Things were already sub-ideal for the president and his Republican Party in the Peach State.
The GOP’s incumbent senators, who in any normal year would be locks for re-election, both have a history of shady stock trades. The early vote has been huge and breaking the Democrats’ way. Then came the instantly infamous call between President Donald Trump and Georgia Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger—the one where the president asked him to dig 11,000 votes or so out of the trash pile.
For Trump, the news may get worse. One end of the call took place in Fulton County, Georgia, where Fani Willis was just elected district attorney. “She prosecutes without fear or favor. And her folks are looking at that call closely,” Daily Beast editor-at-large and Georgia political veteran Goldie Taylor explains on The New Abnormal’s first show of 2021. “Donald Trump—and anybody else in that room, helping him—could very well face charges here in Georgia, in Fulton County. Charges that they cannot make go away.”
It didn’t have to be like this, of course. “If Donald Trump had just shut his mouth, he probably would have sailed to re-election. If he just shut up and handled COVID right. Georgia, he would have sailed in,” Taylor tells Molly Jong-Fast.
But this president can’t help himself. He attacked the Republican establishment for not bowing to his election fraud conspiracies. And this was a party that for decades was a “juggernaut… they have had control of the state lock stock and barrel because they were just more highly organized,” Taylor says.
Now, they’re anything but. “The president of the United States can't stop attempting, consciously or unconsciously, to screw this election up for this party. And he’s just, in new and different ways, tried to throw obstacles in [Sen. David] Perdue and [Sen. Kelly] Loeffler’s way,” says Sam Brodey, the Daily Beast reporter who broke many of the biggest stories about the pair’s financial shenanigans.
Trump keeps railing about how Georgia’s November election was totally rigged—and it sure seems to be having an effect in the January election, where many die-hard Trumpists say they’re not sure they trust the system enough to vote.
Loeffler and Perdue may still win, of course; they’ve got history on their side. But “there is this Republican civil war that is playing out in Georgia and the candidates are having to fight against that,” Brodey continues. “This has an impact. A huge segment of voters in this state hang on every word that the president says. And like after a certain point, he’s saying this every day, so it will have an impact and we’ll find out what it is.”
Because today is Election Day in Georgia.