorsed nominee for Kemp’s job – former Sen. David Perdue, who lost to Democrat Jon Ossoff in a 2021 runoff – endorsed Trump’s election denial, saying during a a debate that “the 2020 election was rigged and stolen. ”


But Trump’s two choices disastrously executed in the primary in huge embarrassment for the former president. Kemp beat Perdue 74% to 22% and Raffensperger dispatched Hice 52% to 33%. Both incumbents were subsequently re-elected in November.


Trump’s humiliation was becoming a bit of a pattern in Georgia. In the 2020 Peach State general election, he became the first Republican to lose in the longtime Southern Republican stronghold since ex-President George HW Bush was edged out by Bill Clinton in 1992 when he went to the White House.


On the eve of the Senate runoff in January 2021, Trump returned to Georgia to campaign for the then Sens. Kelly Loeffler and Perdue. He criticized Kemp and made false claims of voter fraud, which added to longstanding doubts he had already sown about mail-in voting among GOP voters during the Covid-19 pandemic. The two GOP senators quickly lost.


All of this helps explain why many observers have concluded that in the second round of the election, Trump was in fact more of a help in Warnock than Walker.


In a CNN/SSRS poll released on Friday, Trump had a favorable rating of just 39% and an unfavorable rating of 54% among likely voters in Georgia. (Biden’s approval rating was also underwater, which explains why he didn’t set foot in Georgia either.)


Walker, however, insists a strong Republican turnout on Tuesday can give him the win.


“Before a big game, I don’t sleep, because I’m ready,” he said during a final campaign stop in the Georgia suburbs. “It’s a question of participation. Now we have to get into the game. We can no longer sit on the sidelines.

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