“I think Trump wants Loeffler and Perdue to lose so he can blame Kemp. It’s the craziest thing I’ve seen, ”said James Carville, a former adviser to President Bill Clinton. “If he keeps it up, it’s good for us.”
High-profile Democrats, from Julián Castro to Barack Obama to Joe Biden, will converge in Georgia ahead of the Jan. 5 second round. Democratic campaigns as well as liberal groups are pouring millions of dollars into television and radio ads and billboards in hopes of securing a Democratic majority in the Senate with the same high voter turnout that won President-elect Joe Biden.
But the way they see it, some of the best advertising and exit efforts come straight from Trump himself. This week, they plastered Trump’s tweets on billboards across Georgia and even pulled Arizona into the fray. A billboard in Georgia quotes a Trump tweet challenging Republican governors of both states: “Why vote Republicans when you get Ducey and Kemp?”
“Trump is helping our cause,” said Cliff Albright, co-founder and executive director of the voting rights group Black Voters Matter. If he just took the loss and just got into a corner and just kept quiet, people would still be celebrating the general election.
But because he is still actively trying to steal the election – trying to steal black votes or reject black votes – has actually made it possible for there to still be a referendum on Trump. Because he didn’t keep his mouth shut. “
In the aftermath of the November elections, the president and his allies have become the main disseminators of disinformation and wild conspiracy theories. Some of it is aimed at the two Democratic candidates Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, but they really can’t get over Trump losing the election.
So they unfold claims of electoral fraud, all false and many of them absurd: Kemp and Raffensperger are agents of the Chinese Communist Party. Or the state’s voting machines have automatic vote-flipping functions and are linked to Hugo Chávez, the Venezuelan leader who died more than seven years ago.
The pressure has grown so great that Kemp on Thursday lashed out at pro-Trump conspiracy theorists for attacking his family, including his daughter who is mourning the death of her boyfriend, a former Loeffler staffer, in a recent car accident. “It’s gotten ridiculous – by death threats, [claims of] bribes from China, the social media posts my kids are getting, ”Kemp told reporters, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “We have the ‘no crying in politics rule’ in the Kemp house. But these are things that if I said it, I’d be taken to the woodshed and never see the light of day. “
Georgia mainstream Republicans have urged voters to ignore the disinformation being spread by Trump allies such as Georgia-based attorney Lin Wood and former Trump campaign attorney Sidney Powell. In addition to spreading baseless claims, Wood was at the center of an effort to get Trump supporters to boycott the election.
Even Trump, on a recent visit to Georgia – after much criticism and concern from his own party – urged supporters to put aside their grievances and vote. “Don’t listen to my friends,” he said. But the problem is, Trump himself has only further amplified the false messages – the opposite of what the Republicans want from him.
On Tuesday, Trump retweeted a tweet van Wood who claimed that Kemp and Raffensperger would soon be in prison for not interfering with the presidential election. The tweet featured a photo of the two Republican leaders wearing Photoshopped masks bearing the Chinese flag.
Trump ‘ @BrianKempGA & @GaSecofState every chance to do it right. They refused. They will go to jail soon, ”Wood wrote. Similar reports can be seen on right-wing social media platforms such as Parler and Gab, where conspiracy theories about Kemp’s involvement in the Chinese Communist Party have been spreading since the election.
Republicans are increasingly concerned that Trump’s decision to stand on his own two feet – like Kemp and Raffensperger – for failing to aid him in his crusade to reverse the election results will cost them the Senate. And it looks like Trump could be good at that. The president has aggressively raised money for the run-offs in Georgia, but most of the proceeds will go to his newly launched PAC – not the candidates.
So far, Democrats and Republicans alike have focused on whether Trump’s false fraud claims will affect the rise of GOP. But analysts say it will be difficult to gauge the impact of Trump’s disinformation campaign, even after the results of the January 5 election. That’s because there are so many reasons why voters do or don’t show up at the polls. But a number of GOP strategists across the state say they fear Trump’s insistence on contesting the results of the presidential election will only help Democrats keep voters energized.
“We know that the concept of oppression or voting issues actually motivates Democratic voters,” said Heath Garrett, a Republican strategist and former campaign leader to Senator Johnny Isakson. “It’s definitely going to be a problem – in the medium and long term – because we now have Republicans using the same legal and political arguments that the Democrats have used.”
Democrats take advantage of Republican talking points and spin them for their own benefit. A group, the ReallyAmerican PAC, has attempted to raise $ 100,000 for statewide billboards slamming Loeffler and Perdue for their underperformance in the general election. The group has put up a dozen billboards in rural Georgia towns with the message, “Perdue and Loeffler did not deliver for Trump. Don’t deliver them. “
“It just goes to show how insane some of this rhetoric about this is that the Democrats are just licking their chops – spending money – to repeat the message,” said Brian Robinson, a Georgia GOP strategist and former spokesman for the former Nathan administration. . Deal.
Still, Republicans like Robinson say they still expect the GOP-leaning state to elect Perdue and Loeffler, noting that more Georgians voted for the Republican candidates in both Senate races leading up to the January 5 run-offs.
In a recent statement, Justin Horwitz, the executive director of Really American PAC, acknowledged it was a “rare twist of fate” to see Trump supporters and those who support Warnock and Ossoff find consensus: “seeing the two Republicans who have not won a victory for Trump. [Loeffler & Perdue], to lose. “
Trump lost Georgia by more than 11,000 votes, while Perdue won about 88,000 more votes than Ossoff in the November election. Loeffler, for its part, received fewer votes than Warnock in the November special election. But theirs was a busy race with one of Trump’s closest allies, Rep. Doug Collins, also on the ballot. Collins came in third.
While taking advantage of Trump’s spin, Democrats are also fighting against misinformation among their constituents. Speaking with reporters on Thursday, Ashley Bryant, co-founder of the Win Black group, which focuses on misinformation among black voters, said that falsehoods about the election are suppressing black votes. During the general election, misinformation tactics across the country typically include pamphlets with incorrect election dates and fake polling stations.
“There are an incredible amount of resources going into the state to stop black voters from showing up and making their voices heard from now until January 5,” she said.
A new pro-Warnock radio ad from BlackPAC on the airwaves in Georgia this week claims that conservatives are “spreading misinformation, trying to suppress our voices and disrespecting Reverend Raphael Warnock’s name.”
Nsé Ufot, CEO of the New Georgia Project, which is leading efforts to set up key voting groups in January, said ‘stop the stealing’ rallies and smaller, pop-up election protests in the state are sowing fear and confusion among the Democratic voters. also in the state. That’s why her team is making extensive efforts not only to refute these claims, but also to “bolster the facts.”
“Posting disinformation by saying,” This isn’t true “doesn’t actually help,” Ufot said. “We want to round that off with information that people can actually trust.”
Marc Caputo contributed to this report.